Houston residents Paschal Eleanya and Arael Doolittle were charged with wire fraud as part of an indictment. Authorities said the defendants engaged in a scheme that attempted to sell 50 million N95 respirator face masks that did not exist to a foreign government for more than $317 million.
The CMS has announced a final rule to update the HHS risk adjustment data validation program with amendments to the error rate calculation methodology and how the HHS-RADV results are applied. The rule modifies how medical conditions within the same hierarchical condition category coefficient estimation groups are grouped to determine failure rates, among other changes, and it applies the HHS-RADV results to adjust the risk scores and transfer amounts for the benefit year being audited instead of for the subsequent benefit year, as was the previous practice.
Purdue Pharma has entered guilty pleas to three federal felony counts stemming from the US opioid crisis. The OxyContin maker has agreed to pay $225 million as part of a $2 billion criminal forfeiture, which the Justice Department will largely waive if Purdue becomes a public benefit company or a similar entity as the result of a bankruptcy reorganization.
The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices said the public needs to be informed of the potential side effects associated with the new COVID-19 vaccines, to ensure that patients return for the required second dose. Among the reported side effects in clinical trials of Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines were low-grade fever, muscle aches, pain at the site of injection, fatigue and headaches -- which are common in vaccinations.
Kansas counties that enforced a statewide mask mandate to curb COVID-19 spread had a 6% reduction in COVID-19 cases on average, compared with a 100% case increase in counties that opted out from the state mandate, according to a study in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. "[T]he decrease in cases among mandated counties and the continued increase in cases in nonmandated counties adds to the evidence supporting the importance of wearing masks," the CDC said.
Operation Warp Speed officials announced that an estimated 6.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer will be given to US states and territories by mid-December, assuming it receives FDA authorization. "[Governors] will decide whom the vaccine is given to. We hope that our recommendations will carry weight with them but at the end of the day they will make that decision," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar.
The CDC's guideline for self-quarantine after potential exposure to COVID-19 may soon be modified to a shorter duration than the current 14 days, provided that the patient is tested for the virus during the quarantine period, a top official said. The CDC official did not specify the potential new quarantine duration.
A report commissioned by Anthem found that employers are still moving toward integration of different health benefits to keep employees well and control care costs. "Actionable data is shared among doctors and other health care providers so they can better diagnose and treat members, detect coverage gaps, and guide employees toward prevention and care management," the report said.
It's recommended that adults get between 150 and 300 minutes of moderate physical exercise or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous physical exercise each week, but researchers have found that the vigorous activity may provide added benefits against disease. "Although MPA may be more palatable and applied to most of the population, clinicians and public health interventions may advise that increasing the relative proportion of VPA to total physical activity may be associated with additional health benefits," said researcher Yafeng Wang.
A lawsuit was filed by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Council for Affordable Health Coverage and Partnership for Safe Medicines against HHS and the FDA over a plan to allow importation of certain prescription drugs from Canada. The groups' complaint is based on an HHS final rule designed to reduce costs for consumers, but James Stansel, PhRMA's executive vice president and general counsel, said the policy "threatens public health at the same time that we are fighting a global pandemic."
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