Specialty Focus   
Volume VIII | Issue 20                                                                                    
May 14, 2019    
Practice specific news, analysis and commentary for Florida's Medical Specialists  
                            From the publisher of FHIweekly & FloridaHealthIndustry.com

Nurses Are Striking. Where Are the Physicians?
Michael Pappas, MD
Kevin MD 
The U.S. healthcare "system" is completely and utterly broken. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. system ranks 37th in the world , all while spending dramatically more on healthcare than other wealthy countries.
Study finds direct oxidative stress damage shortens telomeres
Medical Xpress 
The same sources thought to inflict oxidative stress on cells-pollution, diesel exhaust, smoking and obesity-also are associated with shorter telomeres, the protective tips on the ends of the chromosomal shoelace. A new study from the University of Pittsburgh, published today in Molecular Cell, provides the first smoking gun evidence that oxidative stress acts directly on telomeres to hasten cellular aging.
FL Legislature Removes Long-Time Healthcare Rules
Catherine Lackner reports for Miami Today on May 7:

In the session that just ended, the Florida Legislature removed decades-old laws designed to regulate the healthcare industry. It significantly watered down the certificate of need (CON) process, allowed ambulatory surgical centers to keep patients for 48 hours (previously it was 24), put some structure in place for telehealth (the remote delivery of services) and voted to allow drugs to be imported from Canada.

Supporter of the legislation argue that these changes foster healthy competition , which can drive down costs and elevate quality. Skeptics include Linda Quick, former president of the South Florida Hospital & Healthcare Association and now president of the Quick Bernstein Connection Group, a consulting firm. "Historically, the free market doesn't work in the medical industry," she asserts .
DoD Wants to Impose CMPs on Those Who Defraud TRICARE
Plagued by fraud and abuse targeting its TRICARE program, the U.S. Department of Defense, on May 1, issued a proposed rule that would allow it to impose civil monetary penalties (CMPs) against providers and suppliers who commit fraud and abuse against the TRICARE program. The new rule would create the "Military Health Care Fraud and Abuse Prevention Program."

TRICARE is the federal healthcare program that provides benefits to the military, military retirees and their families. DoD says the authority is necessary because of the Department of Justice's limited resources to go after those who commit fraud against TRICARE.

Instead of re-inventing the wheel, DoD proposes to adopt "well-established CMP rules and procedures" used by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services "to enable both TRICARE and TRICARE providers to rely upon Medicare precedents and guidance issued by the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) regarding conduct that implicates" the CMP law.
CDC Releases Data Brief on
Prescription Drug Use in the United States
Among their findings were the following:
  • In 2015-2016, 45.8% of the U.S. population used prescription drugs in the past 30 days.
  • Prescription drug use increased with age, from 18.0% of children under age 12 years to 85.0% of adults aged 60 and over.
  • Prescription drug use was highest among non-Hispanic white persons followed by non-Hispanic black persons, and lowest among non-Hispanic Asian and Hispanic persons.
  • The most commonly used types of drugs included bronchodilators for ages 0-11 years, central nervous system stimulants for ages 12-19, antidepressants for ages 20-59, and lipid-lowering drugs for ages 60 and over.
  • The percentage of the U.S. population that used prescription drugs decreased over the preceding decade.
Some practitioners view the decline in prescription drug use as a positive development. "It's not surprising that there is a trend of declining prescription drug use," states Sandra Doman, DC , founder of Miami Sports Chiropractic and Yoga Center in Aventura, FL. "Patients are becoming wiser consumers and custodians of their own health to include fear of drug side effects and education in natural alternatives."