The current COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of telemedicine. It has forced the sudden adoption of telemedicine by many medical practices and healthcare systems, accompanied by government and payer emergency measures that have helped to make telemedicine care easier. Most of these emergency measures will sunset, and while most physicians and patients will welcome the return to safe in-person visits, the dramatic increase in virtual care is here to stay. The use of telemedicine apps, along with the large number of people working remotely, has created the potential for the acceleration of cyber security breaches.
Novavax starts Phase 1 coronavirus vaccine trial after $388M from Bill Gates-backed group
Evie Fordham reports for
May 25, 2020:
Novavax said dosing for the Phase 1 clinical
trial of its coronavirus vaccine candidate would begin Monday.
"Administering our vaccine in the first participants of this clinical trial is a significant achievement, bringing us one step closer toward addressing the fundamental need for a vaccine in the fight against the global COVID-19 pandemic," Novavax President and CEO
Stanley C. Erck said in a statement. "We look forward to sharing the clinical results in July and, if promising, quickly initiating the Phase 2 portion of the trial."
A Georgia woman was arrested earlier this month in connection with a scheme in which she is alleged to have sought to pay and receive illegal kickbacks in exchange for referring
Medicare beneficiaries for expensive cancer screening and COVID-19 tests.
Loosened healthcare regulations, including
blanket waivers of the federal
Anti-kickback Statute (AKS) and physician self-referral law (
Stark) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, could result in an onslaught of these types of healthcare fraud cases in the months to come.
According to the
complaint, the defendant, identified as 32-year-old
Ashley Hoobler Parris, aka
Ashley Hoobler and
Ashley Parris, started her scheme around October 2018 by soliciting kickbacks from labs in exchange for referring Medicare beneficiaries for expensive genetic cancer screening tests (
CGx Testing), regardless of medical necessity.
Hoobler and her co-conspirators would obtain doctors' orders for CGx testing for those beneficiaries by paying illegal kickbacks to co-conspirators at telemedicine companies. She also received illegal kickbacks in exchange for sending the completed CGx swabs and doctors' orders to a laboratory.
Leo Nissola, MDMDwrites in a May 25, 2020KevinMD post:
Cancer patients have seen the world collapsing before their eyes, and then comes a pandemic. The
American Society of Clinical Oncology estimates that this year there will be five thousand new cases of cancer per day in the United States, and COVID-19 adds another layer of worry for people with illnesses such as cancer and ALS. The novel coronavirus will probably be with us for years, having lacerated communities and destroyed the lives of many, yet so much endures. In this complicated life journey, many patients cannot wait for lengthy drug approvals and bureaucratic processes. About twenty million people are living with cancer, and almost twenty thousand with ALS in the United States, and similarly, their daily threat far exceeds COVID-19. Critical care during this crisis is delicate as there are competing risks of getting an immunocompromised patient infected with the novel virus and the possibility of death from the disease's progression.