HHS Inspector General Details Prescription-Writing Abuses

The new report finds that health providers such as massage therapists, chiropractors and athletic trainers often wrote prescriptions -- and Medicare paid for them.

ABC News: Massage Therapists, Chiropractors Wrote Drug Prescriptions They Shouldn't Have—And Medicare Paid
In 2009, massage therapists, athletic trainers, chiropractors and other professionals wrote hundreds of thousands of drug prescriptions without the authority to do so. In some cases these were controlled substances like oxycodone, but Medicare Part D, which covers prescription drugs, paid for them anyway. A report by the Department of Health and Human Services' inspector general outlines how, in 2009, Medicare's prescription-drug benefit paid for prescriptions written by health and health-related professionals who did not have the authority to write them under Medicare's rules (Good, 6/21).

The Associated Press: Wiser Medication Use Could Cut Health Costs
If doctors and patients used prescription drugs more wisely, they could save the U.S. health care system at least $213 billion a year, by reducing medication overuse, underuse and other flaws in care that cause complications and longer, more-expensive treatments, researchers conclude. The new findings by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics improve on numerous prior efforts to quantify the dollars wasted on health care (6/23).

At the same time, genomic medicine was a subject of interest on Capitol Hill last week --

CQ HealthBeat: NIH Leaders Tutor Hill Aides On Promise Of Genomic Medicine As New NIH Cuts Loom
National Institutes of Health leaders marked the tenth anniversary of the completion of the Human Genome Project this week by walking Hill aides through the rapid progress U.S. scientists have made in genomic science and medicine. As almost any NIH presentation on Capitol Hill is wont to be these days, the briefing in part was an understated case for keeping federal funds flowing into the medical research agency. NIH lost $1.5 billion this year, and faces a new round of deep cuts in the fiscal year that starts in October (Reichard, 6/21).

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