More than 15 million American adults and five million children over the age of five suffer from high discomfort or exhibit needle-phobic behavior when faced with getting a blood draw or injection, according to results from a new study, with the overwhelming majority of those studied – 75 percent adults and 91 percent children – naming “pain” as the component they most feared.
Clinically known as blenophobia, the condition is defined as a fear of needles, and includes the fear of pain felt during injections and blood draws. Pain associated with needle sticks leads directly to fear and anxiety, according to the study. The phobia presents a widespread public health challenge since a patient’s behavior is often influenced by their fears – and in extreme cases – affects their ability to receive necessary medical care.
“Blood tests are one of the most important diagnostic tools modern medicine has at its disposal, but if patients are reluctant, or even actively avoid blood draws, then we need to find ways to alleviate the pain and discomfort or other causes keeping them from getting these procedures,” said Mark Dursztman, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and Assistant Attending Physician, The New York Presbyterian Hospital, Cornell Campus. “The fear of needles and needle stick pain is a real and significant health problem, one that needs to be addressed.”
The survey, sponsored by Vyteris Holdings, Inc. (OTCBB: VYHN), a leading developer of drug delivery products, was conducted to learn more about the incidence and prevalence of high discomfort and needle phobic behavior around routine blood draws and injections. It found that slightly more than half the general population either had or were requested to have a blood draw or injection in the past six months. Fourteen percent, or approximately 15 million adults, identified themselves as being either needle phobic or having high discomfort around getting their blood drawn.
Of those 15 million needle-phobic adults, approximately 3.5 million indicated they had refused a blood draw or chose not to receive a recommended injection at some point in their life. Twenty five percent indicated that the consequences of these refusals were varied and serious, both from a health and economic standpoint, and directly impacted the patient’s quality of life. Over half of the respondents indicated that they did not receive necessary medical care because of the refusal, or made a change in the kind of care they were receiving. Some lost job offers, others did not receive insurance coverage and some were denied admission to school because of the refusal to get blood work done.
“Needle phobia has a direct impact on my ability to deliver necessary healthcare services, and is an important public health issue,” said Dursztman. “The findings underscore how widespread the issue is, and directly correlate to my personal experience as a physician dealing with patients. Needle phobia can be a significant impediment to understanding a patient’s complete health profile. The healthcare community needs to advance more solutions to deal with needle stick pain.”
The survey also found approximately five million children between the ages of five and 19 were characterized as being needle phobic or having high discomfort around blood draws and injections. Additionally, 26 percent of these needle-phobic children experienced extreme discomfort, the highest level of discomfort, at their last blood draw or injection.
The prevalence of blood draws and injections are high with physician offices and diagnostic laboratories estimated to take more than 900,000 blood draws daily in the U.S.
Despite the high rate of anxiety surrounding procedures, the options for dealing with needle stick pain are limited. The survey found the majority of both adults and children used distraction techniques — such as looking away, humming or focusing on an object — to deal with their discomfort. They found these techniques only moderately effective at best in minimizing their discomfort.
The American Pain Society (APS) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) set forth guidelines for adequately addressing acute – or short-lived – pain. These guidelines, which apply to the treatment of children and adults, call for healthcare practitioners to eliminate or reduce pain caused by medical treatments whenever possible. In fact, the APS and AAP agree that acute pain experienced with medical procedures can, in most cases, be substantially reduced and even prevented.
About the Survey
On behalf of Vyteris, the survey was conducted by TVG in October and November of 2006. Overall, 11,460 consumers were screened to identify patients with high discomfort levels with venipuncture or injection. A total of 1,010 respondents completed on-line surveys focused on this subject. The national panel from which these consumers were recruited is aligned with the general population across multiple metrics. The overall sampling error for this survey is +/- 3.5%.
About Vyteris, Inc.
Vyteris, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Vyteris Holdings (Nevada), Inc. (OTCBB: VYHN.OB), are the makers of the first active drug delivery patch to receive marketing clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Vyteris’ proprietary active transdermal drug delivery (iontophoresis) technology delivers drugs comfortably through the skin using low-level electrical energy. This active patch technology allows precise dosing, giving physicians and patients control in the rate, dosage and pattern of drug delivery that can result in considerable therapeutic, economical, and lifestyle advantages over existing methods of drug administration. Vyteris’ first product, LidoSite(R), which provides dermal analgesia prior to venipuncture (IV catheter insertions, blood draws, etc.) and superficial dermatological procedures, was the first FDA approved active patch. Vyteris has also successfully demonstrated in-vivo, either in animals or in humans, the ability of their active patch technology to deliver drugs transdermally for the following applications: smoking cessation, anti-aging cosmeceuticals, treatments for Parkinson’s disease, and peptides for various indications.
There are several companies who will have their representatives present at the 32nd annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. J.P. Morgan’s 32nd Annual Healthcare Conference will be held January 13-16, 2014 in San Francisco, California.
Endo Health Solutions (Nasdaq: ENDP) announced that Rajiv De Silva, President and Chief Executive Officer, will present a corporate overview at the 32nd Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time.
Express Scripts Holding Company (Nasdaq: ESRX) announced that it will present at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on January 15, 2014 at 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time (11:00 a.m. Eastern Time) at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, CA.
Concord Medical Services Holdings Limited (“Concord Medical” or the “Company”) (NYSE: CCM), a leading specialty hospital management solution provider and operator of the largest network of radiotherapy and diagnostic imaging centers in China and the parent of Chang’an Hospital, announced that the Company will present at the 32nd Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, to be held January 13-16, 2014 at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. Management is scheduled to present at 11:30 a.m. local time on Wednesday, January 15, 2014, and is available to meet with institutional investors at the conference.
Haemonetics Corporation (NYSE: HAE) announced that Brian Concannon, President & CEO, will present at the 32nd Annual J.P. Morgan Health Care Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 10:00 am Pacific time / 1:00 pm Eastern time.
Mylan Inc. (Nasdaq: MYL), one of the world’s leading generic and specialty pharmaceutical companies, announced that the Company will present at the J.P. Morgan 32nd Annual Healthcare Conference on Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014, in San Francisco.
Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE: BSX) is scheduled to participate in the 32nd Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 in San Francisco. Mike Mahoney, president and chief executive officer, will make a presentation about the company beginning at approximately 9:00 a.m. PT. Following the presentation, Dan Brennan, executive vice president and chief financial officer, and Keith Dawkins, M.D., executive vice president and global chief medical officer, will join Mr. Mahoney in a question and answer session.
WebMD Health Corp. (NASDAQ: WBMD), the leading source of health information, has acquired Avado, Inc., a developer of cloud-based patient relationship management (PRM) tools and technologies that enable better communication between consumers and health care professionals.
WebMD’s connectivity platform is enabling physicians that use its Medscape mobile app to securely send health education and instructions on thousands of conditions, procedures and drugs to their patients who use WebMD’s mobile app.
“Avado’s innovative technology and tools will complement, and further accelerate WebMD’s efforts to connect patients with their healthcare providers, which is an important first step toward making connected care a reality,” said Bill Pence, WebMD’s Chief Operating Officer and Chief Technology Officer.
Avado is a StartUp Health Company founded in 2010 by serial entrepreneurs Dave Chase, Bassam Saliba and John Yii. Avado’s investors include The Partnership Fund for New York City and several health tech entrepreneurs and investors. The Avado technology has been tested in physician offices and medical centers and this technology will become an important building block of WebMD’s patient-provider connectivity offering.
Avado’s founders Dave Chase and Bassam Saliba will continue with the company and report to Pence. Chase, Saliba and Avado’s engineering talent will remain based in Seattle, WA, and work closely with WebMD’s New York-based connectivity product team.
InspireMD, Inc. (“InspireMD” or the “Company”) (NYSE MKT: NSPR), a leader in embolic protection stents, recently announced new 12-month results from the MASTER (MGuard for Acute ST Elevation Reperfusion) trial demonstrating that the MGuard outperformed bare metal and drug eluting stents in all-cause mortality in ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients. Results from the trial were presented at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) Conference in San Francisco earlier.
Additionally, the Company will be holding an evening symposium tomorrow, October 30 th, starting at 6:30 pm PT. Dr. Gregg Stone, Dr. Ori Ben-Yehuda and Dr. Jose Henriques will lead the symposium and will be joined by a panel of medical experts.
The MGuard utilizes the Company’s proprietary MicroNet™ technology, which is a circular knitted mesh that wraps around the stent to protect patients from plaque debris flowing downstream upon deployment. This advanced technology allows the MGuard to specifically address the unmet need for STEMI patients, and save the life of those who suffer from heart attacks.
“It is very reassuring to see that the 12-month follow up data is consistent with the acute results presented at TCT last year, especially the data that shows the mortality benefit trend of using this unique technology,” stated Prof. Dariusz Dudek, Physician-in-Chief, 2nd Department of Clinical Cardiology and Cardiovascular Interventions at the University Hospital in Krakow. “These positive results should give clinicians the confidence to use MGuard technology as a first line of defense against distal embolization for their STEMI patients.”
The MASTER trial enrolled a total of 433 patients with STEMI presenting within 12 hours of symptom onset undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention were randomized at 50 sites in 9 countries to the MGuard EPS (n = 217) or commercially available bare metal or drug-eluting stents (n = 216).
Morgan & Morgan is investigating whether or not Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc. (“Ariad” or the “Company”) (ARIA) and certain of its officers violated the federal securities laws when making statements to investors regarding its experimental drug Iclusig.
On October 9, 2013, the Company updated the data from its PACE trial of Iclusig and revealed that the drug was shown to cause a higher rate of blood clots and heart-related side effects than previously disclosed. As a result, the FDA placed a hold on new patient enrollment for Iclusig testing, and the Company advised patients currently receiving the drug to lower their dosage.
Following this news, shares of Ariad fell $11.31, almost 66%, to close at $5.83 per share on October 9, 2013.
Health Plan News will post updates to this story if warranted.
ICU Eyewear, a pioneer in sustainable and fashionable eyewear, is now a corporate sponsor of the Seva Foundation in concordance with World Sight Day on Oct. 10 th, 2013. ICU’s support of the Seva Foundation will provide aid to two programs, including the SIPI Program and Seva’s Eye Care Initiative, furthering the Seva Foundation’s mission to eliminate preventable blindness and visual impairment.
As part of the SIPI program domestically, ICU is providing 600 pairs of eyeglasses and sunglasses to impoverished Native American communities in New Mexico. The SIPI, or Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, works with Seva and will train 25 American Indians, most of which are women, to be top tier vision technicians and licensed opticians. This training is at no cost to the participants and benefits the high demand in impoverished American Indian communities in or near the Albuquerque area.
ICU Eyewear, founded by Patricia Kesten in 1997, has become a globally recognized leader in reading eyewear and sunglasses. ICU Eyewear designs have revolutionized the reading glass industry with fun styles, bright colors and unique patterns at affordable prices for the everyday customer.
B. Braun Medical Inc. (B.Braun) will launch Contiplex® C, its revolutionary, one-step, echogenic catheter-over-needle system and unveil Contiplex Echo, its echogenic, styleted catheter, both designed for Continuous Peripheral Nerve Blocks (CPNB) at the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) annual meeting in San Francisco, California, October 12 th-14th. As the market leader in regional anesthesia, B.Braun is committed to providing products and services to meet the changing needs within the acute pain management field.
Contiplex C is an innovative catheter-over-needle system for CPNB and practitioners seeking to transition from single shot to continuous techniques. The catheter tip can be purposely directed to an exact location, without the need to thread. Once the catheter tip is in the desired location, the needle is removed in one easy step, and the catheter is already placed. Its catheter-over-needle design helps reduce leakage because the catheter sits tightly within the puncture site.
Contiplex Echo is a new styleted catheter, featuring flat coil technology to enhance echogenicity. Its rigid body is designed to facilitate controlled threading with the aid of a stylet. Contiplex Echo will be available in both open and closed tip (multi-port) configurations along with the Contiplex Tuohy Ultra needle to provide echogenicity from both needle and catheter during CPNB placement.
Attendees are encouraged to visit B.Braun’s booth #1917 at ASA to experience hands-on demonstrations of these and other exciting regional anesthesia products, infusion pumps, CAPS® pre-filled sterile admixtures, and anesthesia IV administration sets from B.Braun. Visit www.bbraunASA.com for videos and further information.
Akeso Care Management®, Inc. (ACM®), announced today that it has been awarded Health Utilization Management Accreditation by URAC, a Washington, DC-based health care accrediting organization that establishes quality standards for the health care industry.
This accreditation assures the adequacy and quality of ACM’s health utilization management program through evaluation against broadly recognized standards and measures. ACM provides medical management services to domestic and international insurance carriers, self-insured employers and third party administrators. These services include utilization review, large case management, emergency medical evacuations, discharge planning and medical bill review, all designed to provide appropriate, cost-effective patient care.
URAC’s Health Utilization Management Standards establish consistency in UM processes. The standards ensure that appropriately trained clinical personnel conduct and oversee the utilization review process, that a reasonable and timely appeals process is in place, and that medical decisions are based on valid clinical criteria.
America’s changing healthcare industry is beginning to reshape the non-physician healthcare work force, with certain jobs evaporating while others are blooming, according to results of the 2013 Staff Salary Survey by Physicians Practice , America’s Leading Practice Management Magazine.
As practices automate their billing processes with outside service providers, and digitize their recordkeeping with electronic health records systems, they reported big drops in their employment of medical billers, billing managers, and medical records clerks. Those positions declined by 25 percent, 23 percent, and 37 percent, respectively, since 2011.
As practices adapt to wrenching changes in their industry by retooling their staffs, they’re challenged to find ways to keep the staff they do have motivated.
But new jobs are being created as healthcare providers become increasingly accountable to drive positive patient outcomes. More than one in five practices now employ care coordinators—professionals whose role is to help patients access diverse services needed to maintain their health, from nutrition counselors to social workers and more. This is the first year that Physicians Practice asked about care coordinators, a position that had previously been almost unheard-of outside of large institutions or health insurance companies. Another employment trend: when it comes to non-physician healthcare providers, critical private practices are increasingly employing nurse practitioners over physician assistants, with employment of the latter declining by 26 percent in the last two years. However, that may be driven by labor shortages among PAs.
Staff salaries, meanwhile, have remained flat or declined in most areas, with one important exception: nurse managers are earning 10 percent on average more than they were two years, even as their ranks swelled at practices by 25 percent during the same period.
Physicians Practice surveyed nearly 1,000 practices during the fourth quarter of 2012 for its fourth annual Staff Salary Survey.
GlaxoSmithKline is set to open its new double LEED® platinum certified facility in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard Corporate Center this Saturday, ushering in a new era of how people work in Philadelphia.
The 208,000 square foot building at Five Crescent Drive represents an $80 million investment by Liberty Property/Synterra, and an investment of approximately $70 million by GSK. GSK has signed a 15.5-year lease at the building, which includes a four-story central atrium, a monumental stairway, a coffee shop, cafeteria, fitness center, meeting centers and a large multi-purpose room.
– 4-story, 208,000 rentable square feet, inclusive of over 53,000 square feet of amenity space
– The first double LEED®® Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council in Philadelphia
(Core & Shell™ and Commercial Interiors™).
– Project developed on a rehabilitated brownfield site within The Navy Yard Corporate Center fronting the beautifully landscaped 3.5-acre Crescent Park and Rouse Boulevard.
– 80-foot high central atrium with dramatic architectural lighting and a 4-story monumental stained maple veneer stair
– Amenities include cafeteria, coffee bar, central pantries, fitness center, health clinic, virtual bank teller, conference center, quiet rooms, production studio, a help lounge, roof garden, and a company store.
– 10,300-square-foot cafeteria with fresh offerings from a salad bar, deli, grille, chef’s table and a coffee kiosk 900 parking spaces on site and additional on-street parking.
– Five Standards (Dazzle), a dynamic exterior sculpture by Philadelphia native Virgil Marti commissioned by the Mural Arts Program
– Timeline: Construction commenced June 2011; initial occupancy February 2013; grand opening April 6, 2013
The four-story, glass-encased building with an open floor plan and grand central staircase has been awarded both Core & Shell™ and Commercial Interiors™ LEED® Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. It is the first double LEED® Platinum building in Philadelphia. It is anticipated that the innovative building systems will save as much as 30% of energy use when compared to a traditional building.
These substantial energy savings are the result of the state-of-the-art building facade and high-performance glass which maximize daylight in winter while reducing heat gain and providing shading in summer. ENERGY STAR®-rated lighting and equipment, as well as an astronomical time clock and cloud sensor program, activate the automatic shades on windows to control glare. In addition smart meters track and monitor the building’s energy and water use and provide ongoing accountability for utility consumption and performance.
Human beings have been laughing for as long as we have been human. In fact, recent evidence suggests that apes and other animals also laugh in their own way. And although humor is experienced across all ages and cultures, scientists are still not in agreement about the root causes of humor and laughter. For more in-depth information about humor and laughter, please check this out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humor_(positive_psychology)#Humor_and_Health
Health and laughter
There is widespread agreement among scientists that humor in general, and laughter in particular, are very good for us. In fact, laughter provides a number of very powerful physical and emotional health benefits.
Ten powerful physical and emotional benefits of laughter:
1. Reduces pain and allows us to put up with discomfort
2. Improves oxygen flow to the brain and heart
3. Reduced blood sugar levels
4. Helps blood vessels work better
5. Helps bereaving people deal with grief
6. Dampens negative emotions like anger
7. Serves as a distancing mechanism in coping with adversity
8. Helps to achieve a sense of satisfaction with life
9. Provides higher self-esteem and lower levels of depression
10. Releases stress and anxiety
Laughter, work and relationships
In addition to these wonderful physical and emotional health benefits, laughter also improves your job performance, especially if you are called on to be creative or solve complex problems. It also strengthens marriages and other relationships between people. It literally synchronizes the brains of two people talking so that they are emotionally tuned in to each other. For more information on the benefits of laughter, check out this link: http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200504/laughter-the-best-medicine
Laughter does a body good
Scientists are just beginning to understand how laughter affects us physically, but studies have already shown that laughter does as much good to arteries as strong aerobic activity. This doesn’t mean that you should laugh instead of exercise, but it does suggest that you try to laugh regularly. One of the more amazing recent findings is that laughing helps to regulate blood flow and assists the blood’s ability to form clots and coagulate. In addition, it causes our bodies to secrete healthy chemicals in response to infection. Finally, studies have shown that laughter can help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases.
Researchers don’t clearly understand how laughter generates these heart benefits. It’s possible that they come from the forceful movement of the diaphragm as you laugh. In addition, laughter might activate the brain’s release of hormones like endorphins, which have a positive effect on blood vessels, organs and other body parts.
Prescription for health
Medical experts studying the health benefits of laughter suggest a simple prescription to improve your health: thirty minutes of exercise three times a week, coupled with fifteen minutes of daily laughter.
It’s clear that laughter is very good for the body as well as the soul. So what should we do with this newfound information about the benefits of laughter? Well, we suggest you start by checking out local comedy venues. To find comedy events near you, please visit: http://www.comedyworld.com
About the author
Bill Hartzer is a freelance writer based in Texas, and writes for Health Plan News.
Most people think of a treadmill as an exercise device. In reality treadmills were invented over 4,000 years ago and used animal and human power to perform labor intensive tasks like drawing water and grinding grain. For an overview of the history of treadmills: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treadmill
Strangely enough, treadmills were also used in prisons as punishment. Inmates were made to walk on a large vertical wheel like a paddle wheel. They’d walk in drudgery for up to eight hours per day, which equated to climbing 10,000 vertical feet or more. To learn more: http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi374.htm
Treadmill health benefits
Running or walking on a treadmill is one of the healthiest activities anyone can do, especially if it’s done consistently. Some people prefer to run or walk outside because they’re in the fresh air and they might soak up some sunshine. But when all is said and done there are more good reasons for running or walking on a treadmill than doing the same thing outside.
Here are eight good reasons for using a treadmill:
1. Less dangerous. The user isn’t exposed to cars and other obstacles, making running safer.
2. Smooth surface. Running on a consistent surface is easier than running on trails or streets.
3. Weather no obstacle. The user can exercise regularly regardless of the weather.
4. More control. Settings on a treadmill allow for more controlled pacing than running outside.
5. Easier to focus when running on a treadmill because you’re not worried about traffic, obstacles, etc.
6. More fun. Treadmill users can watch TV or read, making walking or running more fun.
7. Lower impact. Treadmills are cushioned, providing lower impact than streets or trails.
8. It’s all uphill. Treadmills can be adjusted for all uphill running, providing a more beneficial run.
In fact, the advantages of using a treadmill are so great that once people start using one they are more inclined to stick with it, meaning they’ll get more consistent health benefits from this very aerobic exercise.
Common health benefits of using a treadmill:
Using a treadmill strengthens your cardiovascular system, making your lungs and heart stronger. Working out on the treadmill three to five times each week for at least 30 minutes each time, can lower your risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease, and other health problems.
Bone Density Benefits
Weight bearing exercise is best for strengthening bones and preventing and managing osteoporosis. A treadmill is a wonderful way to get this much needed weight bearing exercise on a very consistent basis, without being put off by the weather.
Working out on a treadmill at the right intensity will burn calories as fast as or faster than the same workout outside, especially if you have the treadmill on more difficult settings.
Improves Range of Motion
A mild walking or light jogging program on a treadmill will assist in loosening joints and regaining flexibility.
Combats Depression and Insomnia
The aerobics gained from using a treadmill helps combat depression and insomnia.
With so many positives, it’s hard to ignore the benefits of using a treadmill. Being able to run and walk in any weather while staying out of traffic is a huge plus. And when you couple this with the excellent cardiovascular and other health benefits, it makes treadmills the obvious choice of active, healthy people.
About the author
Bill Hartzer is a freelance writer based in Texas, and writes for Health Plan News.
MetroHealth System has signed a multi-year agreement with Press Ganey to provide improvement solutions for its medical center, rehabilitation hospital, outpatient surgery center and network of 16 health centers.
More than 500 primary care and specialty care physicians practice within MetroHealth. Each year, MetroHealth provides nearly one million inpatient and outpatient visits, with revenue of more than $700 million. MetroHealth’s network of health centers incorporates a patient-centered medical home team-care approach to optimize patient outcomes through chronic disease management. The system’s major medical center is a leader in trauma, emergency and critical care; women’s and children’s services, including high-risk obstetrical care and neonatal intensive care; comprehensive medical and surgical subspecialties; heart and vascular care; cancer care; senior health; stroke and rehabilitative health care services.
Press Ganey and MetroHealth will be able to identify areas of opportunity and implement targeted action plans to enhance the patient experience. MetroHealth is one of the largest, most comprehensive providers in Northeast Ohio, serving the greater Cleveland community for more than 175 years.
The Emirates Group comprised of Emirates airline and dnata, which has multiple business interests in the aviation, travel, tourism and leisure industries (Emirates Group), chose ESKADENIA Software Medical Insurance System to run the medical operations of more than 104,000 employees with their dependants.
The Emirates Group chose ESKADENIA’s Medical System due to its powerful claims audit tools and efficient network management that gives full details on the medical providers (Doctors, Pharmacies, Laboratories, and Hospitals) used by the Group.
ESKADENIA’s Medical Insurance System was customized to handle its employees’ medical claims in the most efficient and comprehensive manner. The Emirates employees can access their medical profile online and monitor their benefits, limits and utilization. In addition, they can submit claims directly from the web, request for medical approvals, and appeal for rejected claims.
It is worth to mention that ESKADENIA Medical Insurance system works for both individuals and groups, also it complies with governmental regulations, which makes it an easy to- use tool for the recording and manipulation of insurance policy production, medical networks, claims, policy renewals, and reinsurance operations.
Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ANTH) today announced that it intends to offer and sell shares of its common stock in an underwritten public offering. The Company expects to grant the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 15% of the shares of common stock offered in the public offering. The Company intends to use the net proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes. The offering is subject to market and other conditions, and there can be no assurance as to whether or when the offering may be completed, or as to the actual size or terms of the offering.
Jefferies & Company, Inc. is acting as sole book-running manager in the offering and Leerink Swann LLC is acting as co-manager.
Uroplasty, Inc. (NASDAQ: UPI), a medical device company that develops, manufactures and markets innovative proprietary products to treat voiding dysfunctions, today reported financial results for the third quarter of fiscal 2013 ended December 31, 2012. The Company also announced the completion of a purchase agreement for both Urgent PC and Macroplastique with KP Select, Inc., which provides contract management services for all Kaiser Permanente and affiliated health care facilities.
Fiscal Nine Months 2013 Financial Results
For the nine-month period ended December 31, 2012, sales grew 13% to $16.9 million, reflecting a 25% increase in U.S. sales and an 11% decrease in sales outside the U.S. In the U.S., sales of Urgent PC increased 45% to $8.0 million and Macroplastique sales increased 1% to $4.3 million. At December 31, 2012, cash, cash equivalents and cash investments totaled $15.6 million
KP Select Purchase Agreement and Additional Expanded Coverage
The recently-completed purchase agreement with KP Select, Inc. for sales of Urgent PC and Macroplastique to Kaiser Permanente is a three-year contract and begins on March 1, 2013. Kaiser Permanente provides services to more than nine million members in 10 states through 37 hospitals and 611 medical offices and clinics, though not all locations treat urinary incontinence.
The Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York today approved Montefiore Medical Center’s bid to acquire the facilities of New York Westchester Square Medical Center (NYWSMC), a Bronx, N.Y., neighborhood hospital that has operated under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for nearly seven years.
The new facility will be renamed Montefiore Westchester Square. The plan is to have a full-service emergency department, an ambulatory surgery center and, over time, comprehensive primary and specialty care services.
A federal lawsuit filed by prominent Delaware Valley cardiologist Nicholas L. DePace, M.D., sparked a multi-year investigation by the United States Department of Justice and the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office that has resulted in New-Jersey based Cooper Health System, and Cooper University Hospital paying $12,600,000 to settle Medicare and Medicaid fraud allegations.
According to Dr. DePace’s Complaint, since 2004, Cooper funneled illegal kickbacks to referring physicians through an advisory board known as the Cooper Heart Institute Advisory Board (“CHIAB”). Cooper established the CHIAB in 2004, with the stated purpose of utilizing prominent New Jersey physicians to advise the Cooper Heart Institute regarding innovative technologies, new management strategies, community needs, and appropriate educational and research initiatives.
In reality, the CHIAB was a sham, in which Cooper paid physicians with high-volume medical practices upwards of $18,500 each to do little more than watch four lectures per year hosted at an elegant banquet facility. These lectures consisted mostly of marketing presentation on cardiac care at Cooper. Additional lectures included generic subjects that were irrelevant to the stated mission of the CHIAB, including a 2008 lecture entitled: “The Healthcare Plans of the Two Presidential Candidates.”
In the spring of 2007, Cooper invited Dr. DePace to join the CHIAB. After attending his first CHIAB lecture, Dr. DePace quickly realized that the CHIAB was a thinly-veiled kickback scheme. Dr. DePace observed that the other CHIAB members were family physicians with high-volume practices. These physicians were all in the position to direct millions of dollars in patient care to Cooper.
Dr. DePace also observed that the CHIAB physicians were paid $18,500 for doing nothing more than sitting and listening to marketing presentations and lectures on irrelevant topics. The physicians did not discuss the lecture topics, and were not required to perform any additional work in exchange for the payments from Cooper.
In exchange for Cooper’s kickback payments, CHIAB physicians referred their patients to the Cooper Heart Institute for expensive in-patient and out-patient cardiac services. At least one CHIAB member admitted to Dr. DePace that, when making referrals, he knew that Cooper, through the CHIAB, “butters his bread.”
The settlement with the United States, and the State of New Jersey, announced today, will require Cooper to pay the United States $10,000,000 and the State of New Jersey $2,600,000. The settlement is one of the largest against a hospital for operating a kickback scheme, and is one of the largest recoveries for the State of New Jersey under its recently passed state False Claims Act. Cooper denies that it is liable for violating federal or state laws.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a pro-life legal organization that focuses on constitutional law, today filed its fourth direct challenge to the mandate of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the basis that the mandate violates the religious beliefs of business owners. The lawsuit was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and contends that the HHS mandate violates constitutional and statutory rights by requiring two Ohio companies and their owners to purchase health insurance for employees that include coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.
The lawsuit, posted here: http://c0391070.cdn2.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/pdf/complaint-declaratory-injunctive-relief-freshway-v-hhs.pdf, argues that the HHS mandate violates the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.
The lawsuit contends the HHS mandate forces the owners to “violate their religious beliefs and moral values” or face crippling fines and penalties. For the two companies combined, the fines and penalties would total nearly $40,000 a day, amounting to $14.4 million annually, which the owners contend will be “ruinous” for their businesses.
The Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALY) approach to deciding which treatments are available on health services – used by the UK and generating much interest across Europe – is dangerously flawed and should be abandoned, according a European Commission funded research project.
HTA agencies are charged with recommending whether new treatments are publicly funded. NICE uses QALY – an economic theory which mathematically weighs number of life years by quality of life provided by different treatments. Based on this calculation, decisions are made about whether treatments are offered by the National Health Service. In the UK, if the incremental cost per QALY (= cost for one additional year in perfect health) is below £30,000, the treatment is usually made available. Many European countries are currently considering replicating the NICE model.
The research surveyed 1,300 respondents in Belgium, France, Italy and the UK, and is the largest investigation into QALYs ever undertaken.