Online UPDATES

November 21, 2003

Mutual funds; Mediplan fraud

 

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Jump to:Choose article section...Fund buyers to get better informationDon't forget to adjust your headrestWhat will you do after hanging up the stethoscope?OIG still doesn't trust doctorsUncle Sam spends more on women's health

Fund buyers to get better information

Mutual funds should give investors more timely performance data, says the SEC. Worried that advertisements feed unrealistic expectations about mutual funds returns, the SEC ordered fund companies to make more up-to-date performance information readily available. Effective March 31, 2004, companies who advertise their fund returns must include in the ad a toll-free phone number or a Web site that gives performance figures as of the end of the most recent month, rather than as of the end of the most recent quarter.

Don't forget to adjust your headrest

Head restraints in nearly half of all 2003 model vehicles got top ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety—a dramatic improvement from 1995, when only 3 percent scored well.

But improved designs can't save your neck if the restraint is in the wrong place. In four out of five vehicles, restraints must be adjusted by hand to protect occupants from whiplash injuries. Unfortunately, only one in three drivers bothers to adjust them to the proper position, which is right behind and close to the back of their heads. For information on ratings for specific models, go to www.highwaysafety.org .

What will you do after hanging up the stethoscope?

Most Americans workers over 45 plan to work past the traditional retirement age of 65, and nearly half expect to work into their 70s and 80s, says a survey by the AARP. Of the 69 percent who plan to keep working past age 65, more than a third say they plan to work part time at a job they enjoy; 19 percent will work part time for the money; 10 percent plan to go into business for themselves; and 6 percent will work full time in a completely new career.

The most common reasons for working instead of relaxing at the golf course? Paying bills, getting health benefits, staying mentally active, and being productive.

OIG still doesn't trust doctors

When it comes to weeding out fraud in the Mediplan programs, the HHS Office of Inspector General appears to be sticking to the same targets as in previous years. According to the OIG Work Plan for 2004, government analysts once again will scrutinize physician billings involving evaluation and management coding. Most likely to raise a red flag: doctors with disproportionate volumes of high-level E&M codes. Analysts will be assessing the adequacy of current controls to identify those providers. The OIG will also look anew at the conditions under which doctors bill for "incident to" services and supplies.

Uncle Sam spends more on women's health

HHS has awarded nearly $1 million for the creation of six more academic health centers to provide comprehensive healthcare services for women. The additions bring to 19 the number of National Centers of Excellence in Women's Health, which serve as models that can be replicated in other communities. Each of the centers coordinates clinical services between academic centers and surrounding communities, integrates a women's health focus into medical school curricula, and supports the recruitment, retention, and promotion of women in academic medicine.

The new centers are at Brown University, Oregon Health & Science University, The University of Arizona, University of Minnesota, The University of Mississippi Medical Center, and Virginia Commonwealth University.

 



Yvonne Wollenberg. Online UPDATES.

Medical Economics

Nov. 21, 2003;80.