News in Brief: Week of July 15-19

July 17, 2013 06:15 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

[News in Brief]

CMS Launches Apps to Help Physicians, Industry Track Financial Arrangements

CMS has introduced a free mobile device app( to help physicians track payments and gifts made to them by drug and device manufacturers and group purchasing organizations (GPOs).

A provision in the health care reform law, known as the National Physician Transparency Program(, requires manufacturers and GPOs to report payments or gifts of $10 or more made to physicians, hospitals and other health care professionals on a yearly basis. CMS is requiring manufacturers and GPOs to start collecting data on Aug. 1.

According to CMS, the mobile app will help physicians track payments and other transfers of value from industry in real time, thereby helping to validate reports submitted by manufacturers about payments they're received.

CMS has introduced a separate app for industry use.

Prescription Painkiller Deaths Jump Sharply Among Women, Says CDC

Nearly 48,000 women died as a result of prescription drug overdoses between 1999 and 2010, a fivefold increase from previous years, according to the July edition of the CDC's Vital Signs(

Although men are more likely to die from a prescription drug overdose, the percentage increase in deaths was greater among women during that period, the CDC says.

In the Vital Signs report, the CDC cites previous research that says women are more likely than men to suffer from chronic pain and to obtain prescription painkillers. They also are more likely to be given higher doses and to use the drugs for longer periods of time. Research also shows that women are more likely to become dependent on the painkillers more quickly than men and to obtain prescriptions from multiple prescribers.

Learn More About New Registration System for CMS Programs

CMS is conducting a national provider call on July 31 from 2:30-3:30 p.m. EDT that the agency has billed by the title "Choosing Your PQRS Group Reporting Mechanism and Implications for the Value-Based Payment Modifier."

During the call, CMS experts will explain the workings of -- and take participant questions about -- a new registration system created to serve two CMS programs: the Physician Value (PV) Modifier and the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS). The PV-PQRS registration system will be open to physicians from July 15 to Oct. 15.

Registration for the call( closes at noon on July 31 or whenever all slots have been filled. A link to the slide presentation will be e-mailed to registrants the day of the call. Visit CMS' physician feedback page( for more information on the value-based payment modifier.

FDA Approves Emergency Use of MERS-CoV Test

The FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization( on June 5 approving the use of a device that presumptively detects Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) -- formerly known as Novel Coronavirus 2012 or NCV-2012 -- in patients with signs and symptoms of infection in conjunction with clinical and epidemiological risk factors. The diagnostic test -- the Novel Coronavirus 2012 Real-time RT-PCR Assay -- will be distributed by the CDC to qualified laboratories.

According to the release, MERS-CoV has the potential to cause a public health emergency that could "affect national security or the health and security of United States citizens living abroad."

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius declared MERS-CoV a public health emergency( on May 29, clearing the way for emergency authorization of in vitro diagnostics for MERS-CoV detection.