News in Brief: Week of March 31-April 4

April 02, 2014 02:19 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

[News in Brief]

Join the 'Flip the Clinic' Initiative

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has launched a new initiative dubbed "Flip the Clinic"( that is aimed at exploring new approaches to the patient-physician health care encounter.

The initiative's success relies on the active participation of a community of people(, including physicians, who are willing to share innovative ideas by offering regular feedback, submitting a "flip" (i.e., an idea for a new tool), signing up as a supporter and spreading the word.

The site also includes questions and answers based on community feedback, success stories and comments from participants. Some of the questions it answers are, "How do I learn about my patients' lives?", "How can I communicate better with my patients?", "How do I get to the root cause of a health problem?" and "How do we fix the broken payment system?"

CMS Seeks Input From Physicians, Others on Practice Transformation

CMS recently issued a request for information( directed at physician practices, health plans, professional associations, consumers and any other individual or group that have suggestions about how to accomplish large-scale transformation of medical practices.

CMS poses 35 questions that cover, among other things, strategies, resources, challenges and lessons learned. The agency plans to use the information gathered to test new payment and service delivery models aimed at improving health care delivery and lowering costs.

Individual physicians and organizations interested in submitting comments must do so in the electronic format provided( by CMS by April 8.

HHS Offers Software to Help Physicians Maintain HIPAA Compliance

HHS is offering a security risk assessment software tool that allows physicians to evaluate the security of patient data as part of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations.

Medical organizations that handle personal health information are required to conduct regular risk assessments to determine if their data is vulnerable to any kind of breach, according to HIPAA regulations. The new software is not required by HIPAA, but it is intended to help physician practices analyze their data systems.

The program includes a set of 156 questions that address all HIPAA requirements and asks for "yes" or "no" answers regarding practice activities. Based on the answer, the physician will be advised whether to take corrective action regarding patient data. It allows physician practices to produce a report that can be distributed to auditors. HHS includes a user guide and a video tutorial to instruct users how to use the tool.

The tool is available for both Windows operating systems and iOS iPads. The Windows version is available at The iOS iPad version is available from the Apple App Store under "HHS SRA tool."

HHS is accepting feedback on the security tool until June 2.

GlaxoSmithKline Recalls Alli

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare is voluntarily recalling all of its alli weight loss products from U.S. and Puerto Rican retailers, according to a company news release( GSK said it believes some packages were tampered with and may contain product that is not authentic alli.

The company is conducting an investigation and is working with the FDA to issue the recall to retailers. GSK received inquiries from consumers in seven states about bottles of the product that contained tablets and capsules that were not alli. "A range of tablets and capsules of various shapes and colors were reported to be found inside bottles," the release said. "Additionally, some bottles inside the outer carton were missing labels and had tamper-evident seals that were not authentic. These tampered products were purchased in retail stores."

Alli is a turquoise blue capsule with a dark-blue band imprinted with the text "60 Orlistat." It is packaged in a labeled bottle that has an inner foil seal imprinted with the words "Sealed for Your Protection." Consumers who are unsure or concerned about product they have should contact GSK at (800) 671-2554, and a representative will provide further instructions. If they have consumed questionable product, they should also contact their physicians, according to the release. Pictures of authentic alli products and additional information are available online(

Free Webinar Provides Overview on Physician Payments Sunshine Act

Plan now to attend a free webinar presented by CMS and designed to provide important information on the Physician Payments Sunshine Act( also referred to as Open Payments.

The webinar is scheduled for April 16 from noon to 1 p.m. CDT and is open to physicians, practice managers, association and medical society staff members, and others located in CMS regions five through eight, which include Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The webinar moderator will present an overview of the final rule, information for physicians on their role in the program, available resources and key program dates. A question-and-answer period will close the webinar.

Join the webinar via the internet link( or by telephone at (877) 267-1577. The meeting ID number is 994 370 464. No password is required to participate.