Posted in NBC News Politics Who are the bad actors? Government, Healthcare or Patients?

Trump administration reportedly saved Walmart from facing criminal charges over opioid sales

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Federal prosecutors in 2018 wanted to criminally charge Walmart over the company’s opioid sales, but top Trump administration law-enforcement officials killed that effort, a bombshell report says. The efforts to prosecute, represent yet another example of Justice Officials wanting to hold pharmacy retailers to account after changing rules, definitions and interpretations of existing regulations and standards. Redefining what constitutes excess in prescribing and dispensing opioids began around 2010 and did not become official until the publication of the 2016 prescribing guidelines from the CDC. Even then, this standard is incomplete and ambiguous, addressing prescribing standards only for opioid-naive patients and primary care providers.

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Posted in NBC News Privacy

Lawmakers kick the can down the road on discussing contentious privacy legislation issues

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As California’s digital privacy bill hurtles toward the first day of enforcement on July 1, federal lawmakers are under pressure to establish a national standard.

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Posted in Law Enforcement NBC News

Silicon Valley health-tech start-up took kickbacks to push doctors to prescribe opioids, DOJ finds

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In the middle of the opiate crisis, a Silicon Valley start-up called Practice Fusion saw an opportunity.

The company developed an electronic medical record system for doctors. Instead of charging for the software, like its competitors, the company generated the bulk of its revenue by advertising to doctors.

And it used that advertising system to encourage physicians to prescribe opiates, according to the Department of Justice.

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Posted in NBC News Privacy

Major medical records vendor Epic Systems warns it will stop working with Google Cloud

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Google, in partnership with Ascension, a healthcare provider operating in more than 20 states, is planning to build a search tool for medical professionals that will employ machine learning algorithms to process data and make suggestions about prescriptions, diagnoses, and even which doctors to assign to, or remove from, a patient’s team. In other words, eliminating personal choice from healthcare decision making by reducing choice to an algorithm.

In running this program, neither the affected patients nor Ascension doctors were made aware of the project. And again, all parties assert that HIPAA, the package of privacy regulations protecting patient data, allows for the use of this data in this manner. Clearly Google attorney’s believe they have found a loophole in HIPAA which allows this. Otherwise, Google would not have invested billions of dollars into this program. See https://cergm.carter-brothers.com/2019/11/14/google-healthcare-personal-healthcare-reduced-to-an-algorithm/

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Posted in NBC News Politics

Supreme Court to rule whether Electoral College voters can differ from state popular vote

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The Supreme Court will decide whether Electoral College voters have a constitutional right to cast ballots for candidates who didn’t win their state’s popular vote, the justices announced in an order on Friday.

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