NEWS BRIEFS

The Cancer Center pays $283,000 settlement

The Cancer Center in Boston recently agreed to pay $283,000 to settle civil charges under the False Claims Act that the center caused false reimbursement claims for the home infusion of intravenous chemotherapy services to be submitted to the Medicare program.

Civil charges claimed The Cancer Center billed taxpayers for each day a portable pump provided chemotherapy to a patient instead of the one time the patient had the pump installed by the doctor. The government contended after the initial visit to the doctor for the portable or implantable pump, no service was performed for the patients unless a problem arose, yet The Cancer Center generated bills during the period of Jan. 1, 1991, through Dec. 31, 1995.

The charges were investigated by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Inspector General.


New HIV drug shows promise as last resort

Durham, NC-based Trimeris recently released the preliminary results of a Phase II clinical trial of T-20, a fusion inhibitor that attacks HIV in an entirely different way than agents currently in use.

In the trial, T-20 was administered for via subcutaneous infusion or subcutaneous injection for 28 days to 78 HIV-infected adults who on average failed nine anti-HIV medications and an average of three protease inhibitors. The average baseline viral load was 100,000 copies/mL. T-20 reduced HIV in the blood by more than 90% in the higher dose groups without significant side effects. Mild to moderate local skin irritation at the site of infusion or injection was observed in most patients, and only 3% of patients discontinued T-20 due to side effects.

Indications are that both continuous subcutaneous infusion and twice-daily subcutaneous injections result in consistent plasma concentrations of T-20.


Advanced Accreditation available through ACHC

The Accreditation Commission for Home Care, based in Raleigh, NC, recently announced Advanced Accreditation status availability to a variety of organizations in various disease-state management specialties. The organization must demonstrate, through a special survey process, that superior clinical patient outcomes can be expected when compared to other organizations providing similar services in the designated area of specialty. The first provider to receive Advanced Accreditation status is Nutrishare, a nationwide provider of home parenteral nutrition.