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Archive for February, 2011

Are Digital Computers the Doctors of the Future? Elementary My Dear (Dr.) Watson

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

IBM made a splash this week introducing the first computer competitor in the hit game show Jeopardy. Watson, as “he” is so affectionately called, won the battle Man vs. Machine besting champions Ken Jennings (highest Jeopardy earner) and Brad Rutten (highest amount for a single game). While Watson certainly provided much entertainment value (answering the same wrong as Jennings in one round and other slight glitches) there are higher implications for this robot.

How can IBM harness this power and intelligence to benefit the health community?  A collaboration is under way between Watson’s creators at IBM and experts at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine.

According to Dr. Siegel, director of the Maryland Imaging Research Technologies Lab at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Watson, “has incredible potential to revolutionize how we interact with medical records; to be a really valuable assistant to me; to read all the literature pertinent to my practice … to always be at my side and help suggest problems, things in the medical records I need to know about; to suggest diagnoses and treatment options I may not have considered.”

Are you ready for a Dr. Watson in your next operating room? I wonder what his bedside manner will be like.

Click here to read the full article.

Most Wanted Healthcare Fugitive List

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

And cue… “Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health & Human Services launched a Most Wanted Fugitives List for those criminals wanted by authorities on charges of healthcare fraud and abuse. This most wanted list is a tool to bring attention to the fugitives and their crimes against the healthcare system.

The list on the OIG website includes photos, profiles, and a list of crimes of each featured fugitive. The 10 individuals on the list have allegedly cost taxpayers more than $124 million in fraud. In all, OIG is seeking more than 170 fugitives on charges related to healthcare fraud and abuse.

Included on the Most Wanted Fugitives List:

1. Eduardo Moreno

Moreno allegedly stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Medicare program, submitting false and fraudulent claims for durable medical equipment (DME) “and related health care benefits, items and services” that were medically unnecessary.

Moreno was a sneaky fraudster, using a “straw owner” and other methods to hide the money and property he obtained. (A straw owner is an individual who maintains the appearance of owning property in order to disguise the identity of the real owner.)

2. Leonard Nwafor

Nwafor billed Medicare for $1.1 million and collected $525,000 in fraudulent claims for such durable medical equipment (DME) as motorized wheelchairs, scooters, and hospital beds for beneficiaries. This investigation was led by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, including OIG investigators, which was created to identify and prosecute fraudulent DME companies and laboratories in the Greater Los Angeles area.

The website also provides you with the opportunity to report any of the fugitives or any other individuals believed to have committed healthcare fraud. The site also includes a toll free number.

Take a look at the fugitives and spread the word! These are the individuals causing healthcare costs to increase and benefits to decrease.