Week in review: 8 biggest healthcare stories this week

Stay in the know with Becker's Hospital Review's weekly roundup of the nation's biggest healthcare news. Here's what you need to know this week.

1. Massachusetts General Hospital to pay record settlement over drug thefts
Boston-based Massachusetts General Hospital agreed to pay a record $2.3 million settlement to resolve allegations its lax drug supply controls allowed two nurses to steal approximately 15,921 pain pills, according to The Boston Globe. Massachusetts General also allegedly failed to report either of the diversions to the Drug Enforcement Administration within one business day as required under federal law.

2. Transplant program reopens at UPMC Presbyterian and Montefiore
After an extensive review of procedures and treatments conducted by internal health officials and external parties, Pittsburgh-based UPMC resumed the transplant program at its Presbyterian and Montefiore hospitals Sept. 27. The two UPMC hospitals had voluntarily shut down their organ transplant programs last week when it linked a mold problem to four patients who developed infections, three of whom died.  

3. Fitch: Capital spending will rise for nonprofit hospitals
A report published by Fitch Ratings this week says a growing number of U.S. nonprofit hospitals — 53 percent — believe capital spending will increase in the next five years, compared to 45 percent in 2012. IT remains the highest capital spending priority, but its importance has lowered relative to other priorities. Inpatient capacity continues to be the lowest priority. The priorities are consistent with the results of Fitch's 2012 survey.

4. Ex-hospital CFO charged with grand theft
Standpoint, Idaho-based Bonner General Health's former CFO, Norilina Harvel, was charged with grand theft for allegedly embezzling approximately $225,000 from the hospital, according to a Bonner County Daily Bee report. She allegedly committed the thefts from 2012 to 2014. Ms. Harvel was employed at BGH for 15 years —10 of which she served as CFO — before leaving the hospital in June 2014 to take a CFO position at Montrose (Colo.) Memorial Hospital.

5. U.K. hospital chief executives resign amidst $300M Epic rollout
The CEO and CFO of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the United Kingdom stepped down from their positions as the health system faces financial troubles, according to ComputerWeekly. Part of the financial tumult may be due to the hospital's implementation of Epic's EHR. HP's upgrade cost approximately $212 million, and the Epic software cost $45 million, with an additional $30 million in costs, according to the report.

6. Epic's Judy Faulkner named to Forbes' 400 richest Americans list
Judy Faulkner, founder of EHR giant Epic Systems, was ranked as the 256th richest American on the 2015 Forbes 400 list, which ranks the wealthiest individuals in the country. Ms. Faulkner has a reported net worth of $2.6 billion, and she is the only person on the list whose source of wealth is health IT. Other healthcare-related individuals on the list largely made their wealth in pharmaceuticals and medical devices and equipment.

7. 5 things to know about Medicare's $30M ambulance ride bill
A report released Sept. 29 by HHS' Office of Inspector General reveals the history of ambulance fraud affecting Medicare continued in 2012, when the program paid $30 million for rides in which the patients did not receive medical care at their pick-up or drop-off locations, or anywhere in-between. The report found Medicare paid $24 million just in the first half of 2012 for ambulance rides that did not warrant payment. To read more on specific findings from the report, click here.

8. Medtronic pays $500M US tax charge for Ireland move
Medtronic will pay $500 million in a one-time U.S. tax charge after acquiring Covidien and moving headquarters to Ireland in a tax inversion strategy earlier this year, according to a Star Tribune report. In an SEC filing, Medtronic reported reorganizing the Covidien business to reduce cash and investments that U.S.-controlled subsidiaries abroad hold. The company also said the restructuring gives financial flexibility and "increased the company's ability to meet financial commitments," in the filing, according to the report. Those commitments include achieving an 'A' credit profile by reducing debt to earnings ratio by 2018's fiscal year end.

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