JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.—The state of Missouri is likely to suffer a shortage of rural primary-care providers in coming years, according to a report from the Missouri Hospital Association, Jefferson City. An analysis of existing data and research points to the state experiencing a shortage of physicians in urban areas as well, though the problem will be more severe in rural parts of the state. “We have far fewer primary-care physicians in our state's rural areas, and they tend to be older,” Herb Kuhn, president and CEO of the association, said in a written statement. “There is certainly an identified problem in the rural physician workforce. This study is a first step in identifying the situation and potential options,” he said. In rural areas, there is one primary-care physician for every 1,776 Missourians, while in the state's metropolitan areas, the rate is one primary-care physician for every 962 citizens, according to the report. Age of the rural physician workforce also is a concern, according to the report. In Missouri, 55% of all physicians are 50 and older. In rural areas, the percentage of rural physicians 50 and older is 62%. “Rural Missourians tend to be older and have higher rates of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer,” Kuhn noted.
Regional News/Midwest: Missouri will see shortage of primary-care providers, and other news
DETROIT—MinuteClinic, the retail healthcare division of CVS Caremark, announced it will partner with Henry Ford Health System, a six-hospital system that serves metropolitan Detroit. Woonsocket, R.I.-based MinuteClinic has 10 walk-in clinics in CVS Caremark stores in Southeast Michigan, according to a MinuteClinic news release. Physicians from Henry Ford Health System will act as “on-call medical directors” in those locations. There is no financial relationship between MinuteClinic and Henry Ford Health System, although the heath system's medical directors will be paid for clinic services by MinuteClinic, according to the news release. MinuteClinic sites are staffed by nurse practitioners, who can provide a range of healthcare services. In June, MinuteClinic announced partnerships with OhioHealth and Cleveland Clinic.
DETROIT—Federal investigators have charged 26 people in Michigan with running a conspiracy to collect more than $58 million in fraudulent billings and divert more than 6 million doses of medications, some of which were used as kickbacks to persuade Medicare patients to provide their beneficiary numbers for the billing scheme. A federal grand jury indicted Canton, Mich., pharmacist Babubhai Patel, 49, for allegedly operating a network of 26 corrupt pharmacies around the state that engaged in overlapping fraud schemes involving the payment of kickbacks and bribes to physicians and patients to induce the writing of medically unnecessary prescriptions. The 31-page indictment alleges that Patel bribed doctors with money to write prescriptions to patients without medical need for opiates and other often-abused pharmaceuticals. The patients, who were told to fill the prescriptions at one of Patel's pharmacies, would then receive the drugs in exchange for allowing the pharmacy to bill Medicare, Medicaid or private insurers for other medications that were either not rendered or not necessary. Also charged in the scheme were four physicians, 10 pharmacists and a host of business associates and alleged patient recruiters, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office in Detroit.
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