The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a program to foster feedback between federal government officials and the private sector regarding testing and diagnostics for the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Testing Implementation Forum will improve collaboration between the public and private sectors with an eye toward significantly increasing public health laboratory capacity, among other objectives. Another point of focus will be to address supply chain issues, as is the need to devise novel sample pooling techniques and technologies. Bret Giroir, assistant secretary for health, said input from the private sector “is critical [to] bringing novel technologies into widespread use by the public health and commercial sectors.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington said Sterling Healthcare Opco LLC (dba Cordant Health Solutions), of Denver, has agreed to pay nearly $12 million to settle allegations it paid kickbacks to several entities in exchange for referrals of drug tests. The urine tests were covered by multiple federal health programs, and the case arose from a qui tam action filed in 2015 for tests conducted between 2013 and 2015. The statement indicates that 20% of the settlement will be paid to the relator, and Cordant entered a corporate integrity agreement despite denying any wrongdoing.
The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA), of Arlington, Va., said in a July 22 press release that MITA and other organizations are concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on diagnoses of a number of diseases. The press release makes note of a recent study highlighting the impact of missed radiological examinations on cancer diagnosis, adding that there may be as many as 10,000 excess fatalities due to the suspension of many medical imaging procedures. MITA executive director Patrick Hope said that the letter to the National Governor’s Association highlights the lingering impact of these missed imaging sessions, adding, “states have the responsibility to take action quickly to safely resume imaging services.”