The Department of Health for the U.S. State of Florida said it has decided to sever ties with Quest Diagnostics Inc., of Secaucus, N.J., after the latter is alleged to have “attempted to dump 75,000 COVID-19 test results” dating as far back as April 2020. The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) said the failure to forward the test results was a violation of state law, but did not specify the state-mandated turnaround times for pandemic testing results. The Florida state positivity rate without the 75,000 results was 5.9%, which rose to 6.8% with the additional cases. Total new cases rose from slightly less than 3,800 to more than 7,600, although the data did not indicate the volumes of positive cases for each of the intervening months. The FDOH said all those who were tested received their results despite the problem with reports to the state. Quest said in a Sept. 1 statement that a technical issue was behind the failure to report the missing cases, part of the roughly 1.4 million cases the company’s labs has reported in total. Quest also said the glitch has been resolved, adding that it has provided “more COVID-19 testing on behalf of the citizens of Florida than any other laboratory,” and that Quest’s labs are “well positioned to continue to effectively aid patient care and public health response for the state.” The company said it is open to continue working with the Florida state government.
The American Medical Association (AMA) said it has released the 2021 version of the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) coding set, said to be the first major overhaul of the code set in a quarter century. Among the changes are revisions to the code series 99201-99215, for evaluation and management (E/M) services, the subject of some back-and-forth between physicians and the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for several years. The AMA said 63% of the entirely novel codes in the new set are for new technology services that will be slotted as category III CPT codes and a continuation of recent expansions of the Proprietary Laboratory Analyses (PLA) portion of the set. One of the new codes, CPT 92229, is for retinal imaging with automated point-of-care equipment, while the two previous codes in the series are for improved screening for diabetic retinopathy. Several category III CPT codes will disappear after being shifted from category III, including 0295T-0298T, although new codes directed toward the COVID-19 pandemic are immediately in use.
Royal Philips, of Amsterdam, said it was advised by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of the partial termination of a contract for EV300 ventilators that were scheduled for delivery throughout the remainder of the current calendar year. The contract, signed in April in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, had called for delivery of 43,000 bundled EV300 ventilators, but the change will reduce the overall number of units delivered to 12,300. The change comes 31 days after a House committee announced it would investigate the deal over allegations that the U.S. federal government overpaid for the contract by $500 million.
Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration said it has issued two infringement notices to Obelisk Ventures Pty Ltd. for allegedly unlawful advertising of a medical device for the COVID-19 pandemic. TGA said the violations, which are accompanied by a fine of more than $26,000 Australian, is for promotion of the Bionic Air plasma medical device by Markson Sparks, the trade name for Obelisk. Sparks is said to have claimed the device could prevent infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.