A U.S. General Accounting Office report says 11 percent of state licensure actions against physicians that were reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank had inaccurate or misleading information…. Payments made to physicians jumped 5.2 percent in 1999, while accounting for 32 percent of health care cost increases that year. A study by the Center for Studying Health System Change also notes that prescription drug spending was associated with 44 percent of the 1999 increase…. More than 90 percent of physicians consider a drug’s cost before prescribing it for patients who pay for it out of pocket, but only 30 percent do the same when patients have a drug benefit, according to findings published in the Annals of Internal Medicine…. Retail prescription sales through mail order grew 27 percent from mid-1999 to the middle of last year, according IMS Health. More than 7 of every 10 prescriptions distributed through the mail were branded products, compared with 59 percent at traditional retail pharmacies…. Seventy percent of benefits administrators named rising health care costs as their top priority in a Deloitte & Touche survey…. The National Committee for Quality Assurance now offers purchasers customized health plan report cards. Seven private employers and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management are the first to try the online program, which gives employees detailed accreditation and HEDIS data about the plans that are available to them…. Three insurers — Group Health Cooperative, Premera Blue Cross, and Regence Blue Shield — have re-entered Washington State’s individual market, which had been without private insurers for more than a year…. Name change department: Empire BlueCross and BlueShield is now Empire HealthChoice, Alabama’s Health Partners HMO becomes the Oath, Advance Paradigm is now AdvancePCS, and the National Wholesale Druggists’ Association has taken the curious moniker of Healthcare Distribution Management Association.
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