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H1N1 added to new immunization schedules

The Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has released new immunization schedules for adults, adolescents and children, recommending a new human papillomavirus vaccine for females and the hepatitis A vaccine for people in close contact with international adoptees. The schedules also note CDC recommendations about vaccines for influenza A(H1N1). The new vaccine schedule for adults was published in the Jan. 5 Annals of Internal Medicine ( The schedule for children and adolescents appeared in the January Pediatrics ( The annual revisions come as health experts work to bolster vaccine rates among adults and encourage physicians to continue immunizing patients for H1N1, even with cases of the virus declining nationwide. Experts say vaccination will help prevent a third wave of the epidemic, following waves in the spring and the fall. ...

Arkansas doctor charged in bombing that injured another physician

Federal prosecutors on Jan. 6 indicted Arkansas internist Randeep Mann, MD, in the 2009 bombing attack of Trent Pierce, MD, chair of the state medical board. Dr. Pierce, who lost his left eye in the bombing, has returned to work at his family practice and is chairing medical board meetings, said radiologist Scott Ferguson, MD, a longtime friend who serves as the family's spokesman. "He is seeing patients and doing remarkably well," Dr. Ferguson said in an interview. However, he added, "It will never be the same. You're changed forever when something like this happens." The indictment, announced by the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, charged Dr. Mann, 51, with using a "weapon of mass destruction" against Dr. Pierce and damaging or destroying his car with an explosive Feb. 4, 2009. The indictment states that Dr. Mann did not act alone, but it does not name other suspects. The Associated Press reported that the state medical board had twice stripped Dr. Man ...

Most claims for power wheelchairs don't meet Medicare criteria

An oversight report by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, released in December 2009, concludes that the federal government and Medicare beneficiaries are footing the bill for millions of dollars in improper payments made to suppliers of power wheelchairs. The OIG selected a random sample of 375 claims for both standard and complex rehabilitation power wheelchairs supplied in the first half of 2007. Three out of five claims for the equipment did not meet Medicare documentation requirements, resulting in $112 million in improper Medicare payments. Beneficiaries were responsible for paying $22 million of this amount, according to the report. Standard power wheelchairs accounted for nearly three-quarters of Medicare's power wheelchair claims in the first half of 2007. To receive a complex rehabilitation wheelchair, a beneficiary's limitation must be deemed to result from a neurological condition, muscle disease or skeletal deformity. These chairs acco ...