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Archive for April, 2012

Zurich conference on cyber risks

Zurich Insurance hosted a panel discussion of cyber security risks for corporations at its annual conference in New Orleans over the past weekend. Headlining the panel was former CIA and National Security Agency director, General Michael Hayden. Hayden outlined global threats of cyber risk for business including disruptions of ecommerce business and theft of intellectual property.

Hayden spoke plainly about the US government activities in cyber security built around protecting national military security. He distinguished US activities from those in other countries, particularly China, that continuously commit economic espionage over the internet. He also cited direct and indirect government sources in Russia and Eastern Europe as sources of electronic espionage, frequently for hire rather than Read more…

Disclose, apologize and offer: Massachusetts hospitals launch new initiative

The cost of defensive medicine has been widely believed to be among the top contributors towards soaring health care costs. This week, three major hospitals in the Boston area announced a new program called “Disclosure, Apology and Offer.” The program targets defensive medicine which has been defined to include often unnecessary or excessive medical tests and procedures ordered by doctors who are wary of litigious patients.

The program was announced Tuesday by the Massachusetts Medical Society, is intended to promote a less confrontational dynamic between patients and medical professionals when medical mistakes occur and help haste the speed of disputes. Read more…

Generic drug makers may soon face tougher standards

April 18, 2012 3 comments

Current legislation that protects generic drug manufacturers from liability lawsuits associated with the medications they sell, could soon be reversed. Though generic medications are supposed to be functionally equivalent to their brand-name counterparts, last year’s Supreme Court ruling stated that manufacturers of generic drugs would not be held liable for failing to warn about dangerous side effects, even when they are aware that patients have not been given adequate information about the risk.

Federal law requires only that generic drugs provide an exact duplicate of the label warnings of the name-brand mediation they are copying. However, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced a new bill to Congress on Wednesday that would hold generic drug manufacturers responsible Read more…

Looking ahead: Change in the American healthcare industry

April 13, 2012 Leave a comment

The recent US Supreme Court hearings regarding the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has put this landmark legislation back on the front page of nearly every news publication in America. Regardless of whether this law is deemed constitutional or not, the landscape for American healthcare has forever changed. The idea of denying newborn children medical insurance due to “pre-existing” conditions would seem to be an idea that will not be allowed by the collective public conscience. The same may happen for “lifetime maximums” for Americans with chronic and life-long illnesses. But at its core, the business of healthcare in America will likely never be quite the same. I for one, think this is a good thing. Read more…

Top 10 areas for kidnap and ransom incidents

April 11, 2012 1 comment

Kidnap for ransom was once a crime synonymous only with countries like Columbia and the surrounding Latin American region, but kidnap for ransom and extortion has become a worldwide threat plaguing countries around the globe from Iraq and Afghanistan to Yemen, China and India. While inconclusive reports and varying incident classifications make official statistics difficult to obtain, there is no question that kidnap and ransom crimes are on the rise. Reports of kidnapping, hostage-taking, piracy and extortion are turning up more frequently than ever before, affecting victims from both poor and wealthy backgrounds. According to Red24, a leading global security company providing global risk management to employees and companies, there were an estimated 30,000 incidents in 2011. Read more…

Can Healthcare Reform survive without the Individual Mandate?

The SJC heard three days of oral arguments about the individual mandate last week. The arguments were many: Do prior laws prevent us from even discussing it? Is it constitutional? Is it severable from the rest of the law? First I want to take a step back and say that I feel very fortunate to live in a country with the kind of government that thinks very carefully about our civil liberties, especially after seeing the governing body in The Hunger Games (!). I’ll also say that the Supreme Court Justices could easily rule on the individual mandate either way and back it up with a beautifully written opinion. There were compelling arguments on both sides. The truth is the Justices have already made their decision. We just have to wait until June to find out what it is.

If the individual mandate is to stand, then we move forward with the PPACA we know, in its totality, barring any other changes. Luckily, we have had two years to come to terms with PPACA and its requirements. I think most people know what to expect at this point. 2014 will be a pivotal year Read more…

Large breach of credit card processor serves as reminder data thieves always on the prowl

Over the weekend it was disclosed that Global Payments, Inc., one of the nation’s largest credit-card processors, had suffered a data breach that exposed up to 1.5 million credit cards to hackers. Global Payments said that it had “identified and self-reported” the breach upon discovering it in early March.

The company said that it is working closely with law enforcement agencies in responding to the breach and containing its scope. According to Global Payments, “Based on the forensic analysis to date, network monitoring and additional security measures, the company believes that this incident is contained.”

Significantly, Global Payments said that while credit card numbers were exposed, other Read more…