Healthcare
3:30 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

TN Health News: Compounding Pharmacy Rules & Health Insurance Cybersecurity

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Compound Pharmacies

The 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak killed 16 and sickened 153 Tennesseans; nationwide, it sickened 751 and killed 64.

The outbreak was traced to fungus-tainted spinal steroids from a Massachusetts drug compounding firm. More than six months ago, the state Board of Pharmacy issued new rules for Tennessee’s compounding pharmacies that have finally gone into effect.

Tennessee drug compounders are now required to divulge what sterile drugs they’re compounding and to keep records of the drugs they ship to patients and health facilities.

They’re also required to report quarterly to the state pharmacy board and to begin training, quality assurance programs and special labeling.

Insurance-Exchange Cyber Risk

There are 46 US states connected to the federal health insurance exchange system under the Affordable Care Act. Two-thirds of them are rated as “high risk” for computer security problems and Tennessee is among them.

Prior to the October 1st launch of the federal health insurance marketplace, cybersecurity experts worried that state computer systems would fall victim to hackers and identity thieves. The federal hub checks Homeland Security, Internal Revenue Service, and Social Security records to determine eligibility for personal health coverage.

Tennessee got access to the federal system, but in November, there were concerns that the state needed an outside security assessment. President Obama’s administration says no successful cyber-attacks have happened.

Tennessee is the only state that connects to the federal hub under a 60-day access agreement. The others have three-year agreements.