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NQF Distances Itself From Safe Practices Co-Chair

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 23, 2014

It says that CareFusion, which had spun off of Cardinal Health, has agreed to pay $40.1 million to settle a Department of Justice false claims lawsuit, which dealt in part with the accusations against Denham. The agreement also says that CareFusion promoted products for uses "that were not medically accepted indications, and made unsubstantiated representations about the appropriate uses of ChloraPrep."

Red Flags
In 2008, Cardinal Health agreed to pay Denham's HCC $9.1 million for certain software development, strategic marketing, and consulting services and $2.5 million for the completion of three enumerated projects, the DOJ settlement says.

"The United States contends that the compensation for the underlying services in these agreements was not fair market value, the terms of the deliverables in the agreements were not enforced consistent with their terms, and one purpose of these agreements was to conceal kickbacks to Dr. Charles Denham, the owner and operator of HCC…

 

…The United States contends that CareFusion's payments to HCC were made for the purpose of influencing Dr. Denham's work as co-chair of the Safe Practices Committee and for the purpose of inducing Dr. Denham to recommend, promote and/or arrange for the purchase of CareFusion's product, ChloraPrep, in violation of the Federal Anti-Kickback statute."

Greiner emphasizes that at NQF, the system worked. Red flags went up in 2010, two years before federal officials contacted NQF about the whistleblower lawsuit.

"Clearly all of what we do, whether they are endorsed measures or recommended safe practices, will have higher stakes as we move into pay for reporting and pay for payment," Greiner says.

"It's important to remember that we do have these processes in place multiple reviews, open meetings, public comments and this ad hoc process—to safeguard our integrity."


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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