The New York Times: Report On Medicare Cites Prescription Drug AbuseMedicare is subsidizing drug abuse by thousands of beneficiaries who shop around for doctors and fill prescriptions for huge quantities of painkillers and other narcotics far exceeding what any patient could safely use, Congressional investigators say in a new report (Pear, 10/3).

USA Today: Senate Committee Accuses Companies Of 'Gaming Of Medicare' Three home health care companies manipulated the Medicare system by charging for unnecessary services, according to an investigation released Monday by the Senate Finance Committee. ?? Investigators cited internal memos showing that three of the nation's largest home health care companies told employees to increase the number of therapy sessions a patient received in a 60-day period (Kennedy, 10/3).

Politico: Gray Market Threatens Drug SupplyShortages in critical drugs have tripled in the past five years, killing some patients, delaying surgeries and disrupting chemotherapy treatments at hospitals around the country. There are several causes, and they're all complicated: The Food and Drug Administration doesn't have enough resources to enforce strict regulations; there are manufacturing disruptions in aging facilities; and slim profit margins may discourage production in the first place (Norman, 10/3).

The Washington Post: VA Lacks Resources To Deal With Mental Health, Survey FindsA survey of social workers, nurses and doctors working for the Department of Veterans Affairs finds that more than 70 percent of respondents think the department lacks the staff and space to meet the needs of growing numbers of veterans seeking mental health care. More than 37 percent of the 272 respondents say they cannot schedule an appointment in their clinics for a new patient within the 14-day standard mandated by the department, according to the survey, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post (Vogel, 10/3).

The Wall Street Journal: Aetna, CVS To Offer Co-Branded Drug PlanAetna Inc. and CVS Caremark Corp.'s retail division said they are teaming up to co-brand a new Medicare prescription drug plan, following in the footsteps of other health insurers that have partnered with big drugstores. The Aetna CVS/pharmacy Prescription Drug Plan will be available in 43 states and Washington, D.C., for those using the federal health insurance for seniors. The program's cost will be a $26 monthly plan premium, with no deductible, for generic drugs. The companies said the plan would help lower copayments for its users (Rubin, 10/3).

This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.