News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

How Washington’s drug-pricing promise could lose its way
Modern Healthcare

Kathy Sego, a choir teacher from Indiana, sat before the Senate Finance Committee in late January and tried to show lawmakers how drastically drug pricing needs to change.

Sego told senators how her diabetic son secretly rationed his insulin after he realized it cost his insured parents $1,700 per month. She described his sharp and sudden weight loss and spiraling health problems. She explained what it was like to take a trip to Hungary and see a $10 price tag for the same vial of insulin that cost them $487 back home.

News Headlines Article

The Health 202: While Trump rants about Obamacare, HHS works to further its bipartisan goals
Washington Post

You wouldn’t know it from President Trump’s recent incendiary claims about Obamacare, but his Department of Health and Human Services is working behind the scenes to advance the law’s goals of rewarding doctors for better medical care.

Starting in January 2020, primary doctors for those using Medicare will be able to participate in a new experiment in which they’ll be paid for keeping patients out of the hospital and healthy at home (and could lose some money if they don’t.) The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is also rolling out a program where larger physician practices could take on more risk but also reap bigger rewards than ever before for keeping seniors well.

News Headlines Article

Health-care stocks could rebound after their worst week of the year
CNBC

Health-care stocks fell sharply last week, notching their worst weekly performance of the year, but a rebound may be at hand.

The S&P 500 health-care sector fell 4.4% last week, its worst weekly decline since late December. The move ended with more than 93% of health-care stocks trading below their 20-day moving averages, a short-term technical indicator, according to Andrew Thrasher of Thrasher Analytics.

News Headlines Article

Medicare spending to shoot up by 2038, trustee report says
Modern Healthcare

Total Medicare costs are expected to grow from 3.7% of gross domestic product in 2018 to 5.9% by 2038, according to a new report from the Social Security and Medicare boards of trustees released Monday.

The report also projected that Medicare’s Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund that covers Part A will run out by 2026, which the trustees predicted last year.

Since 2008, national health expenditure growth has been below historical averages, the report said.

News Headlines Article

Hospitals Chafe Under A Medicare Rule That Reduces Payments To Far-Flung Clinics
National Public Radio

Eric Lewis’ plans of expanding his community hospital’s reach have been derailed.

As CEO of Olympic Medical Center, he oversees efforts to provide care to roughly 75,000 people in Clallam County, in the isolated, rural northwestern corner of Washington state.

Last year, Lewis planned to build a primary care clinic in Sequim, a town about 17 miles from the medical center’s main campus of a hospital and clinics in Port Angeles.

News Headlines Article

Hospitals, cancer centers chafe at CMS’ approach to national CAR-T coverage
Modern Healthcare

With a decision less than a month away, hospital and cancer center executives hope to persuade the CMS to be more flexible in covering a new and costly cancer treatment that’s still evolving.

The CMS in February proposed that it make a national coverage determination for chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, or CAR-T, that boosts a person’s immune system cells to combat cancer.

A decision is expected by the end of May for a treatment that can cost as much as $1 million.

News Headlines Article

CMS to launch new direct-contracting pay models in 2020
Modern Healthcare

HHS on Monday launched an ambitious, double-pronged strategy to shift primary care from fee-for-service payments to a global fee model where clinicians and hospitals could assume varying amounts of risk.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar told a crowd of stakeholders at the American Medical Association in Washington that the CMS projects the new voluntary programs will shift at least a quarter of people in traditional Medicare out of fee-for-service.

News Headlines Article

U.S. measles cases surge as officials scramble to stop near-record outbreak
Washington Post

The United States is on track to surpass the record number of measles cases in a single year since the vaccine-preventable disease was declared eliminated in 2000, according to figures reported Monday. For the fourth week in a row, health officials have added dozens of new cases to the year’s list of confirmed ones, bringing the total to 626 — already the highest number in the past five years.

The number of people sickened by the highly contagious, potentially deadly disease increased by 71 during the third week of April, with 22 states reporting cases.

News Headlines Article

Disinformation is the new barrier to measles vaccines, and it’s deadly: Rosalynn Carter
USA Today

The United States is experiencing an alarming measles outbreak, with 626 cases in 22 states as of mid-April. The majority have been among residents of New York state, where the situation is so grave that it has prompted two separate public health emergency declarations this month in an attempt to curtail the spread of this highly infectious disease.

Thirty years ago, our country battled an outbreak of measles that sickened more than 55,000 people and caused over 11,000 hospitalizations. The 1989–91 epidemic ultimately killed up to 166 people, many of whom were young children. While that crisis and the latest one were both hastened by a lack of timely immunization of young children, the reasons for nonvaccination were quite different.

News Headlines Article

FDA OKs 1st generic nasal spray of overdose reversal drug
Modern Healthcare

U.S. regulators have approved the first generic nasal spray version of Narcan, a drug that reverses opioid overdoses.

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday OK’d naloxone spray from Israel’s Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Naloxone has been sold as a nasal spray in the U.S. since 2016 under the brand name Narcan. Pharmacists can dispense it without a prescription. It is also sold as a generic or brand-name drug in automatic injectors, prefilled syringes and vials.

News Headlines Article

Google Searches For Ways To Put Artificial Intelligence To Use In Health Care
National Public Radio

One of the biggest corporations on the planet is taking a serious interest in the intersection of artificial intelligence and health.

Google and its sister companies, parts of the holding company Alphabet, are making a huge investment in the field, with potentially big implications for everyone who interacts with Google — which is more than a billion of us.

The push into AI and health is a natural evolution for a company that has developed algorithms that reach deep into our lives through the Web.

News Headlines Article

Health insurer CEOs score big paychecks despite public scrutiny
Modern Healthcare

Nearly all of the largest publicly traded health insurance companies gave their CEOs a pay raise in 2018. That includes UnitedHealth Group, whose CEO David Wichmann’s total compensation reached $18.1 million.

That’s an increase of 4.3% over Wichmann’s 2017 total compensation. Based on stock options exercised and stock awards that vested in 2018, Wichmann’s realized compensation totaled $21.5 million.

Commands