News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Data Points: Healthcare will loom large in 2020
Modern Healthcare

Nov. 3, 2020, may feel like a long time away, but the next “most important election ever” will be here in no time. And healthcare—whether it’s Medicare for All, prescription drugs or overall costs—will be one of the most talked about issues for the next year and a half as Americans continue to worry about the future of access and affordability.

News Headlines Article

Employees Start To Feel The Squeeze Of High-Deductible Health Plans
National Public Radio

Workers with a steady paycheck already know that wages have been stubbornly slow to rise. Meanwhile, those who get health insurance through a job have seen their deductibles shoot up. In fact, says Noam Levey, a health care reporter for the Los Angeles Times, deductibles have, on average, quadrupled over the last dozen years. As a result, even some people who have health insurance are having trouble affording medical care. We talked with Levey about his latest reporting into how the issue is affecting workers and their families.

News Headlines Article

Even Doctors Can’t Navigate Our ‘Broken Health Care System’
Kaiser Health News

Dr. Hasan Shanawani was overcome by frustration. So, last week he picked up his cellphone and began sharing on Twitter his family’s enraging experiences with the U.S. health care system.

It was an act of defiance — and desperation. Like millions of people who are sick or old and the families who care for them, this physician was disheartened by the health care system’s complexity and its all-too-frequent absence of caring and compassion.

News Headlines Article

Trump touts new faith-based protections for health-care workers at National Day of Prayer ceremony
Washington Post

During a speech Thursday before faith leaders, President Trump announced a new rule allowing health providers, insurers and employers to refuse to provide or pay for services such as abortion, sterilization or assisted suicide that they say violate their religious or moral beliefs.

The 440-page rule is broad in scope, spelling out specific services that individuals and entities could refrain from providing or paying for based on their beliefs. It also emphasizes parents’ rights to refuse several specific types of care for their children.

News Headlines Article

The Health 202: CBO analysis shows single-payer health system would be messy
Washington Post

The highly anticipated analysis released yesterday by a nonpartisan organization on Medicare-for-all told us this much: Transitioning the United States to such a single-payer health-care system would be messy.

Very messy. In a 30-page report that laid out more questions than answers, the Congressional Budget Office detailed the pros and cons of moving the country’s health-insurance system — currently a patchwork of government programs, employer-sponsored coverage and subsidized private plans for individuals — into a unified single-payer system.

News Headlines Article

CBO predicts drug rebate would increase Medicare, Medicaid spending
Modern Healthcare

Medicare spending would climb by $187 billion and Medicaid by $7 billion over the next decade if the CMS finalizes a rule to get rid of the safe harbor for rebates for Part D drugs, according to an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office.

The figure is slightly below the $196 billion in new spending over the next decade that the CMS’ Office of the Actuary predicted earlier this year.

News Headlines Article

Short-Staffed Nursing Homes See Drop In Medicare Ratings
Kaiser Health News

The federal government accelerated its crackdown on nursing homes that go days without a registered nurse by downgrading the rankings of a tenth of the nation’s homes on Medicare’s consumer website, new records show.

In its update in April to Nursing Home Compare, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services gave its lowest star rating for staffing — one star on its five-star scale — to 1,638 homes. Most were downgraded because their payroll records reported no registered-nurse hours at all for four days or more, while the remainder failed to submit their payroll records or sent data that couldn’t be verified through an audit.

News Headlines Article

CMS’ new tech innovation strategy targets ‘outdated’ regulation
Modern Healthcare

CMS Administrator Seema Verma on Thursday unveiled new steps the agency is taking to bolster Medicare coverage of emerging medical technologies.

During remarks at the Medical Device Manufacturers Association’s annual meeting in Washington, Verma said the agency is removing what she called government barriers to innovation.

“When I came to CMS, I inherited outdated government rules and regulation that stifle innovation and access to innovative treatments,” she said. “Our often arcane and outmoded regulations around coverage, coding and payment can lead to unpredictability for innovators.”

News Headlines Article

CMS stops Medicaid from paying home health union dues
Modern Healthcare

The CMS finalized a rule on Thursday to no longer allow unions for home healthcare workers to get dues paid via state Medicaid payments.

The rule, which overturns a 2014 rule, no longer allows a state to divert payments from Medicaid to anyone but the provider with few exceptions. The agency charges that the 2014 rule that allowed unions to get dues from payments stretches the meaning of the federal statute and must be struck down.

News Headlines Article

FDA won’t ban breast implants linked to cancer at this time
The Washington Post

A month after a dramatic hearing in which many women called on the Food and Drug Administration to ban a type of breast implant linked to a rare cancer, the agency said it won’t take that action now but will increase efforts to collect and disseminate information about risks involving the device.

The FDA does not believe that the product — a kind of textured implant — meets the legal standard for being banned at this time, based on available data and information, according to a statement issued Thursday by Amy Abernethy, FDA principal deputy commissioner, and Jeff Shuren, director of the agency’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

News Headlines Article

Senators call for additional review of liver allocation policy
Modern Healthcare

The congressional battle over a new national liver allocation policy heated up Thursday as opponents of the change used HHS’ brief delay of the new system to put pressure on the Trump administration.

Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) have asked U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro to conduct a thorough review of the new rule. Simultaneously, they are seeking another delay to its implementation from HHS Secretary Alex Azar until the Government Accountability Office’s review is complete.

News Headlines Article

Pulling Care Out of Hospital—By Phone, Ambulance, and Good Ol’ House Calls.
The Health Care Blog

In the 20th century, hospitals completed their transformation from the hospice-like institutions of the Middle Ages, into large, gleaming centers of advanced medical expertise and technology that save and improve lives every day. But an unintended consequence of hospitals’ dazzling capabilities is a staggering cost burden that’s proving toxic to the American economy.

Today, hospital care accounts for approximately 33% of the US’ $3.5 trillion annual health care expenditures, according to CMS. The drivers of hospital costs are complex and hard to tackle, including (but not limited to) market consolidation that enables price hikes, heavy administrative burdens, expensive technology and patient usage patterns.

News Headlines Article

For Those With Developmental Disabilities, Dental Needs Are Great, Good Care Elusive
Kaiser Health News

When Ava Terranove began feeling oral pain last July, her parents took her to her regular dentist. The dentist determined that Ava, who has an autism-like condition, needed two root canal procedures to treat infected teeth.

Because of her developmental disability, Ava, now 15, requires general anesthesia for non-routine dental work. The dentist, like most of his peers, was not equipped to provide it.

The girl’s parents, schoolteachers who live in Huntington Beach, Calif., called other dental offices in the region.

News Headlines Article

Prescription drugs cost 14% more in SF than national average
San Francisco Chronicle

When Christina Hale ducked into a CVS on San Francisco’s Market Street on Thursday to pick up a prescription she’d accidentally left at home in Indianapolis, the price tag came as a surprise.

Hale, who was in town on business, usually pays $10 for a monthlong supply of the medication. But at the San Francisco pharmacy, she was charged $11.99 for just a five-day supply.

News Headlines Article

Cigna triples Q1 revenue after Express Scripts merger
Modern Healthcare

Health insurer Cigna Corp.’s revenue and profit soared in its first full quarter since completing its takeover of pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts.

Hartford, Conn.-based Cigna’s revenue more than tripled to $37.9 billion from $11.4 billion in the three months ended March 31 over the same quarter a year ago, bolstered by the Express Scripts acquisition that closed in the December and revenue growth in Cigna’s insurance business.

Its net income grew 49.6% to $1.4 billion in the quarter.

News Headlines Article

Hospital board revises, but sticks with, RFP
Fort Bragg Advocate News

Mendocino Coast District Hospital directors voted April 25 to revise the request for proposals sent April 11 to five health care organizations to gauge interest in buying or leasing the hospital, after one board member said his query resulted in an attorney’s opinion that the board had violated the Brown Act in how the decision was made.

The request for proposals will now include language specifying that information contained in responses will be open to the public.

Commands