News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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House panel splits over arbitration for surprise medical bills
Modern Healthcare

Lawmakers of the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee appeared split on Wednesday over whether they should give physicians and hospitals a chance to appeal to an arbiter in a balance billing dispute.

The divisions over how to handle balance billing didn’t fall along party lines and peeled both Democratic and GOP representatives from the committee leaders’ bipartisan proposal to set a benchmark price according to the patient’s in-network rate.

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In battle over surprise bills, Senate ponders requiring in-network rates
Modern Healthcare

The Senate’s health committee has proposed three options to ban surprise medical bills. But one of them—the technically named “in-network matching guarantee” policy—has raised especial rancor from specialty physician groups and some hospitals for how it could shake up industry practices that have taken root over years.

The intensity of the criticism shows how high the stakes have gotten. Under the in-network matching guarantee—as outlined in the 165-page draft legislation from Sens.

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Revenue growth overtakes cost-cutting as hospital executives’ top priority
Modern Healthcare

Hospital and health system CEOs are prioritizing revenue growth in 2019, according to a new survey.

Revenue growth overtook cost control as executives’ top priority, Advisory Board Co.’s survey of 90 C-level executives found. While administrators still aim to develop nuanced strategies to cut costs, their focus is now on improving ambulatory access, minimizing clinical variation, boosting primary-care alignment and adapting to population health.

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Why A Diverse and Inclusive Healthcare Innovation Workforce Matters
The Health Care Blog

There I was, my 10th-grade science fair. My mother made sure I had a tie that fit properly and a shirt that was perfectly pressed. I stood among my peers with our cardboard presentation displays highlighting what we did to make it to this point. I was a little nervous but also extremely proud of myself and excited to see the looks on the judge’s faces when they saw what my project was about:

“The Effects of Enzymes on DNA”

Boom.

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The Worst Patients in the World
The Atlantic

I was standing two feet away when my 74-year-old father slugged an emergency-room doctor who was trying to get a blood-pressure cuff around his arm. I wasn’t totally surprised: An accomplished scientist who was sharp as a tack right to the end, my father had nothing but disdain for the entire U.S. health-care system, which he believed piled on tests and treatments intended to benefit its bottom line rather than his health. He typically limited himself to berating or rolling his eyes at the unlucky clinicians tasked with ministering to him, but more than once I could tell he was itching to escalate.

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Why So Many Older Americans Rate Their Health As Good Or Even Excellent
Kaiser Health News

A common myth about aging is that older adults are burdened by illness and feel lousy much of the time. In fact, the opposite is usually true. Most seniors report feeling distinctly positive about their health.

Consider data from the 2017 National Health Interview Survey (the most recent available), administered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When asked to rate their overall health, 82% of adults ages 65 to 74 described it as excellent (18%), very good (32%) or good (32%) — on the positive side of the ledger. By contrast, 18% of this age group had a negative perspective, describing their health as fair (14%) or poor (4%).

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Watchdog: Abuse and neglect in nursing facilities unreported
Modern Healthcare

Nursing facilities have failed to report thousands of serious cases of potential neglect and abuse of seniors on Medicare even though it’s a federal requirement for them to do so, according to a watchdog report released Wednesday that calls for a new focus on protecting frail patients.

Auditors with HHS‘ Office of Inspector General drilled down on episodes serious enough that the patient was taken straight from a nursing facility to a hospital emergency room.

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Ban On Abortion Funding Stays In House Bill As 2020 Democrats Promise Repeal
National Public Radio

Democrats on the 2020 campaign trail are emphasizing their support for expanded abortion rights, but in Washington, House Democrats are preparing to retain a decadeslong ban on most federal funding for abortions.

Presidential candidates including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris have denounced the funding restrictions under what is known as the Hyde Amendment. Harris has said it targets poor women who rely on federal health care benefits; Warren says she would “lead the fight to have it overturned;” and Biden now says that backing Hyde violates his belief that health care is a human right.

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Drug Users Armed With Naloxone Double As Medics On Streets Of San Francisco
Kaiser Health News

The man was out of his wheelchair and lay flat on his back just off San Francisco’s Market Street, waiting for the hypodermic needle to pierce his skin and that familiar euphoric feeling to wash over him.

The old-timer, who appeared to be in his 60s, could not find a viable vein, so a 38-year-old man named Daniel Hogan helped him. Hogan, a longtime drug user originally from St. Louis, leaned over the older man, eyeing his neck as he readied a syringe loaded with the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl.

Hogan called the man a “jellyfish” because most of his veins had collapsed from years of intravenous drug use and he rarely bled when pricked. But the older guy still had his jugular vein, and for Hogan that would work just fine.

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