Category Archives: government policy

Florida Safety Net Hospitals Win Delay on Costly “Tiering” Law

Florida safety net hospitals will get a one-year reprieve from a controversial funding formula that its state legislators put into place to ensure a more equitable distribution of subsidies –except they got it precisely wrong.  Hundreds of millions of dollars were at stake.  Hospitals that could least afford it found themselves (under the new formula) forced to share their cash with hospitals that didn’t need it. The so-called “tiering” law would have required Florida counties that use local dollars to attract federal matching funds for hospitals to share that money with counties that don’t raise local funds for healthcare. Jackson Health [...]

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Breaking News: FTC Orders ProMedica to Divest Itself of Toledo’s St. Luke’s Hospital

ProMedica has lost its court battle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the hospital system is once again being ordered to divest itself of St. Luke’s Hospital in Maumee, Ohio (near Toledo). In a unanimous opinion, the federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati today denied ProMedica’s petition to overturn a FTC ruling originally issued in 2011 that said it would be “illegal and anti-competitive” for ProMedica to merge with St. Luke’s (which had already happened in May of 2010). Read the judge’s ruling in its entirety Circuit Judge Raymond M. Kethledge asserted in the ruling today that ProMedica’s merger [...]

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Is the “Office Visit” Becoming Cheeky? House Calls Are Making a Strong Comeback

Something old is becoming something new again. That Norman Rockwell image of the friendly, white-coated physician toting his iconic black bag of miracles –making a house call no less–  is actually making a comeback. In fact, physicians making house calls is being talked about as an innovative and disruptive new business model. Walter Park, 68, of San Francisco, says house calls prevented his expensive return visit to the hospital, where he initially stayed for seven weeks after a heart attack in 2012. After his discharge, specialists from the University of California, San Francisco, were among those who visited his home [...]

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Collapsed Healthcare System May Be Biggest Threat to Syrians

As the war grinds on into its fourth year, more Syrians have died from lack of adequate medical care than from actual combat, according to Kristalina Georgieva, the European Union’s commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response. She went on to say that normally preventable diseases are killing twice as many Syrians as fighting. In an interview with Al-Monitor on April 11 in Washington, where she attended a coordination meeting at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) with other groups struggling to keep up with the spreading humanitarian consequences of the Syrian crisis, Georgieva said that “over 200,000 people [...]

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Cutting Readmission Rates: AHRQ Report Indicates that Passing the Buck to Primary Care isn’t the Answer

According to a recent AHRQ report, U.S. hospitals spent $41.3 billion treating patients readmitted to the hospital within a month of being sent home, frequently for conditions that could be better managed by a primary care doctor –but clearly, not always. The AHRQ report used 2011 data from federal and state databases to determine the most common reasons patients were readmitted to the hospital and the total cost of each. The report broke down its findings for Medicare, Medicaid, privately insured and uninsured patients. Here are the top conditions for which patients were readmitted and the total cost: Medicare Congestive [...]

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Sign of the Times: CollabRx and Affymetrix Partner to Optimize Genetic Variant Annotation (GVA) Service

High-throughput DNA sequencing platforms are now widely available. As a result, personal genomes are being sequenced with increasing regularity in both research and clinical settings. However, the resulting and massive amounts of variants data continue to challenge those who would make sense of it all for us. And that is why you will continue to see collaborations like the one announced below —highly targeted and/or disease-specific. CollabRx, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLRX), a leading provider of software and IT systems that support clinical decision-making in oncology, and Affymetrix, Inc. (NASDAQ: AFFX), an industry leader in genomics analysis, yesterday announced an agreement to [...]

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The Wrong Kind of Transparency: Obama Administration Wants to Expose Whistleblowers?

The Obama administration wants potential government whistleblowers to identify themselves, before the fact, by registering themselves and their intent with the FBI. There are few supporters of the idea, but they do exist. They suggest that it’s an appropriate way for the government to quickly distinguish between true insider threats and legitimate whistleblowing activity. Everyone else is pointing out that it’s a terrible idea, if not antithetical to the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, considered a landmark piece of legislation. Indeed, if whistleblowers were organized, the president’s action would be equated to union busting, as anonymity is likely more important [...]

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High School Students Use Crowdsourcing to Find a Cure for Melanoma

In a groundbreaking effort, 3,500 of the country’s top high school students will build the world’s largest wiki on melanoma research — and work toward finding that needle in a haystack to cure melanoma. The effort is led by www.SaveJordan.org, which will use crowdsourcing to drive user-generated content related to melanoma cancer research to a wiki site. “The idea is to bypass mainstream medicine and medical research and compile fresh ideas,” said Jordan Guernsey, the 29-year-old father of two and Stage IV cancer survivor who is the force behind SaveJordan.org. “The young people working on SaveJordan.org are the best and brightest future [...]

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Consolidation Trend Continues: Tufts Medical Center and Lowell General Hospital Forming System

Tufts Medical Center and Lowell General Hospital are joining forces to form a new health care system they say will offer lower-cost medical services from Southern New Hampshire to south of Boston at a time of changes sweeping through the industry. The alliance would link a 415-bed Boston teaching hospital that has been scrambling for a niche in the fast-consolidating market with one of the state’s largest community hospitals. Lowell General, which two years ago took over a crosstown rival, Saints Memorial Medical Center, has 434 beds on two campuses. Under terms of a tentative agreement approved by both boards, each nonprofit [...]

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ICD-10 Industry Surveys Show Directly Conflicting Results

Just before the transition to ICD-10 was officially delayed, NueMD conducted a survey of 1,300 healthcare professionals to gauge their attitudes towards ICD-10. The survey, which garnered responses from all 50 states, found that 55 percent of respondents thought the transition to ICD-10 should be delayed or should not happen at all. When comparing those results to  a 2012 survey that asked the same question, 56 percent of respondents wanted a delay or no transition, suggesting there hasn’t been any change in attitude over the last 18 months. The NueMD survey also measured healthcare professionals’ thoughts on financial and operational [...]

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Guide for Public Health and Primary Care Integration: The “Practical Playbook” Rolls Out Nationwide

On March 5, 2014, the de Beaumont Foundation, Duke Community and Family Medicine, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched A Practical Playbook: Public Health & Primary Care Together, a new website designed to promote and facilitate collaborative health projects between public health officers and primary care providers. In the first month, A Practical Playbook has been met with high praise, even as project team members work behind the scenes to enhance functionality and add even more content to its list of 700+ resources. Dr. Michael McGinnis, a senior scholar at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Executive Director of the [...]

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Less Than Half of Americans Polled Believe Humans Have Anything to Do with Climate Change

In looking back at the winter that just came to a close, and according to a new Harris Poll, Americans in each region of the country feel quite a bit differently about the Winter that just passed. When it comes to the temperature, almost nine in ten Midwesterners (88%) and over four in five Easterners (84%) say it was colder than normal, as do 71% of those in the South. In the West, they are a little more divided as 45% believe it was warmer than normal, one-third (33%) say it was about the same as normal and one in [...]

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Holding Patients Hostage: UPMC and Highmark Ripping the Community Benefit Standard to Shreds

The Stockholm Syndrome is a phenomenon that occurs when people who are held hostage –by captors who express concern for their welfare– eventually develop a tendency to identify with their captor’s interests. Far more ridiculous theories have been promoted to explain how UPMC, Western PA’s dominant healthcare provider, could get away with refusing to do business with Highmark, the area’s largest and most dominant insurer. Instead of the resolve getting stronger among those who could actually do something to fix this, remarkably, it seems to be weakening. For the hundreds of thousands of UPMC patients who are insured by Highmark, and appear [...]

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Premier and American Society of Anesthesiologists To Develop Perioperative Surgical Home Collaborative

In an initiative designed to improve patient experience, outcomes and reduce readmissions, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) today announced it has chosen Premier, Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC) to help it develop a first-of-its-kind learning collaborative for the ASA’s Perioperative Surgical Home (PSH) model of care. ASA’s PSH is a patient-centered, physician-led, team-based practice model of coordinated care that guides a patient throughout the entire surgical experience. The collaborative is intended to bring together health care organizations to develop, pilot, and evaluate this innovative model to improve care for surgical patients from the moment surgery is planned, through recovery and discharge [...]

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UK’s Competition Commission Forcing HCA to Sell Two London Hospitals

It appears that HCA International, owned by HCA Holdings, has become a victim of its own success. By most all accounts, it has done an excellent job in Central London and become a dominant force in its private healthcare market. So the idea that it is being forced to divest itself of two profitable hospitals, while it’s chief rival, BMI, gets a pass, is not sitting well with its executives. Competition Commission chairman Roger Witcomb said requiring operators to sell hospitals was a big step. “We have focused on those areas where a sale will be effective in increasing competition-where [...]

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ConvergeHEALTH Announces Yet Another Collaboration: Moffitt Cancer Center/M2Gen Joins the Consortium

ConvergeHEALTH by Deloitte is announcing that M2Gen, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Moffitt Cancer Center, has joined its real-world evidence and analytics consortium to help transform cancer care around the use of personalized medicine. M2Gen joins the consortium initiated by Intermountain Healthcare and ConvergeHEALTH to contribute toward biomarker discovery, gene-based clinical trial matching and real-world evidence generation to support the shift to personalized medicine in oncology. M2Gen has one of the world’s richest sources of oncology and personalized medicine insights as a result of Moffitt Cancer Center’s Total Cancer Care® program. Total Cancer Care helps researchers and caregivers address the needs of [...]

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