KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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In Mich., No-Fault Auto-Insurance Could Leave Patients On The Hook For Hospital Bills After Car Accidents

In other state hospital news, council members are pushing to increase funding for Nashville General Hospital in Mayor Megan Barry's budget, Tampa General has a new CEO and New Hampshire's Crotched Mountain Specialty Hospital will close its doors by the end of the summer, among other developments.

Detroit Free Press: People Tapping Michigan's No-Fault System May Take Hit On Health Bills
A controversial Michigan Supreme Court decision has upended bill-collection practices for hospitals and clinics that treat people after auto accidents and could result in some patients getting surprise medical bills in the mail, although insurance companies say it may reduce costs for consumers. The state's highest court issued an opinion May 25 that says medical providers have no legal right to sue auto insurance companies for the unpaid bills of patients who received treatment through no-fault insurance benefits. (Reindl, 6/5)

Nashville Tennessean: Council Members Push Barry For Greater Subsidy For Nashville General Hospital
Multiple Metro Council members are pushing changes to Mayor Megan Barry’s budget to increase funding for Nashville General Hospital, convinced a greater subsidy is needed given recent financial woes for the city’s safety-net hospital. Barry has proposed a $35 million subsidy for the Metro-operated hospital in her 2017-18 budget, which would be the same level as the last three years. Her proposal is $20.7 million less than the $55.7 million requested by General Hospital CEO Joseph Webb, who sought — and was granted — emergency funds that went on top of the hospital's last two budget allocations. The council approved both requests. (Garrison, 6/5)

New Hampshire Public Radio: Crotched Mountain Specialty Hospital To Close Later This Year
Crotched Mountain Foundation's board voted Monday to close its longtime specialty hospital in Greenfield, likely by the end of August. On a call with reporters Monday evening, Crotched Mountain officials cited a storm of factors — declining patient admissions, difficulty attracting qualified staff, state funding issues — as reasons for the closure, but said stagnant reimbursement rates were a significant factor. "We lose money on every patient — so even if we filled the hospital, we'd be filling the hospital with patients where we lose money," Crotched Mountain Foundation President Michael Coughlin said. (McDermott, 6/5)

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Main Line Health Profit Margins Still Strong, But At Five-Year Low
Main Line Health has not lost its status as a financial juggernaut, but the system has felt financial pressure in recent years from rising expenses, inpatient volume swings, and weaker reimbursement, Fitch Ratings said even as it gave Main Line’s proposed $105.5 million bond offering a ‘AA’ rating, which is third from highest. The strengths of the nonprofit system, which owns four acute-care hospitals, include its trove of $1.47 billion of unrestricted cash and investments and an extremely low debt load of $285 million, including the new offering, which will be used to pay off old debt and pay for a portion of capital projects at Lankenau Medical Center and Bryn Mawr Hospital. (Brubaker, 6/6)

Kaiser Health News: Hospitals Now Tap Lawyers To Fulfill Patients’ Legal Needs
Every Friday, Christine Crawford has a counseling session at a clinic at New York City’s Mount Sinai Health System as she moves ahead with plans for gender transition surgery later this year. In addition to the many medical and psychosocial issues, there are practical ones as well. So, Crawford was thrilled when a Mount Sinai representative said they would assign a lawyer to help her legally change her name to Christine. (Andrews, 6/6)

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