KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Medicare Issues Final Rule For Controversial Plan To Bundle Some Payments For Heart Care

However, Rep. Tom Price, who has been nominated to be the secretary of Health and Human Services in the Trump administration, is expected to weigh in on this issue, too. Also in Medicare news, a look at a new payment rule designed to reward doctors for coordinating care, an anomaly in coverage of kidney transplants, a nursing home company in Maryland draws scrutiny and new hospital payment details.

Modern Healthcare: Obama Administration Sticks With New Mandatory Bundled-Pay Demo, But Tom Price Likely To Intervene 
The CMS is moving forward with a new mandatory initiative that would make hospitals in 98 markets financially accountable for the cost and quality of all care associated with bypass surgery and heart attacks. The final regulations issued Tuesday came just days after the agency announced it was junking a proposed mandatory demonstration that would have tested new ways of paying for outpatient drugs under Medicare Part B in an effort to bring those prices down. Both models have drawn criticism that the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation is overreaching its mandate by compelling participation, including from President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for HHS secretary, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.). (Dickson, 12/20)

NPR: Government Pays For Kidney Transplants But Not The Anti-Rejection Drugs
The federal government will pay more than $100,000 to give someone a kidney transplant, but after three years, the government will often stop paying for the drugs needed to keep that transplanted kidney alive. Constance Creasey is one of the thousands of people who find themselves caught up by this peculiar feature of the federal kidney program. (Harris, 12/22)

Kaiser Health News: Latest Hospital Injury Penalties Include Crackdown On Antibiotic Resistant Germs
The federal government has cut payments to 769 hospitals with high rates of patient injuries, for the first time counting the spread of antibiotic-resistant germs in assessing penalties. The punishments come in the third year of Medicare penalties for hospitals with patients most frequently suffering from potentially avoidable complications, including various types of infections, blood clots, bed sores and falls. This year the government also examined the prevalence of two types of bacteria resistant to drugs. (Rau, 12/21)

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