KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Boston Children’s, Blue Cross Reach Deal To Curb Payments

News organizations look at a variety of developments at local hospitals.

Boston Globe: Children's, Blue Cross Deal Curbs Payments
Children's Hospital Boston has agreed to a three-year contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts that will not pay Children's any more money this year, offering fresh evidence that the clamor to contain health costs is having an effect. In the second and third years of the pact, the hospital will be reimbursed by Blue Cross Blue Shield at a rate neither party would specify, but both said it was below the current 3 percent rate of medical inflation. Perhaps most important, Children's and its doctors groups will accept global payments for the first time, meaning they will be given a budget for patients' care rather than billing for each visit and procedure (Weisman, 1/24).

WBUR's CommonHealth blog: Children's Hospital Signs On To Global Payment Strategy
Children’s Hospital Boston has a new three year deal with Blue Cross Blue Shield that holds rates flat this year. ... [Children’s President and COO Sandra] Fenwick says this contract is a milestone because it moves Children's into the Blue Cross Blue Shield global payment plan (the Alternative Quality Contract/AQC). "We're going to be taking risk for managing the care of our patients," says Fenwick, "we're going to be held accountable for the quality, and it really is in line with policy changes that the whole country is going to be watching" (Bebinger, 1/24).

The Miami Herald: Jackson Health System, UM Headed Toward 'A Completely New Relationship'
Leaders of the Jackson Health System and the University of Miami are developing a plan that will dramatically alter their sometimes testy relationship by creating a clear dividing line between UM doctors who work at Jackson and those who work for UM's own health enterprise. Under the plan, Jackson would "lease" some faculty doctors, paying the medical school for their salaries. Those doctors would work exclusively for Jackson, and Jackson would get any insurance payments made for their work (Dorschner, 1/23). 

The Connecticut Mirror: St. Francis, Johnson Memorial Hospitals To Form Affiliation
The agreement between the companies, which requires regulatory approval, would bring capital and access to clinical services for Johnson Memorial Hospital, which has struggled financially in recent years. It would be St. Francis' first formal affiliation with another hospital. ... The affiliation is the latest in a series of hospital moves across the state (Levin Becker, 1/23). 

Modern Healthcare: Pa. Regulators OK Geisinger Deal
Pennsylvania regulators approved Geisinger Health System's acquisition of Community Medical Center. The deal, announced in July, won clearance from the Pennsylvania attorney general and the state health department, Geisinger said in a news release. The deal is expected to close Feb. 1, Geisinger said (Evans, 1/23). 

The Sacramento Bee: As CHW Splits From Catholic Church, Patients Will Notice Little Change
Catholic Healthcare West, which operates six hospitals in the Sacramento region, is changing its name to Dignity Health and cutting its affiliation to the Catholic Church. The changes will mean little to Dignity's patients and approximately 7,000 employees in the Sacramento region. … The name change "supports our long-term plan to grow and coordinate care," Dignity President and Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Dean said in a statement announcing the changes Monday (Smith and Daysog, 1/24).

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