California Bill Aimed At Reining In Health Prices Would Cost Hospitals $18 Billion In First Year Alone
The measure that would put the state in charge of setting prices on certain health services is backed by labor unions and patient advocates. But providers are expected to come out strongly against it. Media outlets report on more hospital news out of Texas, Missouri and Massachusetts, as well.
Calif. Hospitals Blast New Rate-Setting Proposal For Providers
California hospitals are on edge over a bill dropped late Monday that would mandate regulated rate-setting for providers. The measure would use Medicare rates as the benchmark to calculate commercial insurer payments, and would cost state hospitals $18 billion in the first year alone, according to preliminary projections. The California effort is being pushed by patient advocates and labor unions who say the rising cost of healthcare is cutting into wage growth. It is the first signal from the country's most populous state that legislators are wading into the minefield of addressing healthcare prices as consumers grow increasingly unhappy. (Luthi, 4/10)
Texas Health Group Cashes In On State’s Rural Hospital Crisis
The Hashmi group’s hospitals don’t accept commercial insurance, charge unusually high rates and have run afoul of state inspectors. But the rural community of Bowie, Texas, felt like it got a lifeline when the Dallas for-profit offered to buy its shuttered hospital. The North Texas town of 5,000 — which was hit hard by a drop-off in oil and gas production and rejected a property tax increase to keep the former Bowie Memorial Hospital afloat — had few options. Without a hospital, residents would have to drive nearly 30 miles for emergencies and the town would lose high-paying medical jobs. (Rayasam, 4/10)
Would-Be Savior Of Missouri, Kansas Hospitals Accused Of Wider ‘Fraudulent Scheme'
The same lab billing arrangement put in place at a small, rural hospital in Unionville, Missouri, is the subject of a federal lawsuit in Georgia that calls it a fraudulent scheme designed to enrich its architects. The lawsuit, filed by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, alleges that since August 2016, a 49-bed hospital in rural north Georgia has billed it more than $174 million for lab tests Blue Cross did not agree to pay for. The arrangement at Chestatee Regional Hospital in Dahlonega, Georgia, is strikingly similar to the one at tiny Putnam County Memorial Hospital in Unionville, which is now seeking to oust its owner. (Margolies, 4/10)
Carney Hospital President Takes New Job
The president of Carney Hospital in Dorchester is leaving to take a new job. Walter J. Ramos, who became president of Carney in 2015, will become chief executive of the Boston-based human services company Rogerson Communities in July. (Dayal McCluskey, 4/10)
Tufts Hospital CEO Criticizes Planned Beth Israel-Lahey Merger
The chief executive of Tufts Medical Center on Tuesday criticized the proposed merger of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health, arguing that the deal would increase costs and widen health care disparities. Tufts, a teaching hospital in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood, competes with Beth Israel Deaconess and Lahey, but it serves a much higher share of patients on Medicaid, the government health program for poor and low-income individuals. (Dayal McCluskey, 4/10)