Hospitals, Insurers Swear They Support Price Transparency … Just Not Quite That Much Price Transparency
Hospitals and insurers have been up in arms ever since the administration announced a rule that would force them to disclose secretly negotiated prices. Now they're trying to get officials to walk some of it back. In other health industry news: rural hospitals, Cerner Corp.'s contract with the VA, and hospital quality ratings.
Forced Rate Disclosure Goes Too Far, Healthcare Industry Argues
Hospitals and insurers insist they support healthcare price transparency—just not to the extent the Trump administration envisions. A CMS proposed rule to force employer health plans and insurance companies to post in-network and out-of-network rates they negotiate with providers would confuse patients and do little to lower costs, insurer and hospital groups argued in comments published this week. (Lingston, 1/30)
U.S. Senator Demands Answers From Rennova On Its Tennessee Hospitals
U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn is demanding answers from the Florida lab test company that bought three rural Tennessee hospitals in recent years only to close one and reportedly miss payroll at two others. Blackburn cited local media reports that West Palm Beach-based Rennova Health has been late in paying employees at both Big South Fork Medical Center in Oneida, Tenn. and Jellico (Tenn.) Community Hospital. Rennova shuttered Jamestown (Tenn.) Regional Medical Center in June, just a year after purchasing the hospital. (Bannow, 1/30)
GAO Rejects Protest Over VA's $19 Million Cerner Task Order
The U.S. Government Accountability Office has denied Nuance Communications' protest of the Veterans Affairs Department's $19 million task order awarded to Cerner Corp. to develop clinical documentation improvement tools. Nuance, which currently provides the VA with tools for health information coding under a contract that expires this year, in October filed a protest arguing that awarding the task order to Cerner denied Nuance the opportunity to submit proposals for the services, and should have been subject to a separate competition. (Cohen, 1/30)
Kaiser Health News:
Preeminent Hospitals Penalized Over Rates Of Patients’ Injuries
Hundreds of hospitals across the nation, including a number with sterling reputations for cutting-edge care, will be paid less by Medicare after the federal government pronounced that they had higher rates of infections and patient injuries than others. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Wednesday identified 786 hospitals that will receive lower payments for a year under the Hospital-Acquired Conditions Reduction Program, a creation of the Affordable Care Act. The penalties are designed to encourage better care without taking the extreme step of tossing a hospital out of the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which would drive most hospitals out of business. (Rau, 1/31)
Look Up Your Hospital: Is It Being Penalized By Medicare?