Latest Kaiser Health News Stories
Tennessee company’s Medicare billings for urine tests were examined by Kaiser Health News in 2017.
Obstetrician-gynecologists are particularly worried about things like faulty or confusing data possibly sending women to their doctors when they don’t need to go or technology that’s simply a waste of money. In other news at the intersection of technology and health care: paying for doctor appointments via apps and an uptick in virtual visits.
“Like everything in health care, it’s just so crazy expensive, and people have to think outside the box,” said Michelle Mills, chief executive officer of the Colorado Rural Health Center. In other news on health care costs, a look at the coverage struggles for those who want to live abroad post-retirement.
Lauren Sullivan had been trying to appeal UnitedHealth’s initial refusal of the drug for her 21-month-old daughter, Daryn. The girl was running out of time to receive the treatment before her second birthday in October, when the drug has to be administered. The company also approved claims for three other patients. In other news, UnitedHealth beats expectations for the quarter, prompting company to boost earnings guidance.
But the company’s legal challenges loom like a dark cloud over the good news. Other news from the health industry focuses on telemedicine, value-based care and glucose monitors.
There are concerns from experts who say patients may not fully understand the privacy implications of new records apps and end up signing a lot of their information away without realizing it. Other news at the intersection of technology and health care: artificial intelligence and dental bills, telemedicine in rural areas, wireless health hazards and more.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic candidate, helped bring national attention to a Philadelphia hospital that’s trying to close its doors. Sanders said he will be introducing a bill in the Senate to provide a $20 billion “emergency fund” that will allow states and communities to purchase financially struggling hospitals in order to keep them open. Meanwhile, planning for the potential closure of Hahnemann University Hospital shows how deeply intertwined a health institution can become with a city.
Sensitive information, including Social Security numbers, bank account information and health data, was exposed to hackers for ten months in 2014 and 2015. “It’s horrifying to think that for nearly one entire year, a hacker had access to the sensitive health records and personal data of millions of Americans,” said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. The lawsuit claimed Premera knew it had security problems and failed to fix them.
The three-year program, dubbed the Connected Care Pilot, would support a limited number of projects, focusing on pilots that help providers “defray” the broadband costs of bringing telemedicine to low-income Americans and veterans.
Only about 12% of dialysis patients get their treatment at home and the initiative aims to dramatically increase that number and move patients out of costly dialysis centers. It would also add provisions to boost the annual number of kidneys available for transplants.
The model works by patients paying a certain amount annually for access to the physicians. Other health industry news focuses on acquisitions.
The genealogy reports that were left accessible to the public included customers’ full names alongside dates of birth and gene-based health information. In other news, Stat helps answer questions on voice recognition technology in health care.
Major health care players have a large interest in the outcome of any legislation on surprise medical bills, and they’re making their voices heard to lawmakers. The rumbles are creating fault lines for senators, who are all largely in favor of acting in some way to address the issue.
Recent decisions in court cases come as concerns mount over the growing consolidation of hospitals and physician practices and the impact on prices and total health spending. In other health industry news: jobs, blood pressure devices, and artificial intelligence.
HHS will announce an agency-wide initiative to encourage home dialysis and also to ramp up better prevention and screening for kidney disease, Politico reports. The plan could upend the kidney care market, and face serious pushback from big dialysis chains that are eager to protect $24 billion a year in revenue.
As Congress returns from recess, health care issues are on the summer agenda. “Obviously we will continue to have significant disagreements on … Obamacare,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). “What we’ve done is shift our focus to the larger topic — or the different topic — of reducing health care costs.”
The implementation of the rule could come as a huge hit to unions. “If unions lose the ability to collect dues via payroll deductions, caregivers will have much more control over whether they choose to financially support a union or not,” said Maxford Nelson, director of labor policy for the Freedom Foundation, a conservative group in Olympia, Wash.
“You have these two very low-probability, but very negative events … that almost all investors think have a close to zero probability of actually happening but the time to get clarity on that is still quite extended. Time is the main issue here,” Evercore analyst Michael Newshel said.
Elizabeth Holmes and her former No. 2 Sunny Balwani are accused of defrauding investors, patients, and doctors in a blood-testing scandal that brought down health care’s richest venture-backed startup and have become an industry parable for the dangers of medical hype and hubris. Jury selection is scheduled to begin in July 2020 and the trial is expected to last about three months.
Medtronic began notifying patients about the issue Thursday, saying a hacker could potentially connect wirelessly to a nearby insulin pump to change settings or control insulin delivery.