Latest Kaiser Health News Stories
The sweeping spending measure passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump last week contains lots of wins for an industry that has publicly been under attack for the past year. The success shows how formidable the health care industry remains.
Sutter Health will pay $575 million to settle a high-profile antitrust case filed by California’s attorney general. In addition, it has agreed to end a host of practices that the state alleged unfairly stifled competition.
According to a report produced for Senate Democrats, the Consumer Product Safety Commission approved recalls in a way that actually generated more business for the company at fault. That’s because rather than getting new, safe products or refunds following a recall, consumers are often offered discount coupons for new products.
The $1.4 trillion package contained wins for both parties. But many major health care issues — such as surprise medical bills — were left untouched. Congress faced a Friday night deadline to approve the funding to avoid a shutdown. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the legislation.
ProPublica investigates how much a New Jersey plan that covers teachers paid out for specialists because it doesn’t have limits on out-of-network bills. More than 70 acupuncturists and physical therapists earned more than $200,000 in 2018 from their teacher clients alone, and one brought in more than $1 million.
Congress’ decision to repeal three health law taxes was a huge win for the industry, but consumer protection issues — like surprise medical bills — were not included. Meanwhile, advocates hope that the data that might come from the gun violence funding included in the spending bill for the first time in decades will make a difference in swaying lawmakers in the future.
At the Mayo Clinic, Zachi Attia is one of five software engineers and data scientists who make the rounds with physicians and discuss way to use AI to improve heart care. News on technology in heath care is on blood-sugar monitoring devices and problems with hackers and electronic records, as well.
The Democratic lawmakers say the agency is being difficult about their request for more information about the contracts that were, in part, meant to help raise CMS Administrator Seema Verma’s public profile. Health department officials, meanwhile, insist they are complying with Democrats’ requests.
The Department of Justice said CVS Health’s troubled Omnicare business was routinely filling prescriptions that had expired or run out of refills. Omnicare distributes drugs to skilled-nursing and assisted-living facilities across the country, and this isn’t its first brush with legal trouble.
The House passed the sweeping legislation on Tuesday, sending it to the Senate ahead of a Friday deadline for a government shutdown. The bill will, among other things, repeal three health law taxes in a win for insurers. Media outlets dive into the particulars of what’s included — like a tobacco age ban and money for wildfire safety — and what is not. Provisions in the latter category might act as a cautionary tale for progressive Democrats as they try to push ahead with “Medicare for All.”
Specialists like anesthesiologists have more power to negotiate higher in-network payments because they’re able to bill so much out-of-network. Limiting that power would have a significant effect on spending, a new study finds. Congress has been working to find a way to curb out-of-network surprise bills, but although they’ve made progress in recent weeks, nothing has passed yet.
Lawmakers released details Monday of a bipartisan deal that would allocate $1.4 trillion in federal spending for the remainder of the fiscal year to avoid a shutdown. Among other health-related measures, it includes a provision raising the minimum purchasing age for tobacco to 21, which advocates say is a “good step” toward a “substantial reduction” in smoking among young people. Media outlets cover the ins and outs of the bills and the ways they touch on health care.
Health systems are trying innovative ways–like building a warehouse distribution facility and committing to hiring marginalized workers–to improve overall health outcomes. The push is part of a larger trend for health systems to tackle problems beyond just treating patients. In other hospital news: price transparency, co-ops, mental health care, a $1.8 billion settlement, and more.
Many feel like the tools available on the market weren’t built by people actually living with the disease, and so those with technology experience are taking matters into their own hands. In other health and technology news: virtual reality, the data Catch-22, prosthetics, cyberattacks, and Apple’s push into the health industry.
A standard connector for feeding tubes was supposed to improve patient safety by preventing accidental misconnections to equipment used for IVs or other purposes. But critics say the design instead could keep patients from real food and inadvertently creates a host of new risks, including for vulnerable premature infants.
More physicians are eschewing the traditional insurance model and opening clinics based on set fees or subscriptions. Dr. Timothy Wong talks about why he no longer accepts insurance.
Email accounts involving phishing scams seem to be the primary target through which data is exposed. In other news on health technology, Google Health hires a leading researcher on wearables.
After months of delays, the House Energy And Commerce Committee released legislation that would tackle the issue of surprise medical bills. It has garnered bipartisan support in Congress and won backing from President Donald Trump. But Ways and Means Committee lawmakers think their proposal is better.
The conflict between HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma has become increasingly public and messy. As voters have been vocal about the importance of health care in recent elections, could the infighting be a distraction that President Donald Trump doesn’t need heading into a tough 2020?
Cigna has been working to trim debt after last year’s acquisition of pharmacy-benefits manager Express Scripts Holding Co. for $54 billion. In other news from the health industry: a corporation misses the deadline to close the deal on four Verity Health hospitals and a look at the small Medicare reduction that could make a big difference in premiums.