Latest Kaiser Health News Stories
In a survey of hospital and health CEOS, only one of the top-five areas of interest from 2018 remained in 2019: innovative approaches to expense reduction. Last year’s No. 1 topic, preparing for sustainable cost control, fell to No. 11 out of the 29 included.
Although many lawmakers agree that surprise medical bills are an urgent problem, the devil is in the details of how to determine who gets stuck with the costs. “I worry that if Congress chooses the wrong approach, consumers will simply end up paying those costs through higher premiums,” Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said at the opening of the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee hearing. “We simply cannot allow this to happen.”
Stat takes a look at the key players involved in the ride-sharing companies’ forays into the health care landscape. Research has shown that a lack of transportation is a top reason why some patients skip physician visits.
Lobbying is only expected to intensify as lawmakers start to work through legislation aimed at coming up with a solution to surprise medical bills. In other news from Capitol Hill: Democrats put the kibosh on any attempts to get rid of the Hyde Amendment, a single-payer hearing may expose rifts in the Democratic party, and two senators work on patent legislation.
“Pretty much anywhere you go in this economy, whether it’s eyeglasses or beer or automobiles or airplanes, if you ask the right questions, you’ll find it’s much more concentrated than it was before,” said Phil Longman, the policy director of the company that ran the report on consolidation. “That’s true in healthcare, including all of its component parts.” In other news from the health industry, two state attorneys general launch an investigation into Quest’s data breach.
Overall, hiring slowed down from April to May. In other news from the health industry: the CVS-Aetna merger, what happens when your longtime doctor moves and the rapid growth of a chronic disease-coaching company.
Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, spoke about the health initiative his company co-founded with Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway. When it launched in January 2018, Haven was described as a venture aimed at making health care more understandable for the three companies’ employees. But Dimon said during his keynote speech at the BIO International Convention in Philadelphia that they hope to go beyond that. In other health industry news: CVS’ deal with Aetna, insurance coverage in Georgia, and personnel announcements.
Nearly 20 million patients have had their personal data exposed during the breach. Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) wrote Quest on Wednesday asking about what happened.
The question of how long digital devices can help patients is one many digital startups want to answer. Results weren’t as strong as Year One’s of Virta’s five-year study, but don’t rush to judgement said Dr. Ethan Weiss, a cardiologist at the University of California, San Francisco. “They’re still doing really well,” he said. Other news on digital medicine looks at the creation of DiMe .
The health hub format includes an employee with the title of “care concierge” who directs customers to health services such as a nutritionist or nurse practitioner. Other services include screenings for sleep apnea and opthalmology issues related to diabetes. In other news, CVS is facing the skeptical U.S. District Judge Richard Leon for a hearing over its deal with Aetna.
The breach came as a result of a cybersecurity incident at American Medical Collection Agency, a billing collections vendor. “Quest [Diagnostics] is taking this matter very seriously and is committed to the privacy and security of our patients’ personal information,” the medical testing company said. It indicated that plans are in the works to begin notifying individual patients but did not give a timeline.
Humana had long been seen as a potential acquirer of Centene, the biggest player in Medicaid managed care. Medicare-focused Humana has said it wants to grow in the Medicaid business. Yet Humana was also seen by analysts as unlikely to mount a hostile bid, an unusual move in the managed-care industry.
Hospitals are eager to get particular specialists on staff because they bring in business that can be highly profitable. But those efforts, if they involve unusually high salaries or other enticements, can violate federal anti-kickback laws.
The FDA reveals that 56,000 malfunctions associated with surgical staplers weren’t reported through its traditional public reporting system.
President Donald Trump is working on an executive order intended to increase price transparency across the health care landscape. But one of the aspects to the order is provoking intense backlash. Compelling disclosure of negotiated rates “would have the ultimate anti-competitive effect,” said Tom Nickels, the American Hospital Association’s executive vice president for government relations and public policy.
“We are taking a step back and evaluating where things stand,” said state Sen. Matt Lesser, a Democrat who led the proposal. He said many of the complaints from the insurance industry revolved around displeasure with competing with the government for customers. Meanwhile, California lawmakers move ahead with plans to expand coverage for undocumented immigrants in the state.
Facebook is already a place where millions of users go for health advice, and it has a long list of projects in health and medicine. Stat takes a look at the people behind the company’s health care ambitions. In other health industry news: Centene’s WellCare deal, a call for reform of the Stark law, Allina-Aetna’s enrollment numbers, and more.
The University of California’s flagship San Francisco hospital system cut off negotiations with the Catholic-run health care system in the face of heated opposition from UCSF faculty and staff.
Credible scientists are nervous that working for Juul will hurt their reputations, but that leaves the e-cigarette company employing researchers who have ties to the tobacco industry, which in turn calls into doubt any scientific work done by Juul. In other news: how schools are handling vaping and a study that finds the flavoring in e-cigarettes may be bad for the heart.
The typical CEO in the industry made $16.1 million last year. In other health industry news: health benefits brokers, a possible merger, and a scheme involving pelvic mesh implants.