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Latest Kaiser Health News Stories

Revenue Growth Beats Out Cost Controls For Hospital CEOs

KHN Morning Briefing

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.

Party Lines Fall By The Wayside During Hearing Over What To Do About Surprise Medical Bills

KHN Morning Briefing

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.”

Health Industry Players Gird Themselves For Tough Fight Over Surprise Medical Billing

KHN Morning Briefing

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.

‘Bigger Is Better’ Consolidation Mentality Sweeps Through Health Care Industry

KHN Morning Briefing

“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.

JPMorgan CEO Hints That Health Initiative Haven Will Go Beyond Just Focusing On Founding Companies’ Employees

KHN Morning Briefing

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.

While Digital Coaching Continues To Help Diabetes Patients Overall, Dropout Rate Increases In Year Two

KHN Morning Briefing

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 .

CVS Announces Expansion Of Hubs That Offer Health Services Such As Nutrition Counseling, Blood Pressure Screenings

KHN Morning Briefing

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.

11.9 Million Patients’ Personal, Medical Data May Have Been Exposed In Quest Breach

KHN Morning Briefing

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.

Proposal To Force Insurers, Hospitals To Disclose Secretly Negotiated Prices Stirs Such Vocal Opposition It May Get Dropped

KHN Morning Briefing

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.

Following Sharp Outcry From Private Insurers, Connecticut Lawmakers Pause On Creating Public Option

KHN Morning Briefing

“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.

Juul Aggressively Courting Scientists In Attempt To Break Away From Reliance On Experts With Tobacco Industry Ties

KHN Morning Briefing

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.