Latest Kaiser Health News Stories
Kaiser Permanente just avoided a nationwide strike by thousands of workers, but now faces a new strike threat Monday. The labor battles are exposing the health care giant to scrutiny from lawmakers, health care advocates and others who accuse it of no longer living up to its nonprofit ideals.
Fitbit, which has been pushing aggressively into health care, is a good fit for Google. It terminated Google Health in 2011 over lack of interest but many changes have occurred since then and tech companies are racing to make inroads. Other health technology news is on a data breach at Veritas Genetics.
The health hubs have performed so well, CVS wants to roll out 1,500 by the end of 2021. Meanwhile, the unit that includes Aetna posted sales of $17.18 billion, helped by lower-than-expected medical costs.
As concerns mount over Google’s market power and gathering of health data, consumer groups and some lawmakers are calling for regulators to take a closer look. Google is looking for a stronger presence in wearables.
The entry into the crowded field marks the latest effort by tech giants to secure a piece of the lucrative wearables marketplace.
“Facing a likely risk of being separated from their family members and a delay in obtaining a visa to which family members would otherwise be entitled is irreparable harm,” wrote Judge Michael Simon in U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon of the Trump administration’s policy that would require new immigrants to show proof of health insurance or the means to afford it.
The companies were selling plans under the rules that allow health sharing ministries to help members share costs between themselves. But regulators say they didn’t meet the requirements to be eligible for that exemption to the health law.
The tobacco giant wrote down its investment in Juul by more than a third, acknowledging that it hadn’t anticipated the regulatory pitfalls confronting the e-cigarette market. Altria hoped to tap the vaping market in the face of declining smoking rates and cigarette sales in the United States. Now the company is under investigation by the FTC over its role in the resignation of Juul’s former chief executive and his replacement by an Altria executive. Meanwhile, the total number of vaping-related lung disease cases continues to climb.
Siddharth Breja, a former senior vice president of global finance for Juul, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday based on claims that he was retaliated against for raising concerns about the contaminated shipment. Breja describes a “reckless” and “win-at-all costs” culture at Juul, primarily driven by the company’s former CEO, Kevin Burns, who was replaced in a management shake-up last month. A Juul spokesman said in a statement that the claims are “baseless.”
Humana spokeswoman Kate Marx stated the company began evaluating its “work and cost structure” this year but didn’t say where cuts will be made. Other news on the health industry and systems looks at: hospices, acquisitions, hospitals, new clinics, and more.
But in the era where many are hesitant about Facebook’s privacy protections, the success of the new health tool might rely on how much the company can soothe those fears.
The clinics faced increasing competition with the rise in telemedicine. Walgreens also announced it will be partnering with Jenny Craig to offer on-site weight-loss consultations.
Although Fitbit helped pioneer the wearables craze, it’s been struggling as other high-tech gadgets flood the marketplace.
Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) played a key role in the Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace the health law when they had control of the House.
The company, which has been covering sex-reassignment surgery since 2012, decided to expand coverage in 2018 to include transition-related procedures that are considered cosmetic, such as breast reduction or augmentation surgery, facial feminization, voice therapy and hormonal therapy.
Researchers find that following mergers, hospital systems used their larger size to seek higher reimbursement, including through “all-or-none” contracting. Even smaller hospitals leveraged their position as alternatives to win higher rates. Other hospital news comes out of: D.C., Connecticut, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Ohio and Illinois.
Section 6(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which the FTC cited in its information demands, gives the agency broad investigative authority to demand information from companies for use in research, legal experts point out. Other health system and hospital news comes out of Florida, Illinois, New York, Oregon and Wisconsin.
J&J, which is facing thousands of lawsuits over a variety of products, said last week it was recalling around 33,000 bottles of baby powder in the United States after U.S. health regulators found trace amounts of asbestos in samples taken from a bottle purchased online. Walmart, CVS and Rite Aid are taking steps to remove all 22-ounce bottles from their stores as well.
Those in the health industry are closely watching the giant’s move as it dips its toes into the health care space.
Anthem’s medical-loss ratio was higher than anticipated. The company said that the MLR has been pushed up by its Medicaid business, an issue it also flagged last quarter.