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California Surprise-Billing Law Protects Patients But Aggravates Many Doctors

KHN Original

A California law, which took effect in July 2017, protects consumers who use an in-network hospital or other facility from surprise bills when cared for by an out-of-network doctor. But physicians say the law has allowed insurers to shrink networks, limiting access to those doctors who have contracted with the patients’ insurance plans.

Despite Intense Scrutiny, Doctors Still Receiving Astronomical Sums From Drug and Medical Device Companies

KHN Morning Briefing

An analysis by ProPublica reveals that more than 2,500 physicians received at least half a million dollars apiece from drugmakers and medical device companies in the past five years alone. More than 700 of those doctors received at least $1 million. In other news on the health industry, costs and insurance: workers’ benefits, refunds from insurers, out-patient surgery policies, universal coverage, and more.

Health Care Products Planned By Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy All Closely Watched By Marketplace

KHN Morning Briefing

Amazon’s kickoff into telemedicine is already impacting potential competitors. And in moves that could shake up the health care industry in the future, Walmart says it is teaming up with companies to offer discounts to its customers while Best Buy touts a plan to provide health monitoring services for seniors. Other marketplace news covers the ambulatory surgery industry and developments in consumer genetic testing.

Tech Companies Are Jostling To Be The One Patients Turn To For Help Corralling Their Health Data

KHN Morning Briefing

The Trump administration is making a concerted push to make health data more available for patients, and tech companies are rushing in to get a piece of the lucrative field. But with profits comes great responsibility for a lot of personal information. In other health and technology news: what AI can tell from your voice, getting better bedside manner from robots, and a telehealth surge in 2017.

Scientists Acknowledge Genetic Research Needs To Be Presented With ‘Great Care’ In Racially Charged Landscape

KHN Morning Briefing

Geneticists are alarmed that their research is being misinterpreted by white supremacy groups. “Studying human genetic diversity is easier in a society where diversity is clearly valued and celebrated — right now, that is very much on my mind,” said John Novembre, a University of Chicago evolutionary biologist. In other public health news: brain science, obesity, concussions, mental health, surgery centers and more.

Despite Concerted Efforts To Curb Opioid Crisis, Kentucky Overdose Deaths Rise 11.5 Percent In 2017

KHN Morning Briefing

“We are in a crisis state,” Republican Gov. Matt Bevin said. “While we are putting money at it and while we are drawing attention to it, until we start to truly address this and look at underlying causes of these things and what is leading to this it is not going to be addressed.” Meanwhile, Medicare is pushing a new rule to reimburse hospitals more for non-opioid pain management drugs.

Gawande To Hit The Road On A Listening Tour As First Step In New Role As CEO

KHN Morning Briefing

Dr. Atul Gawande has taken up the reigns on the Amazon-JPMorgan Chase-Berkshire Hathaway initiative that aims to lower health care costs in America. As his first order of business, Gawande wants to chat with the people one-on-one to understand the breadth of challenges facing the country. In other health industry news, a few deals and mergers to watch out for.