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Latest Morning Briefing Stories

University Of Illinois At Chicago Acknowledged Failure To Catch Warnings Signs Over Child Psychiatrist Who Violated Research Protocols

KHN Morning Briefing

According to new documents, the University of Illinois at Chicago Institutional Review Board, the committee responsible for protecting research subjects, improperly fast-tracked approval of Dr. Mani Pavuluri’s clinical trial, didn’t catch serious omissions from the consent forms parents had to sign and allowed children to enroll in the study even though they weren’t eligible. Still, UIC officials have continued to blame only Pavuluri, and have downplayed the institution’s role in the research.

When Drug Costs Get Too High, Patients Are Skipping Doses Or Just Not Taking Medication

KHN Morning Briefing

Experts are worried this behavior could be extremely dangerous for the patients. “We have lots of treatments where if you don’t take them exactly as prescribed, you might be doing more harm than good,” said Stacie Dusetzina, a health policy researcher at Vanderbilt University. Other ways patients are trying to control costs are by asking for cheaper drugs from doctors or seeking out alternative therapies. Meanwhile, Ohio’s attorney general is suing UnitedHealth’s OptumRx unit alleging it overcharged the state for prescription drugs.

Software Tool To Determine Which Veterans Are Eligible For Private Care So Flawed That It Could Derail System

KHN Morning Briefing

A review conducted by the U.S. Digital Service, an elite group of software developers and designers employed by the White House, recommended that the VA should scrap the eligibility tool and start over. The report predicted that the tool would generate errors or run slowly or crash, and that these glitches would lengthen each appointment by five to 10 minutes.

Billionaire-Backed Health Venture ‘Haven’ May Find Itself Facing Legal Challenges Over Name

KHN Morning Briefing

There are already dozens of companies named “Haven,” with a large handful that deliver or facilitate health services. “It seems very risky to me,” said Jonathan Bell, managing director of Want Branding, a firm that advises companies on name selection. In other health industry news: health savings accounts, hospitals’ religious policies, cost disclosures, and minimum wage increases.

Electronic Consults With Specialist Doctor Can Free Up Capacity In Crowded Health Systems

KHN Morning Briefing

The first place in the U.S. to adopt an eConsult system, in 2005, was the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Wait times fell, and a large majority of primary care doctors said it improved care. “A safety net system can’t afford to hire enough specialists to meet demand — eConsults get around that problem by increasing access through enhancing efficiency,” said Dr. Mitchell Katz, who was director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health when eConsults began there.

Medicare Advisers Say ‘Donut Hole’ Changes To Part D Program Could Lead To Spike In Costs For Everyone But Insurers

KHN Morning Briefing

MedPAC said that the way Congress made changes to the Medicare Part D program disincentivizes insurers from trying to manage high drug costs because it puts pharma on the hook for a higher percentage of the drugs. In other news, MedPAC advisers are also expected to call on Congress to boost payments to hospitals, and Medicaid advisers will urge lawmakers to rethink cuts to hospitals.

Beyond Work Requirements, Red States Eye Other Restrictions For Medicaid Programs

KHN Morning Briefing

Some states are weighing the possibility of adding drug-testing to their programs, while others are investigating capped payments from the federal government. And as Republican-led states move to further restrict Medicaid, the divide between red and blue states is likely to mean wider geographic disparities in health-care coverage and access. Meanwhile, Ohio’s request to add work requirements has been approved by the government.

As House Dems Assemble Budget, A Health Care Reckoning Is On The Horizon Between Centrists And Progressives

KHN Morning Briefing

Where to move forward with health care has become a sharply dividing issue with the Democrats. Moderates want to make improvements to the health law, while the left-wing is charging full-tilt toward “Medicare for All.” With their budget, Democrats will signal what their health care priorities are, and the road to decide that will likely be far from smooth.

Contradictions Lay At The Heart Of Trump’s Health Care Priorities In Proposed Budget

KHN Morning Briefing

President Donald Trump wants to give hundreds of millions of dollar to fight the HIV epidemic domestically, yet he is also proposing cutting global aid for the disease, as well calling for sharp spending reductions to Medicaid, a program many people with HIV rely upon. The president has taken aim at childhood cancer and the opioid crisis, but also would chip away at infrastructure in health care that would support those goals. Meanwhile, the Washington Post Fact Checker takes a look at Democrats’ take on the proposed Medicare changes in the budget.

Federal Judge Appears Skeptical Over Financial Argument For Medicaid Work Requirements

KHN Morning Briefing

“It seems to me that your fiscal sustainability [argument] relies on the fact that they’re lucky to have Medicaid at all,” said Judge James E. Boasberg who is hearing cases out of Arkansas and Kentucky on whether the Trump administration has the authority to grant states the flexibility to add work requirements to their Medicaid programs. Boasberg hopes to issue both decisions simultaneously before Kentucky’s changes are slated to take effect April 1. Meanwhile, CMS is rolling out new tools to help states apply for a work requirement waiver.

O’Rourke Enters 2020 Race With Some Health Law Baggage–And A Centrist Message

KHN Morning Briefing

When running as a politician in Texas in 2012, Beto O’Rourke said he didn’t support the health law “in its current form.” Now in 2020, he has touted the importance of universal health care, but like other moderates in the race has been careful to avoid coming out for one particular “Medicare for All” plan.