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Vital Signs Blog

Blog: New York private insurance still mostly pays fee-for-service

New York hospitals and physicians continue to earn nearly all of their private insurance revenue from fee-for-service, though roughly one-third of payments are tied to performance.

Blog: Ascension hospitals see higher margins in Medicaid expansion states

Blog: Ascension hospitals see higher margins in Medicaid expansion states

More Medicaid patients, even at low reimbursement rates, delivered a financial boost to Ascension Health hospitals in states that expanded their Medicaid programs. It's an increase that wasn't seen in the system's non-expansion states.

Blog: Strapped state exchanges get by on misused federal grants

Blog: Strapped state exchanges get by on misused federal grants

State health insurance exchanges were required to be financially self-sustaining by now, but many have struggled to come up with viable funding sources and continue to rely heavily—and inappropriately—on federal grant dollars, according to HHS' inspector general's office.

Blog: Should Medicare make the switch to electronic cards?

Blog: Should Medicare make the switch to electronic cards?

Medicare could benefit by moving to a system of electronic cards, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. But such a switch could be costly for providers and create a host of problems with current electronic health records.

Blog: Rating a politician's claim that Medicaid kills

One of Florida's most powerful Republicans reportedly is using the results of a narrow study focusing on surgical outcomes to insinuate that extending Medicaid to more Americans increases their chances of dying.

Blog: VA Secretary McDonald warns of next crisis in veterans healthcare

Congress would “help create another crisis" in veterans healthcare if it doesn't approve the president's full budget request for the Veterans Affairs Department, VA Secretary Robert McDonald said Friday.

Blog: Missing Apple Watch sensors found, but mystery continues

Blog: Missing Apple Watch sensors found, but mystery continues

Disassembling new gadgets is a geek ritual with every technology release. The gadget-head community who tore apart the Apple Watch found a pulse oximeter that the company has mysteriously chosen not to activate.

Blog: Business-backed group says ditch insurance mandates, give everyone credits

Congress should overhaul the Affordable Care Act's insurance subsidies and scrap the individual and employer mandates, the Conference Board's Committee for Economic Development said in a report issued Thursday.

Blog: NNU's aggressive path to hospital labor wins

Blog: NNU's aggressive path to hospital labor wins

National Nurses United's call Monday for strikes at the University of Chicago Medical Center and eight hospitals in California follows a slew of fights the union has picked with management recently over what it says are issues with staffing and patient care.

Blog: Jeb Bush draws mixed reaction with mandatory advance-directive proposal

Blog: Jeb Bush draws mixed reaction with mandatory advance-directive proposal

Likely Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush wants to require everyone to fill out an advance directive governing their end-of-life care before they can receive Medicare benefits. His proposal is both ironic and politically audacious.

Blog: Federal officials take health IT victory lap

Dr. Karen DeSalvo, HHS' top health information technology official, and acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt closed the HIMSS conference by cataloging the achievements of the Obama administration but also delivering sober assessments of IT challenges that lie ahead.

Blog: Telehealth dropped from 21st Century Cures bill, sources say

More Medicare pay for telehealth services will not be a part of the 21st Century Cures bill, according to industry sources informed of the decision by the House committee drafting the legislation.

Blog: One Pentagon bidder talks up its cybersecurity skills

The ability to protect the Pentagon's electronic health records from cybersecurity attacks will play a big role in determining who wins the multi-billion-dollar contract. Leidos, which is part of the Cerner and Accenture team, isn't bashful about touting its own capabilities.

Blog: Medicare doc fix bill would expand access to Medicare claims data

Transparency advocates are hailing a little-noticed provision in the pending Medicare physician-payment bill that would widen the availability of Medicare claims data to insurers and providers for purposes such as designing provider networks and improving quality of care.

Blog: Montana renews faith for Medicaid expansion supporters

Just when supporters of Medicaid expansion were feeling disheartened, the Republican-led legislature in the rugged individualist state of Montana revived their spirits.

Blog: When the Champagne is finished, take a closer look at the new Medicare physician pay system

Nearly everyone in healthcare is toasting what looks like the imminent repeal and replacement of the hated SGR formula for Medicare payment. But as Sarah Kliff points out this week in Vox, major questions loom about how exactly the new system will work, and whether it will accurately peg higher...

Blog: More evidence of reform's healthcare divide

People living in Florida and Texas are more likely to have problems paying their medical bills and skip unaffordable doctor visits than those living in California and New York. The reasons are rooted in history, politics and policy,.

Blog: Smaller Enroll America could spell trouble for ACA sign-ups

Blog: Smaller Enroll America could spell trouble for ACA sign-ups

The dramatic downsizing of Enroll America, the not-for-profit group tasked by the White House to educate Americans about the Affordable Care Act, could depress enrollment in states where local lawmakers oppose the law.

Blog: White House warms to healthcare industry's call to action on climate change

Blog: White House warms to healthcare industry's call to action on climate change

President Barack Obama declared this week that climate change is one of the nation's largest public health threats. The healthcare industry is often criticized for being behind the times, but it has been ahead of the curve on highlighting the environment's impact on health.

Blog: Private insurance exchange membership doubles for 2015

Roughly 6 million people chose their employer-sponsored health benefits through a private insurance exchange for 2015, according to consulting firm Accenture.

Blog: Fla. Gov. Scott's about-face on Medicaid dims expansion hopes

Florida's Republican Gov. Rick Scott said he no longer supports expanding Medicaid to low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act because he does not believe the federal government will keep its promise to provide funding for the new group of beneficiaries. That could scuttle Medicaid expansion...

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