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Top Stories

M&A Watch: Hospitals seeking mergers with bigger players can be choosier

By Beth Kutscher  |  January 24, 2015

Hospitals across the country have been rapidly consolidating for some time, but more of them are doing so now from a position of financial strength as they see increased volume and an improved payer mix under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Inside medicine's gray zone

By Sabriya Rice  |  January 24, 2015

Researchers and cost-control advocates are increasingly questioning drugs, devices and procedures that proved effective in clinical trials but don't achieve the same outcomes once widely deployed. Sometimes they perform worse than cheaper alternatives already on the market.

App breaks down language barriers for patients, doctors

By Darius Tahir  |  January 24, 2015

Jerrit Tan, a first-generation Chinese-American, used to skip school to act as a translator for his immigrant parents and extended family when they visited a doctor. Now he has developed a smartphone app that provides medical interpretation services in 15 languages.

Late News

CMS' dialysis evaluation system 'distorts' facilities' performance

By Sabriya Rice  |  January 24, 2015

Consumers can now evaluate the quality of care at more than 5,500 dialysis facilities online with a five-star rating system the CMS rolled out last week. But kidney-care providers remain concerned that the structure of the program will create more confusion than clarity for consumers.

The Week Ahead

Banner, University of Arizona deal awaits key vote

By Beth Kutscher  |  January 24, 2015

The fate of the blockbuster merger between Banner Health and the University of Arizona Health Network will be decided this week when the state's Board of Regents votes on whether to approve the deal.

Health spending jump expected in economic report

By Melanie Evans  |  January 24, 2015

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis this week will release its first look at economic growth—including U.S. spending on healthcare services—for the final three months of last year.

Regional News

Penn State Health plans to acquire CHI hospital, and other news

By Adam Rubenfire  |  January 24, 2015

Penn State Health is one step closer to acquiring another in-state hospital. Pennsylvania State University's board of trustees has approved plans for the acquisition of St. Joseph Regional Health Network from Englewood, Colo.-based Catholic Health Initiatives.

Florida's Broward Health adds inpatient capacity

By Adam Rubenfire  |  January 24, 2015

Broward Health is bucking a trend by investing in inpatient rather than outpatient facilities. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based system plans to add 54 inpatient beds to its hospital in Coral Springs.

L.A. County moves closer to consolidating agencies

By Adam Rubenfire  |  January 24, 2015

Los Angeles County voted last week to further consider the integration of its public-health and mental-health agencies with its Department of Health Services, which runs the county's hospitals and clinics.

News

Will Obama's budget offer fresh ideas or stay the course?

By Paul Demko  |  January 24, 2015

President Obama has two options to flesh out healthcare spending priorities in his annual budget recommendations: Submit a status quo spending blueprint or propose new initiatives he knows Republicans will reject for the sake of shaping the healthcare debate in the 2016 presidential election.

Looming nursing shortage fueled by faculty shortfall

By Andis Robeznieks  |  January 24, 2015

A nursing faculty shortage is producing a circular crisis, as students are being turned away from understaffed nursing schools at a time when more nurses are needed in the U.S. healthcare system.

Value-based care not likely to end payer/provider financial spats

By Bob Herman  |  January 24, 2015

Those in healthcare hoping to see the end of bitter price feuds between health insurers and providers as value-based contracting becomes more widespread may be doing the healthcare equivalent of waiting for Godot—anticipating something that will never come.

Experts laud compounding pharmacy safety recommendations

By Lisa Schencker  |  January 24, 2015

New recommendations on how to improve the safety of compounded, sterile drugs given in hospitals represent a step forward in the fight to prevent more patients from being sickened or killed by mishandled or improperly compounded drugs, experts say.

Cover Story

Inside medicine's gray zone

By Sabriya Rice  |  January 24, 2015

Researchers and cost-control advocates are increasingly questioning drugs, devices and procedures that proved effective in clinical trials but don't achieve the same outcomes once widely deployed. Sometimes they perform worse than cheaper alternatives already on the market.

CMS can order trials before OKing payment for new tech

By Virgil Dickson  |  January 24, 2015

The CMS will continue ordering some drug and device manufacturers to collect evidence on how well their technologies work before giving its final approval on reimbursement.

Features

M&A Watch: Hospitals seeking mergers with bigger players can be choosier

By Beth Kutscher  |  January 24, 2015

Hospitals across the country have been rapidly consolidating for some time, but more of them are doing so now from a position of financial strength as they see increased volume and an improved payer mix under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

App breaks down language barriers for patients, doctors

By Darius Tahir  |  January 24, 2015

Jerrit Tan, a first-generation Chinese-American, used to skip school to act as a translator for his immigrant parents and extended family when they visited a doctor. Now he has developed a smartphone app that provides medical interpretation services in 15 languages.

Editorial

Boost the right kind of innovation

By Merrill Goozner  |  January 24, 2015

Nearly two decades ago, Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen coined the phrase “disruptive innovation” to describe new technologies that transform industries by bringing simplicity and affordability to products and processes that are complicated and high cost.

Guest Commentary

Quality-of-care standards missing for homebound seniors

By Dr. Bruce Leff and Dr. Christine Ritchie  |  January 24, 2015

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, our healthcare system is moving from one that rewards those who provide a high volume of services to one that rewards high-value services to patients.

Letters

Harvard Pilgrim secures discount on Gilead's newest hep C drug

By Bob Herman  |  January 29, 2015

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, one of the largest not-for-profit health insurers in New England, said it will save millions of dollars in hepatitis C drug costs through its negotiated pricing discount from pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences.

Major acquisition, new products boost Thermo Fisher earnings

By Adam Rubenfire  |  January 29, 2015

Thermo Fisher Scientific's earnings, following a major acquisition, soared 75.7% to $601.2 million in the three months ended Dec. 31. The company saw a nearly 50% jump in earnings for its fiscal 2014, ending the year with $1.9 billion in net income.

Where healthcare is now on march to value-based pay

By Modern Healthcare  |  January 29, 2015

U.S. healthcare providers and insurers start from widely divergent places as some of the largest move to put most of their business into payment models that reward lower cost and higher quality care.

Looming nursing shortage fueled by faculty shortfall

By Modern Healthcare  |  January 29, 2015

A nursing faculty shortage is producing a circular crisis, as students are being turned away from understaffed nursing schools at a time when more nurses are needed in the U.S. healthcare system.

It's not just the ACA—employer-sponsored insurance was already eroding

By Adam Rubenfire  |  January 29, 2015

The number of private-sector workers who get health insurance through their employer has been declining steadily since well before the Great Recession and nearly a decade before the healthcare reform law took effect, according to a new analysis published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Up to 6 million face federal fines for lack of insurance

By Virgil Dickson  |  January 29, 2015

As many as 6 million people could face fines of up to 1% of their household income for not having health insurance in 2014, said Mark Mazur, assistant secretary for tax policy at the U.S. Treasury Department.

Data Points | Costs

By Modern Healthcare  |  January 29, 2015

How much does the U.S. spend on billing and insurance-related administrative costs? Get the answer and find out other key healthcare stats in the news.

Dems balk on medical technology bill

By Modern Healthcare  |  January 29, 2015

Democrats on the House Energy & Commerce Committee have withdrawn support from legislation that would loosen regulatory requirements on a broad range of new healthcare technologies, sources close to the legislative discussions say.

HHS cracks down on providers hiring prohibited employees

By Modern Healthcare  |  January 29, 2015

An increasing number of healthcare companies are being fined for hiring people on U.S. government exclusion lists as HHS' Office of Inspector General steps up its monitoring of hiring.

It's not just the ACA—employer-sponsored insurance was already eroding

By Modern Healthcare  |  January 29, 2015

The number of private-sector workers who get health insurance through their employer has been declining steadily since well before the Great Recession and nearly a decade before the healthcare reform law took effect, according to a new analysis from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

FDA issues first approval for remote continuous-glucose-monitoring app

By Modern Healthcare  |  January 29, 2015

The FDA has OK'd the first mobile medical app for remote monitoring of patient glucose data. The technology from Dexcom was approved through the so-called “de novo” pathway, which allows firms to face lighter regulatory requirements for novel, yet low- or medium-risk devices or software.

Q&A

'We need to show up with evidence': Edwards Lifesciences CEO

By Modern Healthcare  |  January 24, 2015

Since 2000, Michael Mussallem has served as chairman and CEO of Irvine, Calif.-based Edwards Lifesciences, a medical-device manufacturer best known for marketing heart valves. Modern Healthcare reporter Jaimy Lee spoke with Mussallem about Edwards' plans, how his firm demonstrates the value of its...

By the Numbers

20 largest healthcare finance companies

January 24, 2015

A list of the nation's 20 largest healthcare finance companies, ranked by amount of loans underwritten in the healthcare sector underwritten in 2014. Source: Dealogic. Published Jan. 24, 2015, p. 34.

News Makers
Data Points

Data Points for Jan. 26, 2015

By Modern Healthcare  |  January 24, 2015

Data Points for the week of Jan. 26, 2015, covered the following topics: Medicare, insurance, costs, insurers

Outliers

Michigan medical school programmer wins on 'Jeopardy!'

By Modern Healthcare  |  January 24, 2015

Who is $104,500 richer? The answer is John Schultz, 29, a computer programmer with the University of Michigan School of Medicine in Ann Arbor, and a five-time champion on the “Jeopardy!” television quiz show.

Corrections and Clarifications

Corrections and clarifications

By Modern Healthcare  |  January 24, 2015

The Jan. 19 story “Hiring in healthcare will improve, but boom will bypass hospitals” incorrectly stated that the American Health Care Association represents...

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