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House authorizes Obamacare lawsuit
July 30, 2014
The House passed a resolution Wednesday authorizing a lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama's constitutional authority to delay the employer mandate in the federal healthcare reform law. The measure was adopted on a 225-201 largely party-line vote.

Interest surges in Medicare bundled-payment initiative
July 31, 2014
Medicare will nearly triple the number of hospitals and medical groups that are candidates to test bundled payments, one of the health reform law's efforts to revamp healthcare financing.

Ascension forms senior-care unit to integrate post-acute-care services
July 30, 2014
To strengthen its footprint in the post-acute-care sector, Ascension Health has formed a senior-care division to integrate its extensive post-acute-care services and establish more uniform care standards.

Reform Update: Economists waiting for more numbers before dissecting ACA's impact on spending
July 30, 2014
Consumer health spending did not accelerate in April, May and June even as insurance coverage purchased through March under Obamacare went into effect, a preliminary federal estimate shows. Economists, however, met the news with more skepticism than curiosity, perhaps because of dramatic revisions...

IOM report on medical education questions doc-shortage fears
July 30, 2014
Physician organizations are not happy that an Institute of Medicine panel's vision for overhauling Medicare-funded medical training questions two beliefs that are widely held in healthcare: that a severe physician shortage is imminent and the only way to avoid it is an infusion of federal money for...

It's a date: HHS final rule sets ICD-10 switch for Oct. 1, 2015
July 31, 2014
In a final rule issued Thursday afternoon, HHS formally set an Oct. 1, 2015, compliance date for conversion to ICD-10 diagnostic and procedure codes, incorporating the absolute minimum delay imposed by Congress when it ordered HHS to roll back the conversion date previously set for Oct. 1, 2014.

J&J withdraws fibroid treatment device from market
July 30, 2014
Johnson & Johnson is asking surgeons not to use a line of devices for removing growths from the uterus amid regulators' growing concern that the electronic surgical tools raise the risk of spreading cancer to other parts of the body.

Top Maryland health official heads to Johns Hopkins next year
July 31, 2014
Dr. Joshua Sharfstein is stepping down as Maryland's top health official to take a position with Johns Hopkins University.

Probe exposes flaws behind HealthCare.gov rollout
July 31, 2014
Management failures by the Obama administration set the stage for computer woes that paralyzed the president's new healthcare program last fall, nonpartisan investigators said in a report released Wednesday.

Generic drugs, low enrollment dampened Medicare Part D spending: CBO
July 30, 2014
The cost of Medicare Part D, the federal prescription drug program, has been far lower than originally predicted, new data from the Congressional Budget Office show. A massive slowdown in drug spending growth and low participation in the program have played the biggest roles.

Cigna to expand into new state exchanges despite early exchange financial losses
July 31, 2014
Insurer Cigna Corp. plans to enter health insurance exchanges in Georgia, Maryland and Missouri next year, expanding its investment in the newly created markets despite losses seen in other exchange markets.

Ascension's Anthony Tersigni on accountability, integrity
July 26, 2014
Anthony Tersigni, CEO of St. Louis-based Ascension, talks about his system's recent integrated delivery partnership with CHE Trinity Health, its growth strategy, his management style and issues related to Catholic healthcare doctrine.

McKesson sees earnings drop on international and one-time charges
July 31, 2014
McKesson Corp.'s earnings fell 5% in its fiscal first quarter, despite double-digit growth in its distribution segment, as charges related to its international technology business and certain one-time items dragged down the company's bottom line.

House approves VA healthcare overhaul
July 30, 2014
The House overwhelmingly approved a landmark bill Wednesday to refurbish the Veterans Affairs Department and improve veterans' healthcare.

Healthcare spending growth lags overall economy
July 30, 2014
Consumer health spending growth remained largely flat in the second quarter, preliminary federal estimates show. Annualized spending by consumers for hospital care, clinic visits and other medical services increased 3% in the second quarter compared with the same quarter a year ago, in line with...

CMS official on HealthCare.gov disaster: Lesson learned
July 31, 2014
Responding to a scathing review of the Obama administration's handling of HealthCare.gov last year, new CMS Principal Deputy Administrator Andy Slavitt told lawmakers Thursday that the administration is better prepared to avoid and respond to technology problems when a new wave of consumers floods...

Baxter to offload vaccine business to Pfizer for $635 million
July 31, 2014
Baxter International is selling its vaccine business to Pfizer for $635 million as it prepares to split into two companies.

HCA promotes Taylor from interim to permanent head of Parallon
July 31, 2014
Effective immediately, HCA has named Chris Taylor president of Parallon, the hospital chain's revenue-cycle management subsidiary. Taylor, 51, has led Parallon as interim president since November 2013.

CHS sees strong quarter thanks to HMA purchase, fewer uninsured patients
July 31, 2014
Community Health Systems reported strong results in the second quarter thanks to its acquisition of Health Management Associates in January and to the end of abnormal winter weather patterns that had hurt admissions in the first quarter of the year, the Franklin, Tenn.-based provider reported...

MedAssets sees revenue, net income rise
July 30, 2014
MedAssets, an Alpharetta, Ga.-based group purchasing organization and healthcare services company, reported small second-quarter increases in revenue and net income despite a decline in net administrative fees for its GPO.

WellPoint gains policyholders as earnings slip
July 30, 2014
WellPoint, repeating a pattern reported by insurer Humana, saw its customer base increase significantly while its earnings fell during the second quarter.

EHealth aims for larger share of subsidized insurance market
July 30, 2014
Online brokerage eHealth is planning to be much more active in signing up individuals for coverage who qualify for subsidies during the 2015 open-enrollment period, company officials said during a call with investors Wednesday.

Uninsured rate drops faster in states that expanded Medicaid
July 29, 2014
Americans lacking insurance coverage are becoming more concentrated in states that have opted not to expand Medicaid, according to the latest survey data from the Urban Institute's Health Policy Center. Residents of southern states, Spanish-language speakers and high school dropouts are also a...

Setting up a state exchange not as simple as some think, analyst argues
July 29, 2014
Some state officials and health policy experts argue it should be relatively easy for states that have not yet established their own insurance exchanges to find a legal workaround to retain federal premium subsidies following last week's ruling disallowing subsidies through the federal...

Teva earnings rise on growing generic drug sales
July 31, 2014
Strong U.S. and international sales of its generic drugs sent second-quarter earnings higher for Israeli-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the world's largest generic drugmaker. U.S. generic sales rose 10% in the quarter, while overall generic revenue was up 5%, and generic profitability rose...

Frosty temps deadlier than heatwaves, CDC says
July 30, 2014
Exposure to cold temperatures kills twice as many people annually as excessive heat does, according to a new government report that found deaths that occurred as a result of extreme weather events such as heat waves, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes were still rare when compared with one that is...

Reform Update: California exchange plans have small increases for 2015
July 31, 2014
Most consumers purchasing coverage on the California health insurance exchange will see small or moderate increases in their 2015 premiums when open enrollment starts Nov. 15. But those consumers paid significantly more for their individual-market coverage in 2014 than they paid for similar plans...

Compounding pharmacies band together to fight coverage limits
July 31, 2014
A group of compounding pharmacies has joined a provider network launched this month, aiming to serve as an intermediary to negotiate with payers. The move comes in response to the recent decision by a number of pharmacy benefits managers to limit coverage of some custom medications.

ACA subsidy case being appealed to U.S. Supreme Court
July 31, 2014
Plaintiffs who lost in the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling over the legality of health insurance subsidies being paid to those who bought plans on non-state exchanges have formally asked the Supreme Court to take up the case.

Becton Dickinson and Co. sees third-quarter net rise on strong surgical system demand
July 31, 2014
Becton, Dickinson and Co. on Thursday reported that its fiscal third-quarter net income rose 5.1% to $2.2 billion from $2.1 billion in the same period last year, surpassing analysts' projections.

Universal American's zeal for ACOs is fading
July 29, 2014
Insurer Universal American, the largest operator of Medicare accountable care organizations, has exited three ACOs and may drop more as the company sheds poorly performing or fringe businesses, said executives with the publicly traded insurer.

Express Scripts continues to see fallout from Medco purchase; income falls
July 30, 2014
The continued ripple effects of a major client exit following a big merger contributed to a second-quarter drop in net income for Express Scripts Holding Co.

NYU Langone rebounding financially from Superstorm Sandy
July 30, 2014
NYU Langone Medical Center is well on the mend from the damage Superstorm Sandy wreaked on its New York City facilities more than a year and a half ago, its latest financials demonstrate.

Senate confirms McDonald as VA secretary
July 29, 2014
The Senate on Tuesday unanimously confirmed former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald as the new Veterans Affairs secretary, with a mission to overhaul an agency beleaguered by long veterans' waits for healthcare and VA workers falsifying records to cover up delays.

Delaware, Maryland systems partner on population health management
July 29, 2014
Bayhealth, Dover, Del., and Peninsula Regional Medical Center, Salisbury, Md., have agreed to create a loose partnership—yet another sign of regional hospitals searching for ways to gain economies of scale and work together on managing population health while remaining nominally independent.

Sovaldi likely to cost Medicare billions
July 29, 2014
The rising cost of hepatitis C drugs like Sovaldi and Olysio will increase Medicare Part D spending by $2.9 billion to $5.8 billion next year and could drive up premiums as much as 8.6%, according to a new report by the actuarial firm Milliman.

Medication reconciliation improvements needed: report
July 29, 2014
Medication reconciliation, a standard operating procedure at hospitals, remains a process in need of work, according to a report based on a study of 19 hospitals released by the National Institute for Health Care Reform.

U.S. appeals court blocks Mississippi abortion law
July 30, 2014
Mississippi's governor and attorney general will have to decide whether to challenge a federal appeals court ruling that is keeping the state's only abortion clinic in business. A panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 Tuesday to block a 2012 Mississippi law that requires abortion...

Obamacare coverage brings HCA more paying patients
July 29, 2014
HCA, the largest publicly traded hospital chain by revenue, reported a 14.2% increase in second-quarter net income as it treated more patients and improved its payer mix thanks to insurance expansion under the healthcare reform law.

New England Quality Care Alliance pilots consumer data use for care management
July 29, 2014
Michael Cantor, chief medical officer for the New England Quality Care Alliance, has a dilemma. Resources are scarce for care management of patients who the alliance would like to help with their weight, diabetes, or other complex or chronic conditions; and yet it's difficult to predict which...

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