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Healthcare news this week …

Senator proposes federal curbs on balance billing

Senator proposes federal curbs on balance billing

September 17, 2018

A Senate proposal would take aim at hospital balance billing — a practice that has caused sticker-shock reverberations across the country and sparked increasing public outcry.

Senate clears opioids, 'gag clause' legislation

Senate clears opioids, 'gag clause' legislation

September 17, 2018

The Senate passed its opioids legislation, laying the groundwork for a final bicameral deal. The upper chamber also cleared a stand-alone healthcare bill to target insurer gag clauses on pharmacists.

Summa Health begins bridging its financial gap

Summa Health begins bridging its financial gap

By Lydia Coutré  |  September 17, 2018

Following a multimillion-dollar operating loss in 2017, Summa Health in the first half of this year managed to achieve a $43 million turnaround of its finances and is back in the black.

2 million U.S. teens are vaping marijuana

2 million U.S. teens are vaping marijuana

By Associated Press  |  September 17, 2018

A school-based survey shows nearly 1 in 11 U.S. students have used marijuana in electronic cigarettes, heightening health concerns about the new popularity of vaping among teens.

CMS plans to stop hospitals from rejecting outpatients

CMS plans to stop hospitals from rejecting outpatients

September 17, 2018

The CMS wants to buck a trend of hospitals denying patient transfers from ambulatory surgery centers. The proposal is part of a broader effort to reduce providers' administrative burdens and improve access to care.

VA gears up to take on Choice claims processing

VA gears up to take on Choice claims processing

September 17, 2018

Health Net, one of two payers in the VA Choice system, is losing its claims-processing contract starting Oct. 1. The VA will step into the gap as it looks to take on a greater role in paying community providers for taking care of veterans.

News from other sources

By Modern Healthcare  |  September 17, 2018

New Medicare Advantage tool will limit patients' drug choices, marijuana use is growing as heroin use falls and California's Medicaid program still relies on paper for federal reporting.

Some startup insurers are ditching the deductible

Some startup insurers are ditching the deductible

September 15, 2018

Two health insurance startups that are ditching high-deductible plans in favor of straightforward copays illustrate a growing sentiment that having patients pay more out of pocket won't tame rising healthcare costs and could harm patients' health.

Commentary: Apply Roosevelt's wisdom to healthcare improvement

Commentary: Apply Roosevelt's wisdom to healthcare improvement

By Dr. Chris DeRienzo  |  September 15, 2018

Mission Health's approach to driving continuous improvement is best captured by paraphrasing the words of President Theodore Roosevelt: Real progress is won by people who take the next step, not those who theorize about the 200th.

All-payer claims databases: a work in progress

All-payer claims databases: a work in progress

September 15, 2018

Although 16 states have all-payer claims databases, there's no evidence they have helped lower healthcare costs. Advocates say the databases should empower lawmakers and consumers by providing reliable data.


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