* The American Medical Association rolls out its $1 million educational campaign designed to help curtail the growing influence of America's multibillion-dollar drug companies. The only problem is-as Modern Healthcare reported earlier in the summer-the drug companies themselves are bankrolling the campaign.
* A new study shows hospital services, not prescription drugs, accounted for most of healthcare inflation in the previous year. The report hit hospitals hard just as they began pushing for more money for disaster preparedness.
* The number of uninsured drops for the second year in a row, even though officials contend the data are obsolete because of the ailing economy, which was likely already sending the number of uninsured soaring.
* HHS Inspector General Janet Rehnquist indicates she plans to ease some of the federal government's fraud compliance requirements to reduce providers' costs.
* In the biggest healthcare fraud settlement in U.S. history, TAP Pharmaceutical Products, Lake Forest, Ill., agrees to pay $875 million in penalties; $290 million of that was in criminal fines. The total came to more than $884 million with accrued interest
* Peer-review organizations get a new role and new name-quality-improvement organizations.
* New AHA data show hospital profit margins fell in 2000 for the fourth consecutive year.
* The CMS contends it will save $9 billion by imposing new limits on a controversial Medicaid loophole that allows states to inflate the federal government's contribution to their programs.
* The House unanimously approves two pieces of legislation that would ease federal mandates on providers. The Senate was working on companion legislation, likely to be part of an economic stimulus package.
* Despite sliding revenue, the Joint Commission reports a record profit in 2000, $11.6 million, more than double the earnings of any previous year. Revenue totaled $111.4 million.
* Aetna, Hartford, Conn., announces plans to ax 6,000 jobs, or 16% of its 37,000 employees. It's the second straight December the insurer announced large-scale layoffs.
* No. 2 malpractice insurer St. Paul Cos., based in Minnesota, announces it is exiting the business, leaving 42,000 physicians without insurance. The insurer expected to complete its pullback within18 months.
* After years of deep losses, drkoop.com, doing business under the name Dr. Koop Life Care Corp., announces it will shut down and file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.