- John Bardis, the founder and former CEO of MedAssets, has been named HHS assistant secretary for administration. In his role, Bardis will serve as operating head for HHS Secretary Tom Price. Alpharetta, Ga.-based MedAssets was a publicly traded group purchasing and revenue-cycle management company. Bardis founded it in 1999 and grew it into one of the largest healthcare group purchasing organizations. He oversaw the firm's diversification into other areas, such as revenue-cycle services, for hospital and health system clients. Bardis stepped down as CEO of MedAssets in early 2015.
- The CMS is trying to make it easier for patients and doctors to pair up in accountable care organizations. In the coming weeks, Medicare beneficiaries can go to a website that contains their enrollment data and lists their primary-care doctor. If their doctor is in an ACO, beneficiaries would be assigned to both that provider and their ACO starting next year. Providers complain about the current process, in which patients are primarily assigned retroactively to ACOs. That means the CMS will tell a doctor at the end of the year which of their patients' care will be judged to determine success in raising care quality while cutting costs.
- Moody's Investors Service downgraded the debt of Catholic Health Initiatives last week to two notches above junk, following a similar downgrade earlier this month by S&P Global Ratings. Catholic-sponsored CHI, one of the nation's largest not-for-profit health systems, is in affiliation talks with Dignity Health in San Francisco. Moody's action moved CHI's rating down a notch to Baa1 from A3 with a negative outlook. The current rating is two notches above speculative grade for the hospital system's debt. In contrast, S&P's downgrade said CHI had a stable outlook.
John Bardis gets a post at HHS, and other late news
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