March 4-7: Thousands of current and future healthcare leaders gather in Chicago for the 2019 American College of Healthcare Executives annual meeting. Spotlighted speakers during the Congress on Healthcare Leadership include David Entwistle, president and CEO of Stanford Health Care, who will discuss innovation; and Adventist Health Castle President and CEO Kathryn Raethel talking about improving quality and safety. Modern Healthcare’s team of Chicago-based reporters will be on site bringing you coverage all week.
March 5: Who knows if leaders on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will call Ethan Lindenberger to testify during their hearing, “Vaccines Save Lives: What is driving preventable disease outbreaks?”—but he’s got an interesting take. The 18-year-old’s story is becoming legendary. He went on social media to bypass his anti-vax parents and solicit advice on where he can get his shots. “My parents are kind of stupid and don’t believe in vaccines,” he wrote. In all seriousness, the anti-vax movement is causing great alarm. Already this year, there have been 159 reported cases of measles, eclipsing the total of 120 for all of 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HELP committee leaders Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) asked the CDC in early February what steps are being taken to boost vaccination rates.
March 6: A House Appropriations panel examines progress on the Veterans Affairs Department’s 10-year, $16 billion electronic health record overhaul. In a hearing last week, several committee members expressed serious concerns about cost overruns. The project was originally pegged at about $10 billion.
March 6-7: The constant drumbeat on high drug costs continues. The Senate Special Committee on Aging holds a two-day hearing on the “complex web of drug prices.” Part 1 focuses on costs to patients. Part 2 promises “paths forward.” Meanwhile, the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee on March 7 holds a hearing on lowering drug prices in Medicare. During a high-profile hearing last week in the Senate, seven Big Pharma executives deflected blame, but did offer support of the Creates Act, which aims to make it easier for generic-drug makers to compete.
March 7: Drugmakers aren’t the only ones in the spotlight. As promised when he took over the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) is starting his look at industry consolidation and “anticompetitive conduct” in healthcare markets.