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The Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Program, which aims to test payments to rural facilities under a “reasonable cost-based methodology” for Medicare inpatient services, has 17 returning and 13 new participants as part of a five-year extension of the program.

A California judge ruled Sacramento-based Sutter Health “intentionally destroyed” 192 boxes of documents which were sought in an antitrust lawsuit against the not-for-profit health system.

Shareholders of the Advisory Board Company signed off on the $1.3 billion sale of its healthcare division to UnitedHealth Group’s Optum health services segment.

Policymakers may think elderly Americans should be satisfied with their Medicare coverage, but, according to new research from the Commonwealth Fund, they come in last place when compared to senior healthcare in 10 other countries.

Price growth in healthcare was at a 1.1 percent annual rate as of Sept. 2017 compared to the year prior, according to the Altarum Institute, coming close to the all-time low of 0.9 percent annual growth seen in Dec. 2015.

 

Recent Headlines

Pennsylvania helps Highmark and UPMC come to agreement on care of patients after 2015

The ongoing dispute between Highmark and UPMC in Pennsylvania had created considerably concern in the state over what would happen to patients with Highmark health plans who receive care from UPMC after 2015 when the contract between the two organizations ends.

HFMA survey: Strategy now beats competitive advantage as reason to merge

The pressure to control costs and manage risk-based payment systems is changing the reasons why healthcare providers merge finds a new survey of Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) members.

4 factors expected to increase healthcare sector growth in 2015

For 2015, the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Health Research Institute (HRI) is forecasting an end to the five-year contraction in the $2.8 trillion health industry. It predicts medical cost growth of 6.8 percent, up from the 6.5 percent it projected for 2014.

Merger to create $3.8 billion Michigan healthcare organization moves forward

The three individual boards of Southeast Michigan’s Beaumont Health System, Botsford Health Care and Oakwood Healthcare unanimously approved a merger plan and the three healthcare systems’ leaders signed the definitive merger agreement this week.

Texas health system hits nerve by raising entry-level compensation with money from executive bonuses

When Dallas-based Parkland Health & Hospital System announced last week that it would bump up its entry-level pay to $10.25 per hour using the first pool of funds earned by executives as part of a new pay for performance plan, it tapped into a much larger national debate about executive pay, minimum wage levels and income disparity.

Surgery Partners to acquire Symbion in a $792 million deal that will create one of the nation’s largest ASC operators

The already rapidly changing ambulatory surgery center (ASC) market is getting hotter as Surgery Center Holdings Inc. (which does business as Surgery Partners) will acquire Symbion Holdings Corporation and create a company with roughly 100 healthcare facilities and complementary ancillary services in 27 states that combined treat more than half a million patients a year.

DOJ joins whistleblower suit against national hospitalist company

What makes the suit particularly notable is that it involves alleged upcoding of evaluation and management (E/M) claims, a practice that normally does not generate payment differences large enough to justify the time and effort of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) conducting audits on such claims.

Castlight finds wide variation in commodity-type medical services

While the complexity of medicine may never fully allow pure commodity economics in healthcare services, certain services, such as diagnostic imaging and laboratory tests, do lend themselves toward being shopped for as commodities. In theory, this should make such services more sensitive to price pressure. But that is not what San Francisco healthcare technology firm Castlight Health found when it examined four such services: low-back MRI, head CT, lipid panel and preventive primary care visit.

Hospital mergers and profits come under fire in Massachusetts

Massachusetts, the first state to enact a universal health insurance coverage law, may also be among the first to experience the political upheaval that could come with healthcare reform driven changes.

ValleyCare community hospitals to become Stanford affiliates

Academic giant Stanford Medical Center in Stanford, California, and ValleyCare Health System, based in Pleasanton, California, have signed a non-binding letter of intent that would make ValleyCare’s two community hospitals and outpatient facilities part of Stanford Hospital & Clinics.

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