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The Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) will have 561 accountable care organizations (ACOs) participating in 2018, including 124 new entrants into the program, covering a total of 10.5 million assigned beneficiaries, according to CMS.

The American Hospital Association, America’s Essential Hospitals, the Association of American Medical Colleges and three health systems will appeal the dismissal of its lawsuit seeking to block $1.6 billion in cuts to Medicare payments made through the 340B drug discount program.

Later this year, providers wanting to take advantage of the 5 percent bonus for participating in an Advanced Alternative Payment Model (AAPM) can join the new Bundled Payments For Care Improvement-Advanced Model (BPCI-A) launched by CMS on Jan. 9.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System, also known as Penn Medicine, has finalized its acquisition of the Plainsboro, New Jersey-based Princeton HealthCare System (PHCS) extending its reach into the Garden State.

America’s Essential Hospitals has announced a new advocacy and advertising campaign seeking a delay in cuts to Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments, which are set to be reduced by $2 billion in the current fiscal year.

 

Recent Headlines

PwC finds hospital and physician practice deals down in Q1

In its quarterly analysis of healthcare merger and acquisition activity, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, concludes that compared to the first quarter of last year, 2014 so far is fairly soft in announced deals for hospitals and physician practices even thought the incentives to merge are still strong.

AtlantiCare and Geisinger health systems make merger plans official

If regulatory approval is given, AtlantiCare, southern New Jersey’s largest healthcare organization, will become a part of the Geisinger Health System sometime next year. The two organizations have signed a definitive agreement for AtlantiCare to become a member of the Geisinger Health System, and expect the regulatory approval phase to take 9 to 12 months to complete.

Moody’s special report confirms importance of hospitals diversifying

It’s not quite “diversify or die,” but a new report from Moody’s Investors Service on the not-for-profit hospital sector does stress the need for hospitals to expand into outpatient services, along with making investments in efficiency and information technology.

CHE Trinity partners with Walgreens in latest strategic step

Since Richard Gilfillan, M.D., left his post as director of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center last June to become CEO of newly merged CHE Trinity Health, the healthcare systems has made several strategic moves to align itself with changes driven by healthcare reform. The latest came this week when it announced a deal with Walgreens, the nation’s largest drugstore chain, to collaborate on clinical care and population health initiatives.

Milliman measure finds healthcare cost growth slowing to 5.4%

The annual Milliman Medical Index estimate of the projected total cost of healthcare for a hypothetical family of four is out and the good news is that the amount only increased 5.4 percent this year, the lowest rate of annual increase since Milliman first began tracking this cost in 2002. The bad news is that the cost is now up to $23,215.

Partners HealthCare reaches deal with Massachusetts’ attorney general

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley says her office has reached an agreement with Partners HealthCare that lets New England’s largest not-for-profit health system purchase an additional community hospital in the state in exchange for agreeing to adhere to certain terms that limit its ability to continue to grow and leverage its size and market dominance to raise prices.

FTC official hints at increased policing of healthcare mergers

Writing in Health Affairs, Martin Gaynor, director of the Bureau of Economics of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in Washington, D.C., observed that given new findings on the impact of healthcare mergers on prices, it is important for the FTC to work with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and other government agencies to maintain “antitrust enforcement and consumer protection in healthcare markets.”

Irving Levin finds decline in healthcare merger and acquisition activity

Contradicting other analysts’ findings, as well as popular expectations, Irving Levin Associates of Norwalk, Connecticut, has concluded that merger and acquisition activity in the healthcare sector was actually down last year.

Moody’s downgrades Indiana’s Good Samaritan Hospital and places Detroit’s Henry Ford Health System under review

Moody's Investors Service has downgraded the bond rating of Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes, Indiana, to Baa1 from A3 on $82.1 million of outstanding debt, and it is considering also downgrading the Detroit-area’s Henry Ford Health System’s $831 million of debt. It currently has an A2 rating.

Winter hits first combined CHS-HMA financials

With 65 percent of Community Health Systems’ (CHS’s) entire portfolio of hospitals severely impacted by the severe winter weather seen in the Midwest, East Coast and Southeast states, its first financials since its blockbuster merger with Health Management Associates (HMA) was completed was below its previous expectations and pushed its stock price down.

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