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Fewer electronic health record requirements, smaller payment reforms and changing the definition of financial risk are some of the changes suggested by major healthcare groups in response to the CMS request for information on future models at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI).

If the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate is repealed as part of a Republican tax cut plan, premiums will likely rise and insurers will exit the individual market, according to the American Academy of Actuaries.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed a law on Nov. 21 to require insurers cover birth control products without copays, allow women to obtain a year’s supply at once and prevent most employers from opting out of contraceptive coverage on moral or religious grounds.

Alex Azar, President Donald Trump’s nominee for HHS Secretary, was paid nearly $2 million in his final year as an executive at pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and built a portfolio worth as much as $20.6 million in his nearly 10-year tenure at the company.

Several changes to Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans have been included in a proposed rule by CMS in an effort to fight opioid abuse among seniors while taking another step towards reducing regulations.

 

Recent Headlines

VA accused of shredding documents needed to process healthcare claims for waiting veterans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been regularly shredding thousands of documents related to veterans' claims, possibly including those needed to treat and fulfill benefits for veterans, according to an investigation by the inspector general. 

South Dakota researchers aim to improve tobacco-free policies in healthcare facilities

Research from South Dakota State University has shown that healthcare facilities vary wildly in their efforts to maintain a tobacco-free environment.

CMS drops two-midnight rule's inpatient payment cuts

Following industry criticism and legal challenges, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will no longer enforce an inpatient payment cut to hospitals under the two-midnight rule. Instead it will provide a onetime bump to hospitals to offset the cuts.

60 senators urge CMS to delay overall hospital quality star ratings

In wake of the April 21 release of the overall hospital quality star ratings system developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), sixty senators have advised a delay “to provide the necessary time to more closely examine the star rating methodology, analyze its impact on different types of hospitals, and provide more transparent information regarding the calculation of the ratings to determine accuracy.”

Study shows 37% of outpatient healthcare staff fail to follow hand hygiene recommendations

Staff at outpatient care facilities may need to brush up on hygiene basics, as a new study found a failure to follow recommendations for hand hygiene in 37 percent of observations.

New CMS multi-payer initiative to impact 20K doctors

CMS has unveiled a far-reaching multi-payer initiative that could have major implications for how primary care is delivered and reimbursed, affecting as many as 5,000 practices, 20,000 doctors and clinicians and 25 million patients.

Neb. governor signs bill allowing direct primary care

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has signed into law a new bill (LB 817) allowing medical practitioners to offer direct primary care agreements.

Author examines the development of medical physics as a true profession

Diagnostic medical physics has changed significantly over the years, according to a new editorial published by the Journal of the American College of Radiology. What was once an activity carried out by trained individuals is now a full-time profession.

Cost controls: Healthcare industry on a dangerous collision course

Two long-standing approaches to keeping healthcare costs down are on a “collision course” that could leave them both ineffective, according to a recent opinion piece in the New England Journal of Medicine. Do we have time to course correct or are we left to simply buckle our seatbelts and brace for impact? 

 

Cancer overtakes heart disease as leading cause of death in 22 U.S. states

Due to a sharp decrease in deaths resulting from cardiovascular disease, cancer has narrowed the gap and is challenging for the title of the nation’s number-one cause of mortality, according to research published online by the American Heart Association.

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