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Policy

 

To help combat opioid addiction and abuse, the American Medical Association (AMA) suggested the Senate consider more than a dozen policies on everything from allowing Medicare to cover methadone in outpatient treatment programs to creating an addiction treatment-centered alternative payment model.

The Center for American Progress (CAP), a liberal-leaning think tank, has added a proposal to the debate on how to achieve universal health coverage but without moving the U.S. to a single-payer healthcare system—though providers would be paid less than they currently are by private insurance and hospitals would need to adapt to a big expansion of bundled payments.

Under a newly proposed rule from HHS, short-term health insurance coverage that doesn’t comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be more widely available, which the agency admitted may lead to insurer losses on the ACA exchanges if younger, healthier customers leave that market to buy short-term plans.

For two decades, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has supposedly been blocked from conducting research into the health effects of gun violence by a budget amendment. HHS Secretary Alex Azar has a different opinion, telling members of Congress Thursday he would allow the CDC to conduct research which doesn’t veer into advocacy.

Providers have until March 12 to apply for CMS’s new Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) Advanced model, though the program was only unveiled on Jan. 9. Considering the details CMS has given about the model, that’s not enough time for hospitals to decide whether to participate, according to the American Hospital Association (AHA).

 

Recent Headlines

CMS looks to adapt ACO benchmarks to regional realities

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is proposing changes in the benchmarks it uses to evaluate ACOs in the Medicare Shared Savings Program.

California hospital pays more than $3.2 million to settle allegations

A hospital in Oceanside, Calif., agreed to pay more than $3.2 million to settle claims it violated laws and Medicare’s prohibition on having an illegal financial relationship with referring physicians.

Government Accountability Office finds flaws in FDA's methods

According to a new 42-page report published by investigators from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), there are significant flaws in the way the FDA tracks drugs after they come to market. 

Supreme Court won't hear Medtronic case

Caplinger v. Medtronic Inc., the lawsuit in which a patient accused Medtronic of allowing doctors to use its INFUSE Bone Graft product in ways not approved by the FDA, made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the Court announced it has declined to hear the case. 

Nonprofit hospitals under the taxman’s magnifying glass

Nonprofit hospitals getting challenged on their tax-exempt status have been much in the news of late.  

Slavitt shares CMS implementation goals for 2016

Successfully achieving change in healthcare is 90 percent about implementation, said Andy Slavitt, acting director of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, speaking at the 34th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.

Obama vetoes ACA repeal bill, but Republicans claim a victory of sorts

President Obama has fended off Congressional Republicans’ latest stab at rolling back the Affordable Care Act, but this time GOP legislators says things are different: They succeeded for the first time in getting a repeal bill onto the President’s desk.

Journos chronicle disregard for privacy, intimidation of whistleblowers at the VA

From long waits to manipulated medical records to preventable deaths, the Department of Veterans Affairs has had more than its share of problems over the past few years. That’s no secret. 

Pediatric hospitals hit hard by ACA payment reductions

Anticipating a plunge in the number of uninsured patients, the framers of the Affordable Care Act reduced disproportionate-share (DSH) payments to hospitals serving outsized indigent and Medicaid populations. A recent crunch of the numbers shows the cuts are placing particular pains on children’s hospitals. 

FTC plans on blocking proposed merger between two Chicago hospitals

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on Dec. 18 that it planned on blocking the proposed merger of two major hospital systems in Chicago, the third time in six weeks that the FTC challenged a proposed hospital merger.

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