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Jul 19, 2018

A new set of religious directives from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops could make it more complicated for Catholic and non-Catholic health systems to forge merger or partnership deals, even as more systems are entering or exploring such tie-ups.

Last month, the bishops overwhelmingly approved the 6th edition of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, updating a section on collaborative arrangements with non-Catholic organizations whose last...

Jul 19, 2018

The Trump administration looks like it's making good on its promise to tweak drug rebate laws that favor pharmacy benefit managers.

On Wednesday, HHS' Office of Inspector General sent a new rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review related to legal protections for drug rebates.

Details of the proposal weren't available, but the regulation is called "Removal of Safe Harbor Protection for Rebates to Plans or PBMs Involving Prescription Pharmaceuticals...

Jul 19, 2018

The Maryland Health Care Commission updated its price transparency website Thursday with new cost and quality data and a petition that lobbies providers and insurers to reveal their costs.

Wearthecost.org aims to inform consumers about wide variation in price and quality of care in hospitals across Maryland and spur high-cost hospitals to lower their prices.

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Jul 19, 2018

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The 1.4 million Californians who buy coverage on the state's individual insurance exchange will pay more in 2019 in part because the federal government zeroed out the federal penalty for not enrolling in coverage.

Jul 19, 2018

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Premiums in California’s health insurance exchange will rise by an average of 8.7 percent next year, marking a return to more modest increases despite ongoing threats to the Affordable Care Act.

The state marketplace, Covered California, said the rate increase for 2019 would have been closer to 5 percent if the federal penalty for going without health coverage had not been...

Jul 19, 2018

House Democrats on Thursday launched a 66-member Medicare for All caucus, which includes hospitals as some of its private industry supporters, according to the group's founder.

Several community health centers publicly endorsed a move toward a single payer system, according to caucus founder Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.). Some hospitals were part of the talks that led to formation of the Medicare for All group. The lawmakers want to land on concrete, tangible policies to start a...

Jul 19, 2018

The UPMC health system will end its in-network coverage of Highmark Medicare Advantage members on June 30, 2019, according to a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that reverses a lower court's order that granted coverage through 2019.

Pennsylvania consumers have been caught in the middle of a spat between the state's largest health system and insurer involving the expiration of consent decrees signed five years ago.

The breakup began in 2012, when UPMC and Highmark agreed...

Jul 19, 2018

New York City will pay a group of nearly 1,700 nurses $20.8 million to settle a gender discrimination complaint filed by the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

The settlement is related to the city's past policy of allowing early retirement for municipal workers in "physically taxing" occupations, mostly held by men. The designation excluded nurses and midwives, who are primarily female.

Beginning in 1968, the city allowed certain workers in occupations,...

Jul 19, 2018

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Bev Baker-Ajene waited so long to get an adult-sized wheelchair for her teenage daughter, Savitri, that she eventually forgot she’d ordered it.

For the better part of a year, Baker-Ajene pushed Savitri — who has cerebral palsy, spastic quadriplegia and epilepsy — in a child-sized chair that was too small for her. Baker-Ajene said she also has run into problems getting an...

Jul 18, 2018

CMS officials are looking for their first chief health informatics officer, someone who will work on health IT strategy and connect the CMS with private industry to try to lower healthcare costs and boost interoperability.

To do that, the chief health informatics officer will help advance the Medicare Blue Button 2.0 program and the electronic health record incentive programs,...

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