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Industry News

Jan 18, 2018

Four health systems have joined forces to create a not-for-profit generic drug company with the goal of creating cheaper, more accessible pharmaceuticals for patients than are currently available on the market.

Intermountain Healthcare, Ascension, SSM Health and Trinity Health are working with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to create an initiative to manufacture essential generic drugs either directly or via sub-contracts.

Retail prescription drug expenses accounted...

Jan 17, 2018

The CMS plans to convene an inter-agency group to figure out how to minimize the regulatory barriers of federal anti-kickback laws, which have slowed providers' move to value-based care, according to CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

The CMS, HHS' Office of Inspector General, HHS' General Counsel and the Department of Justice will participate in the group. The agencies have heard providers' concerns over the years about the Star law, which Congress passed in 1989.

"[It] presents...

Jan 17, 2018

The odds in Congress' big-money fight over 340B drug discounts are shifting against hospitals with a soon-to-be-introduced package of bills that would limit the patients qualifying for the discount and expand reporting requirements for how hospitals use the dollars.

Rep. Chris Collins, New York Republican and ardent critic of the recent 340B expansion, spearheaded the legislation that is now getting split up into six or eight different bills all geared toward an overhaul of the 340B...

Jan 17, 2018

A Senate health committee held the first of two hearings Wednesday over the current state of the nation's readiness to address public health emergencies, which led to calls to improve the reliability of data collected during and after disasters.

But before senators could tackle some of those pressing issues, they first had to contend with the fact that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald again canceled an appearance before Congress. Fitzgerald...

Jan 17, 2018

The CMS hopes it will soon have a new tool to combat the opioid epidemic: the ability to lock in beneficiaries to a single prescriber of frequently abused drugs, a senior agency official told Congress on Wednesday.

The CMS has proposed a policy to prevent Medicare beneficiaries from obtaining prescription drugs from multiple doctors or pharmacies, locking them in to one pharmacy or prescriber for Medicare Part D benefits if they're considered at-risk for opioid misuse or abuse.

Jan 17, 2018
Health insurer Aetna has agreed to pay $17 million to settle claims that it breached the privacy of thousands of customers who take HIV medications.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs announced the settlement Wednesday in Philadelphia.

Court documents say the Hartford, Connecticut-based company sent a mailing in envelopes with large, clear display windows that revealed confidential HIV information. The mailing was sent to about 12,000 customers in at least 23 states.

Aetna agreed to...

Jan 17, 2018

The CMS and Medicare beneficiaries could have saved more than $3 billion over a four-year period if the Medicare Part D program covered more generic prescriptions, a new study found.

The study, published in JAMA on Tuesday, found a potential $3.4 billion in Medicare Part D savings between 2012 and 2015 if the CMS required generic substitutes for 62 brand-name drugs that weren't covered by the two largest pharmacy benefit managers, CVS or Express Scripts.

Although formulary-...

Jan 17, 2018
A central Indiana health network says it has paid a roughly $55,000 ransom to hackers to regain access to hospital computer systems.

Hancock Health in Greenfield says in a statement that the attack was initiated Thursday by an "unidentified criminal group." Hancock says it was able to recover the use of its computers and found no evidence that patient information was adversely affected.

The Daily Reporter of Greenfield reports more than 1,400 files were targeted. The health system...

Jan 16, 2018
House Republican leadership is looking to move a package of delays and retroactive repeals of the Affordable Care Act's health industry taxes in the short-term spending bill Congress has to pass by Friday to avert government shutdown. The package would also include a bill to provide funding of the Children's Health Insurance Program for six years.

According to a senior GOP aide briefed on the matter, delays of the Cadillac Tax, the employer mandate, the health insurance tax and the 2.3%...

Jan 16, 2018

The New Life Day Center, a homeless shelter in Lexington, Ky., is expecting a flood of people to offer their services as volunteers. But Debbie Farinelli, the center's volunteer administrator, isn't looking forward to the looming glut of free labor.

The CMS last week approved Kentucky's waiver to require Medicaid beneficiaries to spend at least 80 hours a month in community service, employment or education. The demonstration took effect Jan. 12 and runs until Sept. 30, 2023.