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Feb 22, 2019
For many years, the battle cry of healthcare cost warriors was, “Eliminate all those wasteful services.”

More recently that evolved to, “Pay providers based on value rather than volume.” But there were always those who insisted the real problem was, “It's the high prices, stupid.”

Now policymakers and experts who favor attacking price increases have gained momentum, with both congressional Democrats and the Trump administration pushing price-setting proposals. Their arguments are...

Feb 22, 2019

Most provider stakeholders oppose the CMS banning accreditors like the Joint Commission from providing consultancy services, arguing the firewalls currently in place to prevent conflict of interest work.

The CMS in late December issued a request for information asking for feedback from the public and stakeholders if they perceive a conflict of interest when accrediting organizations sell consulting services to providers they also accredit. The CMS received 127 comments, many of which...

Feb 22, 2019
The Friday Breeze

Newsletter editor Brianna Labuskes, who reads everything on health care to compile our daily Morning Briefing, offers the best and most provocative stories for the weekend.

Happy Friday! In the category of “nobody should need to be told this, but apparently people need to be told this”: FDA has officially issued a warning against trendy “young blood transfusions” from “vampire clinics.” Yes, they are exactly as ill-...

Feb 22, 2019

(Updated at 2:35 p.m. ET)The Trump administration on Friday released its draft final rule that would bar Planned Parenthood affiliates from the roughly $290 million in funds for the federal family planning network known as Title X, and prohibit any clinic from referring a patient for an abortion unless the patient directly asks.

Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen warned the group would fight the rule "through every avenue" including litigation.

A similar rule put in...

Feb 22, 2019
Teri Fontenot, Woman's Hospital president and CEO, will retire in late summer, the organization announced Friday.

Her retirement will cap a 23-year tenure leading the Baton Rouge, La., hospital, which has grown to become the largest birthing hospital and neonatal intensive care unit in the state.

"New perspectives and leadership will allow Woman's to further develop unique opportunities to fulfill its mission to improve the health of women and infants.," Fontenot said in prepared...

Feb 22, 2019

About 44% of U.S. physicians reported at least one burnout symptom in 2017, a substantial decrease from 2014 when roughly 54% suffered from burnout, according to a new survey from the American Medical Association.

But while reported burnout dropped, the number of doctors who reported feeling depressed rose over the same period. The survey found 41.7% of doctors screened positive for depression, compared with 39.8% in 2014.

The findings, set to be published Friday in Mayo...

Feb 21, 2019

Louisiana's health department has notified tens of thousands of Medicaid recipients that they could be booted from the program, after a newly used computer check found they earn too much money to receive the taxpayer-financed health coverage.

Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration didn't announce when it sent more than 37,000 letters to Medicaid enrollees around the state last week, but confirmed the mass mailing Thursday.

Nearly all those threatened with removal from the...

Feb 21, 2019

UPMC is seeking an injunction in a major antitrust lawsuit against Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurers that would force the Blues to contract with the academic health system.

The lawsuit accuses dozens of Blues plans of illegally impeding competition by refusing to compete with one another. The issue has become especially relevant to the Pittsburgh-based academic health system because it will go out of network with Highmark Health—a Blues plan—once a consent decree between the two...

Feb 21, 2019

The gloomy Guses at the CMS think nothing can stop the upward march of healthcare spending. Why do they presume every strategy for controlling costs will fail?

Their pessimistic view was contained in the latest 10-year projection by the economists in the Office of the Actuary, who predicted healthcare spending will reach 19.4% of gross domestic product in 2027, up from 17.9% in 2017. Growth in actual dollars will average 5.5% over the next decade and exceed nominal economic growth by...

Feb 21, 2019

One of the goals President Donald Trump announced in his State of the Union address was to stop the spread of HIV in the U.S. within 10 years.

In addition to sending extra money to 48 mainly urban counties, Washington, D.C., and San Juan, Puerto Rico, Trump’s plan targets seven states where rural transmission of HIV is especially high.

Health officials and doctors treating patients with HIV in those states say any extra funding would be welcome. But they say...