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Apr 12, 2018

The Trump administration this week issued the rules governing next year’s Affordable Care Act insurance marketplaces, and they make some potentially large changes that could result in higher premiums and fewer benefits.

Meanwhile, states are going different ways in addressing the health insurance markets in their states in response to the federal activity. And House Speaker Paul Ryan announced his retirement — leaving an intellectual void among House Republicans when it comes...

Apr 12, 2018

Gwen MacKenzie, Ascension's market executive in Michigan will leave her role effective April 30.

MacKenzie was chosen for the job in 2014 by Ascension Healthcare CEO Patricia Maryland, and MacKenzie said she promised to remain in the role for three to four years.

"Having fulfilled that commitment to Pat, I have been privileged to be part of Ascension and leave with best wishes for success," MacKenzie said, "With the rapid cycle transformation we are experiencing in healthcare...

Apr 11, 2018

Eight years ago, my mother, a retired controller who was 81, went with my sister and me to see an orthopedist to find out if she should get a total knee replacement, because she had severe knee pain. The orthopedist said she would need the signoff of her cardiologist and two other doctors. That was the start of a seven-month ordeal for my mother.

The pre-operative care was lengthy and costly, including a cardiac catheterization and implantation of a stent. Finally, the orthopedist said...
Apr 11, 2018
The Rush health system and Little Company of Mary Hospital & Health Care Centers have called off plans to merge.

Rush, a three-hospital network anchored by flagship Rush University Medical Center on the Near West Side, and Little Company, a small community hospital in south suburban Evergreen Park, announced their intent to combine in October.

"Representatives of the Rush system and Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers have mutually agreed to terminate their...

Apr 11, 2018

Patient transportation providers are worried that a looming cut to ambulance reimbursement could cause some dialysis patients to lose access to care, as the new rate reimburses companies below their cost to provide rides.

The CMS has started sending notices to Medicare administrative contractors telling them to reduce reimbursement for regular, non-emergency ambulance transportation for dialysis appointments by 13% starting Oct. 1. Congress called for the cut in its February...

Apr 11, 2018
Despite a barrage of federal actions that threatened to topple them, the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges have proven to be quite sturdy. The picture of the exchanges that emerges from the CMS' final open-enrollment data is far from the imploding market that the Trump administration and countless headlines over the past year warned about. Here's a look at the current state of the ACA exchanges.

Shelby Livingston is an insurance reporter....

Apr 11, 2018
CVS Health is launching a series of initiatives the company said are designed to save patients money on prescription drugs.

The Woonsocket, R.I.-based pharmacy giant on Wednesday unveiled its new CVS Pharmacy Rx Savings Finder, a tool it said retail pharmacists can use to identify prescription savings opportunities while they're at the pharmacy counter.

The Rx Savings Finder will tell pharmacy staff whether a prescribed medication is on a patient's formulary and whether it's the...

Apr 11, 2018

Cerner Corp. has scored another government contract for its electronic health record, which could eventually help streamline access to EHRs for all military beneficiaries and retirees.

The U.S. Coast Guard recently announced it will move to Cerner's EHR and join the Defense Department in the MHS Genesis project, according to a Defense Healthcare Management Systems notice of intent.

The streamlining benefits of the move depend in part on whether the Veterans Affairs Department'...

Apr 11, 2018

The average salary for primary-care and specialty doctors in the U.S. rose this year, although women and minority physicians still earn significantly less than white and male doctors, a new report found.

Primary-care physicians will earn $223,000 on average in 2018, a 2.7% increase from last year, and specialty physicians will make $329,000 on average this year, up 4% from last year, according to the new Medscape Physician Compensation Report.

Physician income has been on the...

Apr 11, 2018
Digital health company Livongo Health has raised $105 million, which it will use to try to expand its market share and integrate with partners, among other initiatives.

Livongo, which offers a chronic disease management platform, raised the cash at a time when there is a lot of interest in investing in digital health.

The company currently focuses on diabetes and hypertension with its patient-focused connected meters and app-based coaching. Livongo will also use the proceeds from...