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Current Health Care Industry News 
Consumers use credit cards to pay for everything (including the kitchen sink), and the latest trend has people using medical credit cards to pay for healthcare services. But financial experts are warning practices about the pitfalls of promoting so-called medical credit cards to their patients, says the Healthcare Financial Management Association.
A proposed rule issued by three federal agencies on Tuesday would expand limits for short-term health insurance plans from three months to 12 months. CMS's Seema Verma dismissed concerns that the policy shift would destabilize the individual market by siphoning off healthy individuals, arguing the change will have "virtually no impact" on ACA premiums.
Though President Donald Trump promised to support LGBT causes during the 2016 campaign, under his watch the Department of Health and Human Services had rolled back several initiatives aimed at protecting the rights of that population. New HHS Secretary Alex Azar could take the department in a different direction.
"Superusers," those costly patients who utilize high levels of hospital care, are a significant burden on the healthcare system. But a new study suggests that pairing them with community navigators can reduce their use of hospital services. Researchers in Tennessee found that the intervention reduced their healthcare encounters by 39%.
Doctors can do a better job providing patients with information before they go for an imaging exam, a new study found. One in five patients shows up for an imaging exam without any information about the test they are about to undergo, according to the study published in Radiology.
Most for-profit hospitals stand to gain from the changes to the U.S. tax laws, according to a new Moody’s Investors Service report. But HCA Healthcare and Universal Health Service will be the biggest beneficiaries and could see their operating cash flows go up by 10% or more.
North Carolina's attorney general is asking Atrium Health and UNC Health Care to provide more information on their merger plans. AG Josh Stein said he intends to ensure that the planned merger doesn't increase patient costs.
Heart valve disorders lead the list of the most expensive medical conditions with the highest average cost per inpatient stay, according to an analysis by Business Insider based on 2016 data from Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. Heart valve disorders, on average, cost $41,878 per stay, the analysis found.
Seeking to address mounting concerns from providers and other stakeholders, Anthem has made changes to policies it previously rolled out that restrict coverage for emergency room visits. The insurer has implemented a series of “always pay” exceptions for certain circumstances, like when the patient received any kind of surgery or an MRI or CT scan.
Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, M.D., says he will reimburse travel expenses that were the subject of an internal investigation into a trip he took to Europe this summer, but that may not put an end to the controversy. One lawmaker has called for Shulkin’s resignation, and four Democrats have requested a hearing about the trip.
In less than six months, Allscripts acquired two EHR platforms by Practice Fusion and McKesson for a grand total of $50 million by divesting a portion of McKesson's business for 27% more than it paid for the entire health IT portfolio. Allscripts President Rick Poulton said the new acquisitions will generate more than $300 million in recurring annual revenue.
There is little evidence that healthcare consolidation improves patient care or lowers healthcare costs, experts told lawmakers at a hearing this week. The speakers, economic and health policy experts from Harvard, Duke University and Carnegie Mellon, don't expect healthcare's drive for mergers to slow down, however.
A female patient treated by a female doctor is less likely to be admitted to a restricted intensive care unit, where beds and other resources are limited, according to a new study. The research is touted as first-of-its kind proof that gender bias affects treatment decisions—but stopped short of delving into the consequences.
Penn Medicine has launched a Center for Connected Health, which features 50 full-time employees and pulls together several telehealth programs geared toward urgent care, ICU patients and those with chronic illnesses. The new center comes at a time when healthcare executives across the country see telehealth as a high priority.
A study that looked at new physicians in New York state had discouraging news for female doctors. Researchers found that not only have differences in pay persisted between newly trained male and female doctors, the gap has grown over time. The biggest difference in starting pay was among dermatologists, as male doctors earned $79,815 more than women.
The FDA plans to use approximately $400 million to create a Center of Excellence on Digital Health, which would house the agency's new precertification program, and develop analytic and natural language processing tools to integrate real-world data from at least 10 million EHRs.
A New York surgeon was sentenced to 13 years in prison for the submission of millions of dollars in false and fraudulent Medicare claims; Despite efforts to detect and treat depression during primary care visits, a study found that only one-third of patients who are diagnosed start treatment for the condition and more physician practice news from around the web.
Hospital patients are still interested in chaplain services, even as fewer people identify as religious; seniors may recover from surgery more quickly if they mentally and physically "train" for it; plus more healthcare news from around the web.
No-show patients are an annoying and costly problem for practices, but the community-based Elmont Teaching Health Center in Long Island, New York, is making headway. And "if it works here, it can work anywhere,” one of the center's physicians, Peter A. Guiney, D.O., tells FierceHealthcare.
Newly confirmed Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told the House Committee on Ways and Means Wednesday morning that the Trump administration’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2019 makes significant and strategic investment in health programs, boosting discretionary spending by 11% and increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration by millions.
To many people, Valentine’s Day is a day for romantic gestures—or at the very least, a hearty helping of chocolate. But to healthcare influencers, academics and reporters on Twitter, it’s also a time to break out their best witticisms for #HealthPolicyValentines.
Healthcare spending growth grew at a slightly faster rate in 2017, and Medicare spending is expected to climb substantially over the next decade as more baby boomers qualify for coverage, according to new estimates from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Between 2018 and 2026, the actuary projects spending to increase by 5.5% on average each year.
When it comes to getting patients to better control their high blood pressure, it’s not just about medication. A Dallas physician practice also focuses on lifestyle changes, offering patients everything from cooking lessons to fitness classes.
A new report from the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General recommends that VA head David Shulkin and other staff reimburse the agency for unallowable expenses incurred during a European trip last summer. Shulkin said it was “outrageous" that the report tries to portray that he and his wife attempted to take advantage of the government.
Though President Donald Trump’s 2019 budget proposal calls on Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it also seeks mandatory funding for two ACA programs: risk corridors and cost-sharing reduction payments. Conservatives, who have characterized both programs as bailouts for insurance companies, aren’t pleased.
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