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Sep 21, 2018
Healthcare costs are too high. Families are grappling with double- and triple-digit increases in health insurance premiums and rising out-of-pocket expenses. A growing percentage of our nation's gross domestic product is consumed by healthcare costs—far more than other developed countries. We need solutions.

To advance the conversation, in May, I released a nine-page white paper of ideas to make healthcare affordable again.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.)...

Sep 21, 2018

Like its namesake, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital isn't satisfied standing pat. The Hollywood, Fla., hospital is adding floors and has been pushing northward, expanding its services to Palm Beach County. Leading the charge at “Joe D,” is Caitlin Beck Stella, who took over as CEO on June 18. She replaced Chantal Leconte, who retired after five years at the helm. Joe DiMaggio Children's is part of Memorial Healthcare System. Stella has a public health background and has been in children's...

Sep 21, 2018

Despite long-term efforts to eliminate the stigma of mental illness, negative connotations are still connected to those words. As someone with bipolar disorder, I have experienced this on many levels in many different settings.

Even as a social worker and a professor, it's been clear to me that being mentally ill is accepted much differently than other kinds of illnesses. But for some cultural groups, the stigma runs much deeper.

Among African-Americans, mental illness has a...

Sep 21, 2018
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INDIANOLA, Miss.—“That's all I have to say about that—I have to go bury the dead,” undertaker Stephen Holland said after listing his grievances with his state's Medicaid politics early one Friday morning in June. Holland is one of a handful of white Democrats left in Mississippi's House of Representatives, and he helped shape the past 20 years of Medicaid history when he chaired the panel with jurisdiction over the program. Reliving that history rattled him.


Sep 21, 2018

Two contentious provisions have stalled the Senate and House plan to release final opioids legislation by Friday. Talks are likely to push into the weekend and possibly until Monday.

The opioids package of more than 70 bills is likely to stay on track for final passage before the end of the month, but two hospital-backed bills continue to stall the final product: a provision to roll-back the extra privacy rules around the medical records that show a patient's addiction history; and a...

Sep 21, 2018

Lakeland (Fla.) Regional Health and Orlando (Fla.) Health lasted less than a year as integrated partners, and will break up on Sept. 30.

The two initially affiliated on Oct. 1, 2017, as a means to improve access to care and enhance quality.

"We have concluded that because of our different strategies and distinctive communities served, these goals can best be achieved independently," Lakeland CEO Elaine Thompson said.

Orlando Health officials could not be reached for...

Sep 21, 2018

The CMS has selected seven healthcare organizations to create new quality measures for the Quality Payment Program, awarding them $26.6 million for the work.

The public-private funding agreement, which is the first of its kind for the agency, is part of legislation authorized under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 to improve quality measures under Medicare. The agreement also aligns with the CMS' Meaningful Measures initiative to establish new measures that...

Sep 21, 2018

The CMS has discovered it made a mistake processing quality scores for doctors participating in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System under MACRA. The error may have resulted in underpayment to about 621,700 providers.

Providers participating in MIPS were granted the option to request a targeted review by the CMS. That meant an agency staffer would go over reports to make sure a...

Sep 21, 2018
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! Before we dive in to the harder news, please join me in enjoying this story about scientists dosing a shy breed of octopus with ecstasy to see if the animal became cuddly and friendly while high. (I swear, it relates to health care:...

Sep 21, 2018

All natural disasters create singular challenges for the communities they impact. But there is one constant: the members of society who stay behind. When the storm is bearing down, civilians board up their homes and evacuate. Those who remain include the first responders, firefighters, police officers and healthcare providers.

The flooding in North Carolina this past week from Hurricane Florence sparked a different response strategy than Hurricane Maria did in Puerto Rico in...