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Industry News

Sep 18, 2018

Ascension Health continues to grow its revenue, although its operating income was significantly stifled in its fiscal 2018 as the massive health system works to standardize its revenue cycle system-wide.

The Catholic, not-for-profit health system's operating income fell 81% between fiscal 2017 and 2018, which ended June 30, from $553 million on $22.7 billion in total operating revenue to $105 million on $23.2 billion in operating revenue, according to Ascension's year-end financial...

Sep 18, 2018

The American Hospital Association has launched a new effort it hopes will bring more transparency to the 340B drug discount program.

Under the so-called 340B stewardship principle initiative, the trade association plans to encourage hospitals to release information on their 340B savings and what they usually do with that money.

The move comes as lawmakers have been pushing for additional oversight of the program and the CMS has been cutting reimbursement for hospitals using...

Sep 18, 2018

Hawaii lost 51 full-time doctors over the last year, continuing a physician shortage across the state, according to a workforce survey.

The latest physician workforce survey by the University of Hawaii shows the state has about 2,900 full-time doctors, about 800 doctors short of the number needed across all specialties.

This year's loss is the first since 2014 when 92 doctors left the workforce, according to the survey. The state added 75 doctors last year, 97 in 2016 and four...

Sep 18, 2018

The Senate's health committee on Tuesday questioned how the government should be involved in healthcare price transparency and whether Congress can change the incentives to encourage more patient shopping.

It isn't clear what Congress could do legislatively to improve transparency. Senate Health Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) asked witnesses during Tuesday's hearing what federal mandates on the issue could look like for Medicaid and Medicare. They largely agreed that...

Sep 18, 2018

One of Chicago's largest psychiatric hospitals is not adequately protecting suicidal patients from harming themselves, according to a federal audit.

The CMS inspected Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital this summer and determine it failed to ensure patients were safe from ligature risks. The hospital has numerous wall-mounted telephones with metal cords, and patients can easily access the phones through unlocked doors, according to a report released Tuesday by the CMS to Modern...

Sep 18, 2018

Nurses at the University of Michigan voted in favor of a three-day work stoppage to protest "ongoing and continuous violations of their workplace rights" after their contracts expired June 30.

The move was supported by 94 percent of 4,000 votes cast over the last week, according to a Monday news release from the University of Michigan Professional Nurses Council, an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Association that serves as the bargaining agent for 5,700 nursing staff members at the...

Sep 17, 2018
The Senate passed its mega-opioids package Monday night along with another significant healthcare measure to ban insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) from instituting so-called gag clauses on pharmacists.

The Senate's vote on opioids legislation follows a summer of negotiations on more than 70 bills. The ultimate package punted some of the controversial elements of the House-passed package from June — including freeing up Medicaid funds for opioid addiction treatment at large...

Sep 17, 2018

A Senate proposal is taking aim at hospital balance billing — a practice that has caused sticker-shock reverberations across the country and sparked increasing public outcry.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) is spearheading a six-member bipartisan policy group seeking to address the escalating public share of healthcare costs and boost transparency. As a first step on Monday, he announced the discussion draft of a bill that would tweak the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in...

Sep 17, 2018

The National Quality Forum on Monday released its first-ever set of quality measures for rural hospitals and ambulatory care facilities to improve quality of care and access in rural communities.

The NQF urged the CMS to adopt the measures, developed by a 25-member multi-stakeholder group including hospitals, for the traditional Medicare program first and perhaps later for Medicare Advantage plans and integrated delivery systems.

The effort grows out of widespread concern that...

Sep 17, 2018

(Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET)

The U.S. Justice Department has approved the proposed $67 billion merger between health insurer Cigna Corp. and pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts, the companies announced Monday.

Cigna and Express Scripts still must secure certain state regulatory approvals to complete the deal, which was first announced in March, but the nod from the federal antitrust enforcers takes care of the biggest hurdle. The companies expect to close the deal by year-...