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Industry News

Jan 08, 2016

A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.

The Fiscal Times: How Obamacare Sideswiped The GOP And Opened The Door To Trump
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan promised last month that passing a repeal of the Affordable Care Act would be his top priority in 2016. For those who have watched the political machinations surrounding Obamacare for the past seven years, that sounds like déjà vu. The House of Representatives has passed dozens of bills repealing...

Jan 08, 2016

Each week, KHN compiles a selection of recently released health policy studies and briefs.

Health Affairs: Understanding Medicare Hospital Readmission Rates And Differing Penalties Between Safety-Net And Other Hospitals
Since the implementation of Medicare’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program in 2012, concerns have been raised about the effect its payment penalties for excess readmissions may have on safety-net hospitals. ... We examined the extent to which the...

Jan 08, 2016

Chicken producers fear vaccinations would lead to trade bans from foreign buyers. Elsewhere, news outlets report on public health developments regarding sodium intake, a campaign to combat gun violence and employee weight loss incentives.

Bloomberg: Amid Bird Flu Threat, U.S. Producers Say No Thanks To Vaccine
Determined to avoid a repeat of the nation’s worst-ever avian-influenza outbreak, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is stockpiling up to 500 million doses of a new...

Jan 08, 2016

The nation’s oldest private arbiter of what defines high-quality health plans turned 25 last year. The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) started soon after HMOs became popular in the 1980s, measuring the effectiveness of the first managed care plans as millions of consumers flocked to join them.

The Washington-based nonprofit’s public reports for decades have helped consumers shop for plans and employers pay the bills. Today, NCQA accredits health plans in every state...

Jan 07, 2016

The head of the 2.2-million member American Legion has joined a number of organizations that worry a tweak to the federal privacy rule for gun control will stop veterans from seeking mental health treatment for fear it will violate their Second Amendment rights.

Others, however, hope HHS' expansion of access to behavioral-health information will lead to revisions in another key Code of Federal Regulations privacy rule, 42 CFR Part 2, which could further facilitate the sharing of some...

Jan 07, 2016

More than 11.3 million people have enrolled in private health insurance for 2016 under the Affordable Care Act, surpassing last year’s mark and the 10.5 million goal that the Obama administration set for the year, federal officials said Thursday.

Open enrollment began Nov. 1 and ends Jan. 31.

The administration released its latest numbers a day after the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to repeal the health law, following similar Senate action last month....

Jan 07, 2016

Community Health Systems announced its spinoff of 38 small-market hospitals into a new company called Quorum Health Corp. would likely take place before the end of June rather than March, as planned.

The Franklin, Tenn.-based health system said market conditions contributed to the delay of the deal, which was announced in August.

CHS spokeswoman Tomi Galen declined to comment.

Fear of an economic slowdown in China is again causing investor anxiety and market volatility....

Jan 07, 2016

Two systems with 19 hospitals across several states in southern Appalachia are pledging up to $450 million in community benefits if authorities in Tennessee and Virginia allow their proposed merger to go forward.

Wellmont Health System, headquartered in Kingsport, Tenn., and Mountain States Health Alliance of Johnson City, Tenn., detailed the offer in a pre-submission report, which is required as part of the regulatory approval processes in both states.

Wellmont, a six-hospital...

Jan 07, 2016

An Illinois appeals court has ruled that a law defining what not-for-profit hospitals have to do to get tax breaks is unconstitutional. The ruling is yet another setback for not-for-profit hospitals, which have come under increased scrutiny in recent years over their tax exemptions.

The 2012 Illinois law was meant to provide clarity around exemptions for hospitals.

The law says that the value of certain charitable and other services offered by a hospital must exceed the...

Jan 07, 2016

Envision Healthcare, a giant hospital physician staffing firm, has seen its fifth-largest shareholder, Winslow Capital Management, sell its entire 4.6% stake in the company over the past three months, according to a financial disclosure filed Thursday.

Winslow Capital owned 8.6 million shares of Envision Healthcare on Sept. 30. That was three weeks before Envision Healthcare reported lower-than-expected third-quarter earnings and its stock price fell by almost 33% on the trading day...