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Medicare wants to revamp ambulance payments, aiming to prevent avoidable ED visits

February 15, 2019


HHS on Thursday announced the launch of a new voluntary payment model for emergency ambulance services—called the Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transport (ET3) model—that would allow Medicare to reimburse first responders for care delivered on-site or via telemedicine, even if patients are not taken to a hospital.

Spending in employer-sponsored plans reached an all-time high in 2017. Here's how employers are fighting back.

February 15, 2019


Spending in employer-sponsored health plans reached a record high in 2017, and the major cause was higher prices—not higher utilization, according to the Health Care Cost Institute's annual Health Care Cost and Utilization Report released Tuesday.

Utah gov. signs law scaling back voter-approved Medicaid expansion

February 12, 2019


Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) on Monday signed into law a bill intended to scale back the state's voter-approved Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act—raising questions about whether other states might similarly seek to partially expand Medicaid or roll back their existing Medicaid expansions.

Democrats introduce bill to let Medicare negotiate drug prices

February 11, 2019


Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) on Thursday introduced a bicameral bill intended to lower prescription drug costs by allowing HHS to negotiate the prices of drugs covered by Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans.

Medical scribes could cut costs by up to $31.15 per hour, according to a first-of-its-kind study

February 8, 2019


A large, randomized study of Australian emergency departments suggests medical scribes could help physicians see more patients and save hospitals up to $31.15 per scribed hour—with no significant risk to patient safety.

As the US uninsured rate declined, more adults became underinsured, survey finds

February 7, 2019


The U.S. uninsured rate has declined since the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2010, but the percentage of underinsured U.S. adults has grown, according to a survey brief from the Commonwealth Fund released Thursday. See the trends, charted.

How Kaiser saved $8.6M with its 'Amazon Prime' for medical equipment

February 7, 2019


Health care facilities that need costly medical equipment often have the option either to buy the equipment outright or rent it, but Kaiser Permanente came up with an alternative solution that eventually led to an Amazon Prime-like ordering service that saved the health system $8.6 million in two years.

Voters in Idaho and Utah approved big Medicaid expansions, but lawmakers have other ideas

February 6, 2019


State lawmakers in Idaho and Utah are seeking to restrict the Medicaid expansions voters approved last November.

HHS just released its long-anticipated proposed rule on PBM rebates. Here's what's inside.

February 1, 2019


HHS on Thursday released a proposed rule aimed at lowering prescription drug prices by revising federal protections that currently allow drug manufacturers to pay rebates to Medicare Part D plans, Medicaid managed care plans, and pharmacy benefit managers.

Hospital-acquired condition rates are falling, AHRQ finds

February 1, 2019


The rate of hospital-acquired conditions fell by 13% from 2014 to 2017, saving billions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives, according to a report released Tuesday by HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

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