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Trump Administration and Democrats Return Health Law to Political Center Stage Print E-mail
Written by Julie Rovner | KHN   
Friday, 29 March 2019 16:10
Healthcare has returned in force as the dominant political issue in Washington, reflecting what voters have been telling pollsters for the past year. The Trump administration moved Monday night to get more in line with President Donald Trump's voter base by endorsing a Texas federal  judge's December opinion that the entire Affordable Care Act should be struck down as unconstitutional. After he arrived at the Capitol for lunch with Republican senators Tuesday, Trump endorsed the change, suggesting it will usher in Republican priorities instead. Less than two hours later, House Democrats unveiled their proposals to not only protect the health law, but also expand it - including extending help paying premiums and other costs to families higher up the income scale than those now eligible and reinstating cuts made by the administration for outreach to help people sign up for coverage. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that, since taking control of the House in January, Democrats have been fighting to preserve the health law and "voted on Day One" to file a motion in the Texas court case to support the ACA.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 April 2019 13:37
Social Determinants of Health Impact Hospital Readmission Rates Print E-mail
Written by FHI's Week in Review   
Monday, 25 March 2019 16:33
Jacqueline LaPointe reports on a new study in a March 20, 2019 post in RevCycle Intelligence. New research in Health Services Research shows (not surprisingly) that social determinants of health are linked to hospital readmission rates. Therefore, accounting for disability, housing instability, and other social risk factors in value-based purchasing models can help level the playing field for safety-net hospitals.
Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>>
Last Updated on Monday, 25 March 2019 16:38
Death By 1,000 Clicks: Where Electronic Health Records Went Wrong Print E-mail
Written by Fred Schulte and Erika Fry | Fortune via KHN   
Friday, 22 March 2019 17:33
Electronic health records were supposed to do a lot: make medicine safer, bring higher-quality care, empower patients, and yes, even save money. Boosters heralded an age when researchers could harness the big data within to reveal the most effective treatments for disease and sharply reduce medical errors. Patients, in turn, would have truly portable health records, being able to share their medical histories in a flash with doctors and hospitals anywhere in the country - essential when life-and-death decisions are being made in the ER.

But 10 years after President Barack Obama signed a law to accelerate the digitization of medical records - with the federal government, so far, sinking $36 billion into the effort - America has little to show for its investment. KHN and Fortune spoke with more than 100 physicians, patients, IT experts and administrators, health policy leaders, attorneys, top government officials and representatives at more than a half-dozen EHR vendors, including the CEOs of two of the companies. The interviews reveal a tragic missed opportunity: Rather than an electronic ecosystem of information, the nation's thousands of EHRs largely remain a sprawling, disconnected patchwork. Moreover, the effort has handcuffed health providers to technology they mostly can't stand and has enriched and empowered the $13-billion-a-year industry that sells it.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 April 2019 17:51
Judge Rules United Behavioral Health Guidelines Led to Denial of Claims Violations Print E-mail
Written by Vitale Health Law   
Tuesday, 12 March 2019 16:59
A California federal judge has issued a landmark ruling that could impact the way insurance companies cover mental health and substance use treatment. Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero of the District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that United  Behavioral Health (UBH) used "flawed" internal guidelines resulting in the unlawful denial of mental health and substance use treatment for those it insured across the country, all in an effort to save money. UBH, which is owned by UnitedHealth, serves more than 60 million members. The case grew out of two consolidated class-action lawsuits (Wit, et. al. v. UnitedHealthcare et. al. and Alexander, et al. v. United Behavioral Health), filed in 2014 and heard by Judge Spero in 2017 during a 10-day bench trial.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 March 2019 17:03
FL Senate Signs Off On Smokable Marijuana Print E-mail
Written by FHI's Week in Review   
Monday, 11 March 2019 18:33
Dara Kam reports for News Service of Florida via Health News Florida on  Mar 8, 2019:
Bowing to a demand by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Florida Senate on Thursday <3.7.19> overwhelmingly approved a measure that would allow patients to smoke medical marijuana if doctors deem it the proper treatment. Under the proposal, patients could buy up to 2.5 ounces of medical pot during a 35-day period and would be able to possess up to 4 ounces of cannabis at any given time. Smoking of medical cannabis --- which would have to be purchased from state-authorized operators --- would be banned in public places. The Senate's 34-4 vote in favor of the measure (SB 182) came two days after the start of the 2019 legislative session, and the House is expected to take up the measure Wednesday <3.13.19>.
Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>>
Last Updated on Monday, 08 April 2019 11:18
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