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The number of hospital mergers and acquisitions (M&A) has reached 87 through the end of the third quarter, according to an analysis from consulting firm Kaufman Hall, putting 2017 M&A activity in the sector on pace to surpass the 102 deals that were completed in 2016.

The impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma on hospitals owned by Nashville, Tennessee-based HCA Healthcare was spelled out in a preview of its third quarter earnings report, with the company saying it lost $140 million thanks to additional expenses and lost revenue at its facilities in Texas, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

A bonus of up to 10 percent has been proposed for using an upgraded electronic health record (EHR) system for reporting in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) in 2018, but speakers at two recent industry conventions warned it’s likely not a worthwhile investment for providers.

When the previous administration at CMS finalized rules on mandatory bundled payment models for cardiac and orthopedic care late in 2016, 221 public comments were received. The cancellation of those same bundles, however, drew only 85 official comments as of Oct. 18.

Four accountable care organization (ACO) models generated more in gross savings in 2016, but unlike in previous years, CMS hasn’t publicly touted the results as it re-examines payment models created under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI).

 

Recent Headlines

Providers lagging behind offering payment options patients want

Patients are expecting more flexible payment options, both in terms of how and when they pay their balances. Yet hospitals—and to a slightly lesser extent group practices—don’t appear to be providing all the tools patients have requested, according to a survey released by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) and Navicure.

267,000 healthcare jobs would be eliminated under latest ACA repeal plan

The Graham-Cassidy legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would cause an immediate downturn in healthcare employment, amounting to more than 267,000 fewer jobs in the industry by 2026, according to a report from George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health and the Commonwealth Fund.

Moody’s: Despite ACA uncertainty, health insurers’ outlook stable

U.S. health insurers maintained a stable outlook in the latest report from Moody’s Investor Service, with the rating agency expecting insurance companies “will continue generating solid results owing to disciplined medical management and moderate medical cost trends.”

UPMC buys 50% stake in Rome hospital

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) has expanded its operations in Italy, buying a 50 percent stake in the 75-bed Salvator Mundi International Hospital in Rome and taking over clinical operations.

What states would lose under Graham-Cassidy ACA repeal

If the Graham-Cassidy proposal is passed by the Senate, most states would lose funding compared to what they be paid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2020, as the ACA’s insurance subsidies and Medicaid expansion funding would be turned into a fixed block grant. Over a 20-year period, healthcare funding to states will be reduced by $4 trillion, according to Avalere Health.

Anthem to buy Medicare Advantage insurer HealthSun

Insurance giant Anthem has announced it will acquire Florida Medicare Advantage plan HealthSun, which could add 40,000 members from the Miami metropolitan area to Anthem’s affiliated Medicare and Medicaid plans in the state.

University of Texas, Ardent Health to acquire 10-hospital system in joint venture

The East Texas Medical Center (ETMC) Regional Healthcare System will be acquired by a new joint venture between Nashville-based Ardent Health System and the University of Texas (UT) System, the two announced in a Sept. 13 press release, with Ardent assuming control of day-to-day operations.

5 reactions to proposed 2018 Physician Fee Schedule

The comment period for the proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) has closed, with policy and payment updates drawing a typically mixed reaction from stakeholders within the industry.

Centene buying New York’s Fidelis Care for $3.75B

Health insurer Centene announced on Sept. 12 it had entered into a definitive agreement to buy Fidelis Care, the leading Medicaid managed care insurer in New York, for $3.75 billion.

1 in 6 practices paying fees for receiving electronic payments

One-sixth (17 percent) of physician practices responding to a Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) poll said they’re paying fees from 2 to 5 percent for receiving payments electronically—a practice the MGMA wants CMS to prohibit.

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