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The American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA) has filed a lawsuit alleging the new Medicare reimbursement system for lab tests goes against what Congress intended in the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) and would reduce payments to labs by about $670 million in 2018.

Millennial patients know less about their health benefits, are less likely to pay their medical bills in full and often don’t save for medical expenses, according to a survey published by TransUnion Healthcare.

St. Louis-based Ascension Health and Renton, Washington-based Providence St. Joseph Health are discussing a merger, according to the Wall Street Journal, which would create a massive nonprofit health system of 191 hospitals in 27 states.

More than a year after first announcing they were negotiating a merger, Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) have a definitive agreement to create a massive nonprofit health system based out of Chicago with more than $28 billion in combined revenue.

CMS reported national health spending grew at a slower rate in 2016, increasing by 4.3 percent with slower growth across almost all spending categories, including private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and retail prescription drug spending.

 

Recent Headlines

Carolinas-UNC merger under state review

A special committee formed by the University of North Carolina’s board of governors has until Dec. 20 to review the proposed joint venture between the UNC Health Care System and Carolinas HealthCare System.

13 hospitals joining CMS rural demonstration program

The Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Program, which aims to test payments to rural facilities under a “reasonable cost-based methodology” for Medicare inpatient services, has 17 returning and 13 new participants as part of a five-year extension of the program.

Sutter Health destroyed evidence in antitrust case

A California judge ruled Sacramento-based Sutter Health “intentionally destroyed” 192 boxes of documents which were sought in an antitrust lawsuit against the not-for-profit health system.

Advisory Board approves sale to UnitedHealth’s Optum

Shareholders of the Advisory Board Company signed off on the $1.3 billion sale of its healthcare division to UnitedHealth Group’s Optum health services segment.

Medicare falls behind other countries in providing great care

Policymakers may think elderly Americans should be satisfied with their Medicare coverage, but, according to new research from the Commonwealth Fund, they come in last place when compared to senior healthcare in 10 other countries.

Healthcare price growth approaching ‘historic low’

Price growth in healthcare was at a 1.1 percent annual rate as of Sept. 2017 compared to the year prior, according to the Altarum Institute, coming close to the all-time low of 0.9 percent annual growth seen in Dec. 2015.

Repealing individual mandate would increase uninsured; markets would be stable

The new analysis differs from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)’s Dec. 2016 report, which projected greater savings of $416 billion and a larger drop in coverage of 16 million.

Humana announces layoffs, long-term care sale, lawsuit against HHS

Humana has announced it will be cutting 1,300 jobs, offering early retirement for 1,150 employees and selling its long-term care insurance business, KMG America Corporation, at a $400 million loss.

Bonuses to be smaller in Medicare’s value-based purchasing program for 2018

A larger percentage of hospitals will receive bonuses and fewer will be penalized under CMS’s Hospital Value-based Purchasing (VBP) program for fiscal year 2018, though the maximum positive payment adjustment will be smaller.

CMS releases final 2018 Physician Fee Schedule rule

Additional cuts to what CMS pays to hospital-owned off-campus facilities were finalized in the Physician Fee Schedule rule for 2018, though the reductions were lower than what the agency had originally proposed.

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