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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.

Optum, the consulting and services arm of health insurance giant UnitedHealth Group, has continued a series of major acquisitions with the announcement it will buy DaVita Medical Group, a division of kidney dialysis firm DaVita, for $4.9 billion.

 

Recent Headlines

Hurricanes cost HCA $140M in Q3

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.

Some 2018 MIPS bonuses may not be worth the investment

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.

Bundled payment cancellation by CMS draws calls for new Advanced APMs

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.

Positive results for ACO models, but CMS doesn’t publicize results

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).

DOJ drops Medicare Advantage fraud suit against UnitedHealth

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has abandoned a lawsuit against UnitedHealth over allegations the insurer submitted false claims in its Medicare Advantage plans, though a similar case remains active.

MGMA17: Pros and cons of selling a practice to private equity

Private investors are becoming increasingly active in healthcare acquisitions, which may maximize the purchase price when practices decide to sell, but there are downsides to these transactions compared to be absorbed into a hospital or health system.

Donations to U.S. nonprofit hospitals up 5% in 2016

Nonprofit hospitals and health systems in the U.S. raised more than $10.1 billion in fiscal year 2016, a 5 percent jump from the year before, while their Canadian counterparts saw their first increase in donations since 2013.

Q&A: What could a ‘new direction’ mean for CMMI’s payment reforms?

The new administration at CMS and HHS has signaled it wants to take a different path on value-based care models. Some have been clear actions, like ending mandatory bundled payment models in cardiac care. The next step may be more driven by stakeholders, as CMS recently released a request for information (RFI) asking what new models developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) should look like.

6 stats from JPMorgan Chase study of 2.3M families’ healthcare spending

The JPMorgan Chase Institute Healthcare Out-of-pocket Spending Panel (JPMCI HOSP) included 2.3 anonymized Chase customers from 18 to 64 years old between 2013 and 2016. The study examined trends in out-of-pocket healthcare spending in 23 of the 50 United States and their effects on household financial standings.

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.

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