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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

Q&A with Experian exec: Embrace payment plans before going to collections

Jason Considine, senior vice president of patient collections and engagement at Experian Health, argued at the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) conference in Orlando that providers should first rely on leveraging data and crafting flexible payment options before paying any contingency fees to collectors. He spoke with HealthExec about mistakes providers are making with their collection practices and what data they need to improve the process.

Insurers see record earnings on ACA exchange plans in Q1 2017

Insurance companies earned an average of $298 per member in plans offered on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace in the first quarter of 2017, the best first quarter performance since the exchanges opened.

919,000 healthcare jobs could be lost under Senate healthcare bill

The Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) would eliminate one of every 22 healthcare jobs by 2026, according to a new study from George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health and the Commonwealth Fund.

Q&A with TransUnion execs: Patients are the new payers

One of the most frequently discussed topics from the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) conference was the need to increase patient engagement when it comes to payment as out-of-pocket costs and deductibles continue to rise.

Billionaire doctor Patrick Soon-Shiong to take over 6 California hospitals

NantWorks, the company run by billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, will take over operations at six California hospitals after acquiring controlling interest in Integrity Healthcare, the management company of Verity Health System.

Wasteful healthcare spending can’t be pinned on end-of-life care

Reducing medical spending in the last year of a patient’s life isn’t a panacea for limiting growth in overall healthcare costs, according to a study published in the July 2017 issue of Health Affairs.

Providers won’t be able to avoid downside risk much longer

Among hundreds of healthcare finance professionals at a Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) conference presentation, no one could say their systems were taking on downside risk above 5 percent of their total revenue. Francois de Brantes, MS, MBA, vice president of director of the Altarum Institute’s Center for Payment Innovation, said that needs to change.

Aetna moving to New York from Connecticut

Aetna has confirmed its moving its corporate headquarters out of Hartford, Connecticut and into New York City, which offered a package of property and sales tax breaks worth nearly $34 million.

HFMA 2017: Hospital finance execs have ‘significant lack of knowledge’ around MACRA

Nearly halfway through the first year of Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act’s (MACRA) new payment tracks and hospital, a majority of hospital finance executives and professionals say understand the requirements of the new Quality Payment Program (QPP) but, in reality, still seem to be confused.

Epic to launch medical billing unit later in 2017

Electronic health record giant Epic is now expanding into medical billing space, according to a new job listing posted on its website.

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