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To help combat opioid addiction and abuse, the American Medical Association (AMA) suggested the Senate consider more than a dozen policies on everything from allowing Medicare to cover methadone in outpatient treatment programs to creating an addiction treatment-centered alternative payment model.

The Center for American Progress (CAP), a liberal-leaning think tank, has added a proposal to the debate on how to achieve universal health coverage but without moving the U.S. to a single-payer healthcare system—though providers would be paid less than they currently are by private insurance and hospitals would need to adapt to a big expansion of bundled payments.

Under a newly proposed rule from HHS, short-term health insurance coverage that doesn’t comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be more widely available, which the agency admitted may lead to insurer losses on the ACA exchanges if younger, healthier customers leave that market to buy short-term plans.

For two decades, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has supposedly been blocked from conducting research into the health effects of gun violence by a budget amendment. HHS Secretary Alex Azar has a different opinion, telling members of Congress Thursday he would allow the CDC to conduct research which doesn’t veer into advocacy.

Providers have until March 12 to apply for CMS’s new Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) Advanced model, though the program was only unveiled on Jan. 9. Considering the details CMS has given about the model, that’s not enough time for hospitals to decide whether to participate, according to the American Hospital Association (AHA).


Recent Headlines

European study says fasting unnecessary for cholesterol tests

Two European medical associations have published a study that argues for non-fasting assessment of plasma lipid profiles.

Study: Increased spending on social services improves health

States that increased spending on public health and social services programs between 2000 and 2009 saw significant improvement in health outcomes in areas such as adult obesity and asthma.

CMS clarifies Medicaid rules on ex-prisoners in halfway houses

New CMS guidelines for state health officials means 96,000 ex-prisoners currently living in halfway houses can receive Medicaid services.

NY med schools: clerkships are scarce because of offshore competition

Medical school students in New York are having trouble finding available clinical clerkships because for-profit, offshore medical schools are paying for slots.

States improve quality, reduce costs via reform

States that have implemented health reform options have reduced costs while also maintaining or even improving the quality of care.

Proposed change to Medicare Part B finding little support in Congress

Pilot program would reduce the 6 percent add-on to the average sales price to 2.5 percent plus a flat fee of $16.80 per drug per day

Joint Commission announces new standards on treating eating disorders

Behavioral health care organizations treating eating disorders will be subject to several additional requirements from the Joint Commission.

Senate bill would cap Medicare drug costs at $7,500

Medicare enrollees would have out-of-pocket drug costs capped at $7,500 under a proposed Senate bill that would take effect in 2018.

House proposal would separate CISO, CIO roles within HHS

Change in the CIO-CISO reporting structure was the top recommendation of an August 2015 report by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Senate bill would increase healthcare options for veterans

Sen. John McCain, R.-Ariz.,, fed-up with the slow pace of improvements in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ system, proposed legislation that would allow veterans to go anywhere for healthcare.