Kaiser Health News along with USA Today reporters write that just because open enrollment for people who buy their own health insurance formally closed March 31 doesn’t mean debate over the health law will take a hiatus. After more than four years of strident rhetoric, evidence about how the law is actually working is starting to trickle in.
Groups At Odds over Delay of ICD-10, ModernHealthCare, 3/29/14
Joseph Conn reports that it’s just one sentence in a 123-page bill passed to temporarily patch Medicare physician payment, but depending on who you listen to, it could either save the healthcare world from a huge financial debacle, or seriously set back efforts to advance quality of care and accuracy of payment and waste hundreds of millions of dollars providers already have invested in training and systems retooling.
Hospitals Improve Care Funding Creatively, USA Today, 3/27/14
Alicia McElhaney writes that hospitals are getting creative when it comes to meeting tough new mandates in the Affordable Care Act to improve care and increase patient satisfaction — and they’re getting paid more as a result.
ICD-10 Extension in Doc Fix Bill Divides Health Care, Modern HealthCare, 3/27/14
Modern HealthCare reports that while powerful healthcare industry groups are lobbying on both sides of a congressional measure that would force a delay in the launch of ICD-10, providers are divided on whether the delay will help or hurt them. Their positions depend on how confident they are they will be ready for the switch to ICD-10 scheduled for Oct. 1, 2014.
State’s Proposal to Overhaul Medicaid Has Advocates Hopeful, WUNC-91.5 FM, 3/26/14
Jessica Jones reports on the recent Medicaid reform proposal and interviews Melanie Phelps, Associate Executive Director of the NCMS Foundation and Deputy General Counsel, who has been involved in the NCMS’ policy around the move to value-driven care as the foundation for Medicaid reform.
Court Hearing Suggests Serious Challenge to Health Care Law, The New York Times, 3/26/14
Robert Pear reports that two of the three federal judges hearing a challenge to the Affordable Care Act appeared open to the argument that people buying health insurance in the federal marketplace should not be eligible for tax subsidies, the first indication that the White House could be facing another potentially serious legal challenge to a central part of President Obama’s health care law.
Most States Score Poorly on Price Transparency, Modern HealthCare, 3/25/14
Andis Robezniaks writes that a report card on health care price transparency concludes that most states have been all talk and no action when it comes to providing patients with information to make informed choices—even worse than last year.
Justices Tackle Health Law Birth Control Coverage, The Washington Post, 3/25/14
The Associated Press writes that the Supreme Court struggled with the question of whether companies have religious rights, a case challenging President Barack Obama’s health overhaul and its guarantee of birth control in employees’ preventive care plans.
Selling a Poison by the Barrel: Liquid Nicotine for e-Cigarettes, The New York Times, 3/24/14
Matt Richtl reports that the fuel of e-cigarettes, liquid nicotine, enables the satisfaction of cravings without smoke; however, nicotine is a neurotoxin. Even a highly diluted teaspoonful of the stuff can kill a small child. One toxicologist quoted in the article says that it’s only a matter of time before a child is seriously poisoned or killed. Calls to poison control centers for liquid nicotine tripled between 2012 and 2013 and are projected to double this year.
NC Audit Finds 7 Problem Areas at DHHS, Raleigh News & Observer, 3/21/14
Lynn Bonner reports that the state department of Health and Human Services overpaid Medicaid health care providers and set up a food stamp approval system that allows county workers to override benefit time limits. The Medicaid and food stamp issues were among seven problem areas highlighted in a annual state audit of federally funded DHHS programs for the budget year that ended in June 2013.