In the News

Happy 282nd Birthday, George Washington! How’s that Cough?, NEJM Journal Watch, 2/14/14

The editors of the New England Journal of Medicine’s Journal Watch describe the “interesting case” of our founding father and his many ailments.

Apprehensive, Many Doctors Shift to Jobs with Salaries, The New York Times, 2/13/14

Elisabeth Rosenthal writes that American physicians, worried about changes in the health care market, are streaming into salaried jobs with hospitals. Though the shift from private practice has been most pronounced in primary care, specialists are following.

One-fifth of New Enrollees Under Health Care Law Fail to Pay First Premium, The New York Times, 2/14/14

Robert Pear reports that one in five people who signed up for health insurance under the new health care law failed to pay their premiums on time and therefore did not receive coverage in January, insurance companies and industry experts say.

Pharmacists See Clinical Role Expand, Kaiser Health News, 2/11/14

Anna Gorman writes that once limited to filling and dispensing drugs, pharmacists are increasingly providing direct care to patients. Across the country, they are working with doctors to give immunizations and help patients safely manage medications. In some places, they can even write prescriptions after a physician’s diagnosis.

 Health Insurance Enforcement Delayed Again for Some Employers, The New York Times, 2/11/14

Robert Pear reports that the Obama administration announced that it would postpone enforcement of a federal requirement for medium-size employers to provide health insurance to employees and allow larger employers more flexibility in how they provide coverage.

 Shortages of Critical Drugs Continue to Vex Doctors Study Finds, The New York Times, 2/11/14

Sabrina Tavernise writes that despite efforts by the Obama administration to ease shortages of critical drugs, shortfalls have persisted, forcing doctors to resort to rationing in some cases or to scramble for alternatives, a government watchdog agency said on Monday. The number of annual drug shortages — both new and continuing ones — nearly tripled from 2007 to 2012.

Unauthorized Waiver Adds Millions to NC Medicaid Costs, The Charlotte Observer, 2/10/14

Joseph Neff reveals that in August, the state’s Medicaid director asked the federal government for permission to postpone for three months the process for renewing Medicaid recipients’ coverage. The federal government gave its approval, but the N.C. General Assembly didn’t. When lawmakers passed the state budget in July, they required the Department of Health and Human Services to get legislative approval for federal waivers. The cost of the waiver could be in excess of $10 million.

Some Middle Class Families Find Subsidized Insurance Premiums ‘Awfully High,’ Kaiser Health News, 2/10/14

Julie Appleby reports that the lure used to get uninsured Americans to sign up for health law coverage was the promise of generous premium subsidies.  But the promise comes with a catch for almost 3 million people earning between three and four times the federal poverty rate: They may have to pay up to 9.5 percent of their income toward that premium before the subsidy kicks in. 

Slide Show: What Hospitals Buy to Accommodate Obese Patients, Modern Healthcare, 2/8/14

As the rate of obesity rises, hospitals are under pressure to ensure their facilities are safe for heavy patients and the workers who move them. See Modern Healthcare’s gallery showing some of their upgrades.

 Experience vs. Expectation, Modern Healthcare, 2/8/14

Melanie Evans reports that a potential culture clash looms as formerly independent doctors take hospital jobs alongside millennials.

Health Care: Who’s Signing Up?, Black Mountain News, 2/8/14

Julie Ball writes that of those signing up for a plan in western North Carolina, some already had an insurance plan, but found they qualified for subsidies and could get a better deal on the exchange. Others like Hayes were uninsured and with the help from subsidies were able to find a plan they could afford. It’s not clear yet how many uninsured people have gained coverage because of the law.

Reform update: Despite Praise SGR Repeal Will Require Cuts or Payment Reforms to Move Forward, Modern Healthcare, 2/7/14

Andis Robeznieks writes that physician groups already are hailing the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act, which would eliminate Medicare’s sustainable growth rate formula. The SGR mandates an automatic 24 percent across-the-board cut in physician pay on March 31. But the big question on the table is how to pay for the Act’s $126 billion price tag.


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