News Briefs


Poll Finds Americans Cautiously Optimistic About AI in Healthcare

Americans are cautiously optimistic that AI will be able to improve the healthcare they receive, a new Cleveland Clinic survey finds. About three out of five Americans believe that AI will lead to better heart care, and 65 percent say they would be comfortable receiving heart advice from AI technology, the poll showed, but people are still reluctant to place their health solely in the hands of a computer chatbot.

(Source: U.S. News & World Report, 2024-02-02)

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As Hospital Cyberattacks Increase, Most Are Better Prepared

There have been so many ransomware attacks on hospitals that most are better prepared for them by now, said Pam Dixon, cybersecurity expert and founder of World Privacy Forum. One report released in 2023 found that almost 60 percent of healthcare IT professionals say they restored their data from backups after a ransomware attack, without paying a ransom.

(Source: WHYY, 2024-02-05)

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Medicare Drug Price Negotiations Begin with First 10 Drugs

The Biden administration announced that it was sending initial offers to the makers of the first 10 prescription drugs that have been selected for price negotiations with Medicare under a landmark federal program intended to reduce drug spending. The initial round of price offers is a key step in the negotiation process.

(Source: The New York Times, 2024-02-01)

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Doctors Continue to Leave Private Practices for Hospitals

Doctors are continuing to abandon private practice in favor of direct or indirect hospital employment, according to an American Medical Association study of physician practice arrangements. The association’s biennial Physician Practice Benchmark Survey found that in 2022, 46.7 percent of doctors worked in wholly owned physician practices, down from 49 percent in 2020 and 60 percent in 2012, the first year of the survey.

(Source: Medical Economics, 2024-02-01)

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CMS Final Rule Curbs Insurers’ Use of Prior Authorizations

A new set of rules from the Biden administration seeks to rein in private health insurance companies’ use of prior authorization — a byzantine practice that requires people to seek insurance company permission before obtaining medication or having a procedure. The administration’s newly finalized rules will require insurance companies who work in federal programs to speed up the approval process and make decisions within 72 hours for urgent requests.

(Source: The Guardian, 2024-02-02)

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Nursing Homes Expect Regulatory Activity to Pick Up

Nursing home operators can expect to see a lot more regulatory activity in the next few months, with rules and regulations being finalized prior to a potential presidential administration change, with that administration taking office in 2025. A slew of proposed and finalized rules were issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services specifically related to Medicare Advantage, and LeadingAge officials shared that most of these could be positive developments for nursing homes.

(Source: Skilled Nursing News, 2024-02-01)

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Report Says Healthcare M&A Deals Have Little Margin for Error

Healthcare dealmaking is showing little sign of slowing down in the face of economic and regulatory headwinds, but those challenges are forcing organizations to make moves with greater purpose. There is less margin for error in M&A deals, creating more pressure on transactions to show value, according to Bain & Company’s M&A 2024 report.

(Source: HealthLeaders Media, 2024-02-05)

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Proposal Seeks Insurer Disclosure of Prior Authorization Denials

A recommendation on the 2024 Measures Under Consideration list, brought forward by the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH), would add a quality measure in the Medicare Advantage (MA) star ratings system that mandates health plans to report certain prior authorization denial rates. FAH is asking CMS to include a performance measure within the star ratings program of the percentage of initial MA plan denials that are upheld, overturned, and partially overturned.

(Source: FierceHealthcare, 2024-02-02)

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AHA Asks High Court to Review Case Challenging DSH Payments

The American Hospital Association, along with five other national hospital associations, is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review a case challenging how the Department of Health and Human Services applies Congress’ formula for calculating Disproportionate Share Hospital payments. In a friend-of-the-court brief, the organizations said HHS has adopted the view that a patient is entitled to Supplemental Security Income benefits only if the patient actually received cash SSI payments during a hospital stay.

(Source: Healthcare Finance News, 2024-02-05)

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Hospitals Lobby to Stop Site-Neutral Payment Proposal

Hospitals intensely lobbying to stop a bipartisan measure that would trim their Medicare payments are emphasizing how the policy may hobble already struggling rural hospitals. The proposal in question, known as site-neutral payments, would save both taxpayers and patients money and has support from experts across the political spectrum.

(Source: Axios, 2024-02-05)

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FTC Challenging Drugmaker Patents in Order to Decrease Prices

The Federal Trade Commission has challenged the validity of over 100 drug product patents, focusing on devices used to deliver medicines, like inhalers and autoinjectors, in an effort to increase competition and potentially lower some prices. The FTC says drugmakers illegitimately use the patents to prevent competitors from offering cheaper generic alternatives.

(Source: KFF Health News, 2024-01-31)

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