Top 10 Healthcare Headlines from 2018

From mergers and vertical integrations to changes in quality reporting and technology, Healthcare in America continues to evolve with an eye on access, quality, and efficiency. Here is a look back at some of the major headlines of 2018.

 

Amazon made another bold move into healthcare that went relatively unnoticed
Published by Healthcare Finance News

“Amazon expanded into the Medicaid market by announcing that it will offer beneficiaries a Prime membership of $5.99 a month, a discount of 54 percent. And while that revelation last week may not have raised quite as many eyebrows as the company’s blockbuster partnership with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase it holds the potential to have a major impact sooner.”

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CMS Administrator Seema Verma calls for an end to physician fax machines by 2020
Published by Healthcare Finance News

“The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are working together to realize a shared vision for a health ecosystem that sees the free flow of information between patient, provider and payer.”

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Electronic Health Records Associated With Lower Hospital Mortality After Systems Have Time To Mature
Published by Health Affairs

“These findings suggest that national investment in hospital EHRs should yield improvements in mortality rates, but achieving them will take time.”

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How Amazon, JPM, Berkshire could disrupt healthcare (or not)
Published by Healthcare Dive

“Merger mania in the healthcare space is indicative of industry wide uncertainty. The various stakeholders will try anything to better the system. Whether it’s CVS and Aetna, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan Chase, Ascension and Providence St. Joseph, they will use their scale, business savvy and technology, to drive costs out of the system — something CMS has struggled to do on its own.”

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List: Healthgrades reveals America’s Best Hospitals for 2018
Published by Healthcare Finance News

“The Healthgrades analysis showed that those hospitals recognized as America’s Best did better than their peers in treating a core group of conditions that cause more than 80 percent of mortalities in areas evaluated, including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, respiratory failure, sepsis and stroke.”

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More employers go direct to providers, sidestepping payers
Published by Healthcare Dive

“Some large employers are even sidestepping health insurers and contracting directly with providers. Another recent Willis Towers Watson survey found that only 6% of employers contract directly with providers now, but 22% are considering it for 2019.”

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New Medicare Advantage rules hold big potential for pop health
Published by Healthcare Dive

“CMS issued a final rule in May giving MA plans more flexibility in determining the types of supplemental benefits they can offer chronically ill enrollees, including nonmedical benefits. The new policy, part of a broad 2019 Medicare payment rule, means plans like UnitedHealthcare and Humana aren’t harnessed to a set palette of supplemental benefits for members with chronic conditions, but can tailor them to the specific needs of individuals.”

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Optum a step ahead in vertical integration frenzy
Published by Healthcare Dive

“UnitedHealth formed Optum by combining existing pharmacy and care delivery services within the company in 2011. Michael Weissel, Group EVP at Optum, told Healthcare Dive the company began by focusing on three core trends in the industry: data analytics, value-based care and consumerism.”

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Rural And Nonrural Primary Care Physician Practices Increasingly Rely On Nurse Practitioners
Published by Health Affairs

“Overall, primary care practices are embracing interdisciplinary provider configurations, and including NPs as providers can strengthen health care delivery.”

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See the list: CMS releases 2018 health plan star ratings
Published by Healthcare Finance News

“Star ratings measure the plan’s quality and performance in five categories: staying healthy screening tests, managing chronic conditions, member ratings of the health plan, member complaints and Medicare problems, and the handling of customer appeals.”

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