June 6, 2019 | AHIP, AHA push to limit transparency


AHIP, AHA push to limit transparency

One element of President Donald Trump’s anticipated executive order increasing transparency across the health industry has riled some powerful groups. That provision: the requirement that insurers and hospitals disclose the discounted rates they negotiate for services. The American Hospital Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans are fighting the provision and, according to The Washington Post, it may be removed. (The Washington Post)

Surprised? Insurers object to public option

A proposal to create a public health-insurance option in Connecticut is off the table after an outcry from private insurers—including Connecticut-based Cigna. State Sen. Matt Lesser, who led the proposal, told the Wall Street Journal, “I heard sharply worded concerns.” Other elements of the proposal may move forward, including seeking permission from the federal government to buy prescription drugs from Canada. (Wall Street Journal)


Medicaid expansion erases a disparity

Medicaid expansion eliminated a racial disparity in cancer treatment, according to new research presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting this month. Without Medicaid expansion, white patients received chemotherapy within a month of their cancer diagnosis 48.3% of the time, and African-American patients received chemotherapy within a month 43.5% of the time, a 4.8-point difference. Expansion reduced that to a statistically insignificant difference. (STAT)

What you do in bed…

Consumers who use “smart” beds or sleep apps are sharing a lot of personal information. These devices know when you are sleeping; they know when you’re awake. In fact, they may know everything you do in bed. Sleep Number, for example, collects more than 8 billion biometric data points each night. It provides the intelligence to make better products and help consumers know more about their health, according to CEO Shelly Ibach. That’s cold comfort to privacy experts. “We don’t know what happens to all that data,” said Burcu Kilic, director of the digital rights program at Public Citizen. (Kaiser Health News)


Investigation: the failed promise of EHRs

An investigation by KHN and Fortune found thousands of “alarming reports of patient deaths, serious injuries, and near misses” tied to EHR flaws. EHR vendor “gag clauses” mean many of the risks remain hidden. Instead of the promised streamlining of information, the nation’s EHRs “remain a sprawling, disconnected patchwork” that “has handcuffed health providers to technology they mostly can’t stand and has enriched and empowered the $13-billion-a-year industry that sells it.” The report features dismayed early EHR advocates, including Joe Biden and David Blumenthal. (Fortune)

Most consumers unaware of physician ethics discipline

Only 27% of U.S. adults surveyed knew how to determine whether their physician had been disciplined for misconduct, according to the Harris Poll’s State Medical Boards Awareness Study. Older adults were better informed than younger ones. The report also found that 18% of Americans—24% of women and 12% of men—have had an interaction with a physician they believed was acting unethically or unprofessionally or was providing substandard care. (MedPage Todaystudy summary)


Take my data, please: More than 60% of consumers are interested in exchanging connected device data with their health insurer for rewards—that’s a higher percentage than for life or auto insurance, according to the Aite Group. Moreover, 90% would be interested in learning more about such offerings from their health insurer. (Healthcare DiveAite)

Burnout costs billions: The costs associated with physician burnout top $4.6 billion a year, according to analysis from the Annals of Internal Medicine. (Annals)

Documenting SDOH: UnitedHealthcare has recommended new ICD-10 codes related to employment, income and social environment, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont has proposed more refined and descriptive codes for food insecurity. (Health Data Management)


Suicide in long-term care

Kaiser Health News and PBS NewsHour report finds that older Americans are killing themselves in nursing homes, assisted living centers and adult care homes. In fact, a third of the people in such care centers have suicidal behavior, and about half are reported to be depressed. NewsHour gives the basics in this 10-minute report. (PBS NewsHour)


“If you can’t access care you can’t benefit from care. For all the advances we’ve observed in recent years in cancer treatment, in cancer care broadly speaking, if you don’t have insurance, if you can’t access care, if you can’t get care in a timely fashion, you can’t benefit.”—Dr. Richard L. Schilsky, American Society of Clinical Oncology’s chief medical officer, in STAT

Jorden Gunessever