March 7, 2019 | Eight hundred hospitals face penalties for patient safety risk

Industry News

Eight hundred hospitals face penalties for patient safety risk

Eight hundred hospitals face penalties under Medicare’s Hospital Acquired Conditions Reduction Program. This is the most since the program was launched five years ago. Overall, 1,756 hospitals have been penalized at least once, a Kaiser Health News analysis found. This year, 110 are being penalized for the fifth straight year. On the plus side, frequency of complications has been dropping. However, there’s been an increase in bedsores, and urinary tract infections in patients with catheters. (Kaiser Health NewsKHN lookup tool)

Payers not bullish about VBC, cite barriers

Despite the momentum associated with value-based contracting (VBC), payers don’t expect value-based programs to grow much over the next two years, according to HealthEdge’s latest Voice of the Market survey. More than half said provider and member engagement are the biggest challenges to implementing value-based contracts while 40 percent cited technology-related challenges. Another interesting finding: There was little agreement about the best value-based model. Patient-centered medical homes, ACOs and bundled payments took the top slots, all hovering at between a quarter and a third. (Healthcare Divesurvey)

Innovation & Transformation

The walls are listening

Completing the electronic health record during and after patient visits may become a lot easier. A speech-recognition software company is testing a product designed to fully automate the process, by embedding artificially intelligent software into exam rooms,STAT reports. It’s designed to transcribe a conversation between a doctor and patient and upload key portions into the EHR. The company, Nuance, plans to go to market in 2020, starting with specialties such as orthopedics and dermatology, in which visits tend to be more structured and predictable. (STAT)

Meet Drs. Click and Clack

NPR’s Car Talk may have ended in 2012, but some physicians are using Ray and Tom Magliozzi’s step-by-step method of diagnosing car trouble to teach medical students how to diagnose disease. Among them is lifelong fan Dr. Gurpreet Dhaliwal, who says this process is what students need to do in the clinic: Identify the problem, take a history and consider plausible hypotheses for the solution. (NPR)

Consumers & Providers

The patient's voice: Not BRCA1 positive after all

A 23-year-old woman with a long family history of cancer underwent a double mastectomy after a genetic test indicated she was positive for the BRCA1 mutation. Years later, however, it turned out she was not positive. The mastectomy was unnecessary. (HuffPost)

Injury + insult = bill of the month

Jeannette Parker, a fish and wildlife biologist, fed a hungry-looking stray cat she found near the Everglades. It bit her finger. Parker went to Mariners Hospital (part of Baptist Health South Florida) for rabies treatment—and was charged nearly $50,000 for a treatment that typically costs about $3,000. It wasn’t an error, so it became Kaiser Heath News’ bill of the month. (Kaiser Health News)

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New & Noted

FDA's Gottlieb resigns: Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb will resign in a month. Hailing Gottlieb as a "an exemplary public health leader, aggressive advocate for American patients, and passionate promoter of innovation," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar praised the 46-year-old for his active leadership of the agency, including a hard line on e-cigarettes and faster approval for innovative treatments. (USA Today)

Like a horse and carriage: Ideally, value-based care leverages and extends population health’s use of data analytics to identify care gaps and opportunities to reduce costs. Some providers struggle with this, but David Nash, MD, founding dean of Jefferson College of Population Health, has a message: “You can’t achieve value-based care without population health management.” (

Value-based MA: Insurance giant Humana is teaming with Maryland-based primary care consulting company Aledade to expand access to value-based care for its Medicare Advantage members in three states: Pennsylvania, Louisiana and West Virginia. (FierceHealthcare)

False claims fine: Vanguard Healthcare LLC has agreed to pay more than $18 million to resolve a Medicare and Medicaid fraud case. The company billed the agencies for “grossly substandard” nursing home services, according to the Justice Department. (FierceHealthcare)


Drug pricing hearing: Watch it here

CEOs of seven pharmaceutical companies—AbbVie, Merck, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Janssen, Pfizer and Sanofi—testified before the Senate Finance Committee last month. Senators from across the ideological spectrum challenged the CEO panel about the rising price of prescription drugs. The CEOs cited systemic issues in the health care system and the high cost of R&D as parts of the problem. (C-Span videoNBC coverage)

MarketVoices...quotes worth reading

“The people who can least afford it are paying the most. That’s the biggest problem we have as a country. […] We have a system where the poorest and the sickest are subsidizing others.”—Kenneth Frazier, chairman and CEO of Merck, during a Senate Hearing, quoted by NBC

Jorden Gunessever