VHHA will update Newsclips each weekday with relevant national and statewide health care news. Click on a headline below to view the article on that news organization's website. Please note that access to some articles will require registration on that website, most of which are free. If you have items of particular interest you would like to see posted here, please contact VHHA.

September 25, 2018


Despite deferral, seeds of a deal in place on hospital expansion
(Inside NoVA – September 24, 2018)

Arlington County Board members on Sept. 22 pushed off until December further consideration of Virginia Hospital Center’s expansion plan, a move that potentially could jeopardize the government’s long-sought land swap with the hospital and marked a victory – of sorts – for neighboring residents who were displeased with several factors of the proposal.

Virginia looks to add Medicaid work requirements, premiums
(Modern Healthcare – September 24, 2018) METERED PAYWALL

Virginia has become the latest state looking to add a work requirement and premiums to its Medicaid program. State officials already submitted a state plan amendment to the CMS to expand Medicaid to those with incomes of up to 138% of the federal poverty level.

Virginia to receive more than $22 million to combat opioid crisis
(WSLS – September 24, 2018)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is providing $6,349,505 and the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is providing $15,809,989. In 2017, the Virginia Department of Health estimates that 1,445 people in Virginia died as a result of a fentanyl, heroin or prescription opioid overdose.

Northam continues Grand Rounds tour addressing opioid crisis
(Augusta Free Press – September 24, 2018)

Gov. Ralph Northam will give the final two in a series of Grand Rounds lectures to Virginia medical students on the issue of the opioid crisis next month. On Oct. 2 at 10 a.m., Governor Northam will speak at the Carilion Clinic and the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke.

Place at the table: Leaders discuss how to fight hunger
(Daily Progress – September 24, 2018)

On Saturday afternoon, community members gathered at what was the city of Staunton’s black high school until 1966, now the Booker T. Washington Community Center. While Saturday’s discussion, Table of Plenty, was about alleviating food insecurity in the community, it was made possible because of discussions about race relations in the city.

Ballad Health CEO to testify about rural health care before Senate committee Tuesday
(WJHL – September 24, 2018)

A Tri-Cities healthcare executive will testify before a United States Senate committee Tuesday. Ballad Health CEO and President Alan Levine is scheduled to testify before the Senate's Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security.

Free Lance-Star Editorial: A.G.'s lawsuit spells out opioid crisis culpability
(The Free Lance-Star – September 24, 2018)

A lawsuit filed by the Commonwealth of Virginia against Purdue Pharma clearly shows Attorney General Mark Herring’s objective to hold the company accountable for its role in the opioid pain-reliever epidemic that has brought death and misery to thousands of people across the state.


Wisconsin files new lawsuit against ACA health insurance providers fee
(Milwaukee Business News – September 24, 2018)

The Wisconsin Department of Justice has filed a new lawsuit against the federal government over a fee for health insurers under the Affordable Care Act. State Attorney General Brad Schimel announced last week the state had filed the lawsuit, along with a motion for a temporary restraining order against President Donald Trump’s Administration, as the deadline nears for Wisconsin to pay more than $30 million through the health insurance providers fee.

UT: Hospital ER reports 161 percent spike in visits involving electric scooters
(The Washington Post – September 24, 2018) METERED PAYWALL

As injured electric-scooter riders pour into emergency departments across the country, doctors have scrambled to document a trend that many view as a growing public safety crisis. A detailed statistical portrait of that crisis won’t be available for another year, emergency physicians say, but some early samples are beginning to emerge.

OpGen signs deal with New York health department to research superbugs
(Washington Business Journal – September 24, 2018) SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED

The Maryland biotech hopes its new superbug contract with Merck and the state of New York puts it on the national map for drug-resistant disease research.


Trial by Fire: Critics Demand That a Huge Sepsis Study Be Stopped
(The New York Times – September 24, 2018) METERED PAYWALL

A large government trial comparing treatments for a life-threatening condition called sepsis is putting participants at risk of organ failure and even death, critics charge, and should be immediately shut down. A detailed analysis of the trial design prepared by senior investigators at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md., concluded that the study “places seriously ill patients at risk without the possibility of gaining information that can provide benefits either to the subjects or to future patients.”

Implant helps paralyzed patients take steps
(Associated Press – September 24, 2018)

Three people whose legs were paralyzed for years can stand and take steps again thanks to an electrical implant that zaps the injured spinal cord — along with months of intense rehab, researchers reported Monday.

How many patients in each state skip a physician visit due to cost?
(Becker’s Hospital Review – September 24, 2018)

Hawaii, Iowa and North Dakota were among the states with the lowest percentage of patients who reported there was a time during the past 12 months when they needed to see a physician but could not because of cost, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.

AP investigation: Drug prices going up despite Trump promise
(Associated Press – September 24, 2018)

President Donald Trump made reducing drug prices a key promise during his election campaign, repeatedly accusing drugmakers of "getting away with murder." At the end of May, he promised that drug companies would be announcing "massive" voluntary drug price cuts within two weeks.

Providers tackle turnover amid vexing labor shortage
(Modern Healthcare – September 22, 2018) METERED PAYWALL

A young professional two years removed from earning her master's from a Louisiana university sought out Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston to pursue a career in human resources. For her, the organization's loan repayment program was a major draw.

EHR vendor selection process is fraught with risks in alienating docs
(Health Data Management – September 21, 2018)

Healthcare organizations that don’t maintain and optimize their electronic health record systems risk having unhappy and unproductive physicians. That can have catastrophic effects, as some of those clinicians may decide to leave and go elsewhere to practice.

Gilead to launch generic versions of its hepatitis drugs
(Reuters – September 24, 2018)

Gilead Sciences Inc said on Monday it plans to launch generic versions of its hepatitis C drugs in the United States, at a time when regulators are looking to lower healthcare costs.


Courts Push Medicaid to Cover Costly Hepatitis C Treatments
(Governing – September 25, 2018)

A series of recent court rulings and settlements, including one last week in Indiana, have found that states cannot withhold potentially life-saving but expensive medications from Medicaid beneficiaries and prison inmates who have chronic hepatitis C.

Blue Cross takes aim at 'well-being'
(Crain’s Detroit Business – September 23, 2018)

Offering financial, emotional and family well-being services to employees is becoming nearly as important to companies as offering health insurance as they compete in a tight job market and seek to increase worker productivity and job satisfaction.

Rep. Lujan: Medicaid buy-in would offer an attractive insurance option
(Modern Healthcare – September 22, 2018) METERED PAYWALL

While congressional Republicans have spent the 115th Congress repeatedly attacking a law that protects tens of millions of Americans, the New Mexico state Legislature took a bipartisan step forward by approving a measure to study how a Medicaid buy-in program could strengthen healthcare in the state.