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.

October 20, 2017

VIRGINIA

“Where are we supposed to go?”: Women scramble to find doctors before practices drop Anthem
(The Virginian-Pilot – October 19, 2017) METERED PAYWALL

On Halloween, Lauren Carawan will be 15 weeks pregnant – just into her second trimester. She’s grateful for the timing of her fourth baby. If she had become pregnant just a few weeks later, she’d need to find a new OB-GYN practice, different from WomanCare Centers whose midwives safely delivered her first three children.


Children’s National Health System wins HIMSS Enterprise Davies Award for pediatric concussion care
(Healthcare IT News – October 19, 2017)

Washington, D.C.-based Children’s National Health System on Wednesday won a HIMSS Enterprise Davies Award for its pediatric concussion care initiatives. “This recognition represents over 10 years of hard work from hundreds of staff here at Children’s National,” said Brian Jacobs, MD, who serves as CIO and CMIO at Children’s National. Jacobs added that the wide-ranging initiative included people, processes and technological innovations alongside research and education, both in-house and among children and their families.


Rick Gordon named director of Inova Personalized Health Accelerator
(Virginia Business – October 19, 2017)

Rick Gordon has been named director of Inova Personalized Health Accelerator in Fairfax. Gordon formerly was founding managing partner at MACH37, a Herndon-based cybersecurity accelerator. While at Mach37, Gordon led investments in 46 companies.


Hospital, police host event for unwanted medicine disposal
(CBS 19 – October 19, 2017)

On Oct, 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital will partner with the Albemarle County Police Department to host the Unwanted Medication and Sharps drop-off event. People will be able to drive through the patient transport loop at the back of the hospital with any medicines they want to get rid of.


Ground broken for $3.2M health center in Tazewell
(Bluefield Daily Telegraph – October 20, 2017)

Ground by the golden shovelful was broken Thursday for a new $3.2 million health care center which will provide more services including primary care, pediatric care, dental and other services to residents of Tazewell County and the surrounding area. Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems has worked since 2015 on opening a new facility at 145 Ben Bolt Avenue in Tazewell.


Enrollment opens soon for Virginia health care marketplace
(The Winchester Star – October 19, 2017) SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED

Area health and legal nonprofits are reminding residents that open enrollment for the Virginia health care marketplace through former President Barack Obama’s health care law — also known as the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” — is coming up.


Jobs, health care and opioids
(Madison Eagle – October 19, 2017)

Nick Freitas and Ben Hixon took turns answering questions during Rural Madison’s House of Delgates Candidate Forum last Thursday. Republican incumbent Freitas is a father of three and a veteran who believes the government’s role is to protect liberty and property rights. Libertarian Democrat Hixon is a computer program who believes the role of government is to secure freedoms and stated he supports the least intrusive government possible to do so.


Virginia’s CHIP funding in jeopardy
(Richmond Free Press – October 19, 2017)

Overshadowed by the uproar of President Trump’s attempt to defund government support of the Affordable Care Act for adults, 65,000 children in Virginia and 9 million children across the country are now threatened with the loss of their health insurance. Also under threat is health insurance coverage for thousands of low-income pregnant women in Virginia and other states.


OTHER STATES

NC: Blue Cross rates: State approves 14.1% average increase. Some see steeper increases.
(News & Observer – October 18, 2017)

A half-million North Carolina customers who buy individual health insurance from Blue Cross and Blue Shield will pay an average rate increase of 14.1 percent starting in January, the company said Tuesday. The new rates were approved last month by the N.C. Department of Insurance for Blue Cross individual health insurance purchased under the Affordable Care Act.


New website will let Maryland consumers compare hospital rates for the first time
(The Baltimore Sun – October 19, 2017)

A knee replacement at Medstar Harbor Hospital will cost a patient $37,225 on average, while the same procedure at University of Maryland Shore Medical System at Easton costs $22,687. Patients will pay $20,010 on average for a hysterectomy at Johns Hopkins Hospital but only $11,691 to have it done at St. Joseph.


MISCELLANEOUS

Blindsided Trump officials scrambling to develop opioid plan
(POLITICO – October 20, 2017)

President Donald Trump overrode his own advisers when he promised to deliver an emergency declaration next week to combat the nation’s worsening opioid crisis. “That is a very, very big statement,” he said Monday. “It’s a very important step. … We’re going to be doing it in the next week.”


CMS may have overcorrected in cancellation of cardiac models
(Modern Healthcare – October 19, 2017) METERED PAYWALL

The CMS may have overcorrected when it honored some hospitals’ request to cancel mandatory cardiac pay models. The move means hospitals that were ready to embrace the models could be out millions of dollars. Those hospitals are also missing out on millions in bonus payments they would have received had they improved care.


Short on staff: Nursing crisis strains U.S. hospitals
(Reuters – October 20, 2017)

A shortage of nurses at U.S. hospitals hit West Virginia’s Charleston Area Medical Center at the worst possible time. The non-profit healthcare system is one of the state’s largest employers and sits in the heart of economically depressed coal country. It faces a $40 million deficit this year as it struggles with fewer privately insured patients, cuts in government reimbursement and higher labor costs to attract a shrinking pool of nurses.


FDA approves a game-changing treatment for blood cancer
(STAT News – October 18, 2017)

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved a promising new treatment for a particularly deadly form of cancer, bringing hope to desperate patients while rekindling a global conversation about the escalating cost of new therapies.


REFORM

Survey: US Uninsured Up 3.5M This Year; Expected to Rise
(Associated Press – October 20, 2017)

The number of U.S. adults without health insurance is up nearly 3.5 million this year, as rising premiums and political turmoil over “Obamacare” undermine coverage gains that drove the nation’s uninsured rate to a historic low.


Bipartisan Plan to Curb Health Premiums Gets Strong Support
(Associated Press – October 19, 2017)

A bipartisan proposal to calm churning health insurance markets gained momentum Thursday when enough lawmakers rallied behind it to give it potentially unstoppable Senate support. But its fate remained unclear as some Republicans sought changes that could threaten Democratic backing.


Two Republican Senators Seek to Add Flexibility to Bipartisan Health Bill
(Reuters – October 19, 2017)

Republican U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy said on Thursday they were working with Republican Senator Ron Johnson and members of the House of Representatives to add more “flexibility provisions” to a proposed bipartisan bill to stabilize the healthcare insurance market in the short term.


Trump’s health subsidy shutdown could lead to free insurance
(Associated Press – October 19, 2017)

If President Donald Trump prevails in shutting down a major “Obamacare” health insurance subsidy, it would have the unintended consequence of making free basic coverage available to more people, and making upper-tier plans more affordable.


GOP to Trump: Stop flip-flopping on Obamacare deal
(POLITICO – October 19, 2017)

Key Senate Republicans are urgently trying to get President Donald Trump to reconsider his apparent opposition to a bipartisan deal shoring up health insurance markets, several senators said Thursday morning. Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who negotiated the deal with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, both spoke to the president about it on Wednesday evening.


IRS will reject or ‘suspend’ returns that don’t report health coverage status
(POLITICO Pro – October 18, 2017) SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED

The IRS will not accept electronically filed tax returns during the 2018 filing season from taxpayers who don’t state whether they had health insurance as required by Obamacare, and the agency said it may “suspend” paper returns that lack the information.


States face double jeopardy as CHIP funding winds down
(POLITICO Pro – October 19, 2017) SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED

States using Children’s Health Insurance Program funding on hand to keep kids covered until Congress sets aside new money are encountering a punishing federal rule: They have to turn one-third of their leftover money over to the federal government.


With Obamacare, fewer Americans were uninsured when they were told they had cancer
(LA Times – October 19, 2017) METERED PAYWALL

As President Trump and his allies in Congress keep pushing to get rid of Obamacare, new research shows that the contentious law has succeeded in expanding health insurance coverage for Americans with cancer.


Report: Medicaid Enrollments, Costs Begin to Stabilize
(Associated Press – October 19, 2017)

States are seeing more stability in their Medicaid programs after experiencing a surge in enrollment and costs associated with the Affordable Care Act, suggesting that one of the major pillars of former President Barack Obama’s health overhaul may be nearing its peak.


Opinion: The Limits of Trump’s Health-Care Order
(The Wall Street Journal – October 19, 2017) SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED

Give President Trump an A for effort with his latest executive order, which tries to expand health-insurance options for individuals battered by exploding premiums and fleeing insurers. At least somebody is trying to do something after congressional Republicans failed to repeal and replace ObamaCare. While the executive order represents progress, Congress still needs to act.