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.

December 15, 2017


UVA Study Suggests A Critical Cancer Treatment in Decline Due to Cost
(WVIR – December 14, 2017)

A new University of Virginia School of Medicine study is suggesting that the use of a gold-standard cancer treatment is in decline and money may be the reason why. Brachytherapy (bray-kee-therapy) is a form of radiation that allows doctors to insert radioactive material directly inside a patient's tumor.

McAuliffe proposes boost in mental health spending
(Daily Press – December 13, 2017) METERED PAYWALL

Gov. Terry McAuliffe is proposing a multimillion-dollar effort to move several dozen of the roughly 180 Virginians stuck in state mental hospitals out of those increasing overcrowded facilities. McAuliffe’s final budget, which he’s due to present to General Assembly money committees next week, proposes boosting by $6.9 million funding for discharge planning for 80 to 90 people now on state hospitals’ extraordinary barriers lists.

Va. Gov.: Medicaid could be expanded
(Bluefield Daily Telegraph – December 15, 2017)

Medicaid coverage could be expanded to approximately 400,000 Virginians by early next year, the state’s governor said Thursday while visiting Southwest Virginia. Gov. Terry McAuliffe visited the Hollybrook Community Center to help celebrate the arrival of broadband internet service. Prior to visiting Bland County, McAuliffe joined a roundtable discussion at Buchanan General Hospital near Grundy, Va. and spoke with local medical professionals about Medicaid expansion and the things which must be done in rural communities to provide health care.

Virginia Governor-elect talks Shore roots, priorities for rural Va.
(13 News Now – December 14, 2017)

Gov.-elect Ralph Northam spoke with the Eastern Shore News recently about his administration's priorities and his love for the Eastern Shore. "I've always been so proud, anywhere I go, to tell folks I'm from the Eastern Shore and talk to them about the Eastern Shore," Northam said in a Dec. 7 phone interview.

Supervisors reject $200K proposal for opioid treatment in Prince William
(Inside NoVA – December 14, 2017)

Prince William County supervisors are declining to move ahead with a stopgap measure designed to expand treatment programs for opioid addicts, opting instead to further study other funding sources for drug treatment and explore legal action against opioid manufacturers.

Hugo's win affirmed in recount
(Prince William Times – December 14, 2017)

It’s official: Prince William County will retain one of its Republican incumbent delegates in the state General Assembly. Del. Tim Hugo came out on top Thursday of a recount of the ballots cast Nov. 7 in what turned out to be a surprisingly close contest in the 40th District. The district straddles Prince William and Fairfax counties and has been held by Hugo, the majority caucus leader, since 2002.


Auditor: 6 rural public hospitals struggling in Mississippi
(Associated Press – December 13, 2017)

Six of the 19 rural, county-owned hospitals in Mississippi were in poor financial condition in the budget year that ended in June 2016, state Auditor Stacey Pickering said in a report Wednesday. The report says three of those listed in poor condition are in the Delta: Greenwood Leflore and Tallahatchie General hospitals, and North Sunflower Medical Center.

Florida hospitals call for more funding in effort to address looming doctor shortage
(Tampa Bay Times – December 13, 2017)

The number of doctors practicing in Florida has not kept up with the state’s surging population growth, and more money is needed to recruit and keep them here, hospital leaders said Wednesday. The shortage is particularly acute in four specialty areas: urology, thoracic surgery, nephrology and ophthalmology, according to a second annual report by the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida and the Teaching Hospital Council of Florida.

Walgreens, New York hospital giant partner on in-store telemedicine kiosks
(Chain Store Age – December 11, 2017)

Walgreens is collaborating with NewYork-Presbyterian on a program that will bring telemedicine via self-service kiosks to the drug store chain’s stores. NewYork-Presbyterian, one of the top hospitals in New York City, is offering the telemedicine service as part of its NYP OnDemand suite of digital health services.

Maine: Lawmakers figuring out how to pay for Medicaid expansion
(Associated Press – December 13, 2017)

Maine faces a July deadline for expanding Medicaid as lawmakers scramble to figure out exactly how much it will cost and how the state will pay for it. The Legislature’s appropriations committee met Wednesday to start coming up with an official estimate of the costs and savings of Medicaid expansion. So far, lawmakers have offered no ideas about how to pay for the expansion.


FCC repeals net neutrality rules, potentially affecting telemedicine
(Modern Healthcare – December 14, 2017) METERED PAYWALL

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 Thursday to repeal net neutrality rules, ending Obama-era regulations that prohibited internet providers from blocking or slowing web content. Whereas all internet traffic previously shared the same "lane," it can now be split among different lanes with different speeds.

Latest MACRA, doctor fee rules could bring boost to telehealth, wearables
(HealthcareDive – December 14, 2017)

Medicare's final rules under the Quality Payment Program and for physician payment will have some notable implications for health IT. Digging through the nearly 3,000-page QPP rule, the MIPS track could spur innovation in the wearables space, for example. At the same time, some worry that the large amount of exemptions, which were finalized in the rule, could deter such advancement.

Uber reduces ambulance usage across the country, study says
(The Mercury News – December 13, 2017)

In what is believed to be the first study to measure the impact of Uber and other ride-booking services on the U.S. ambulance business, two researchers have concluded that ambulance usage is dropping across the country. A research paper released Wednesday examined ambulance usage rates in 766 U.S. cities in 43 states as Uber entered their markets from 2013 to 2015.

As Zika Babies Become Toddlers, Some Can’t See, Walk or Talk
(The New York Times – December 14, 2017) METERED PAYWALL

As the first babies born with brain damage from the Zika epidemic become 2-year-olds, the most severely affected are falling further behind in their development and will require a lifetime of care, according to a study published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Millions of Children Could Lose Health Coverage Starting Next Month
(The New York Times – December 14, 2017) METERED PAYWALL

Lawmakers have yet to renew federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, also known as CHIP, which insures nearly nine million children in low-income families. Most states will run out of money in the next few months if Congress does not act.

Political tensions ramp up on CHIP as hospitals urgently call for funding
(Modern Healthcare – December 14, 2017) METERED PAYWALL

The Children's Health Insurance Program funding fight shows no sign of ending as next week's spending deadline looms, and states and hospitals are mounting increasingly urgent pleas for action. States now have sent out letters to parents of CHIP-enrolled children warning them the program may not continue. One-third of states project they will run out of CHIP funding by the end of January.

Bipartisan Health Bill Is Losing Support
(The Wall Street Journal – December 14, 2017) SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED

The seemingly imminent repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance requirement, which could happen next week as part of the final passage of Republicans’ broad tax overhaul, has focused attention on Congress’ potential next moves on health care, including a bipartisan plan to shore up the insurance markets.

The tax bill destroys an important part of Obamacare. The states can save it.
(Vox – December 14, 2017)

To finance a massive corporate tax cut, congressional Republicans appear poised to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate — the requirement that Americans secure health insurance or pay a penalty. If they succeed, the human toll could be immense: The Congressional Budget Office warns that premiums will surge as healthier people opt out of the system, leaving insurers to cover a relatively sicker group of people. An estimated 13 million people could lose coverage.