News, Policy, The Rundown

The Rundown | Week of 8.28.2017

The Rundown - week of 8.28.2017

Are you a busy provider looking for healthcare news? Check out The Rundown.

Privia has compiled a list of stories to keep you up to date on all things healthcare:

  • What Harvey May Mean for Houston’s Healthcare: A Look at New Orleans Before and After Katrina

Looking back on one of the most infamous hurricanes in recent memory — New Orleans’ Katrina — the category 5 storm could provide insight into what to expect after Hurricane Harvey, the category 4 storm that has inundated parts of Texas and the Gulf Coast. A report from the August 2006 issue of Health Affairs describes how Katrina devastated New Orleans’ local health system in 2004; before the hurricane there were more than 4,000 hospital beds, after, 1,900. Of the 4,500 physicians who were forced to relocate, only 1,200 returned in the storm’s aftermath, and the number of nursing home beds decreased by 2,200.

Read more: ”Health Care In New Orleans Before And After Hurricane Katrina”

  • CMS Rolls Out New Voluntary Selection Measure

Medicare.gov will soon implement a new measure allowing beneficiaries to list their primary-care doctors on the site. If that doctor is in an ACO, the beneficiary would be assigned to both that provider and their ACO. Modern Healthcare reports that voluntary selection is set to begin 2018  in an effort to increase transparency for providers, many of whom have expressed to CMS they’d like more clarification on which beneficiaries they will be evaluated for. Under the current process, patients are assigned retroactively, limiting the amount of information physicians have to judge how well they are doing.

Read more: “Medicare to divulge when a doc’s patient is in an ACO”

  • Americans Using Fewer Antibiotics

Seemingly in response to a 2016 study issued by Centers for Disease Control showing that about one-third of the antibiotics prescribed in outpatient settings were not necessary, doctors and patients are now more cautious about excessive antibiotic use, which can lead to drug resistance and “superbug” bacteria. A new study conducted by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association showed a nine percent decrease in antibiotics prescribed in outpatient settings in 2016, The Washington Post reports.

Read more: ”Fewer antibiotic prescriptions are being filled, a new analysis finds”

  • This Shift from Anthem Could Have Big Impact on Hospitals

Anthem, Inc. has decided that they will no longer cover outpatient MRIs and CT scans performed at hospitals, Modern Healthcare reports. Anthem’s actions are taking aim at services that often cost much more when performed at a hospital, as opposed to freestanding imaging centers. In Wisconsin, which is expected to be affected heavily by this decision, outpatient MRIs performed at a hospital cost $1,500 more than those performed at these centers. According to this Modern Healthcare article, Anthem shares that this decision will allow patients to save money, particularly those in high-deductible plans.

Read more: “Anthem’s new outpatient imaging policy likely to hit hospitals’ bottom line”

  • ACA Exchanges Restored

Earlier in the year, 80 counties were in danger of not having a single Obamacare exchanges insurer and now every county is covered. According to Yahoo! Finance, the last county that remained, Paulding County, Ohio, will have plans offered by CareSource. Insurers can see a benefit from stepping in to provide coverage, as they are the only insurer and can determine their own pricing. And while patients on the exchange market will now have an option, they don’t have much variety when choosing coverage.

Read more: “Every county in the U.S. now has an Obamacare insurer for 2018”

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