WI updates hospital price database, but challenges remain

An affiliate of the Wisconsin Hospital Association released its latest version of its PricePoint price information system for inpatient procedures earlier this week, and it continues to show that provider charges are all over the map.

AMA's RUC panel skews payments toward specialists

The American Medical Association's power in determining the relative value of the services physicians provide plays an outsize role in favoring specialist physicians and driving up the costs of healthcare delivery in the United States, Politico reported.

340B program entices hospitals to snap up oncology practices

Hospitals have been accused of using the discounts available as part of the 340B drug discount program to line their pockets with profits. But facilities are also apparently using the money for another purpose:  to acquire community oncology practices, OncLive reported.

Carondelet Health settles overbilling case for $35 million

The Tuscon, AZ-based Carondelet Health Network agreed to pay $35 million to settle charges that it improperly billed the Medicare program between 2004 and 2011 for inpatient rehabilitation services that were not reimbursable.

Clinicians must address cost, quality of care to reduce spending

As patients gain more control over their healthcare and demand more of a role in the decision-making process, hospitals, doctors and front-line workers must engage them in conversations about cost and quality care matters, panelists agreed during an Institute for Healthcare Improvement discussion Thursday afternoon. 

How hospitals deal with RACs is a symptom of our era

As I was growing up in the 1970s, there was still a lot of the "can-do" attitude in America for which a large part of its populace is now nostalgic, if not wistful. There were moon shots,...

Southern governors advocate for Medicaid expansion

It was an odd sight at the annual meeting of the Southern Governors Association--three of its members advocating for expansion of Medicaid eligibility as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Some hospitals pull back on charity care

In light of the millions of low-income Americans who now qualify for free or heavily subsidized health insurance coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act, some hospital operators reconsider their charity care policies for those who refuse to obtain coverage.

U.S. Senator: For-profit hospitals drive up care costs

For-profit hospitals and hospital chains change the way healthcare is delivered in the U.S., and often drive up the cost of care, according to Connecticut's junior senator.

Medicaid expansion helps Chicago hospital system's budget woes

The expansion of Medicaid eligibility and funding under the Affordable Care Act will likely smooth over any financial bumps Cook County's large healthcare system may encounter over the next year, the Chicago Tribune reported.

CA hospitals' blood test prices all over the map

California hospitals charge such a wide array of prices for simple blood tests that it appears there is no rational system in place for pricing such services, according to a study published in BMJ Open.

Use of care coordinators, technology can cut lengths of stay

A standalone community hospital in the Chicago area has been able to deploy technology and new staff to improve patient flow to the point that average length of stay was reduced and the hospital's overall culture was improved.

Controversies, competing interests surround 340B program

After questions arose over the finances and related management of the 340B discount drug program, policymakers may need more guidance regarding its future, according to a new report from the RAND Corp.

Pressure mounts on not-for-profit standalones, systems

Small, standalone not-for-profit hospitals and even some larger systems have their backs against the wall due to mounting financial pressures, according to Standard & Poor's Rating Services.

MACPAC: Medicaid enrollees do not overuse the ER

The Medicaid population uses hospital emergency departments at a higher rate than patients with other forms of insurance, but for the most part such visits are necessary, according to a new report from the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Advisory Commission.

Hospitals consider paying premiums for some low-income patients

Hospitals in New York, Wisconsin and Florida may help some patients pay their premiums for health insurance coverage as a way to ensure they receive payment for care they rendered, Kaiser Health News reported.

Government Accountability Office calls for CMS to fix auditing process

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services doesn't do enough to prevent duplicative reviews of provider payments, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

The South's big ol' Medicaid problem

Although the United States has a checkered record when it comes to dealing with its poorest and most disadvantaged populations, the South is the unabashed leader in that category. I won't get...

MO, KS hospitals may lose nearly $10B in Medicaid payments

Hospitals in Kansas and Missouri--two contiguous states whose lawmakers rejected Medicaid expansion--will pay a heavy price for that decision, according to a recent study by the Urban Institute.

Healthcare spending up, but prices, job growth remain relatively flat

Spending on healthcare services in the United States grew at a 4.8 percent annual pace in June, about the same as May, but significantly higher than at the same periods in 2013 and 2012. However, hospital spending was far lower than that brisk pace, according to data from the Altarum Institute's Center for Sustainable Health Spending.