5 things I'm thankful for--but could still be better

With Thanksgiving and the holiday season upon us, there are lots of changes going on in the healthcare arena that I'm thankful for. Since this is not a perfect world, things can be better....

Happy Fierce Friday!

In between shopping for Black Friday specials, visiting with family and friends, and eating Thanksgiving leftovers, enjoy a collection of some of our favorite original interviews and special reports...

M&A in healthcare sector to set records in 2014

The year 2014 is shaping up to be the most active in healthcare mergers and acquisitions in decades, the Associated Press reported.

Drug prices expected to rise nearly 12% this year

After years of relatively stable annual price increases, the costs of pharmaceuticals are expected to shoot up nearly 12 percent this year, Kaiser Health News has reported.

To keep costs down, consumers must act as advocates for cost and quality

If there is any chance of containing costs in the healthcare system, patients will have to be vigorous consumers who are curious about how much they pay for their care and advocate for keeping prices in check, Marketwatch reported.

Unnecessary cardiac stress test imaging costs $501M a year

The overuse of imaging services for cardiac patients takes a fiscal toll on both the healthcare system and the patients who undergo them, the American Journal of Managed Care reported.

Medicaid spending up dramatically in 2014

Medicaid spending has increased dramatically during 2014, according to a new report from the National Association of State Budget Officers.

Study shows wide gap between hospital charges for public, private insurers

It's a matter of faith that most hospitals earn the biggest margins on patients that have private insurance. But a new study indicates that acute care facilities routinely clean up on such patients.


CMS releases list of counties, hospitals that have lost critical access designation

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released a list of counties and parishes that will lose their rural designation that allows acute care facilities within their boundaries to receive extra payments as critical access hospitals.

Mergers and acquisitions: A 2015 forecast

Things aren't always as they appear. This adage is particularly applicable to the future of healthcare mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Statistically, healthcare M&A deals are down in 2014 compared to the previous year, but experts say anecdotal evidence paints a more promising picture of the market in 2015.

Obama makes rare response to ACA critcism

President Barack Obama has quietly endured years of criticism for championing the Affordable Care Act, although he responded aggressively earlier this week after criticism from MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who claimed his administration deliberately lied to the American people to get the law passed through Congress.

Note to hospitals: Stop charging rape victims for their exams and care

Although Portland Oregonian sports columnist John Canzano deliberately buried the lede in his profile of Brenda Tracy last week, it was a story that concluded on a far more inspirational note than...

SEC investigates insider trading on Medicare

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether insider trading took place during a 2013 incident in which financial institutions were tipped off that Medicare was about to raise reimbursement rates.

Hospitals push back on drug price increases

Hit hard by dramatic increases in drug costs, hospitals and healthcare systems are sorting their options and finding ways to push back. Ascension Health, the largest nonprofit hospital operator in the United States, recently banned sales reps from its properties, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Physician shortage to hit hospital bottom lines

Hospital executives are challenged to recruit physicians, given their costs and the limits of the labor pool, but their inability to get ahead of the issue may start to hurt their bottom line, reported Fortune magazine.

Premier: Financial blows from reform begins to recede

The latest economic outlook survey from Premier, Inc. suggests the financial burdens associated with the Affordable Care Act have begun to recede.

Some hospitals seek upfront payments from insured patients

Hospitals in Kentucky and Indiana are hitting up insured patients for upfront payments, out of concern they won't meet their deductibles and copayments otherwise, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.

Hospitals in 13 states charge rape victims for exams, care

Hospitals in more than a quarter of the states charge rape victims for all or part of their post-assault exams, Channel 3000 reported.

Proposed Partners hospital deal remains controversial

If Partners HealthCare is able to pull off a deal arranged with Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley to purchase three more hospitals in the state, it will do so at the risk of the enmity of practically every other hospital operator in the region, the Boston Globe reported..

Lack of Medicaid expansion will cost Florida hospitals billions

The intransigence of the Sunshine State's lawmakers over expanding Medicaid eligibility will cost the state's hospitals billions of dollars over the next several years, the Tampa Bay Times reports.