Friday, June 12, 2015

This Week in Healthcare: 6/8 – 6/12

Top news from around the healthcare industry this week: 

Walgreens, MDLive expand telehealth collaboration to three more states 
Walgreens has expanded its relationship with telehealth service provider MDLive, bringing remote physician access to customers in three new states and, for the first time, to PCs as well as mobile devices. Users of Walgreens mobile apps and the portal in Colorado, Illinois and Washington state now can consult 24/7 with board-certified MDLive physicians for $49 per encounter, the two companies announced Tuesday.

Outraged, engaged patient takes aim at paternalistic physician 
It’s hard to know how many patients out there are truly “empowered,” and I suspect it is a relatively small number, but one of the louder voices out there is Duncan Cross, a longtime engaged patient with Crohn’s disease.

Arizona hospitals, doctors avoid 5 percent Medicaid pay cut 
Arizona hospitals, doctors and other health providers will get a reprieve after the state's Medicaid program announced it will cancel a planned 5 percent payment cut because of lower-than-expected use among enrollees and a prescription-drug rebate.

One nation, under sedation: Medicare paid for nearly 40 million tranquilizer prescriptions in 2013 
In 2012, Medicare’s massive prescription drug program didn’t spend a penny on popular tranquilizers such as Valium, Xanax and Ativan. The following year, it doled out more than $377 million for the drugs. While it might appear that an epidemic of anxiety swept the nation’s Medicare enrollees, the spike actually reflects a failed policy initiative by Congress.

Game Changer: CMS’ Proposed Medicaid Managed Care Regulation 
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its long awaited Medicaid managed care proposed rules on May 26; the rules were published in the Federal Register on June 1 (80 Fed. Reg. 30198-31297). The last time the federal government seriously tackled Medicaid managed care was in a 2002 regulation (67 Fed. Reg. 40989, June 14), a response to the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (Pub. L. 105-33), which itself amounted to a major new chapter in Medicaid’s relationship to what by then had become known as managed care.

Happy reading! Have a great weekend. 

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