Archive for Uncategorized


Supreme Court Nominee’s Health Care Views

How has Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh ruled in health care cases that have come before him?

In a new review, the Commonwealth Fund examines Judge Kavanaugh’s past opinions on cases involving the Affordable Care Act, abortion and contraception, and Medicare entitlement.

It also examines how Judge Kavanaugh approaches adjudicating the cases that come before him and his views on precedent, procedure, and executive and judicial authority.

Learn more about the man who could soon join the Supreme Court in the Commonwealth Fund article “Examining Supreme Court Nominee Kavanaugh’s Health Care Opinions.”…

New Policy Threatens Provider Payments in Missouri

Health care providers that fail to join the provider networks of Missouri Medicaid managed care plans will see their Medicaid payments cut 10 percent by the state under a new state policy.

The purpose of the policy, according to the state, is to encourage hospitals and physicians to join the provider networks of three managed care plans that serve more than 700,000 residents of the state.  Providers, on the other hand, say this policy will discourage them from serving Medicaid patients at all and will detract from their ability to negotiate reasonable rates with the state’s three Medicaid managed care plans.

Learn more about this new Missouri policy and its potential implications for providers, Medicaid beneficiaries, the insurers, and the state in this article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


Review: Telehealth Shows Mixed Results

A federal review of the use of telehealth services suggests that such services may be appear useful in helping to improve care and reduce costs under certain conditions but are less useful in others.

According to a draft currently under review by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality,

  • Remote intensive care unit (ICU) consultations likely reduce ICU mortality and ICU length of stay (LOS); specialty telehealth consultations likely reduce the time patients spend in the emergency department; and remote consultations for outpatient care likely improve access and a range of clinical outcomes (moderate strength of evidence in favor of telehealth).
  • Findings with lower confidence are that telehealth consultations may: reduce inpatient LOS and costs; may improve outcomes and reduce costs for emergency care due to fewer transfers; and may reduce outpatient visits and costs due to travel (low strength of evidence in favor of telehealth).

On the other hand,

  • Current evidence reports no difference in overall hospital LOS with remote ICUs, no difference in clinical outcomes with inpatient telehealth specialty consultations, no difference in mortality but also no difference in harms with telestroke consultations; and no difference in satisfaction with outpatient telehealth consultations (low strength of evidence of

CMS Unveils Rural Health Strategy

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services had introduced what it calls its “first rural health strategy.”

According to the agency, the purpose of the strategy is

…to provide a proactive approach on healthcare issues to ensure that the nearly one in five individuals who live in rural America have access to high quality, affordable healthcare.

“For the first time, CMS is organizing and focusing our efforts to apply a rural lens to the vision and work of the agency,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “The Rural Health Strategy supports CMS’ goal of putting patients first. Through its implementation and our continued stakeholder engagement, this strategy will enhance the positive impacts CMS policies have on beneficiaries who live in rural areas.”

CMS explains that its strategy,

…built on input from rural providers and beneficiaries, focuses on five objectives to achieve the agency’s vision for rural health:

  • Apply a rural lens to CMS programs and policies
  • Improve access to care through provider engagement and support
  • Advance telehealth and telemedicine
  • Empower patients in rural communities to make decisions about their healthcare
  • Leverage partnerships to achieve the goals of the CMS Rural Health Strategy

Learn more about CMS’s rural health strategy by visiting …

Short-Term Plans May Short-Change Purchasers

The short-term health insurance plans that the administration proposes making more available to consumers as an alternative to comprehensive health insurance that meets Affordable Care Act coverage requirements may leave consumers with greater out-of-pocket costs and less coverage for some critical services.

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation review of available short-term, limited duration plans in 10 markets across the country, those plans:

  • often do not cover mental health and substance abuse services and outpatient prescription drugs
  • may turn down individuals or charge them higher premiums based on age, gender, or health status, including pre-existing conditions
  • require greater cost-sharing by their purchasers
  • do not cover maternity services at all

Such plans are not required to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits requirement.

For a closer look at short-term health insurance plans, how they operate, and what they do and do not cover, see the report “Understanding Short-Term Limited Duration Health Insurance, which can be found here, on the web site of the Kaiser Family Foundation.…