Report Outlines ACA Repeal Affect On Hospitals

The American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals Dec. 6 released a report that details the impact a repeal of the Affordable Care Act would have on hospitals and health systems and the patients and communities they care for.

The report finds that, under the most recent repeal-without-replacement bill, H.R. 3762, hospitals across the nation would suffer losses amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars.

Rick Pollack, AHA present and CEO, and Chip Kahn, FAH president and CEO, observed that, “Losses of this magnitude cannot be sustained and will adversely impact patients’ access to care, decimate hospitals and health systems’ ability to provide services, weaken local economies that hospitals help sustain and grow, and result in massive job losses. As you know, hospitals are often the largest employer in many communities, and more than half of a hospital’s budget is devoted to supporting the salaries and benefits of caregivers who provide 24/7 coverage, which cannot be replaced.” [Read More]

Goodies Abound In 21st Century Cures Act

A sprawling health bill that passed the Senate Wednesday and is expected to become law before the end of the year is a grab bag for industries that spent plenty of money lobbying to make sure it happened that way.

Here are some of the winners and losers in the 21st Century Cures Act:

WINNERS

Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Companies. The bill will likely save drug and device companies billions of dollars bringing products to market by giving the Food and Drug Administration new authority and tools to demand fewer studies from those companies and speed up approvals. [Read More]

Ascension Rebrands Michigan Facilities to Reflect Collaboration

As it works to integrate its national health system, Ascension facilities in Michigan and Wisconsin will be first to adopt the unified name of Ascension. The hospitals and other sites of care that are part of the current systems of Ascension Michigan – Borgess in the Kalamazoo region; Crittenton in suburban Detroit; Genesys serving the Flint/Grand Blanc area; St. John Providence in metro Detroit; St. Joseph in Tawas City; and St. Mary’s with services in Saginaw and Standish – will adopt the Ascension identity. Similarly, the hospitals and other care sites of the current systems of Ascension Wisconsin – Ministry Health Care, Columbia St. Mary’s and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, serving residents across the state – will now use the Ascension name. [Read More]

Health Policy Reports Out Bill To License Advance Practice Nurses

The House Health Policy Committee Sept. 20 reported a bill to license and regulate nurses with a masters, post-masters or doctoral degree in a nursing specialty, called advance practice registered nurses (APRNs).

APRNs may be nurse-midwives, nurse practitioners or clinical nurse specialists. Currently, the Michigan Board of Nursing may grant specialty certification to a registered professional nurse who has training beyond the requirements of initial licensure.

The bill, HB 5400, would add a list of protected terms, restricted to be used only by individuals authorized to use them: “certified nurse midwife,” “CNM,” “advanced practice registered nurse,” “APRN,” “NP” “certified nurse practitioner,” “CNP,” “clinical nurse specialist,” “CNS,” “clinical nurse specialist-certified,” and “CNS-C.” [Read More]

Congressional Dems Drawing Battle Lines Over Flint Relief Funding

A number of Congressional Democrats—including every Democrat in the Michigan Congressional Delegation—announced they’re going to battle after emergency funding for Flint was removed from a government-funding bill.

The issue is swiftly becoming the pivotal matter on which a government shutdown may rest. If the impasse lingers, it will likely invite more national scrutiny to Flint’s water crisis, and with that, further squabbling over the allocation of blame.

Minority leadership in the U.S. Senate coalesced to block a vote on the bill that would keep the government funded for the next 10 weeks, due to the exclusion of funding for Flint as it still grapples with the water crisis. Republicans have accused the Democrats of political motivations underscoring the action. [Read More]

Legalized Pot Shops Bills Signed Into Law

For the first time since voters said “yes” to medical marijuana in 2008, the state will be legalized freestanding shops where the product can be sold, under legislation Gov. Rick SNYDER signed into law Sept. 21.

A five-tier regulatory structure will now co-exist with the current distribution model, in which a caregiver can grow plants for him or herself and five others.

The bills, HB 4209, HB 4210 and HB 4827, create a license structure for the growing, testing, processing and transporting of medical marijuana, as well as legalize medical marijuana in non-smokable forms. [Read More]

U-M Health System, Meijer Pharmacies Partner On Hypertension Care

The University of Michigan Health System has established a new partnership with Meijer pharmacies to provide hypertension management services for adult patients.

U-M patients will be able to visit participating Meijer pharmacy locations to receive a blood pressure check and assessment. If the patient’s blood pressure is elevated, the clinically trained Meijer pharmacist will communicate directly with the patient’s U-M Health System provider. The patient will also receive appropriate follow-up and education about disease, clinical goals, medications and lifestyle. [Read More]

CMS Set To Reduce Flexibility On ICD-10 Oct. 1

ICD-10, which contains more than 70,000 diagnostic codes, replaced the ICD-9 code set, which relied on just 11,000 codes.

The grace period had only applied to claims submitted to Medicare and Medicaid, and while many commercial insurers offered similar flexibility, the majority did not, according to a report in Healthcare IT News.
The lead-up to the ICD-10 had many healthcare providers worried that the exponential increase in diagnostic codes would lead to more errors in medical claims, and ultimately denials, due to the new specificity required. But the years of lead-up to the launch due to a handful Congressional delays gave healthcare providers more time to prepare. The years of training, and the extra time to staff-up coding departments paid off. Most studies show the rate of denials had gone practically unchanged since the roll-out. [Read More]

Mental Health Group Awards WSU $3.2 Million For Research

Researchers in the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences will use a new five-year, $3.2 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to explore the underlying mechanisms of impaired learning and memory in schizophrenia from the perspective of brain plasticity, function and network dynamics.

The NIMH defines schizophrenia as a chronic and disabling mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves, including loss of reality due to hallucinations, delusions, unusual or dysfunctional ways of thinking, and agitated body movements. People with the condition also have difficulty beginning or sustaining activities, focusing or paying attention, or remembering information immediately after learning it. About 1 percent of the United States population, or 2.2 million people, have schizophrenia, but the neurobiology of the illness remains poorly understood. [Read More]

Biotech Industry Could Be ‘The Next $1 Trillion Industry’

If technology and data was the last $1 trillion industry, data-driven advancement in biotechnology will be the next and West Michigan is positioned to take advantage, said former Hillary CLINTON innovation aide Alex ROSS.

Ross was a keynote speaker at the Grand Rapids Economic Club luncheon and drew on his experience as former senior innovation aide to Clinton while she was Secretary of State. Ross said the data collected mapping the human genome over the last 15 years will likely be used next to conduct “liquid biopsies”—an early cancer detection test–and pharmaceutical therapies tailored to a patient’s specific genetic needs. [Read More]