Healthcare Economics & Policy

In a lawsuit aimed at allowing a physician practice to break away from the region’s dominant health system, physicians at the Mecklenburg Medical Group (MMG) have accused Charlotte’s Atrium Health of monopolistic practices that have been harmful to patients and go against its nonprofit mission. Atrium responded by saying the 92 doctors who want to leave will be allowed to do so.

A bundled payment arrangement created in Texas by a non-profit Medicaid health maintenance organization (HMO) didn’t result in consistent savings for the two large physician groups participating, according to research displayed at the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Congress in Chicago.

Pressure from lower-priced healthcare options has already been hitting hospitals’ bottom lines. If Walmart’s early talks to acquire Humana come to fruition, that pressure would only intensify, according to the Wall Street Journal.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced his office has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Sacramento-based Sutter Health, alleging the system used its dominance in Northern California to unlawfully raise prices for services and then used the profits reaped from these practices to grow even larger.

The failure to pass funding for reinsurance and cost-sharing reduction subsidies for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges and the potential for pharmaceutical-backed changes to the 340B drug discount program are just some of the major issues on the American Hospital Association’s radar this year, according to executive vice president of government affairs Tom Nickels.

In the latest example of an outside force making a move into healthcare, retail giant Walmart—the largest company in the world by revenue—is reportedly in preliminary discussions to acquire health insurer Humana, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Not far from any policy debate is the oft-repeated fact that healthcare makes up one-sixth of the U.S. economy. Newly published research took a deeper dive to investigate the impact of medical schools and teaching hospitals. And, as one would guess, they contribute a lot of the American economy, accounting for 3.1 percent of gross domestic product.

Accountable care organizations (ACOs) were supposed to result in savings for Medicare, but an analysis from Avalere said ACOs in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) have instead increased federal spending—an evaluation a national group of ACOs called “rather simplistic," ignoring positive impacts they've made on quality.

Drug-related deaths more than tripled between 1999 and 2015—and many of those can be attributed to opioids. But the numbers may be more alarming than previously thought, according to a new report from Kaiser Health News and Side Effects Public Media.

Efforts from Republicans in Washington, D.C., failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but that hasn’t stopped some states from taking matters into their own hands. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is expected to sign legislation that would allow insurers to sell certain plans that don’t meet ACA regulations.

Jefferson Health and Einstein Healthcare Network, both based in Philadelphia, have announced they’ve signed a letter of intent to merge, the latest in a string of acquisitions by Jefferson.

Discussions to create the largest hospital system in the country by combining Ascension and Providence St. Joseph Health have ended, with the two companies deciding to focus on restructuring existing operations, according to the Wall Street Journal.