Top stories of 2018

Healthcare stakeholders dealt with a slurry of new regulations, policy shifts and mega deals across the industry in 2018. After a whirlwind of a year, we’ve rounded up our most popular stories from 2018.

Here are the top 10 most read:

1) NC hospital reviewing 9,200 cases after lab mistakes wrongly diagnosed cancer

After at least 10 patients received improper diagnoses owed to pathology lab errors, Winston Salem, N.C.-based Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center reviewed 9,291 cases ahead of a June deadline set by CMS that could strip its Medicare certification. The center met its compliance deadline with CMS by the deadline.

2) Trump signs new opioid bills, introduces rule to lower drug prices

A package of opioid bills was signed into law Oct. 24 by President Trump in a broad effort to wrangle the opioid abuse epidemic, which claimed 72,000 lives in overdose-related deaths last year. The president also proposed making major changes to Medicare drug pricing.

3) 5 things to know about the final ACA rule for 2019

In a final rule that CMS said would help customers “suffering from high Obamacare premiums,” the agency’s 2019 rule for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges would give states more power on how plans cover required benefits and widen exemptions to the law’s individual mandate in the final year customers can be penalized for not having ACA-compliant insurance. Here are five important aspects of the final rule.

4) Primary care compensation rising as practices get spooked about physician shortage

Primary care physicians and non-physician practitioners have seen their compensation rise more rapidly than specialists, which the Medical Group Management Association said is evidence of a worsening shortage of physicians in primary care settings.

5) Adam Boehler officially named new CMMI director

CMS Administrator Seema Verma announced Adam Boehler, CEO of home-based care startup Landmark Health, was named the new head of the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Innovation in April 2018.

6) Cigna-Express Scripts merger delayed

The completion of the $67 billion merger between health insurer Cigna and Express Scripts was slightly delayed, according to a public filing from Cigna in November. The deal was anticipated to close by December 8, but the companies decided to delay their initial deadline by six months. The deal eventually closed on Dec. 20.

7) Physician shortages crippling rural emergency departments

Emergency departments, particularly in rural areas, are strained by shortages of physicians and other providers, including nonemergency doctors and advanced practice providers, according to a study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

8) Could the DOJ be an obstacle to CVS-Aetna merger?

Before the Department of Justice cleared the $69 billion merger between CVS Health and Aetna, it wasn’t so clear the transaction would be approved.

9) AMA: Nine institutions made major improvements in physician burnout 

Physician burnout is a widespread problem across the healthcare industry, but nine organizations stand out in their commitment and progress to prevent and alleviate the issue, according to the American Medical Association.

10) How will GE Healthcare fare on its own? Analysts are cautiously optimistic 

News that GE would spin off its healthcare division into a separate company could provide freedom for the standalone entity after the business unit had a tough run in 2018.