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March 4, 2020

Around the nation: Alabama hospital prepares to shut its doors

Daily Briefing

    Pickens County Medical Center will close on Friday after over 40 years of operation, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Alabama, Florida, and New Jersey.

    • Alabama: Pickens County Medical Center will close on Friday after over 40 years of operation. The hospital announced that its finances weren't sustainable any longer because it had received reduced federal funding, it did not have enough patients, and too many of the hospital's patients were uninsured. According to the Alabama Hospital Association, 17 private hospitals have closed in the state over the past 10 years, and only one of those hospitals reopened (AP/Modern Healthcare, 3/2).

    • Florida: Florida hospitals that care for disabled, elderly, and low-income individuals could see a payment shortfall of up to $100 million because of a calculation error by state Medicaid officials, state Sen. Aaron Bean (R) and state Rep. MaryLynn Magar (R) told the News Service of Florida on Wednesday. According to Bean and Magar, state officials are working to address the error for this fiscal year and should not need additional funding to ensure affected hospitals receive their full payments. Meanwhile, state legislators are working to address the error for the upcoming fiscal year so hospitals do not receive lower-than-expected payments (Sexton, News Service of Florida/Miami Herald, 2/26).

    • New Jersey: Novartis' generic drug unit, Sandoz, on Tuesday announced that it has agreed to pay $195 million to settle criminal allegations filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) that Sandoz colluded with other companies to fix prices on a variety of generic drugs. Under the agreement, DOJ said it will drop the four felony counts it filed against Sandoz after three years, as long as Sandoz honors the settlement agreement's terms. According to Axios' "Vitals," the $195 million criminal penalty will be the largest paid to date in an antitrust case in the United States. DOJ said Sandoz is the third company to admit that it participated in a wide-ranging collusion scheme to fix the prices of generic drugs (Owens, "Vitals," Axios, 3/3; Kendall/Hopkins, Wall Street Journal, 3/2).

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