Daily Briefing Blog

Hospitals going green to save green—and the Earth

July 1, 2015

Clare Rizer, Daily Briefing

A report published last month in The Lancet says decades of progress in improving health outcomes could be undone if the world does not take a firmer stance on reducing its energy consumption and cleaning up the environment.

While climate change is typically referred to as a scientific or even political issue, notes Fierce Healthcare's Zack Budryk, experts say the biggest threat it poses could be to public health.

In a blog post, Advisory Board General Manger Zac Stillerman notes that carbon emissions tie closely to health outcomes and the number of ED visits. That means $1.1 million in negative health impact resulting from the emissions from a typical coal-powered, 200-bed hospital, he says.

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Alzheimer's disease is still ignored. It shouldn't be.

June 26, 2015

Emily Hatton, Daily Briefing

In America, someone develops it every 67 seconds. Right now, it affects about 5.3 million U.S. citizens. It's fatal and it cannot be prevented, slowed, or cured.

So why are people just starting to talk about Alzheimer's disease?

It affects a massive portion of the population—this year alone the direct cost of care is expected to reach $226 billion—half of which Medicare is responsible for. And that price tag may reach $1.1 trillion by 2050.

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The 3 biggest remaining threats to the ACA

June 25, 2015

Josh Zeitlin, Associate Editor

The Supreme Court just ended the most significant challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in King v. Burwell. But several threats remain that could have a significant impact on the law—and with it Americans' access to care and hospitals' reimbursement rates.

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More than 40% of physician networks in ACA exchanges are 'narrow,' too

June 24, 2015

Dan Diamond, Executive Editor

It's no secret that many health plans in the Affordable Care Act's exchanges are "narrow"—they limit access to some providers, in order to tamp down costs.

But researchers have spent two years trying to answer this question: Are the plans too narrow? To put it simply, do the plans include enough hospitals and doctors to ensure sufficient choice and coverage?

A key challenge has been scoping the issue. And while one study suggested that 40% of hospital networks in the Affordable Care Act's exchanges are "narrow," the physician data was kind of a black box.

But thanks to new findings from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, now we know: physician networks through the ACA plans are pretty narrow, too.

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How paid paternity leave pays off

June 19, 2015

Clare Rizer, Daily Briefing

As noted in today's Daily Briefing, fathers play a vital role in a child's life.

But men aren't treated equally in the workplace when it comes to parental benefits—and that could be harmful to their families' health and their overall engagement at work.

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Why health care workers get more jail time than Wall Street CEOs

June 19, 2015

Sam Bernstein, Daily Briefing

As Daily Briefing readers know, fraud is sadly common across health care. (Just last week, we reported on Earnest Gibson, a former hospital president who was sentenced to 45 years in prison for helping to defraud Medicare of $158 million.)

And in recent years, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has dramatically stepped up its prosecutions of health care fraud cases.

But how does federal scrutiny of health care fraud compare with other types of white-collar crime? 

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Death isn't failure: Teaching doctors when to prescribe hospice

June 17, 2015

Clare Rizer, The Daily Briefing

The single most important predictor of whether you enroll in hospice care?

Your physician.

That's based on study data from more than 200,000 patient records, Ziad Obermeyer writes in Health Affairs. (Obermeyer's a physician researcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.)

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This is a big deal: CVS buys Target's pharmacy business for $1.9B

June 15, 2015

Dan Diamond, Executive Editor

It's no secret that CVS Health has been aiming to capture more of the nation's pharmacy business. But the company just hit the bullseye.

The ever-growing retail and health juggernaut on Monday morning announced that it will purchase Target's pharmacy and clinic operations for $1.9 billion.

It's a "blockbuster" deal, Mike Troy reports at Drug Store News, with potential to help both companies—more revenue for CVS Health, and more opportunity for Target to sell wellness products.

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