January 30, 2020

Around the nation: CMS covers DNA testing for certain Medicare patients with breast, ovarian cancer

Daily Briefing

    CMS in a memo said the coverage will be available to Medicare beneficiaries with breast and ovarian cancer who have clinical indications for germline testing, risk factors for inherited cancers, and who have not undergone the same diagnostic tests, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Kentucky, Maryland, and Washington.

    • Kentucky: Steven Stack, an ED physician who's served as medical director at Saint Joseph Hospital East, will serve as the commissioner of Kentucky's Department for Public Health beginning Feb. 10. In his career, Stack has worked at hospitals in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio, and was president of the American Medical Association (Associated Press, 1/28).

    • Maryland: CMS on Monday announced it would cover FDA-approved diagnostic devices using next-generation DNA sequencing for Medicare beneficiaries with inherited ovarian or breast cancer. The diagnostic devices help physicians determine whether mutations in a patient's tumors would be responsive to highly targeted therapies. CMS in a memo said the coverage will be available to Medicare beneficiaries with breast and ovarian cancer who have clinical indications for germline testing, risk factors for inherited cancers, and who have not undergone the same diagnostic tests (Dearment, MedCity News, 1/28).

    • WashingtonNurses and other staff at Seattle-based Swedish Medical Center are conducting a three-day strike, citing concerns about staffing levels, wages, and other issues. The strike started Tuesday and will continue through Thursday. The health system said two of its seven EDs had closed on Monday night and would remain closed for the duration of the strike. According to the Associated Press, the health system has proposed raises over the next four years that total 11.25%, while the union has sought raises totaling 23.25%. Nurses also have cited low staffing levels as a key concern, which Swedish has said is a nationwide problem that it has sought to address with temporary workers and traveling staff (Johnson, AP/ABC News, 1/28).

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