The Daily Scan

July 13, 2018

Last Updated: 8:50 AM EST

Medicare

  • Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed historic changes that would increase the amount of time that doctors and other clinicians can spend with their patients by reducing the burden of paperwork that clinicians face when billing Medicare. The proposed rules would fundamentally improve the nation’s healthcare system and help restore the doctor-patient relationship by empowering clinicians to use their electronic health records (EHRs) to document clinically meaningful information, instead of information that is only for billing purposes. (CMS.gov: Press Release, Proposed Rule)

Medicaid

  • The White House Council of Economic Advisers, an agency within the Executive Office of the President, released a new report yesterday titled "Expanding Work Requirements in Non-Cash Welfare Programs." The report suggests "The timing is ideal for expanding work requirements among non-disabled working-age adults in social welfare programs. As was the case in the period of welfare reform in the mid-1990s, current labor markets are extremely tight and unemployment rates are at very low levels, even for low-skilled workers. Still, even if work requirements improve outcomes for the majority of affected recipients, some may experience negative effects, which is why it is important to design requirements carefully and to support recipients overcoming barriers to employment (e.g., lack of access to childcare, mental illness, or criminal records). Ultimately, expanded work requirements can improve the lives of current welfare recipients and at the same time respect the importance and dignity of work." (WhiteHouse.gov)

 

  • Maine's fiscally conservative governor says he'd rather go to jail before expanding Medicaid and putting the state in "red ink." Gov. Paul LePage made the remark Tuesday during a call-in on WVOM-FM. (CBSNews.com)

Regulation

  • U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke in Concord, Maine yesterday announcing new initiatives to combat the deadly Fentanyl crisis, including adding additional prosecutors in areas where the drug crisis is the worst. Sessions commented: "...Our shared work of enforcing our drug laws has never been more important than it is right now. Today we are facing the deadliest drug crisis in American history. We’ve never seen anything like it. Approximately 64,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses in 2016 – the highest drug death toll and the fastest increase in that death toll in American history. That’s the equivalent of more than half of the population of Manchester—dead in one year just from overdoses. Meanwhile millions of people are living with the consequences of a family member’s addiction or an addiction of their own. It is incredible but true that for Americans under the age of 50, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death." (Justice.gov)

 

  • Yesterday, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. announced the formation of a new Drug Shortages Task Force. The task force will be led by Keagan Lenihan, the FDA’s associate commissioner for strategic initiatives. Gottlieb commented: "I’m charging the shortages task force to delve more deeply into the reasons why some shortages remain a persistent challenge. The charge to this new task force is to look for holistic solutions to addressing the underlying causes for these shortages. The task force will expand upon the work of a group that was created by the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act of 2012 (FDASIA). FDASIA gave the FDA new authorities to address drug shortages. This includes broadening the requirements that manufacturers notify us of a permanent discontinuation or temporary interruption in manufacturing, which might lead to a shortage of prescription drugs for serious illnesses." (FDA.gov)

Private Sector

  • InTouch Health, a leading enterprise telehealth platform, and Rite Aid Corporation, one of the nation’s leading drug store chains, announced yesterday that they have signed a letter of intent to explore new ways to connect patients with healthcare providers and expand access to care. InTouch Health will leverage its InTouch Operating System, which powers telehealth programs at many of the nation’s top health systems, to develop a new virtual care solution that will connect patients to healthcare providers. Ultimately, the service would be available in alternative care sites within communities, including Rite Aid pharmacies, improving access to care. The solution will be developed in health kiosks owned by Rite Aid. (InTouchHealth.com)

 

  • Advocate Aurora Health and Foxconn Health Technology Business Group announced today a multi-faceted collaboration focused on technology innovations and integration that will drive health care of the future and improve outcomes while lowering costs for individuals and employers. Together the organizations will aim to leverage Foxconn's emerging technologies coupled with Advocate Aurora Health's nationally renowned population health capabilities to transform care delivery. The organizations cited three key focus areas: enhancing preventive care and employer-based wellness programs; building a "smart city" connectivity infrastructure; and investing in precision medicine and transformational training programs for a clinical team of the future. (AdvocateAuroraHealth.org)

 

 

 

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