The Daily Scan

October 3, 2018

Last Updated: 1:00 PM EST

Legislation

  • U.S. Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX), Chairman of the House Rules Committee, introduced H. Res. 1089 yesterday to ensure that any healthcare plan crafted by Congress to replace Obamacare would protect patients with pre-existing conditions from high costs and limited health insurance options. "It is painfully obvious that Obamacare has failed the American people," said Congressman Sessions. "From sky-rocketing premiums to failed markets, this one-size fits all so-called plan has not accomplished any of the lofty goals Democrats promised it would. In my healthcare plan, I made sure to preserve patient protections, especially ones to prevent anyone from discriminating against patients with pre-existing conditions. To cement these protections, I proudly introduced this resolution to ensure that patients with pre-existing conditions are protected from the erroneously high costs and the limited options they are experiencing now. I am glad to lead my colleagues in this effort to fight for those who need it most and ensure their access to affordable and high-quality healthcare." (Sessions.House.gov)

Research

  • Today the Kaiser Family Foundation released their 2018 Employer Health Benefits Survey. Of note, annual family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose 5% to average $19,616 this year, extending a seven-year run of moderate increases. Additionally, workers this year are contributing on average $5,547 toward the cost of family coverage, with employers paying the rest. Annual premiums for single coverage increased 3% to $6,896 this year, with workers contributing an average of $1,186. This year’s premium increases are comparable to the rise in workers’ wages (2.6%) and inflation (2.5%) during the same period. Among large firms that offer health benefits, one in five (21%) report they collect some information from workers’ mobile apps or wearable devices such as a FitBit or Apple Watch as part of their wellness or health promotion programs, up from 14% last year. (KFF.org)

 

  • ECRI Institute, one of the nation's leading patient safety and medical technology research organizations, places health technology cybersecurity at the top of its newly released 2019 Top 10 Health Technology Hazards. The report highlights the potential for hackers to exploit remote access systems to gain unauthorized entry to a healthcare organization's networked devices and systems. Such attacks can disrupt healthcare operations, hindering the delivery of care and putting patients at risk. (ECRI.org)

Regulation

  • FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. released a statement yesterday on new agency actions to further deter ‘gaming’ of the generic drug approval process by the use of citizen petitions: "One area of focus has been shutting down practices used by branded firms to “game” the system and take advantage of certain rules, or exploit loopholes, to delay generic approval – thereby extending a drug’s monopoly beyond what Congress intended...Another one of these anticompetitive techniques of concern to me involves the use of citizen petitions that are subject to section 505(q) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Many have argued that these petitions block generic entry...A key to improving the speed and predictability of the generic drug review process – and reducing the multiple cycles of review many applications undergo – is to improve our own review process efficiency. To address these goals, today, the FDA has issued a revised draft guidance designed to allow for a more efficient approach to 505(q) petitions and allow us to focus more reviewer resources on scientific reviews." (FDA.gov)

Private Sector 

  • Verity Health System of California, Inc., a nonprofit healthcare system, filed a motion in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles yesterday seeking bankruptcy court approval of a procedure to obtain bids leading to a potential auction of its hospitals in Santa Clara County. The process is being led by an asset purchase agreement with the County of Santa Clara where the County’s offer serves as an initial “stalking horse bid” to acquire O’Connor Hospital in San Jose, Calif. and Saint Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy, Calif., including the De Paul Health Center in Morgan Hill, Calif., under Section 363 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Verity Health has requested court approval of an orderly auction process where other potential buyers can submit qualified competing bids against the Stalking Horse Bid. The winning bid, as selected by the Verity Health Board of Directors, in consultation with its professional legal and financial advisors, is subject to the approval of the Bankruptcy Court, and, depending on the buyer, the California Attorney General. The timeline requested by Verity Health would result in an auction in December 2018. (Verity.org)

 

 

 

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