Healthcare Services Newsfeed 2/2 - 2/8

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Healthcare Services Newsfeed 2/2 - 2/8


A list of stories pertaining to healthcare and specifically related to freestanding emergency rooms (ERs) has been provided in the spreadsheet.

The stories were selected based on your frame (2/2–2/8), and the fact that they are also helpful in organizational change and strategic planning initiatives that the client is concerned with.


We performed an extensive research of healthcare news in the last seven days which was the client's criteria. We also made sure that the stories related to freestanding emergency rooms (ERs) by making use of the client's given keywords in our research. In addition, we ensured that the stories were geared towards organizational change and strategic planning initiatives that the client is concerned with.


Below is a list of 20 stories that we found based on the above-mentioned criteria.

1. Flu emergency room visits have surged by 30% which is the highest level for many years. 6.5% of all ER and outpatient clinic visits are attributed to flu.
2. Good Samaritan Hospital has renovated and expanded its emergency department at a cost of $740,000.00. This redesigned emergency room was completed on Feb 6. The facility has a health care suite, a waiting room, and track exam rooms, and will mainly cater to behavioral health patients. "The Francis J. Dixon Foundation gave $100,000 for the current expansion project."
3. The report is an examination of freestanding ERs in Texas. Freestanding ERs not only add convenience through their faster service, but they also ensure that emergency care can be accessed especially in areas without nearby hospitals. Since 2009, the state has been able to generate more than $3.1 million in cash from opening these facilities.

4. The report notes that carefully designing emergency departments in hospitals is an important factor in limiting the outbreak of contagious diseases. It is however noted that some old hospitals lack such emergency departments which are capable of meeting the current requirements and best practices. Design steps can help hospitals to improve their readiness.
5. Under the current federal law, Medicaid or Medicare insurance cannot be used at standalone emergency rooms, like Code 3 ER. A case in point is when more than a thousand patients went to the Emergency Room in Rockport. Since such facilities are never reimbursed, the patients only have an option of either paying out of their pockets or using a different facility which can be life-threatening at times. Physicians are working with Congressmen to try to change the policy.
6. Vivian Ho, who is a health economics fellow, is featured in an Economic Snapshot of Texas' freestanding emergency rooms. Ho's study showed that freestanding ERs in Texas preferred affluent areas.
7. To help patients avoid surprise hefty bills, Colorado lawmakers are planning to introduce Senate Bill 18-146. This bill requires all free-standing emergency departments together with urgent care facilities to disclose their pricing upfront.
8. Among the top priorities for many facility managers and hospital administrators is the improvement of throughput as well as the physical environment of the emergency department.
9. The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) has expressed concern with a bill SB 129 at the Alaska State Senate that is supposed to repeal the rule on the emergency room. ACEP has urged the lawmakers not to pass the bill as it would repeal the 80th Percentile Rule, which inhibits billing balances from out-of-network providers.
10. Emergency medical services are celebrating after approval of a legislation for increasing the Medicaid reimbursement. House Bill 699 is supposed to increase medical reimbursements from $200 to not less than $300 for Advanced Life Support services, and from $120 to $180 for Basic Life Support services. The last change of these rates was in 2004.
11. Two lawmakers have introduced a bill to ensure that Coloradans would no longer get surprise bills. Instead, they will know the exact amount of money they are supposed to pay as soon as they enter a health facility.
12. Andy Slavitt a former CMS administrator launched a nonprofit group on Tuesday with an aim of promoting affordable healthcare access. The group is to focus on policy work instead of lobbying lawmakers.
13. There is a proposal to increase the baseline Medicare Advantage payment rates by 1.84% for 2019. According to a CMS Administrator Seema Verma, this will allow for the increase of health-related benefits.
14. A Florida court judge has rejected a lawsuit claiming that EHR Epic Systems had broken the law and over-billed patients for anesthesia procedures. This is after other EHR vendors, like eClinicalWorks and Allscripts, are also facing lawsuits.
15. PCMC is among the latest hospitals that have turned to hosted EHR systems with its plan to roll out an integrated EHR in its acute and ambulatory facilities.
16. Orange Business Services has acquired Enovacom on behalf of Orange Healthcare. This is a key factor in its plan of digital transformation in healthcare.
17. Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital opens a $9.5 million outpatient center in Jackson. "The 30,000-square-foot, 20-exam-room facility is located in the northwest part of the city, at 1535 Vann Drive."
18. A short-term funding legislation unveiled on Monday provides for the expansion of telehealth for Medicare Advantage members which will ease Meaningful Use requirements from now onward.
19. A campaign at the Moncton Hospital with an aim of reducing wait times at the emergency department seems to have failed.
20. The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) has launched a video against a policy they deem to be dangerous by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS). The policy denies emergency coverage for patients. If BCBS makes a decision that your visiting the ER was not an emergency according to their undisclosed criteria, then patients will have to foot the whole bill.


A list of 20 stories relating to healthcare has been provided. A summary of the stories is also included in the spreadsheet here.