Today's News and Commentary

About health insurance
Deductible Relief Day: How rising deductibles are affecting people with employer coverage: Yesterday was “Deductible Relief Day” – the day when “enrollees have, on average, incurred enough health spending to hit the average deductible in an employer plan.” Ten years ago, Deductible Relief Day fell two months earlier in the year, on March 18, 2009, when the average deductible was $533 for a single person; in 2018 the figure was 2018.

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Health Plan Customer Satisfaction Challenged by New Era of Empowered Healthcare Consumers, J.D. Power Finds: While out of pocket costs are dragging down customer satisfaction, this survey concludes that increased health plan satisfaction is driven by coverage and benefits: “Overall health plan member satisfaction is 713 (on a 1,000-point scale), up 7 points over the previous three years. The increase, in part, is driven by improved satisfaction with the coverage and benefits offered. Coverage and benefits—not cost—is the most important driver of customer satisfaction, now accounting for 25% of total health plan member satisfaction.”

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CMS announces delay of CAR T-cell national coverage determination: The title speaks for itself. No reason was given for the delay.

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JP Morgan buys health-care payments firm InstaMed in the bank’s biggest acquisition since the financial crisis: This story was the biggest business news of the day. JP Morgan will pay more than $500 million for this business that processes healthcare transactions.

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About healthcare IT

Microsoft warns flaw in Windows legacy systems 'likely to be exploited' similar to WannaCry: As previously reported, systems with some Microsoft legacy products will not be supported in the future. Now “Microsoft has taken the rare step of releasing a patch for a handful of legacy operating systems it no longer services after finding a critical vulnerability. The company is warning users to patch their systems quickly to avoid another WannaCry ransomware attack.”

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Social Determinants of Health Data Deemed Most Difficult to Share: As previously reported, social determinants are difficult to capture in EMRs. Part of the problem has been lack of codes. A recent survey shows that even if social determinants are captured, they are very difficult to share among systems.

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Health plans back Solera’s SDOH program with $42 million:A consortium of health plans is financing Solera, which “uses data science to consolidate highly fragmented programs and services into a single marketplace for health plans and employers, which helps them proactively identify what will best fit an individual’s needs.”

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CHIME urges CMS, ONC to give providers 3 years to comply with interoperability rules: CMS has been pushing providers to comply with its interoperability and data blocking rules. As previously reported, provider organizations have been pushing back, saying the requirements don’t leave them enough time to comply. Now, the “College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, representing healthcare CIOs, is urging federal healthcare policy officials to go slow with dual interoperability and information blocking rules by first publishing interim final rules rather than final rules.”

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About the public’s health

Bloomberg expands gender-neutral paid parental leave: Bloomberg is expanding parental leave for the primary caregiver from 18 to 26 weeks.

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About healthcare quality

Centers of Excellence Designations, Clinical Outcomes, and Characteristics of Hospitals Performing Percutaneous Coronary Interventions: Centers of excellence (COE) are providers who demonstrate higher quality care. In this study, criteria for inclusion in the COE designations were obtained from publicly accessible directories of three payers. The bottom line: the research  “found a lack of correlation between COE designation and lower mortality or readmission rates.” Readers should be cautioned, however that if this study is further validated, it may only apply to this procedure.

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About pharma

AbbVie's discounting Humira to aid Skyrizi's launch—and a price war could follow: analyst: AbbVie has a strategy for making sure its new immunomodulator drugs, Skyrizi and upadacitinib, get on drug formularies. The plan is to discount the price of its blockbuster drug Humira. Will the strategy lead to a price war in the category?

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