Healthcare Economics & Policy

The $69 billion merger between Aetna, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, and CVS, a major retail pharmacy chain and pharmacy benefit manager, has been touted as a “transformative moment” moment for the healthcare industry. Now that the deal has been completed, consumers are split on whether they'll move their care to the retailer. 

After acquiring Aetna for nearly $70 billion, CVS Health has taken a financial hit. During the three months ending Dec. 31, 2018, CVS Health lost $421 million in net income, according to its end-of-year financial results.

The American College of Radiology (ACR) is urging the radiology community and other medical professionals to help the ACR get rid of $112 million in cuts to Medicare ultrasound reimbursement by sending invoices to the ACR that reflect the actual cost to purchase ultrasound equipment, according to a recent ACR news release. 

Researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago have found that, per procedure, using ultrasound with electrocardiography to guide insertions of central venous catheters via the arm is only somewhat less costly than the conventional method, external measurements with confirmatory chest x-rays. However, the savings can add up over time. 

The healthcare sector has been on fire over the last several years, with investors in the space seeing big returns on stocks. Even during periods of volatility across the stock market at the end of 2018, the healthcare sector remained consistent, with “stellar returns,” Bloomberg reported.

AHRA and Canon Medical Systems USA have announced the recipients of seven grants aimed at improving patient care and the safety of diagnostic imaging.

Federal law now requires mammography facilities include breast density information in reports sent to patients and their physicians. The mandate was included in federal funding legislation signed into law on Feb 15.

When it comes to acquiring medical equipment, the decision on what make, model and options to choose is often easier than how to pay for the shiny new hardware. And the bigger the layout of dollars, the knottier the tangle of choices.

Whenever advanced imaging for low-back pain gets knocked as the “poster child” for overutilization in U.S. healthcare—not an uncommon occurrence—the context of the charge tends to waft away, unconsidered. That’s problematic. To be sure, lumbar-spine MRI in particular has a dicey cost-benefit proposition all its own. The scan’s technical component alone can ring up a bill north of $3,000.

The new American Society of Breast Surgeons' recommendations are based on a comprehensive review of the most impactful evidence in modern literature, data and national guidelines.

 

 

Emergency department (ED) visits for people with at least one of six prevalent chronic conditions contributed to approximately 50 percent of all annual visits at nearly 750 hospitals in 2017. 

IBM Watson Health has announced a new 10-year, $50 million investment in joint research collaboration projects with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) to advance the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in public health.