Policy Watch

Hospital and insurer advocates have urged the Trump administration to take differing approaches in its quest to increase competition in health care.

Feb. 8—The coming week’s healthcare events will include an examination by a congressional panel of the impacts of consolidation in healthcare.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing Wednesday, Feb. 14 on “consolidation trends in the healthcare sector, the reasons behind those trends, and the effects they have on the cost and quality of care,” according to a release.

“Several factors influence healthcare spending,” said Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), who is chairman of the panel. “Next week we’ll have an opportunity to take a deeper dive into the various types of consolidation in the healthcare industry. It’s an important piece of the puzzle as we explore broader issues like the drug supply chain and the cost of medications.”

The statement also cited the growth in healthcare spending, as identified in a reportfrom the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which noted that health care comprised 17.9 percent of the gross domestic product in 2016—an increase from 17.7 percent in 2015.

The subcommittee did not specify which areas of health care which it will focus on, but there is a wide range of healthcare consolidation targets that could be discussed, as noted in a recent PwC report. That report found that in 2017, even though the number of healthcare deals decreased by 2.5 percent to 967, deal value increased by 145.8 percent to $175.2 billion.

The subsector with the largest deal volume (297) was long-term care. However, managed care was the largest subsector by deal value ($84.8 billion). The most rapidly growing subsector in 2017 was managed care—both in terms of deal volume (25 percent increase) and deal value (5,225.8 percent increase). The managed care increase was driven by the proposed CVS-Aetna deal, according to the report.

In recent comments submitted in response to a request for information, hospital and insurer advocates urged the Trump administration to take starkly different approaches in its quest to increase competition in health care.

Monday, Feb. 12

HFMA will present a webinar on details of the new Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced (BPCIA) payment model. Officials from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation will provide insight. Learn more.

The Trump administration’s FY19 proposed budget is expected to be released by the White House.

Tuesday, Feb. 13

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will host a call on its new settlement option for healthcare providers with a low volume of appeals that are pending at the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals and the Medicare Appeals Council. Learn about the settlement option and register for the call.

The Altarum Center for Value in Health Care will present a webinar, “Beyond Choosing Wisely: A Comprehensive Approach for Understanding and Addressing Low Value Care.” Read more information and register.

The National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation will present a webinar, “The Opioid Crisis: Understanding Pain and Preventing Opioid Misuse.” Register for the webinar.

Wednesday, Feb. 14

The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing on President Donald Trump’s FY19 budget proposals for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. See more information.

Thursday, Feb. 15

A joint hearing of two House subcommittees will examine “The Opioid Epidemic: Implications for America's Workplaces.” See more information.

CMS will hold a second question-and-answer session on applying for and participating in the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced (BPCIA) model. Applications to participate in the model are due March 12. Learn about BPCIA. To register for the Q&A session or download a transcript from the previous session, visit https://innovation.cms.gov/resources/bpci-advanced-qaodf.html.  

The deadline hits for hospitals participating in the CMS Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) Program to submit data on third-quarter 2017 Chart-Abstracted Clinical measures, Healthcare-Associated Infection (HAI) measures, and the Perinatal Care (PC-01) measure. IQR-eligible hospitals are required to upload clinical data through the QualityNet Secure Portal.

HFMA will hold a webinar on the latest research on what is driving the cost of care. This session will also offer specific recommendations for health plans, health systems, and other organizations to better manage the costs of providing and purchasing care. Learn more and register.

Friday, Feb. 16

Midnight is the CMS deadline to review and comment on the four measures of hospital harm that are under development. For information on the measure specifications and instructions for how to submit comments for each measure, visit the CMS website.

The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine presents a webinar on “Improving Care for High-Need Patients.” It will feature speakers from the Commonwealth Care Alliance discussing the practical challenges they face in implementing care programs for high-need patients, and opportunities for spreading and scaling successful approaches. Register for the webinar.

Altarum hosts a webinar on the ability to use non-financial incentives to help deliver better value by increasing the use of high-value services, decreasing the use of low-value services, and decreasing excess prices. Register for the event.

Rich Daly is a senior writer/editor in HFMA’s Washington, D.C., office. Follow Rich on Twitter: @rdalyhealthcare

Publication Date: Thursday, February 08, 2018