The Rundown | Week of 12.11.2017

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CHIP Funding Dwindles Quickly

According to a new report by CNN, 16 states will run out of Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) funds by the end of January. Currently, nine million children in low-income families rely on this program for health insurance. Congress has yet to pass a reauthorization of CHIP funds as Democrats and Republicans have not agreed on how to fund this program.

States that are projected to run out soon include Virginia, Texas, Pennsylvania, and California. Some states plan to limit coverage, while others will have to cut coverage completely.

>>Read more: “These states are running out of CHIP funding”

Maine’s Senior Senator is Front and Center on Healthcare and the Republican Tax Bill

Activists and constituents met with Senator Susan Collins of Maine to discuss their concerns with the Republican tax bill, according to a report from The New York Times. The Senate version of the tax bill would repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. Many believe removing the mandate could destabilize the markets and increase the prices of insurance. Senator Collins voted for the tax bill, only after insisting that the next version would include a bipartisan solution to stabilize markets and remove automatic Medicare cuts.

>>Read more: “Last-Ditch Effort to Sway Senator on Tax Bill Involves Personal Pleas”

PCP Compensation Disparities Addressed in New Report

The Urban Institute, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, recently released a new report that delves into the disparity between the salaries of primary care physicians and their specialist counterparts, as well as an industry-wide efforts to minimize the disparity. One such effort is new Medicare Physician Fee Schedule billing codes issued by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. PCP physicians have also been conducting CMS demonstrations to test new primary care payment and delivery models. Participants receive higher monthly payments. This comprehensive monitoring and tracking project to examine the implementation and effects of health reform began in May 2011 and will take place over several years. “The Urban Institute will document changes to the implementation of national health reform to help states, researchers and policymakers learn from the process as it unfolds.”

>>Read more: “Medicare’s Evolving Approach to Paying for Primary Care”

IT Trends for 2018 include Blockchain and Cloud Computing

Healthcare IT News forecasts a number of trends in 2018, including the following: the emergence of blockchain-based EHR systems, security enhancements being championed by healthcare executives, healthcare continuing to move into the cloud, and digital health and big data translating into real health outcomes.

>>Read more: “2018 is primed for blockchain, big data and cloud computing advancements, all with a better security plan”

Flu Season is Upon us… and Could Be Bad

Health officials are warning that the U.S. may be affected by a potent strain of the flu, known as H3N2, which has the potential to make vulnerable individuals very sick. Predictions come from the Southern Hemisphere, where Australia experienced a particularly bad influenza season. The U.S. flu season usually emulates what happens Down Under.

>>Read more: “In the U.S., Flu Season COuld Be Unusually Harsh This Year”

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