The Rundown by inforMD | Week of 2.10.2020

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The House Means & Ways Committee Unanimously Passes Legislation Against Surprise Billing

The House Means & Ways Committee passed new legislation to “establish patient protections from surprise medical billing and establish a process to resolve disputes between health care providers and insurers that are unable to reach agreement on payments for out-of-network health care.” Under the new law, “dispute resolution entities would be instructed to look at the health plan’s median payment rate for in-network rate care.” The statement reads that “lower payments to some providers would reduce premiums by between 0.5 percent and 1 percent,” which the Committee hopes will “reduce federal deficit.”
>> Read More: H.R. 5826, Consumer Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills Act of 2020, as Introduced on February 10, 2020 Estimated Budgetary Effects for ‘mediation’

Medicare Part A and Part B Premiums and Deductibles Will Increase in 2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a report stating that “the standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B enrollees will be $144.60 for 2020, an increase of $9.10 from $135.50 in 2019,” and that the “annual deductible for all Medicare Part B beneficiaries is $198 in 2020, an increase of $13 from the annual deductible of $185 in 2019.” CMS states that the premium increases are due to “rising spending on physician-administered drugs.” CMS also reports that Medicare Part A “inpatient hospital deductibles” have increased by $44 from 2019.
>> Read More: 2020 Medicare Parts A & B Premiums and Deductibles

New Study Shows Increasing Minimum Wage Has Minimal Effect on Overall Health

A new study from the American Journal of Epidemiology reveals that increasing the minimum wage “may not, on its own, be sufficient to change certain health outcomes, particularly those with multiple etiologies.” The study, funded by Arnold Ventures and the National Institutes of Health, was meant to explore any possible link between obesity and minimum wage. The study says a “beneficial association was observed between higher minimum wage and fair or poor health among working-age adults, which remained significant after multiple comparison adjustment.”
>> Read More: State Minimum Age Rates and Health in Working-Age Adults using the National Health Interview Survey

Tenet Healthcare Corporation to Pay $1.41 Million in Settlement Case

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) released a statement this week that the healthcare company Tenet and its affiliated hospital, Desert Regional Medical Center (DRMC) in Palm Springs, California, “have agreed to pay $1.41 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by knowingly charging Medicare for implanting unnecessary cardiac monitors.” The company and its affiliated hospital allegedly planted these “unnecessary cardiac monitors” in Medicare beneficiaries from 2014 to 2017.
>> Read More: Tenet Healthcare and Affiliated California Hospital to Pay $1.4 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations for Implanting Unnecessary Cardiac Monitors

Researchers Develop Machine Learning (ML) Tool to Screen Patients for Dementia

Researchers from Regenstrief Institute, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indiana University Purdue University, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Merck & Co. have created machine learning models using electronic medical record (EMR) data to “help identify high risk individuals from the general patient population and support the development of a customized health plan based interventions at various points in the trajectory of the disease.” The report states that “using routine EMR data to develop ” that will make them “accessible to a wide range of patients at a reduced cost.”
>> Read More: Predicting dementia with routine EMR data

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