Independence Blue Cross, in partnership with the nonprofit MANNA, launched a pilot program to deliver three free, healthy, medically tailored meals a day for four weeks to elderly members with multiple chronic conditions after they are discharged from a hospital. The program will be expanded if it proves useful, says Heidi Syropoulos, Independence medical director for government markets.
The digitization of health records in the US was supposed to improve the quality and value of health care by providing real-time access to the information needed to optimize decisions and improve outcomes, but 10 years after legislation fast-tracked the move to EHRs, even the architects of the effort agree the US' $36 billion investment has not delivered as expected. Although nearly all hospitals have EHRs, the systems are difficult to use, interoperability is poor, and an investigation by Kaiser Health News and Fortune has uncovered reports of patient deaths, injuries and close calls tied to software glitches, user error and other problems.
Anthem has funded a grant to Indiana Legal Services and is offering free legal services to all Medicaid beneficiaries in 18 central Indiana counties to help them handle legal issues that pose barriers to stable housing, food security, transportation, employment and more. Kimberly Roop, Anthem Indiana's Medicaid plan president, said the goal of the initiative is to show that access to legal services can improve health and well-being through reduced hospitalizations, better access and adherence to recovery programs and other positive outcomes.
AHIP and 16 other health care stakeholder groups sent a letter to House and Senate leaders urging them to pass legislation that would protect patients from surprise medical bills. Legislation should prohibit surprise billing of patients who have no choice of health care provider, such as during emergencies, and it should require facilities to inform patients of providers' network status and possible options for seeking care from a different provider, among other measures, according to the groups.
Poverty and high housing costs make it difficult for families to afford medical care, healthy food and other needs that contribute to good health, according to a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "It's unacceptable that so many individuals and families face barriers to health because of what they have to spend on housing," said Richard Besser, president and CEO of the foundation.
The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission issued a report last week urging Congress to gradually phase in disproportionate share hospital payment cuts and first target states with unspent DSH money. The commission also called for a new method of calculating DSH funding so the total received by each state more accurately reflects its low-income population.
The Florida House Appropriations Committee approved legislation that would allow importation of FDA-approved medications to manage the cost of prescription drugs, and Gov. Ron DeSantis supports the idea. At least 14 states have some type of active legislation that addresses importation, and the federal government has signaled interest in the idea.
Six in 10 US adults received a prescription for medication in the past year, according to 2017 survey data, and one-fifth of them said they asked for a cheaper drug. More than 11% said they skipped doses, took less of the medication than prescribed or waited to have a prescription filled to save money, putting them at risk of health consequences.
Specialty drugs accounted for nearly one-third of spending under Part D and Medicaid in 2015 but represented just 1% of all prescriptions, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and spending on specialty medications is expected to continue to grow.
More can be done to rein in the cost of prescription drugs, according to the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, but the group said proposed Illinois legislation that would place new restrictions on pharmacy benefit managers is not the answer.
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