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KHN First Edition: September 11, 2015


First Edition

Friday, September 11, 2015
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

Today's early morning highlights from the major news organizations.

Kaiser Health News: New Hope Beats For Heart Patients And Hospitals
Kaiser Health News staff writer Phil Galewitz reports: "Inch by inch, two doctors working side by side in an operating room guide a long narrow tube through a patient’s femoral artery, from his groin into his beating heart. They often look intently, not down at the 81-year-old patient, but up at a 60-inch monitor above him that’s streaming pictures of his heart made from X-rays and sound waves. The big moment comes 40 minutes into the procedure at Morton Plant Hospital. Dr. Joshua Rovin unfurls from the catheter a metal stent containing a new aortic valve that is made partly out of a pig’s heart and expands to the width of a quarter outside the catheter. The monitor shows it fits well over the old one. Blood flow is normal again. 'This is pretty glorious,' Rovin said." (Galewitz, 9/11)

NPR: Medical Schools Teach Students To Talk With Patients About Care Costs
KPCC's Rebecca Plevin, working in partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR, reports: "Time for a pop quiz: When it comes to health care, what’s the difference between cost, charge and payment? 'Does anyone want to take a stab at it?' Sara-Megumi Naylor asks a group of first-year residents at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Naylor answers her own question with a car metaphor. 'Producing the car might be $10,000, but the price on the window might be $20,000, and then you might end up giving them [a deal for] $18,000, so that’s cost versus charge versus payment,' she explains." (Plevin, 9/10)

The New York Times: House Hearing On Insurers’ Mergers Exposes Health Care Industry Divide
Doctors, hospitals and health insurance companies clashed Thursday over the merits of mergers planned by four of the five biggest insurers in the United States. The confrontation came at a hearing of a House Judiciary subcommittee that is investigating competition in the industry and how it would be affected by mergers combining Aetna with Humana and Anthem with Cigna. (Pear, 9/10)

The Associated Press: Pelosi: Judge's Ruling In Health Care Lawsuit 'Astounding'
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she is astonished by a judge's ruling that clears the way for a Republican challenge to President Obama's health care law to move ahead. Pelosi told reporters at her weekly news conference she's confident that Wednesday's ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer will be overturned. Collyer said the House can pursue its claim that the Obama administration violated the Constitution when it spent public money not appropriated by Congress. (9/10)

The Associated Press: New Health Care Model Saving Money, Report Says
A new model of health care run by doctors and hospitals is growing and saving money in the taxpayer-funded Medicare program, according to a new report from the federal government. However, experts say most patients still don’t understand how an Accountable Care Organization works. And while early data shows financial improvements, experts say it’s too early to know the long-term financial impact. (Kennedy, 9/10)

Politico: Is This The Moment For Long-Stalled Mental Health Overhaul?
After a summer of slayings, lawmakers and mental health advocates say they have more momentum than at any time in recent history to push through an overhaul of the nation's broken mental health system. The opening they see involves timing, bill tweaking and sheer perseverance — a House lawmaker obsessed with the issue for many years teaming up with a powerful chairman, Fred Upton (R-Mich.) of the House Energy and Commerce committee. In the Senate, meanwhile, a bipartisan bill drew strong interest over recess from lawmakers facing pressure from people back home to do something. (Ehley, 9/10)

Los Angeles Times: Get Your Electronic Health Record: It's Your Right
Virtually all other industries, such as banking and travel, make online tools available that help consumers more easily manage their information. Not so in the healthcare business, where individual hospitals and doctors might have electronic health records but generally don't make it easy for patients to access them. "Healthcare currently has a very fragmented delivery system, and there's no question that that fragmentation leads to patient frustration," says Darren Dworkin, chief information officer at Cedars-Sinai Health System. A growing number of mobile apps seek to help patients gather and organize medical information into a unified digital health record. (Zamosky, 9/11)

The New York Times: U.S. Makes Final An Array Of Rules On Food Safety
Far-reaching food industry rules aimed at reducing food-borne illness in the United States have become final, the federal government announced on Thursday, nearly five years after Congress passed a law requiring an overhaul of the nation’s food safety system. About 48 million Americans a year become sick from food-borne diseases and 3,000 die, according to federal data, tallies that many health officials say could be significantly reduced if the food industry took a more proactive role in monitoring and reducing risks. But carrying out the law, the Food Safety Modernization Act, which was the first significant update of the Food and Drug Administration’s food safety authority in 70 years, has been criticized as slow. (Tavernise, 9/10)

The Washington Post: Can The FDA Actually Prevent Foodborne Outbreaks Instead Of Just Reacting To Them? We’re About To Find Out.
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday finalized long-awaited rules that will require U.S. food manufacturers to make detailed plans to identify and prevent possible contamination risks in their production facilities. The new regulations, which will apply to the production of both human and animal foods, mark the first step in a broader effort to make the nation's food safety system more proactive, rather than merely reacting to outbreaks after they occur. (Dennis, 9/10)

The Associated Press: First ‘Biosimilar’ Of A Biologic Drug Reaches US, Finally
Years after discounted versions of some of the most expensive drugs ever went on sale in other countries, they’re finally coming to the world’s biggest medicine market. Last week brought the first U.S. launch in a new category called “biosimilars.” They’re near-copies of powerful prescription drugs known as biologics “manufactured” in living cells. (Johnson, 9/10)

The Wall Street Journal: Express Scripts Names Eric Slusser CFO
Express Scripts Holding Co. named health-care sector veteran Eric Slusser as its chief financial officer. The move comes a day after the company said longtime Chairman and Chief Executive George Paz plans to retire from the helm next year and named company President Tim Wentworth as his successor. (Stynes, 9/10)

NPR: Price Soars For Key Weapon Against Heroin Overdoses
Around the U.S., a worsening heroin epidemic has more and more cities turning to the anti-overdose drug naloxone to reduce deaths from abuse. Also known as Narcan, the medication blocks the effects of opioids and reverses the respiratory depression that occurs during an overdose. (9/10)

The New York Times: Some NYC Ambulance Crews Still Fight For Sept. 11 Benefit
No one disputes that his illnesses are likely caused by his work at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. While Mr. Bethea has received some compensation stemming from his work at Ground Zero, the U.S. Department of Justice won’t give him a settlement awarded to other first responders and their families who were either killed or catastrophically injured in the line of duty because Mr. Bethea was employed by St. Vincent’s Medical Center—and not the city’s FDNY. (Gay, 9/11)

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent operating program of the Kaiser Family Foundation. (c) 2014 Kaiser Health News. All rights reserved.

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