Congress is out of town and the Supreme Court is out of session until the first week of January. The President is in Hawaii. The Federal Benefits Open Season is over for another year. In short, all is calm and hopefully all is bright.
Some good news from the hospital sector:
- Healthcare IT News tells us that an AHRQ report concludes that “a steep drop in hospital-acquired conditions has accompanied a decrease of 3 million adverse events in the past five years.”
- The Wall Street Journal reports that “U.S. hospitals, reeling from rapidly rising drug prices, are taking aggressive steps to cut pharmaceutical spending. Hospital pharmacy executives say they hope to slow fast-rising costs by pulling supplies from hospital floors, switching to cheaper alternatives and more meticulously dispensing medications.
“Higher drug prices accounted for most of last year’s roughly 11% increase in U.S. hospital pharmacy costs to $33.6 billion, researchers from four universities and Quintiles IMS Holdings Inc. reported in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy in July. The data doesn’t include federal hospitals.
Many hospitals buy the drugs they administer to patients from wholesalers, but they don’t usually bill health insurers directly for those drugs. Instead, insurers often pay hospitals a fixed rate to treat whatever ailment a patient is suffering. When drug prices soar unexpectedly, hospitals must absorb the extra cost, pharmacy executives say.”
Good luck with that effort.
The Washington Post continued its series on the opioid crisis in today’s paper. Today’s article focused on the orphaned children of middle aged people who died at an early age due to opioids and related addictive drugs. The Wall Street Journal published an article on the same topic last Friday. The sub-headline reads “Left behind by addict parents, tens of thousands of youngsters flood the nation’s foster-care system; grandparents become moms and dads again.” No bueno. The medical profession needs to step it up.