Midweek roundup

Following up on yesterday’s post, Healthcare Dive reports that CVS Health and Aetna came out of yesterday’s Congressional hearing on their combination unscathed. The article points out that the American Medical Association raised questions about but did not expressly oppose the merger.

Two steps were taken yesterday on the opioid crisis front.  CNBC tells us that the Justice Department announced the creation of a new task force to pursue the parties that contributed to the opioid crisis, both in civil and criminal courts.  According to the Hill, a bipartisan group of Senators have submitted a bill that “includes a host of policy changes, such as establishing a three-day initial prescribing limit on opioids for acute pain, beefing up services to promote recovery and aiming to increase the availability of treatment.” The House is preparing its own legislation directed at the opioid crisis. A bill could be produced before the August recess.

Speaking of legislation, the Congressional Budget Office released a report today giving the green light to Sen. Ron Johnson’s bill (S. 2221) to repeal the ACA’s multi-state program which OPM has been running.

Beckers Hospital Review announced the release of Healthgrades’ 2018 list of best U.S. hospitals. The list, however, does not include many big city tertiary care hospitals, such as those in Boston, New York, Chicago, and Washington, DC.

Mhealth Intelligence reports that

Libertana Home Health, one of California’s largest home health providers, deployed Echo Dot devices programmed with Amazon Alexa at five independent living units in Valencia last year. Running on the Orbita Voice software platform, Alexa can summon a Libertana app that enables users to check their daily schedule, connect with caregivers, schedule appointments, plays games or music and even be reminded about medications and health tasks. All by simply calling out to Alexa.

What’s next?