The House of Representatives and the Senate are holding district / state work periods this week.
Most employee organization plans participating in the FEHBP hold accreditation from the Accredition Association for Ambulatory Health Care which is based in Skokie, Illinois. Becker’s Hospital Review reports that changed its governance structure after nearly 40 years, from an association structure to a 13-member board of directors. “Arnaldo Valedon, MD, was appointed the first-ever board chair. Ira Cheifetz, DMD, is chair-elect, Timothy Peterson, MD, is secretary and treasurer and Kenneth Sadler, DDS, will serve as immediate past board chair.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that this week closing arguments will occur before federal district judge Richard Leon in the federal government’s lawsuit to block the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner. Why is this relevant to healthcare?
The trial marked one of the biggest antitrust cases in decades and the stakes are high. Should the Justice Department lose, it could embolden companies, including in the media industry, to pursue more transformative deals. A government loss also could prompt it to shy away from future lawsuits against vertical mergers, which combine companies that operate at different rungs of the same industry ladder.
All of the big pending healthcare mergers, e.g., CVS Health / Aetna, Cigna / Express Scripts, and Walmart / Humana also are vertical mergers.
On Friday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service announced new proposed payment rules to “update [for fiscal year 2019 beginning October 1, 2018] “policies and rates under the Skilled Nursing Facilities Prospective Payment System (SNF PPS), Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities Prospective Payment System (IRF PPS), Hospice Wage Index and Payment Rate Update, and Inpatient Psychiatric Facility Prospective Payment System (IPF PPS).” CMS also released “a Request for Information (RFI) to obtain feedback on positive solutions to better achieve interoperability or the sharing of healthcare data between providers. Specifically, CMS is requesting stakeholder feedback through an RFI on the possibility of revising [Medicare] Conditions of Participation related to interoperability as a way to increase electronic sharing of data by providers.”