Volume V, Issue 41

Oct. 8, 2018
Physicians' regulatory burden worse than ever despite federal efforts
Virgil Dickson reports for Modern Healthcare on 10.4.18:

The CMS has prided itself in recent months on cutting and scaling back providers' regulatory burden, but those efforts have fallen short, according to a new survey by the Medical Group Management Association. An overwhelming majority, or 86%, of respondents reported the overall regulatory burden on their medical practice has increased over the past 12 months.

"This precipitous increase in regulatory burden over the past 12 months should alarm policymakers," Anders Gilberg, Senior Vice President of Federal Affairs at the MGMA said in a statement.
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Healthcare Costs Continue Upward Spiral 
CNN Business reports on 10.3.18:

Employers and workers together are spending close to $20,000 for family health insurance coverage in 2018, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation report. Although premiums have increased fairly modestly in recent years, the growth has far outpaced workers' raises over time. The average family premium has increased 55% since 2008, twice as fast as workers' wages and three times as fast as inflation, Kaiser's Employer Health Benefits Survey found.

"As long as out-of-pocket costs for deductibles, drugs, surprise bills and more continue to outpace wage growth, people will be frustrated by their medical bills and see health costs as huge pocketbook and political issues," said Drew Altman, Kaiser's president.
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Senate Clears Final Opioid Package for Trump's Signature
Kerry Dooley Young reports from Washington, D.C. for
Medscape on October 03, 2018:
The Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to pass a wide-ranging opioid package, clearing the path for President Donald Trump to sign the measure into law. The Senate voted 98-1 on the package, which includes legislation developed by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) that's intended to help the United States Post Office better screen packages abroad for illegal drug shipments. The House also overwhelmingly passed its version of the bill last week. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) applauded many provisions in the opioid package, including ones intended to encourage the development of nonopioid medications and increase innovative research on pain treatment. The cancer advocacy group also praised a provision in the package that will require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct a study on the effects of federal and state opioid prescribing limits on patients. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) also applauded the final vote on the opioid package.
"Addressing the opioid overdose epidemic will require bold action, including a radical transformation of our treatment system into one that universally teaches, standardizes, and covers evidence-based addiction treatment," Kelly J. Clark, MD, MBA, ASAM president, said in a statement.
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