Oregon Hospitals Lose Battle Against New Law; Pittsburgh Hospital, Insurer Reach Agreement

The Lund Report (an Ore. news service): Hospitals Lose Battle To Delay Implementation Of Outpatient Cuts
The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems lost an attempt to stop the implementation of a new law that will reduce their outpatient reimbursements by up to 50% starting January 1. … Legislators, who took up this issue earlier this week, told hospital officials they did not have the power to change the statute. During the last legislative session, they passed Senate Bill 204, which required health plans to pay hospitals using Medicare methodology for outpatient expenditures for Oregon Health Plan members, and school district and state employees (Lund-Muzikant, 12/22).

Modern Healthcare: Highmark, UPMC Reach Deal On Ending Contract
Highmark and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, embroiled in a public dispute over an expiring rate contract, announced the agreement would end June 30, 2013. … The Pittsburgh insurer and health system have battled over the terms of their break up after Highmark agreed this year to acquire UPMC's rival, the West Penn Allegheny Health System. UPMC broke off talks to renegotiate the contract and Highmark sued after the system launched an advertising campaign that told patients: “Keep your doctor, check your plan” (Evans, 12/22).

California Healthline: State Pilot Prompts Children’s Hospital To Form ACO
Rady Children's Hospital is in the process of establishing an accountable care organization to manage treatment for children with significant medical needs. The San Diego-based hospital is one of five California health care organizations chosen to participate in a pilot project with the Department of Health Care Services to treat children who are part of the California Children's Services program. … The other organizations launching pilots are Children's Hospital of Orange County, L.A. Care Health Plan, Health Plan of San Mateo County and Alameda County Health Care (Zamosky, 12/22).

The Baltimore Sun: Expansion Planned For Hopkins' Bayview Campus
Johns Hopkins Health System plans to open a $35 million expanded emergency department at Bayview Medical Center by January 2014, followed by a new oncology wing for its lung cancer treatment program.
Preliminary plans for the expansion at the eastern Baltimore campus — which eventually would also include a seven-story hospital tower — were presented for review Thursday to the city's Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel (Mirabella, 12/22).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: State Security Hospital Fined For Abuses Of Mentally Ill Patients
Two mentally ill patients at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter were repeatedly abused by staff members -- including, for one patient, being forced to sleep on a concrete slab for 25 nights -- according to a yearlong investigation by the state Human Services Department. The abuse, which included isolating the two for extended periods and wrapping their faces in mesh rags, took place in late 2010 and led to a much wider investigation. That examination found evidence that staffers covered up abuses and repeatedly violated isolation and restraint policies (McEnroe, 12/23).

Los Angeles Times: Inspectors Find Safety Concerns With Drug Pumps At UCI Hospital
Officials at UC Irvine Medical Center have promised to correct problems found with the operation of drug-infusion pumps after an inspection by state and federal health regulators. The inspection was prompted by hospital officials who reported the death of a kidney transplant patient who had received too much medication from a drug pump. A subsequent review by two internal and four external physicians found that the medication error did not cause the patient's death (Sewell, 12/22).

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