Capsules: Expert: Hospitals' 'Humongous Monopoly' Drives Prices High; Panel Calls For 'Drastic Changes' In Medicare Doctor Pay; Nurse Practitioners Say How They're Paid Affects Care They Can Provide; New Reasons To 'Like' Online Hospital Reviews

Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, Jay Hancock reports on hospital consolidations and cost issues: "The American Enterprise Institute didn’t plan its panel last week on hospital consolidation to coincide with Steve Brill's much-talked-about Time magazine article on hospital prices. But the Friday session could have taken the piece, Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us, as its text. Participants mentioned it several times" (Hancock, 3/4).

Also on Capsules, Jordan Rau reports on panel's new doctor-pay recommendations: "A panel convened by a major medical group is recommending that Medicare heal its physician payment shortfalls with 'drastic changes' in how it reimburses doctors and other providers, rather than seeking more taxpayer money" (Rau, 3/4).

In addition, Alvin Tran reports on a study exploring nurse practitioners' attitudes about how they are paid and scope-of-practice law: "In the study, published Thursday by the National Institute for Health Care Reform, researchers found that while so-called 'scope of practice' laws did not appear to restrict the primary care services nurse practitioners can provide to patients, they do affect how the advanced nurses are paid" (Tran, 3/1).

In another blog post, Jordan Rau details studies about online hospital reviews: "Millions of dollars and some of the best minds in health care have been devoted to measuring how good a hospital is. But two studies suggest users of two social media giants, Facebook and Yelp, may do a solid job of reflecting quality" (Rau, 3/1). Check out what else is on the blog.

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.