In the News: February 9-15

Sg2 is dedicated to helping our clients interpret the latest news and trends in health care. Below you’ll find our analysis of this week’s key industry headlines, along with links to related Sg2 resources.

February 14th Brought the Return of Health Policy Valentines

An annual social media tradition returned as health policy voices from both sides of the aisle came together under the Twitter hashtag #healthpolicyvalentines. Whether it’s an ode to a sweetheart through bundled payments, getting butterflies over the thought of MACRA or a warning about cardiomyopathy, the contentious policy debate—at least temporarily—had a lighthearted tone. It is unlikely we will see House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) trading candy hearts any time soon, so take a moment today to scroll through the valentines for a laugh while they last.

Sg2 experts are following more than just Twitter trends—they have been closely monitoring the latest policy developments out of Washington. Learn more about what’s to come under newly confirmed HHS Secretary Tom Price; ease some of those butterflies with our MACRA infographic; and hear from senior thought leaders at Sg2 on what to expect in our on-demand The Year Ahead webinar.

Implementing Value-Based Care in the ED Through Shared Decision Making

According to a recent Health Affairs Blog article, chest pain is the second most common reason for ED visits in the US, accounting for nearly 8 million visits per year. The standard ED protocol for chest pain patients is to screen for acute coronary syndrome (ACS) to identify a heart attack. However, studies have found initial screening tests have a missed ACS diagnosis rate of 2.8% annually, which often causes hospitals to overadmit patients and costs the health care system over $7 billion per year.

Mayo Clinic has created a “Chest Pain Choice” decision aid to help ED patients better understand their risk of ACS. Studies on the aid’s implementation found that patients were more involved in their treatment and were less likely to be admitted to the hospital.

Sg2 experts continue to cover efficiency and innovative interventions in the ED. To learn more, read the Sg2 publication Assessing Performance in the ED.

Pennsylvania Moves Closer to Statewide Drug Price Transparency Regulations

Although efforts to rein in drug pricing have stalled at the national level, states are beginning to take action to rein in excessive rate hikes and collect more data on pharmaceutical pricing. For example, in Pennsylvania, state legislator Tony DeLuca advanced House Bill 161, which includes requirements for drug makers to publicly disclose and justify price increases over 10% and to release data on the true cost of research and development activities. Supporters argue that bills such as this could provide states  greater control over unjustified price increases driving up health insurance costs for consumers.

DeLuca also believes this bill could pave the way for other states to take similar action, since it provides meaningful protections for patients without imposing price controls on pharmaceutical companies. A group of senators from both sides of the aisle in Washington, DC, introduced a similar bill last year; however, it was never officially brought to a vote.

Sg2 experts believe drug pricing is likely to be a prominent issue moving forward, and that newly confirmed US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price will be a key figure in the policy debate, amid growing public outcry. To learn more, read the Sg2 Expert Insight The Year Ahead Under Tom Price, HHS Secretary.

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As of February 11, 2016, Vizient, Inc. has completed its purchase of MedAssets Sg2 and spend and clinical resource management segments from Pamplona Capital Management, LLC. MedAssets revenue cycle business will continue to operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pamplona Capital Management LLP.

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