Top Healthcare Stories in 2017

There were many healthcare headlines in 2017, especially with the changing political atmosphere.

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Some of the biggest healthcare stories to come out of 2017 included those involving:

  1. Healthcare mergers – This year there were many mergers among healthcare insurers. Five of the biggest insurers merged at the beginning of the year. There were also plenty of hospital and health system mergers that occurred in 2017 that changed the healthcare system.
  2. The Affordable Care Act and The American Health Care Act – With President Trump’s entrance, the Republican party dominated headlines by trying to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. While there were three failed attempts to pass a bill in Congress, the GOP tax plan was brought to a vote in December. Part of the tax plan included a repeal of the requirement to have an insurance plan compliant with the ACA or to pay a penalty.
  3. Healthcare Breaches – Healthcare breaches continued to run rampant in 2017 with healthcare data still valuable on the black market. Unfortunately, this trend is expected to continue into 2018. Some of the biggest and some large local breaches included:
    1. Henry Ford Health System – 18,470 patients affected
    2. Arkansas Oral Facial Surgery Center – 128,000 patients affected
    3. Mid-Michigan Physicians Imaging Center – 106,000 patients affected
    4. Anthem BlueCross BlueShield – 18,000 patients affected
    5. Verizon’s data breach – 14 million customers
    6. Indiana Medicaid – 1.1 million patients affected
    7. Michigan-based Airway Oxygen – 500,000 patients impacted
    8. Molina Healthcare – 4.8 million patients impacted
    9. National Health Service in England and Scotland – 150 countries impacted
    10. Children health records – 500,000 patients recods were on the web after being collected by a hacker named ‘Skyscraper’
  4. Fraud and settlements – There were many notable fraud allegations and settlements in 2017 by healthcare agencies. For example, eClinicalWorks paid the government $155 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that it faked meaningful use certification. Another instance of fraud was the former Benchmark Healthcare CEO who was hit with a $667,000 penalty and prison sentence for stealing Medicaid funds and neglecting residents. 4 HCA hospitals paid $8.6 million over ambulance kickback allegations in 2017. There were many, many other settlements. Healthcare is heavily scrutinized by the federal government.

There were many notable healthcare stories in 2017 and there will be many more in 2018. We help our clients stay aware of healthcare trends, issues, and news!

We hope you have a Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

In our next blog post, we will keep you informed of related issues.  To get this important information delivered directly to your mail box, 

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P.S. If you or your patients are interested in consumer healthcare issues, check out myhealthspin.com.

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