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Health System Management • January 2017

REGULATORY GUIDELINES COURT RULING — District Court Judge Amos Mazzant issued a temporary restraining order that blocked a federal rule. The rule would impose limits on financial assistance that dialysis patients receive for their insurance premiums. While the rule was designed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to help patients avoid higher costs and service disruptions, dialysis companies such as DaVita claimed in a lawsuit that the rule could hurt patients. Judge Mazzant’s temporary restraining order has halted HHS’s rule, which requires dialysis providers to inform insurers when patients are getting financial help with premiums, in addition to requiring the care provider to confirm with the insurance company that those payments would be accepted. DRUG PRICES — With incoming President Donald Trump pushing for a return to domestic drug manufacturing, some are wondering whether a reduction of imported drugs could in fact lead to even higher drug costs. Cheaper generic drugs brought into the U.S. at low cost, imported from around the world, offer Americans an option when confronted with high prices from name-brand medications. With drug imports increasing and generics accounting for a large volume of those imports, it is being questioned whether Trump’s plan would really lower costs. LATEST ADVANCEMENTS HEALTHCARE GROWTH — The healthcare industry added 43,000 jobs in December, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). These numbers include a total of approximately 30,000 jobs in ambulatory healthcare services, and another 11,000 jobs in hospitals. According to BLS, the healthcare field added an average of 35,000 jobs per month in 2016, which aligns with 2015’s monthly average of about 39,000 jobs added on average. GENERIC EPIPEN — Cigna moved to cover the generic version of Mylan’s EpiPen and EpiPen Jr. auto-injectors and dropped its coverage of Mylan’s product, according to Cigna’s changes to its prescription drug list. The changes took effect Jan. 7, allowing Cigna to edit its list to promote the use of the less-expensive generic drug. While Mylan has reduced the cost of the EpiPen by up to 50%, the company has still faced scrutiny over the EpiPen, the price of which has risen 400% since 2009. Cigna insists that it will work with physicians to ensure that, if medically necessary, the name-brand EpiPen can still be procured. 7 WWW.HEALTHSYSTEMMGMT.COM


Health System Management • January 2017
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