Last week a delegation of nearly 100 Leadership Health Care members visited Washington, D.C., to meet with policymakers about all things health care. The two hottest topics were, of course, accountable care organizations and health care IT, according to LHC Director Judith Byrd. But the various speakers and panelists touched on an array of issues around implementing the health care reform legislation how it will shape the nation's health care delivery system.
One of the most valuable aspects of the trip was the fact that, because the same group of people attended every session together, the conversation among them was able to build throughout the two-day trip, said Michele Peden of Iasis Healthcare.
"It continued the conversation and led to deeper learning," she said.
Jim Lackey, who serves as the liasion between the boards of LHC and the Nashville Health Care Council, said it's enlightening to see the "inner workings" of Washington and how difficult it is to get thigns done.
"They are all good people who are really trying," Lackey said of the Tennessee delegation, which met with LHC members as part of the trip. He added: "You also realize that although Nashville thinks it runs the business of healthcare, the folks on the hill have a ton of control."
A handful of Nashville investors have invested several million dollars in Advent Health Partners, a young Chicago insurance claims and recovery firm that they plan to relocate to Nashville. The Tennessean has the story about the deal this morning. Local investors include Fred Goad, Jim Kever, Joel C. Gordon, Rock Morphis, David McLellan, David Swenson and Jim Sohr.
Windsor Health Plan has picked Outcomes Pharmaceutical Health Care to administer medication therapy management services for its Medicare Part D plan members in Tennesse, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and South Carolina. Through the contract Windsor's eligible enrollees will receive MTM services from "personal pharmacists" to help them "achieve safe and effective results from their medications while controlling costs."
Insurer Cigna is selling its 800-employee Nashville subsidiary to BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. The company decided to unload Cigna Government Services in order to focus on its core health services business. The Tennessean reports that no major changes — other than a name change for the business — are planned for Nashville.
As part of a strategy to "unroll" programs in various U.S. regions, insurance firm Cigna has selected Franklin-based MedSolutions as its nationwide radiology benefits manager. The sizable contract — Cigna is one of the largest for-profit insurance companies in the country — extends the companies' 13-year relationship.
Also, Medicaid payments are determined by state budgets, reeling from heavy deficits and looking for cost-cutting opportunities. One of those states, Texas accounts for almost a third of HCA's revenue. Furthermore, some people may see the fines as a cheaper alternative to getting the required insurance -- so hospitals may end up with shrinking government payouts but still not see as many insured patients as they had hoped.
Analyst Josh Raskin at Barclays Capital has lifted his price target on shares of HealthSpring to $44 from $38 while keeping his 'overweight' rating. The move puts Raskin among the Street's most bullish HealthSpring watchers. It wasn't that long that he was saying that HealthSpring (Ticker: HS) could reach $30 despite a run that started at $18. Brookdale Senior Living shares are up more than 7 percent this morning after the company reported its Q4 numbers and said it has added to its debt capacity. Also helping is an upgrade from Morgan Keegan analyst Rob Mains, who sees the Brentwood-based nursing home chain's stock hitting $30, up from $24. Brookdale (Ticker: BKD) is now at its highest level since June 2008.
West Tennessee Healthcare officials argue that removing the antitrust protection would eliminate their ability to fund certain charitable organizations and health care options by reducing net revenues. The organization is the fourth largest TennCare provider in the state. Officials have said the West Tennessee Healthcare system writes off millions each year in unreimbursed, under-reimbursed and uncollected patient accounts and that losing even a portion of the commercially insured account base could hurt its bottom line. State Rep. Jimmy Eldridge, R-Jackson, said Friday that it is "almost certain" that bills attempting to eliminate the antitrust law will be resurrected this year. Eldridge opposed the legislation last year.