As 2017 comes to a close, seismic shifts are under way in the healthcare sector.
President Donald Trump’s first year in office brought uncertainty to a market that continues to consolidate, with many hospital systems and payers announcing blockbuster mergers and acquisitions. While many of the deals must still withstand antitrust scrutiny, they are indicative of a wave of coming change.
Efforts to lower healthcare spending from both the private and public sectors will continue into 2018 – likely with the continued implementation of value-based care despite CMS wavering on mandatory requirements for certain programs.
Looking back, Healthcare Dive curated a list of our top 10 stories of 2017:
Top 10 stories of 2017
With the future of healthcare so uncertain, a roundup of ideas from U.S. News & World Report's Healthcare of Tomorrow conference on how the sector will evolve was one of our top-read stories of the year.
Key ideas include seeing healthcare moving back into a patient’s home or at a nearby retail clinic, the sector’s shift to value-based care from fee-for-service, using social determinants of health to drive better outcomes and the continued struggle to find bipartisan agreements for federal programs. Read More >>
Anthem’s decision to cease paying for MRIs or CT scans on an outpatient basis in 13 of its 14 states by March 2018 is indicative of an ongoing effort by payers to make consumers more aware of the cost of their care and limit unnecessary services.
The decision leaves hospitals in a tricky situation as they try to keep their balance sheets in the black. The effort to push patients to freestanding imaging centers will squeeze hospitals’ bottom lines. Read More >>
In August, the Internal Revenue Service for the first time announced it revoked a nonprofit hospital's tax-exempt status, signaling increased enforcement of 501(r) requirements moving forward.
The move comes as tax-exempt hospitals have come under scrutiny for their role in their communities and the amount of charity care they provide. Read More >>
CVS Health's agreement to buy Aetna is an earthquake in the healthcare space, but big questions are still outstanding. The deal must survive antitrust scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Justice and some analysts are skeptical the merger would actually result in lower prices for consumers.
But if the deal is successful, the combined company could streamline customer experiences and align incentives to provide low-cost preventive care, Aetna and CVS say. Read More >>
HHS' effort to combat healthcare fraud made a splash in July when the agency announced its Office of Inspector General worked with DOJ to charge more than 400 defendants in what it called the largest healthcare fraud enforcement action in DOJ history.
The Trump administration has pegged improving the financial integrity of Medicare and Medicaid as a top priority to ensure taxpayer dollars are properly used. Read More >>
Technology giant Apple's interest in the healthcare space remains a big question as it continues to inch toward taking a larger role in consumer's lives. But it is still difficult to tell if the company will make a play in the personal health record market or pursue FDA approval for medical devices with a clinical use.
Our feature on some of the signs that Apple continues to be interested in a sector that makes up about one-sixth of the U.S. economy was another of our most read stories of the year. Read More >>
The failure of the Anthem-Cigna merger is indicative of the difficulty of further consolidation in the healthcare sector. After Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled to block the mega-merger the companies began a months-long process to disentangle themselves.
The failed effort should serve as a warning to CVS Health that challenges may be on the horizon for its deal with Aetna. Read More >>
Trump's speech to a joint session of Congress early this year and the lack of progress thereafter showed that, indeed, healthcare is complicated.
But with Congress repealing the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate in the overhaul of the tax code, Trump scored a big conservative victory to close out the year. Read More >>
CMS' 2018 update of the Quality Payment Program, which implements MACRA, allowed more physicians to delay implementation. Small providers had warned that compliance was too difficult, and it appears that CMS Administrator Seema Verma was listening.
In November, CMS finalized the proposal, saying it was paying attention to small practices that said compliance would be too cost-prohibitive and complex.
CMS also recently walked back bundled payment programs, showing that the push for value-based care still has roadblocks ahead.Read More >>
Nurses are largely happy with their work, but many are burnt out and say they wish they had chosen a different profession, the 2017 Medscape Nurse Career Satisfaction Report found.
Our feature on what measures hospitals can take to help nurses avoid burnout was well-read, showing that nurses, an increasingly important piece of the U.S. healthcare system, need support from their employers to thrive. Read More >>