Medicare chief: Nothing worse for seniors than repeal. “I can’t think of a worse plan” for seniors than to repeal the bill, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Donald Berwick said at a Senate hearing yesterday that was forestalled by a scheduled vote, preventing a highly anticipated grilling by Republican senators. Berwick said, “We tell them we’re not going to improve their access to preventive services like colonoscopy and mammography … that we’re not going to study and improve [hospital] acquired conditions or work on unnecessary readmissions, that we’re not going to improve chronic illness care … that we’re not going to be more transparent."
“It would be a terrible plan,” he said, according to The Hill‘s Healthwatch blog.
Primary care physicians back CMS’ Innovation Center. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced on Tuesday the formal creation of a new innovation center, called for by the healthcare reform law, that will serve as a testing ground for new practices. The 10-year, $10-billion effort lays a foundation for what experts believe could be one of the most far-reaching benefits of healthcare reform. The initiative is intended to reduce hospital-acquired infections, help ensure seniors take their medications, and more. The Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative welcomed the announcement. “[PCPCC] supports and applauds Dr. Berwick’s affirmation that primary care is the foundation for new models of care that can improve health care delivery and provide better value for the health care dollar,” said PCPCC executive director Edwina Rogers in prepared remarks.
Health insurers pay big to fight reform. Health insurers last year gave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce $86.2 million to oppose the healthcare overhaul law, according to tax records and people familiar with the donation, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.
Roche cutbacks brush U.S. biotechs. The world’s biggest spender on pharmaceutical R&D, Switzerland-based Roche, is making a sweeping series of cutbacks whose effects are brushing leading biotech companies Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Vancouver, British Columbia-based Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, Xconomy reports.
Hospital workers uneasy. Hospital workers around the country continue to strike over contract negotiations and other issues, according to Becker’s Hospital Review.
But hospitals add jobs. Healthcare added 24,100 jobs in October, according to preliminary data the Dept. of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics released Nov. 5. That was the third-fastest-growing sector, behind professional and business services (46,000) and retail (27,900), according to American Medical News.
ProPublica gets something from drug companies. Several of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical companies plan to tighten screening of physicians who promote their drugs after ProPublica reported last month that more than 250 of them had been sanctioned for misconduct.
Confidence vote for Provenge. A panel of physicians and researchers who advise the federal Medicare agency expressed an intermediate amount of confidence that the Seattle biotech company Dendreon’s (NASDAQ: DNDN) immune-booster for prostate cancer Provenge extends lives, according to Xconomy Seattle.
Material from MedCity News was used in this report.