Federal payments for Medicare Part D catastrophic coverage exceeded $33 billion in 2015, which is more than triple the amount paid in 2010, according to a HHS Office of Inspector General report released Jan. 5. The catastrophic drug benefit under Medicare Part D is meant to cover costs for beneficiaries with chronic conditions who quickly rack up high drug expenses. The two most expensive drugs were Harvoni, which treats hepatitis C and costs catastrophic enrollees an average of $33,000 a month, and Revlimid, the blood cancer medication which costs more than $11,000 a month.
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center will cut about 800 to 900 people from its payroll, or 5% of its workforce, as it tries to recover from financial losses after implementing its electronic health record. The Houstonbased cancer center reported significant losses in fiscal 2016 partly because of a difficult adaptation of its new Epic Systems Corp. network, which went live last March. Physicians and nurses won’t be affected by the layoffs. Cuts will be among administrative positions such as billing employees.
Ascension Ventures, the investment arm of hospital giant Ascension, is part of a group that recently invested $20 million in Reputation. com, one the largest and most influential providers of online reputation-management services. Reputation.com has a suite of products that helps companies see what consumers are saying about them on social networks and review sites. It also offers ways for those companies to engage the consumers to try to troubleshoot problems and turn negative feedback to at least neutral reviews.