Highlights from the Healthcare Industry

Half of American Hospitals Fined for High Readmission Numbers 

Michelle Andrews from Kaiser Health News has reported that more than half of all American hospitals are being penalized due to high readmission rates. Nearly 2600 hospitals will forfeit a combined $420 million in the form of reduced payments for medicare patients. These measures, which will begin taking effect in October, are the result of having too high a number o patients returning within one month after being discharged. Hospitals have publicly stated that these penalties are unfair as the readmission levels and fines do not consider or reward improvement from year to year.

IBM to Purchase Merge

Jeremy Barbera - IBM HealthcareCrain’s New York recently reported that the tech behemoth, IBM, has reached a deal to acquire Merge Healthcare inc. for a price of around $1 billion. IBM has plans to utilize Merge’s medical imaging management platform within their Watson tool. This its the latest in a series of moves from IBM that has them strengthening their hold within health care.

Doctors Say Cancer Drug Prices are Unsustainable

In a recent article from the Mayo Clinic, a group of more than one hundred renowned doctors came together to draw attention to the unsustainable nature of cancer drugs prices in the United States. This article references data collected by CBS’ 60 Minutes that shows that the pharmaceutical companies set the price of these drugs as high as they can get away with. The prices of cancer drugs have gradually, and alarmingly, increased an average of $8000 each year over the last decade and a half. The report notes that about a third of Americans will someday develop cancer, in one form or another, and that these patients tend to pay for a fifth or more of the cost of these drugs. Citing data on the average income of an American household, this Mayo Clinic report points out that the majority of patients will have to either take out loans or sell their assets in order to make payments. To learn more about this report and possible solutions, visit the official Mayo Clinic website.