Week in review: 11 biggest healthcare stories this week

Stay in the know with Becker's Hospital Review's weekly roundup of the nation's biggest healthcare news. Here's what you need to know this week.

1. 5 things to know about Obama's SCOTUS nominee and its healthcare implications
President Barack Obama Wednesday nominated Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Chief Judge Garland has more years of experience as a federal judge than any current member of the high court, according to The New York Times, and generally garners bipartisan support. Even Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) this week told conservative media outlet NewsMax, "[Obama] could easily name Merrick Garland, who is a fine man."

2. Study: Trump's healthcare plan would cause 21M to lose coverage
A new analysis of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump's healthcare reform plan shows it would nearly double the number of Americans without health insurance. Mr. Trump's plan, "Healthcare Reform to Make America Great Again," has two major components. First, Mr. Trump wants to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with several new policies. Second, he wants to convert Medicaid to a block grant program.

3. CMS, CDC to add 5,000+ ICD-10 codes in FY 2017
Healthcare providers will soon have thousands of new codes to contest with, as CMS and the CDC will add 1,900 diagnosis codes and 3,651 hospital inpatient procedure codes to the ICD-10 coding system for fiscal year 2017.

4. AMA, physicians to Florida AG: Stop the Humana-Aetna merger
Together with the American Medical Association, two Florida organizations — the Florida Medical Association and the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association — asked Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to block the proposed merger between Humana and Aetna.

5. Antitrust committee will scrutinize mergers 'very, very carefully'
During a two-hour hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, antitrust regulators vowed to closely analyze healthcare's two biggest mergers: the one between Aetna and Humana and the one between Anthem and Cigna, according to Insider Louisville.

6. 3 employees fired following death of woman forced out of hospital
Three medical professionals at Blountstown, Fla.-based Calhoun Liberty Hospital were fired for the way they handled the case of Barbara Dawson, a 57-year-old woman who died after being forcibly removed from the hospital last December.

7. South Carolina health system cuts 400 jobs to stem losses
Greenville (S.C.) Health System plans to eliminate more than 400 positions after suffering a $16 million shortfall in the first quarter of the fiscal year, according to The State.

8. 1,200 RNs at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles begin walkout
Registered nurses at KaiserPermanenteLos AngelesMedicalCenter, represented by the California Nurses Association, began a seven-day strike March 15 to push for their first contract as union members, according to a report published by the Los Angeles Daily News.

9. Emory University Hospital treating US physician assistant with confirmed Lassa fever
EmoryUniversityHospital in Atlanta is currently treating a patient with Lassa fever, as confirmed by the CDC. CNN reports the patient is an American physician assistant who was working with a missionary organization in Togo, a small country in Africa.

10. Patient care at Broward Health is 'hanging by a thread' amid administrative chaos
Complaints of administrative chaos that threaten patient care led the board of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Broward Health to demote its interim CEO, according to the Sun Sentinel.

11. Kansas hospital to lose Medicare funding over EMTALA violation
Newman Regional Health, a critical access hospital in Emporia, Kan., will lose its Medicare funding April 5, according to The Emporia Gazette. Julie Brookhart, public affairs specialist for CMS' Kansas City Regional Office, said the hospital violated the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act by failing to arrange an appropriate transfer for a patient with an emergency medical condition that was not stable. 

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