Healthcare Roundup—CBO releases new estimate of ACA repeal proposal; David Shulkin gets a new gig

David Shulkin
At Sanford Health, former VA Secretary David Shulkin, M.D., will be leading initiatives to advance the health system's work in research and precision medicine. (Whitehouse.gov)

CBO: House measure to repeal or delay Obamacare would cost $51.6B

A House measure to delay or replace the Affordable Care Act would cost the government $51.6 billion over the next 10 years, according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office.

The report comes as lawmakers prepare to meet about the bill, known as the Save American Workers Act, on Wednesday, the Washington Examiner reported.

Among the estimates in the analysis: A proposed delay of the employer mandate from 2019 to 2028 would be expected to cost $25.9 billion while a change to the definition of "full-time worker" would cost an estimated $9.8 billion. (Washington Examiner articleReport

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Shulkin gets a new gig

The former secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is taking on a new role: Chief Innovation Officer at Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based health system Sanford Health.

David Shulkin, M.D., will be leading initiatives to advance the health system's work in research, as well as its precision medicine initiative called Imaginetics and the Sanford Chip, Profile and World Clinic. He will serve as a strategic adviser on Sanford's national growth strategy. 

Sanford Health is the largest rural not-for-profit healthcare system in the nation, with 45 hospitals and 289 clinics in nine states and three countries. It has more than 28,000 employees including more than 1,300 physicians and is the largest employer in the Dakotas.

"After completing my work in the public sector, Sanford Health was an obvious choice to continue my healthcare career,” Shulkin said in a statement  “Sanford’s unique brand of innovation and clinical integration is bringing precision medicine to the bedside which is rapidly improving patient care in unprecedented ways." (Release

Study: VA telehealth project improved antibiotic stewardship

Weekly videoconferencing check-ins showed promise in improving antibiotic prescribing practices at rural facilities and may help improve continuity of care as well, a recently reported pilot study found.

Rising numbers of antibiotic-resistant infections have stakeholders across the healthcare industry seeking novel ways to encourage better stewardship among prescribers. Rural hospitals pose a unique difficulty in this regard since they frequently do not have consistent access to infectious disease physicians and pharmacists with expertise in good prescribing practices.

In a pilot study that paired infectious disease experts at VA hospitals with care teams located in rural facilities, researchers took a look at video conferencing as a viable means of training and ongoing support. The results were so positive the initial six-month study period was doubled to a year after participants requested that the program continue. (FierceHealthcare)