Healthcare Roundup—Gottlieb staying at FDA; Report says opioid overdoses cost hospitals $11B a year

Scott Gottlieb FDA
FDA chief Scott Gottlieb says he's staying at the agency as a reporter investigates rumors of his exit. (FDA)

Gottlieb gets ahead of reporter's probe, says he's staying at FDA 

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., said on Twitter that he’s staying on the agency in response to a reporter investigating his alleged exit. 

Gottlieb said in the post that “an online pharma news pub” was in contact with friends, digging into reports that he intended to leave the FDA. He said that he’s instead looking forward to releasing his 2019 strategic road map soon. 

“I want to be very clear—I'm not leaving,” Gottlieb said. “We’ve got a lot [of] important policy we’ll advance this year.” 

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Gottlieb also included an image of Mark Twain and his famed quote: “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” (Twitter

Allegan Healthcare Group to join Ascension Michigan 

Allegan Healthcare Group and Ascension Michigan have signed a letter of intent to merge. 

Allegan operates Allegan General Hospital, a critical access facility, a 15-physician group and Allegan Hospital Foundation. These facilities will join Ascension Michigan’s 15 hospitals and the larger Ascension system, which is the largest Catholic health system in the world and the largest nonprofit system in the U.S. 

The goal of the merger is to boost access to care for people in Allegan’s community, the systems said. 

“We are very proud to become part of the Ascension system,” Allegan General Hospital CEO Gerald Barbini said. “Our missions are very compatible and together we will continue to provide outstanding healthcare to our community.” (MLive

Premier: Opioid overdoses cost hospitals an estimated $11B each year 

A new report from Premier estimates that opioid overdoses are a significant cost to hospitals annually. 

The healthcare improvement company found that total care for patients who overdosed on an opioid at 647 facilities resulted in $1.94 billion in annual hospital costs. Extrapolated to cover all providers nationwide, that equals $11.3 billion each year, or 1% of total hospital expenditures. 

Should payer mixes stay constant, $7.4 billion of that would be covered by Medicare and Medicaid, according to the report. 

“This analysis shows that on top of losing family members and friends to this epidemic, it’s costing consumers and taxpayers, as well as hospitals,” said Roshni Ghosh, M.D., vice president and chief medical information officer for Premier. (Announcement