Hospital Roundup—Federal judge annuls CMS ‘double dipping’ rule; 2 Texas hospitals receive $1M grant

Atrium Health calls off merger with UNC Health Care

Atrium Health has suspended merger negotiations with UNC Health Care after the two systems failed to reach an agreement on a deal announced last year.

Atrium, formerly known as Carolinas HealthCare System, notified UNC in a letter sent on Friday that it was suspending the talks, the health system said in a statement. Atrium CEO Gene Woods and board chair Ed Brown said that though the two systems couldn't agree, "our respect for UNC HealthCare … has grown through this process." (FierceHealthcare)

But Elliot Hospital, Southern NH Health deal moves forward

State reviewers gave the go-ahead for a proposed merger between Elliot Hospital in Manchester, New Hampshire, and Southern New Hampshire Health in Nashua. Despite concerns that the merger will reduce competition among health providers in the community, the state Attorney General’s office determined the merger can proceed as proposed. (New Hampshire Public Radio)

OIG: Leaders ignored deficiencies at VA hospital in DC for years

The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General released a searing final report that detailed “critical deficiencies” at a District of Columbia VA hospital and which leaders failed to address.

The OIG said the deficiencies often spanned many years but were not remediated by leaders at multiple levels within the VA.

The report detailed failures that included ensuring healthcare professionals had supplies and equipment when caring for patients, processing and sterilizing instruments, maintaining cleanliness, providing prosthetic devices and properly reporting patient safety events.

In response to the report, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David J. Shulkin, M.D., announced changes to help correct and prevent similar problems, including tasking independent healthcare management experts to begin making unannounced on-site audits at VA facilities and conduct VA-wide staffing reviews. (FierceHealthcare)

Texas hospitals receive $1M grant for pediatric care, research

Children’s Health System of Texas and UT Southwestern Medical Center will share in a $1 million gift from the MMK Foundation, the largest grant ever given by the foundation.

Children’s Health will use the money to support its neonatal intensive care unit, and UT Southwestern intends to use the funds for research and pediatric needs. The grant fulfills the foundation’s goals of addressing issues that impact childhood development, according to founder Mark King, chairman of Strait Lane Capital Partners. (Dallas News)

Court annuls CMS ‘double dipping’ reimbursement rule, paves way for pediatric hospitals to recoup millions

A U.S. district judge has annulled a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services rule change that would have allowed the agency to count private insurance payments against hospitals’ reimbursement amounts even when Medicaid doesn’t pay for the child’s care.

The ruling means Texas Children’s Hospital and other pediatric hospitals may recoup tens of millions of dollars in denied federal funding. Hospitals have characterized the rule as “double dipping” by CMS. However, hospital leaders expect CMS will appeal the ruling. (Houston Chronicle)