Highmark spending $500M on network; Mass. Blues, Children's agree to global pay;

> Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and the Children's Hospital of Boston have agreed to a three-year contract that will allow for global payments, reported the Boston Globe. Under the new contract, Blue Cross won't pay Children's Hospital any more money this year and will reimburse the hospital at an unspecified rate below the current 3 percent rate of medical inflation for the remaining contracted time. Article

> Two bills introduced by Pennsylvania lawmakers would grant the state more power in expiring payer-provider contracts, reported Insurance and Financial Advisor. Under H.B. 2052, the state insurance department could help resolve any disputes, including requiring the payer and provider to submit to binding arbitration. S.B. 1358 would allow the insurance department to suspend a contract termination for up to 36 months instead of the original six months. Article

> Highmark is planning to spend $500 million to develop a new network of doctors, community hospitals and outpatient locations. The network will include medical malls, ambulatory care centers, a health information exchange and primary and specialty care centers, reported the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Article

> Device manufacturers want health insurers to cover weight loss surgery, saying it would provide access to the treatments for millions of obese Americans, thereby saving billions of dollars in unnecessary healthcare costs, reported Reuters. Allergen, the maker of LapBand, is leading the charge, most likely in an effort to fuel weak sales. Article

> And Finally... If you got a root canal from this dentist, you could have paper clips in your mouth. Article