Midwest provider to terminate deal with Humana Medicare Advantage; BCBS of Texas adds new tools to private exchange;

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> Baxter Regional Medical Center, a health system that serves north Arkansas and southern Missouri, will terminate its contract with Humana Medicare Advantage at the end of the year, saying the plan's "denial rates are almost twice those of our other Medicare replacement health insurance providers," the Baxter Bulletin reports. Humana said in a statement that it is "disappointed" with the provider's decision. Article

> Donald M. Berwick, former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, shares his thoughts on the state of Medicare in an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association. Interview

> Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas has upgraded its Blue Directions private exchange to include tools that allow employers to build a plan package from a variety of designs and that allow consumers to evaluate their plan options and compare costs, according to the Dallas Business Journal. Article

Provider News

> Hospitals can take some lessons from Verizon, the once "stodgy" utility company that is now seizing new business opportunities and reacting to meet new consumer demands. Article

Health Finance News

> The U.S. Senate this week unanimously approved a bill that would require hospitals across the country to tell Medicare patients when they receive observation care but aren't actually admitted to the facility--a difference that most patients miss until they receive their medical bills. Article

And finally… How 'bout that for a golden parachute? Article