Physician Practice Roundup—Trump zeroes in on surprise medical bills in White House chat with patients, experts

Medicine Money
After hearing stories from patients about unexpected and outrageous bills, President Donald Trump called for a stop to surprise medical bills. (Getty/utah778)

Trump zeroes in on surprise medical bills in White House chat with patients, experts

President Donald Trump on Wednesday instructed administration officials to investigate how to prevent surprise medical bills, broadening his focus on drug prices to include other issues of price transparency in healthcare.

Flanked by patients and other guests invited to the White House to share their stories of unexpected and outrageous bills, Trump tasked his health secretary, Alex Azar, and labor secretary, Alex Acosta, with working on a solution, several attendees said.

“The pricing is hurting patients, and we’ve stopped a lot of it, but we’re going to stop all of it,” Trump said during a roundtable discussion when reporters were briefly allowed into the otherwise closed-door meeting.

“Reading the tea leaves, I think there’s big change coming,” David Silverstein, founder of a Colorado-based healthcare nonprofit, said. (FierceHealthcare)

Free Daily Newsletter

Like this story? Subscribe to FierceHealthcare!

The healthcare sector remains in flux as policy, regulation, technology and trends shape the market. FierceHealthcare subscribers rely on our suite of newsletters as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data impacting their world. Sign up today to get healthcare news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

Insulin prices nearly doubled in 5 years, report says

The cost of managing diabetes in the U.S. is rising quickly, largely due to dramatic increases in the cost of insulin, according to a new report (PDF) from the Health Care Cost Institute.

Looking at health insurance claims from 13,800 to 16,200 people with Type 1 diabetes who use employer-sponsored health insurance, researchers found insulin spending per person in the U.S. was $5,700 in 2016, a 97% increase from $2,900 in 2012.

The average annual cost for individuals to manage their diabetes reached $18,500 in 2016, up from about $12,500 in 2012, largely due to increases in insulin prices. (Fierce Healthcare)

Medical students seek more LGBT training to better treat patients

Medical students are often behind the effort by medical schools to provide future doctors with more training to better understand LGBT patients’ unique needs and health risks, according to WBUR News.

The extent of LGBT education medical students receive varies greatly, but in surveys physicians often say they are inadequately trained to care for these patients.

Some medical schools have responded by increasing LGBT-focused content in their curriculum, including an initiative at Harvard Medical School, according to the report. (WBUR News article)

Study links eating fried foods with heart disease in women over 50

Here’s another reason for doctors to talk to patients about poor eating habits. A news study published in BMJ (PDF) found frequently eating fried foods was associated with a higher risk of heart disease and death for women over 50.

The study showed that even eating one serving per week of fried chicken or fried fish or shellfish increased the risks. (BMJ study)

Suggested Articles

Nominations are open for our 2020 FierceHealthcare Fierce 15 awards. Think your company has what it takes? Submit your nominations here.

Any move to expand Medicare healthcare coverage needs to be coupled with a plan to combat Medicare fraud.

In a letter, 111 physician organizations weighed in on surprise billing, urging Congress not to turn more power over to health insurers.