FierceHealthcare’s 10 most read stories of 2018: Amazon, mergers and more Amazon

FierceHealthcare readers loved to click on Amazon stories this year. (Getty/anyaberkut)

It was a wild year for healthcare.

Amazon made waves early on with a big, but vague partnership with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway to take on healthcare costs. EHR vendor Allscripts was hit with a ransomware attack that brought down physician practices, and UnitedHealth announced the launch of a new personal health record.

Here’s a look at the stories FierceHealthcare readers were drawn to the most this year.

Conference

2019 Drug Pricing and Reimbursement Stakeholder Summit

Given federal and state pricing requirements arising, press releases from industry leading pharma companies, and the new Drug Transparency Act, it is important to stay ahead of news headlines and anticipated requirements in order to hit company profit targets, maintain value to patients and promote strong, multi-beneficial relationships with manufacturers, providers, payers, and all other stakeholders within the pricing landscape. This conference will provide a platform to encourage a dialogue among such stakeholders in the pricing and reimbursement space so that they can receive a current state of the union regarding regulatory changes while providing actionable insights in anticipation of the future.
  1. Amazon teams up with Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase in technology-driven healthcare venture

Amazon’s healthcare venture, alongside two of the world’s most powerful financial firms, was perhaps the biggest news of the year and set the tone for conversations around healthcare for the remaining 12 months of continuous coverage.

  1. Allscripts hit with a ransomware attack affecting a 'limited number' of applications

Months after two global malware attacks brought down healthcare organizations, Allscripts’ cloud-based EHR was hit with a ransomware attack affecting roughly 1,500 physician practices. We covered that attack for the following seven days as patient care and billing was disrupted in clinics and physician offices around the country.

  1. Jamie Dimon: Amazon, Berkshire partnership ‘pissed off’ healthcare companies

Like I said, the Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan partnership was a talking point all year. Not everyone was happy, and some in the healthcare industry let JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon hear about it.

  1. Fired female executive accuses Optum of gender discrimination, ignoring abusive treatment

In a year that featured numerous bombshell #MeToo stories across several industries, it's no surprise this story that broke late in the year generated a lot of attention.

  1. UnitedHealthcare accuses Texas labs of $44M fraud scheme

Our readers love to read about fraud schemes, and this one was particularly interesting given its implications on rural hospitals.

  1. UnitedHealth plans to roll out a new EHR offering for consumers and providers by the end of 2019

During a third-quarter earnings call, UnitedHealth CEO David Wichmann casually dropped news that the insurer was planning to launch its own medical record. Details were thin at the time, but we now have a better picture about what UnitedHealth plans to do.

  1. Allscripts offered to buy Practice Fusion for $250M. A DOJ investigation changed everything

When Allscripts bought Practice Fusion for $100 million in December 2017, it raised a ton of red flags, mostly because the company had once been valued at $1.5 billion. As we reported, one reason for the price drop was a $155 million eClinicalWorks settlement that shook up the entire EHR market, along with a concurrent DOJ investigation against Practice Fusion.

  1. Anthem gets flak for anesthesia coverage policy

Insurer coverage policies always get a lot of eyeballs. Here, Anthem amended its anesthesia policy to exclude “moderate sedation,” which irked doctors in California. It wouldn’t be the only flak Anthem got in 2018: It also took a beating for its ER policy changes.

  1. What the CEOs of Dignity Health, CHI expect to achieve in $28B merger

Mergers are always popular with readers, and a massive deal between Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives was no exception. In this one, Dignity Health offered some more details on what it hopes to achieve.

  1. CVS Caremark shifts PBM model to 100% pass-through pricing and focus on net cost

PBMs were in the spotlight all year, and not always for the best reasons. Calls for better transparency have grown louder among lawmakers and even from the Trump administration. By the end of the year, CVS appeared to offer an olive branch in the form of a new payment model that some say could take hold across the industry.

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