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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our readers love to read about fraud schemes, and this one was particularly interesting given its implications on rural hospitals.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Editor’s picks: Our favorite stories you may have missed
- California files order against HealthNet for stiffing addiction recovery providers: An inside look at HealthNet’s repeated run-ins with regulators over substance abuse treatment payments.
- Hospitals spend big bucks on advertising. Here’s a look at the cost of 8 ad campaigns: There was a lot of attention on drug advertising later in the year, but as Paige Minemyer reports, health systems spend billions convincing consumers to get care at their facilities.
- There are 14 members of Congress who are doctors. Here's why they left the exam room for Capitol Hill: Our physician practices editor Joanne Finnegan reviews the 14 physicians in Congress in the lead-up to the midterm elections.
- After a tragic shooting on a Chicago hospital campus, officials look at lessons learned: Tina Reed spotlights the lessons one Chicago hospital learned following one of the most violent weeks in Chicago’s history.
- What business do hospitals have addressing gun violence? Plenty, doctors argue: Doctors were notably outspoken about gun violence this year. Verbal sparring with the NRA elevated their voice.
- The ‘vendors’ in HHS’ new drug pricing plan sound an awful lot like PBMs, experts say: The Trump administration appears to have a complicated relationship with PBMs. But, as Paige Minemyer noticed, a new drug plan unveiled this fall carved out a potentially big new opportunity for the industry.
- Medicare Advantage enrollment soared in Puerto Rico. Now it's starving the island's healthcare system: A fascinating deep dive from Eli Richman about why Medicare Advantage is so popular in Puerto Rico, and why it’s also crushing the healthcare system there.
- New Medicare marketing guidelines raise the specter of past predatory sales tactics: HHS quietly loosened Medicare marketing guidelines this fall, opening up new opportunities for Medicare Advantage plans, for better or for worse.