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Trump Administration Moves To Make Health Care Costs More Transparent

Shopping around for the best deal on a medical X-ray or a new knee? The Trump administration has a plan for that. On Monday, it proposed new rules that would provide consumers far more detail about the actual prices hospitals charge insurers. It comes amid growing calls from consumer advocates, who argue transparency can help tackle rising health care costs. But the plan also has the potential to overwhelm patients with data.

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When A Doctor’s Screen Time Detracts From Face Time With Patients

Electronic health records can help reduce medical errors, but when not used well they can strain the doctor-patient relationship. But medical providers — and patients — can learn skills to keep communication flowing even when there’s a screen in the room. So what does effective screen-sharing look like?

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Surprise Medical Bill Legislation Takes A Step Forward, But Will It Lead To A Step Back?

The House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday approved its version of legislation to curb surprise medical bills. Though this step was an important advance, there’s still a long way forward before Congress agrees on a legislative solution to this high-profile consumer concern. These bills, the unexpected and often high charges patients face when they get care from a doctor or hospital that isn’t in their insurance network, have been the hot issue on Capitol Hill for months.

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Federal Appeals Court Takes Up Case That Could Upend U.S. Health System

The fate of the Affordable Care Act is again on the line, as a federal appeals court in New Orleans takes up a case in which a lower court judge has already ruled the massive health law unconstitutional. Not only would such a decision immediately affect the estimated 20 million people who get their health coverage through programs created under the law, ending the ACA would also create chaos in other parts of the health care system that were directly or indirectly changed under the law’s multitude of provisions.

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Have Cancer, Must Travel: Patients Left In Lurch After Hospital Closes

Continuity of care is crucial for cancer patients in the midst of treatment, which often requires frequent repeated outpatient visits. So when Mercy Hospital Fort Scott, a rural hospital in Kansas, was slated to close its doors at the end of 2018, hospital officials had arranged for its cancer clinic to remain open. Then “I got the email on Jan. 15,” said Reta Baker, the hospital’s CEO. It informed her that Cancer Center of Kansas, the contractor that operated and staffed the unit, had decided to shut it down too, just two weeks later.

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Senate Panel Makes Surprisingly Fast Work Of ‘Surprise Medical Bills’ Package

It may seem as if the Senate has decided on a way forward to fix the nation’s “surprise medical bill” problem. Members of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved a sweeping measure Wednesday that tackles a range of big-ticket health care concerns. One thing the bill specifically does not deal with: the insurance market and the Affordable Care Act, which could be why the package was voted out of the committee in just over two hours with little debate.

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Senators Agree Surprise Medical Bills Must Go. But How?

Two years, 16 hearings and one massive bipartisan package of legislation later, a key Senate committee says it is ready to start marking up a bill next week designed to contain health care costs. But it might not be easy since lawmakers and stakeholders at a final hearing Tuesday showed they are still far apart on one simple aspect of the proposal. That sticking point: a formula for paying for surprise medical bills, those unexpected and often high charges patients face when they get care from a doctor or hospital that isn’t in their insurance network.

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Mini-Biographies Help Clinicians Connect With Patients

Clinicians can access a lot of medical data through a patient’s electronic medical record, but there’s nowhere to learn about a patient’s personality or learn about her career, passions or values, said Thor Ringler, who has managed the My Life, My Story project since 2013. The project has developed a set of training materials to allow other VA hospitals to launch storytelling programs. About 40 VA hospitals around the country are currently interested.

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Keeping Kids Healthy and Sane in a Digital World

Smartphones, tablets and video consoles can be addictive. They interfere with sleep. They draw kids into an alternate universe, often distracting them from more productive — and healthier — real-world activities. And they are linked to anxiety and depression, learning disabilities and obesity. That’s according to a growing body of research emphasizing the physical and psychological dangers of heavy screen use.

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