News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel

News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel
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Physicians Not So Happy with Health Insurers, According to Survey Conducted by MGMA

MGMA-ACMPE hopes survey data ultimately reduces distractions and resource diversion for physicians—including pathologists—that result from interactions with payers

When physicians and their practice managers are surveyed about their satisfaction with health insurers, the Medicare program outscores all private health insurers. This was just one finding of an annual survey on this topic conducted by Medical Group Management Association-American College of Medical Practice Executives (MGMA-ACMPE).

Certainly pathologists have their opinion about the service levels of different health insurers. However, MGMA’s survey does not break out physician satisfaction by different medical specialties.  The survey findings reveal that most physicians are neutral or dissatisfied to some degree when queried about different aspects of service provided by Medicare and private health insurers. (more…)

UnitedHealth to Acquire Brazil’s Largest Private Health Insurer for a Price of $4.9 Billion

UnitedHealth’s acquisition of Brazil’s Amil is another example of healthcare’s globalization and may open door for clinical laboratory acquisitions in Brazil

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is buying an HMO in Brazil. The two players are the largest insurers in their respective countries. For pathologists and clinical laboratory professionals, this merger demonstrates that the trend toward globalization of healthcare—including laboratory medicine—continues one step at a time.

Brazil’s Growing Middle Class Drives Demand for Coverage

On October 8, 2012, UnitedHealth announced in a press release that it would pay $4.9 billion in cash to acquire a 90% stake in Brazil’s Amil Participacoes S.A. (BM&FBOVESPA: AMIL3). Amil is Brazil’s largest private insurer and operator of health clinics. The company provides health benefits and services to more than five million people. (more…)

Big Healthcare Acquisitions Make News, Change Competitive Landscape for Clinical Pathology Laboratories

Pathologists and clinical laboratory managers should not be surprised to see today’s nontraditional healthcare delivery models becoming tomorrow’s industry norm

Big healthcare players are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire unexpected targets. The biggest of these deals signal that healthcare consolidation and integration is a continuing trend. It is also a reminder to clinical laboratory managers and pathologists that the competitive healthcare marketplace is transforming at a steady pace.

Three such deals emphasize that the consolidation trend is alive and well:

  • Dignity Health purchased U.S. Healthworks this summer. No terms were disclosed, but some analysts estimate that the purchase price may have been more than $500 million.
  • DaVita Partners, a major player in dialysis services, is to purchase Healthcare Partners for $4.4 billion. Healthcare Partners operates 150 clinics in three states, plus has a national network of 8,300 independent physicians.
  • United HealthGroup, Inc., in deal announced last fall, acquired Monarch Healthcare, an independent physician association with 2,300 doctors in Southern California. Purchase price was not announced.

Acquisitions Have Potential to Reshape Competitive Landscape (more…)

Federal Government Agrees to Open Access to Medicare Data about Individual Doctors

Experts predict employers will use this data to create “report cards” on individual physicians

In a big step forward for public access to data about provider outcomes, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will make its enormous Medicare claims database more broadly available to the public. Both the press and the public will be able to search for information about individual physicians. It is likely that information about pathologists will be searchable in this manner.

Specifically, Medicare will relax its restrictions on the release of information about individual doctors who participate in Medicare. This development was reported recently by The Wall Street Journal, which played a role in getting HHS to make physician data available to the public.

“This is a giant step forward in making our health care system more transparent,” stated Marilyn Tavenner, Medicare’s Acting Administrator. (more…)