Doctors may accept low fee from Medicare, but not from all patients

Some medical specialists in the U.S. charge uninsured and out-of-network patients several times more for healthcare services than what they accept from the government insurance plan known as Medicare, says a new study.

Anesthesiologists, certain radiologists and emergency medicine doctors were among the medical specialists who often charged four to six times more than what they accept from Medicare for the same services, researchers found.

"I want to raise awareness of some specialists' profit-driven behaviors," said lead author Ge Bai, of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in Baltimore. "Then, we can look for solutions."

News reports of patients receiving surprisingly high medical bills after surgeries and other healthcare services led Bai to investigate what doctors accepted from Medicare for those services and what they charged other patients.

For example, a patient with private insurance may go for surgery to a hospital that accepts their health insurance, but one of the doctors involved in their care isn't in their insurer's network. The patient will likely get a very high bill from that out-of-network doctor later on.

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Peoples Health Promotes Warren Murrell to President and CEO

Peoples Health, a Medicare Advantage company serving Louisiana residents, announced the promotion of Warren Murrell to president and CEO. Murrell’s new position reflects the increased role he has played in representing the company at all levels, both within Peoples Health and in the community. He assumes the leadership role after the passing of the former CEO, Carol Solomon, on Dec. 4, 2016.

“It is an honor to assume the role of president and CEO,” said Murrell. “Our success as a leader in Medicare Advantage products and services is derived from our deep connections to our plan members, our network of healthcare providers and the communities we serve. We will continue placing our plan members’ overall health and well-being at the forefront of everything we do.”

In his new role, Warren Murrell is the driving force behind the Peoples Health business model and is focused on making a positive impact on the overall health of plan members. He will steer the development and enhancement of the Medicare Advantage plans the company offers and will direct the development of the strategic plan for the continued growth of Peoples Health.

“Warren has been crucial in the establishment of our overall model for the health plans we offer, and he will continue to lead the endeavor to improve health outcomes for our plan members,” said Dr. Stephen Goodwin, Peoples Health board of directors chair.

Murrell brings more than 24 years of healthcare experience to this role, 16 of which have been with Peoples Health. In January 2015, he was named president and chief operating officer as part of the long-term leadership succession plan. Previously, he served as chief operating officer, vice president of IPA services and regional director of IPA services.

Prior to joining Peoples Health as sales manager in 2000, Murrell developed his healthcare expertise at Memorial Sisters of Charity Health Network and Prudential Healthcare, both in Houston, Texas.

Murrell earned a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and a Master of Business Administration focused on healthcare management from the University of Miami. Since 2012, he has served on the Louisiana Association of Health Plans board of directors, for which he is currently president. He also serves on the board of directors for Greater New Orleans Inc. and for Peoples Health.

Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim: Basaglar Now Available for Type 1, Type 2 Diabetes

Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim announced the launch of Basaglar (insulin glargine injection) for use to control high blood sugar in children and adults with type 1 diabetes and adults with type 2 diabetes. 

Basaglar is a long-acting insulin with an amino acid sequence that is the same as Lantus, another insulin glargine 100 Units/mL product. It was initially approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2015.

The primary activity of insulin, including insulin glargine, is regulation of glucose metabolism. Insulin and its analog lower blood glucose by stimulating peripheral glucose uptake—especially by skeletal muscle and fat—and by inhibiting hepatic glucose production. Insulin inhibits lipolysis and proteolysis, and enhances protein synthesis. 

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