What We're Reading: AstraZeneca's High-Profile Hire; Impact of Tax Penalty Ending; Rural Hospitals Get Creative

January 8, 2019

José Baselga, MD, who resigned his position as the chief medical officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center after failing to disclose millions of dollars in payments from drug companies, is joining AstraZeneca as its head of research and development in oncology; the end of the Affordable Care Act tax penalty on those without health insurance could roll back recent coverage gains for Hispanics, young people, the healthy, and the poor; rural hospitals are forming partnerships with home health agencies in order to survive.

Former Cancer Center Top Doctor Heading to AstraZeneca

José Baselga, MD, who resigned his position as the chief medical officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center after failing to disclose millions of dollars in payments from drug companies, is joining AstraZeneca as its head of research and development in oncology. The New York Times and ProPublica said that the newly created unit reflects the company’s shift toward cancer treatments. Baselga stepped down in September from his role after the publications revealed he had failed to accurately disclose his conflicts of interest in dozens of articles in medical journals. Baselga is an expert in breast cancer research.

End of ACA Tax Penalty May End Coverage Gains for Some

The end of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) tax penalty on those without health insurance could roll back recent coverage gains for Hispanics, young people, the healthy, and the poor, California Healthline reported. It cited a Health Affairs study in which researchers asked more than 3000 Californians who had bought individual healthcare plans: “Would you have purchased health insurance coverage this year if there was no penalty?” Nineteen percent said they would not have, and a disproportionately large number of those were in population groups that were most likely to be uninsured before the ACA took effect. The study concluded that other states could be harder hit than California by the elimination of the penalty.

Rural Hospitals Forming Creative Partnerships With Home Health Agencies to Prevent Readmissions

Rural hospitals are forming partnerships with home health agencies in order to survive, Kaiser Health News reported. Rather than seeing them as a competitor, hospitals are getting creative in order to keep from being penalized for having too many readmissions within 30 days of discharge, which can cost a hospital millions of dollars in penalties and hurt an already-thin bottom line.