What We're Reading: Healthcare Legal Battles of 2016

What we're reading, January 1, 2016: key healthcare legal battles in 2016; study looks at the safety and outcomes of giving birth outside of the hospital; and a tool helps providers better understand the costs they incur.

Happy New Year from The American Journal of Managed Care!

Last year was a big year for healthcare at the Supreme Court level with King v Burwell, and 2016 is shaping up to be another important year. The Washington Examiner highlighted several healthcare cases that the Supreme Court is set to take up in 2016, including the biggest abortion case in years, Whole Women’s Health v Cole. In addition, the Affordable Care Act could be at risk again: the court could hear the case Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v Burwell, in which religious nonprofits, such as universities and charities, claim that the requirement to provide birth control violates their religious beliefs. The court has not decided when it will hear the case.

While an increasing number of American women are choosing to give birth at home or in birthing centers, instead of at the hospital, a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that out-of-hospital births carrier greater risk of neonatal seizures, increase the changes that newborn babies would need ventilators, and that the probability of the baby dying during the birth or in the first month after was 2.4 times as likely as women who planned hospital deliveries. According to The New York Times, the study has been embraced by advocates on all sides of the debate.

Finally, the Harvard Business Review published a paper from the executive medical director of the Colorado Permanente Medical Group, which describes a new affordability tool created to measure providers’ expenditures. According to the author, part of the trouble with curbing costs as been that physicians were not being given much information about the costs they were incurring. Since launching the tool, the group has seen a decrease in inpatient utilization and an increase in the use of preferred facilities among patients in clinics using the tool.