What we're reading, March 18, 2016: Covered California is considered removing hospitals with poor performance from the exchange; an outbreak in Wisconsin spreads to Michigan; #ZikaVirus infection in the US climbs to 450.
In California, hospitals with poor performance or high costs may be removed from the insurance exchange, Covered California. The exchange’s board will vote on the proposal, which may be the first of its kind in the country, according to NPR. Under the proposal, insurers would identify outliers based on cost and quality and providers who don’t measure up will lose insured patients and by 2019, health plans will removed poor performance from their exchange networks. The proposal has sparked opposition from both doctors and hospitals as well as insurers.
In Wisconsin, public health officials have been left in confusion about the source of bacterial bloodstream infection that has caused 18 deaths. Now, the outbreak of Elizabethkingia has gotten bigger with a confirmed death in Michigan, reported The Washington Post. In Wisconsin more than 50 have fallen sick from the bacteria, and all of the victims had underlying health conditions. The bacteria is commonly found in soil, rivers, and reservoirs and usually not dangerous to people. Officials still don’t know why the outbreak is so deadly.
The number of people in the United States who have been infect with the Zika virus has reached 450. The Hill reported that the number, which includes Puerto Rico and the continental US, is an increase of 90 cases compared with 1 week ago. HHS has focused on outreach to college students who may be visiting Zika-infected countries during spring break. The government is also preparing for likely local transmission in the US starting this spring.