What We're Reading: Price's Budget Testimony; 13-Bed Hospital Proposal; Cardiovascular Disparities

HHS Secretary Price to Testify in Support of Budget Cuts Outlined for HHS

HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD, is scheduled to testify before the Senate Committee on Finance today in support of President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts to agencies within HHS, including the CDC, FDA, and National Institutes of Health (NIH). Observers anticipate his testimony will follow along the same lines as his remarks to a health appropriations subcommittee shortly after the budget proposal was published. In that hearing, Price argued that NIH’s spending on indirect expenses should be reduced so the budget could “get a larger return for the American taxpayer,” according to STAT.

Proposed “Micro-Hospital” in Illinois Encounters Regulatory Obstacles

A health system’s proposal to create a 13-bed hospital in Illinois is leaving regulators skeptical, Modern Healthcare reports. Mercyhealth’s proposed “micro-hospital” runs afoul of the state law requiring hospitals to have at least 100 beds, and a state review board has pointed out that there are plenty of vacant beds in the 7 hospitals within 45 minutes of the potential new hospital’s location. The regulatory application argues that the micro-hospital would expand access to care for poor patients and allow residents to remain in the county for treatment, as 65% currently leave the area for care.

Socioeconomic Disparities Remain in Cardiovascular Risk, Study Finds

A study published in JAMA Cardiology explored the levels of cardiovascular risk among different income groups in the United States and found that improvements in prevention may not have reached the lowest socioeconomic stratum. The researchers determined that there was little change in cardiovascular risk factors from 1999 to 2014 for adults at or below the federal poverty level, but the risk factors decreased for those in the high- or middle-income groups. “Renewed efforts are required to reduce income disparities in control of cardiovascular risk factors,” they wrote.