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What We're Reading: Telemedicine Help in Houston; Bipartisan Health Plan; Medicare's Big Bills


Houston Families in Shelters Get Telemedicine Help

People in shelters in Houston after Hurricane Harvey are facing medical conditions, such as chronic disease or injuries from the storm, and telemedicine can help. With fewer pediatric physicians available in shelters, physicians in Dallas are seeing young patients remotely, reported STAT. The telemedicine station allows physicians to see children and measure vital signs with specially designed equipment. The shelter will eventually have an on-site pharmacy, too, to better help parents fill prescriptions for their children.

Hickenlooper, Kasich Present Health Proposal

A bipartisan group of governors, led by Ohio’s Republican governor, John Kasich, and Colorado’s Democrat governor, John Hickenlooper, sent a blueprint to Congress on how to stabilize the individual insurance marketplaces. According to The Washington Post, the proposal calls for a federal fund to provide a buffer to insurers with high-cost consumers and for the federal government to waive insurer taxes in counties with 1 health plan to encourage increased competition. The Senate’s health committee has 2 days of hearings scheduled for next week to explore ways to improve the Affordable Care Act and its marketplaces.

The High Cost of Being “Under Observation”

Patients who stay in the hospital but are never officially admitted are feeling the pain of big bills when they get out. The New York Times outlined what being under observation means and why a recent ruling by a federal judge means Medicare recipients can now challenge their “under observation” status. The status becomes extremely costly if patients need additional care in a nursing home. Patients who spent 3 consecutive days as an inpatient have the first 20 days in a nursing home covered by Medicare, but patients who are in the hospital under observation have to foot the entire nursing home bill themselves.

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