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What We're Reading: VA Pick's Hearing Delayed; Hospital Profits Fall; Re-Imagining Postpartum Care


The confirmation hearing for the president's new pick to run the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is being postponed; hospital profits are at 10-year low; new recommendations re-imagine postpartum care.

Ronny Jackson’s Confirmation Hearing Postponed

Just 2 days before Ronny L. Jackson, MD, was scheduled to testify before the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs as part of his confirmation process to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), new concerns have postponed his hearing. Both Democrats and Republicans have raised concerns about Jackson’s qualifications, reported The Washington Post. The physician to the president was nominated to lead the VA after David Shulkin, MD, was fired on March 28. Unlike his predecessor, Jackson has little management experience and the VA system has 360,000 employees and an annual budget of $186 billion. There are already concerns about how he managed the White House medical office, according to officials.

Hospital Profits Fall Amid New Challenges

With more patients seeking care in nonhospital settings, the median hospital operating cash flow margin—an important measure of profits—reached its lowest level in a decade. According to The Wall Street Journal, the previous low point came in the midst of the recession, when growth in insurers’ spending on hospital care slowed sharply. Currently, revenue is declining as patients seek care elsewhere and enrollment in Medicare grows, but expenses are being driven higher. Future mergers, such as between Walmart and Humana, that create new competition for hospitals could place more pressure on hospital finances.

Recommendation Redesign Maternal Care

A new report on postpartum care from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is recommending that doctors see new mothers more frequently. The recommendations come amid rising concerns about pregnancy-related deaths and the disparities between black and white mothers, according to NPR and ProPublica. ACOG’s annual meeting is taking place this weekend in Austin, Texas, and The American Journal of Managed Care® will be there to cover it. Visit the conference page for coverage or sign up for the conference email to get content delivered directly to your inbox.

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