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Daily Rounds: Insurance Refunds Stall; Cost Code Cracking; Small Hospitals Align; Doc Waterboarded Daughter?

Health insurer refunds may stall in employers' hands (The New York Times) - "It was the great health insurance giveback: $1.1 billion in premiums returned to policyholders under the Affordable Care Act. But while many people who buy their own insurance found a check in the mail last week, millions insured through employers are still wondering what is happening with the money. Workers were notified in form letters from insurers this month that a “rebate” had been sent to their employer, who “must follow certain rules in distributing the rebate to you.” But even when employees paid a significant share of the premium, many employers are still deciding how, when or even whether to share the cash."

Has Massachusetts finally cracked the code on health care costs? (Forbes op-ed) - "In the coming days and months, we can expect the free market pundits and purists to pump out high volume warnings of the impending doom of democracy at the hands of the socialist regime in one of our bluest states (despite their ownership of a GOP senator.) You can choose to join in the bombast if you like— but you do so at your own risk. As I am overly fond of saying, when it comes to the health and physical survival of our families, politics and ideology rank a far distant second to our ability to get the care that a family member might require during the critical moments that can mean life or death."

Heywood hospital in Gardner teams up with Athol Memorial Hospital (The Boston Globe) - "A pair of community hospitals in North Central Massachusetts have agreed to form a strategic alliance, accelerating the trend toward health care industry consolidation in Massachusetts while creating a stronger player in the 15 rural towns north of Worcester. The 153-bed Heywood Hospital in Gardner said it has signed a letter of intent to align with Athol Memorial Hospital, a 25-bed facility serving the North Quabbin area along the Massachusetts border with New Hampshire. The deal leaves Vanguard Health Systems, the Nashville-based for-profit hospital group that had explored acquiring Athol Memorial, without a partner in the area."

Delaware doctor accused of 'waterboarding' daughter (AP in The Boston Herald) - "The daughter of a Delaware pediatrician who has appeared on national TV for his research on near-death experiences told investigators he "waterboarded" her several times by holding her face under a running faucet. An attorney for Dr. Melvin Morse described the waterboarding description as an "attention-getter" by authorities, based on an allegation from an 11-year-old who had made a false abuse claim against a family member before."

This program aired on August 10, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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