In Fine Print, HHS Appears To Ban All Surprise Billing During The Pandemic

Federal officials offering emergency funding to hospitals, clinics and doctors’ practices have included this stipulation: They cannot foist surprise medical bills on COVID-19 patients.

But buried in the Department of Health and Human Services’ terms and conditions for eligibility is language that could carry much broader implications. It says “HHS broadly views every patient as a possible case of COVID-19,” the guidance states.

Some say that line could disrupt a longtime health care industry practice of balance billing, in which a patient is billed for the difference between what a provider charges and what the insurer pays, a major source of surprise bills ― which can be financially devastating ― for patients. It is banned in several states, though not federally.

For those immersed in the ongoing fight over surprise medical billing, the possibility that HHS might have done with fine print what Congress and the White House could

Read More

Brave the year-end deadlines | Health Beat

Focusing on the worst possible outcome of a situation can create undue stress. Learn to step back and look at things realistically and logically. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

The end of the year is supposed to be a time to celebrate and relax.

But for many, the traditional sounds of the season include a giant, ticking clock—and not the fun kind from your favorite rockin’ New Year’s Eve show.

Many workers know the pressure of year-end deadlines. These are often increased by the family pressures that come with holiday preparations.

It’s not just a cliché for Hallmark movies—stress can seriously affect your health.

It can lead to overeating, excessive drinking and sleep deprivation, which can cause high blood pressure and weight gain. Women may be at particular risk from stress-induced heart disease.

To some people, stress might lead to a feeling of edginess, said Barry J. Jacobs, a clinical psychologist

Read More

New Year, new rules | Health Beat

Celebrate the new you with a tasty red wine—it’s a welcome component in your Mediterranean diet. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

Maybe you want to decrease those sugar cravings, or just keep your blood sugar in balance. Maybe you’ve decided it’s high time to lose some weight.

No matter your motivation for eating right in the New Year, you can succeed—you just need some tried-and-true strategies to help you along the way.

The best way to start is by learning how to follow a low-inflammatory, low-glycemic Mediterranean Diet.

Put these 11 strategies to the test

1. Portion your plate

Counting carbs and calories and calculating the glycemic index of foods can be complicated, so there’s a simple trick to help you right-size your portions right away.

Start with a 9- to 10-inch plate. Fill half the plate with a leafy salad, greens and your favorite veggies. The important thing to remember

Read More