Sep 25, 2017

McCaskill calls out ER company for surprise medical bills

Sen. Claire McCaskill wants answers from Envision Healthcare. Photo: Susan Walsh / AP

Sen. Claire McCaskill has sent a letter to Envision Healthcare CEO Chris Holden, demanding answers about the company's practices of billing emergency room patients for out-of-network charges. McCaskill heavily cited a New York Times report and a study that found an Envision subsidiary called EmCare routinely manages hospital ERs and avoids contracting with insurers so it can bill higher rates to patients.

Why it matters: Envision has faced heat from patients and shareholders, and now an influential politician is pushing to know sensitive matters, like how many complaints its ERs have fielded and what percentage of ER visits involve out-of-network billing. Envision has until Oct. 11 to respond to McCaskill's office.

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Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,251 people and infected almost 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.