Avoiding Doctors Visits Started Out As Fear. Now It’s Because Patients Can’t Afford To Go.
Tens of millions of Americans have lost jobs--and health care coverage--in recent months creating a crisis where patients who need care aren't going because they can't afford it. In other health industry news: charity care, health care worker job losses, new affiliations and inpatient rehab.
The New York Times:
Why People Are Still Avoiding The Doctor (It’s Not The Virus)
While hospitals and doctors across the country say many patients are still shunning their services out of fear of contagion — especially with new cases spiking — Americans who lost their jobs or have a significant drop in income during the pandemic are now citing costs as the overriding reason they do not seek the health care they need. “We are seeing the financial pressure hit,” said Dr. Bijoy Telivala, a cancer specialist in Jacksonville, Fla. “This is a real worry,” he added, explaining that people are weighing putting food on the table against their need for care. “You don’t want a 5-year-old going hungry.” Among those delaying care, he said, was a patient with metastatic cancer who was laid off while undergoing chemotherapy. (Abelson, 6/16)
Patients Cancel Care Over High-Deductible Concerns
Most doctors say their patients refuse or delay medical care due to concerns about cost, supporting research that's revealed the unintended consequences of shifting more costs to consumers. Around 4 out of 5 independent physicians say that high-deductible health plans are the primary reason that patients cancel or delay care, according to a survey of more than 700 doctors in late 2019 administered by NORC at the University of Chicago for the Physicians Advocacy Institute. (Kacik, 6/16)
State, Federal Governments Create Provider Safety Net To Pay For COVID-19 Charity Care
Faced with the greatest public health crisis in a century, state and federal governments have cobbled together new funding streams so healthcare providers can be paid for testing and treating uninsured COVID-19 patients. But there are still billions of dollars left on the table. "There's a patchwork of different things working together that is very confusing," said MaryBeth Musumeci, associate director at the Kaiser Family Foundation's program on Medicaid and the uninsured. (Cohrs, 6/17)
Dallas Morning News:
How To Survive The COVID Economy? Tenet Healthcare Cut Jobs, Stockpiled Cash And PPE, And Tapped Uncle Sam Big Time
Companies everywhere are struggling to survive the coronavirus economy, but hospitals have a unique challenge.In addition to dealing with a sharp drop in demand from fearful customers, providers had to gear up for a potential swell in COVID-19 business. As the economy reopens, the threat of a surge remains, and that could overwhelm hospital workers and public health. (Schnurman, 6/16)
Blues Insurers Highmark And HealthNow Propose Affiliation
Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies Highmark and HealthNow New York have agreed to form an affiliation that they say will lead to better services and lower costs for health plan members. Under the agreement, Pittsburgh-based Highmark, which serves members in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia, would acquire the Blue Cross and Blue Shield license that HealthNow maintains. Together, the companies would provide insurance to nearly 6 million members. (Livingston, 6/16)
Physicians, Non-Physicians At Odds Over Inpatient Rehab Rule
Hospitals and physicians urged CMS to withdraw its proposal to allow non-physician practitioners to fulfill inpatient rehabilitation coverage requirements that are currently completed by rehabilitation physicians, citing quality concerns. The traditional providers warned that patients, especially people with complex conditions, could receive lower-quality care if non-physician practitioners like physician assistants can independently perform preadmission screenings, develop a plan of care or carry out other duties currently limited to physicians. (Brady, 6/16)