For Some Hospitals, Not All The News Is Bad
Some health systems still brought in more money in 2020 than in 2019. Meanwhile, many hospitals have decided to keep administrative changes that they came up with on the fly during the pandemic.
Hospitals Posted Higher Profits In Second Half Of 2020 Even As COVID Cases Soared
As COVID-19 cases reached unprecedented levels in the final months of 2020, some of the country's biggest health systems made more money than they did in the comparable 2019 period—even without counting their federal grants. Company executives pointed to two big contributors: sicker than usual patients and a higher-than-expected ratio of privately insured patients, both on the COVID and non-COVID sides. The pandemic narrowed the subset of people willing to visit hospitals. Those that did tended to have very serious illnesses or injuries and they also were more likely to have commercial insurance, which pays hospitals much more than Medicare and Medicaid. (Bannow, 3/11)
'Silver Lining': Hospitals Keep Practices Born In COVID Rush
As coronavirus surged in New York last year, officials at the state’s largest hospital system realized their old way of transferring patients to relieve stress on swamped emergency rooms just wasn’t going to cut it. Instead of time-consuming phone calls and emails, Northwell Health created a quicker, more efficient “crowd-sourcing” method using an online spreadsheet to match patients in need of a transfer with hospitals having available beds. Now, Northwell Health, which operates 23 hospitals and 700 outpatient clinics in the New York City region, has made that system — born in the midst of a crisis — a permanent part of its operations. (Shaffrey, 3/11)
Quest Sees Direct-To-Consumer Testing Taking Off Post-Pandemic
Commercial laboratory Quest Diagnostics Inc. sees a growing direct-to-consumer testing opportunity following the Covid-19 pandemic, as patients seek greater control of their health care and the crisis accelerates a shift to digital technologies. Direct-to-consumer testing for medical needs like colorectal cancer and others could bring in $250 million in revenue for Quest by 2025 in a total market worth about $2 billion, the company said at its investor day on Thursday. (Court, 3/11)
Becker's Hospital Review:
Surgeons Seen As Better Communicators When Wearing Clear Masks, Study Finds
Patients were more likely to report good communication with surgeons who wore clear masks instead of standard cloth medical masks in a study published March 11 in JAMA Surgery. Researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill asked 15 surgeons to wear either clear or covered masks during clinic visits with new patients. Researchers then interviewed 200 patients, half of whom saw surgeons with clear masks and half who saw surgeons in traditional masks. (Bean, 3/11)
NYC Hospital CEO Steven Corwin Remembers Facing The COVID "Tsunami"
Steven Corwin, chief executive of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, said the medical center had four cases of COVID on March 8 of last year. By March 29 that number had jumped to 600. In an interview on Thursday with Axios Re:Cap, Corwin described how the hospital managed the "tsunami" of cases in the early days of the pandemic while struggling to maintain a supply of protective and medical equipment during a global supply shortage. (Knutson, 3/11)
How Will Doctors Handle Contraception Apps Like Natural Cycles And Clue?
Two years ago, Danielle Castillo decided to end her 13-year relationship with the pill. She had been using hormonal birth control since she was 17, and it often made her nauseous and lowered her libido. Engaged to a supportive partner but not yet ready to have children, the Cleveland-based social media marketer started researching alternatives. What she found, through online searches and Facebook groups, was Natural Cycles, an app the FDA cleared in 2018 to be marketed as birth control. (Palmer, 3/12)
'Vasectomy Mayhem' At Virginia Urologist Draws Trademark Complaint From NCAA
The NCAA is challenging a group of Virginia urologists who trademarked the phrase "Vasectomy Mayhem," claiming it's too close to its famed basketball tournament, "March Madness." The governing body of college sports accused Virginia Urology, a practice based in Richmond, Virginia, of improperly cashing in on the cherished "March Madness" brand, according to the NCAA's filing to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's appeals board. (Li, 3/11)
The New York Times:
A $22,368 Bill That Dodged And Weaved To Find A Gap In America’s Health System
John Druschitz spent five days in a Texas hospital last April with fever and shortness of breath. It was still the early days of the pandemic, and doctors puzzled over a diagnosis. They initially suspected coronavirus and hung signs outside his door warning those entering to wear protective equipment. Mr. Druschitz had already spent two weeks at home with worsening symptoms. He recalls one doctor telling him, “This is what it does to a person.” Ensuing lab work, however, was ambiguous: Multiple molecular tests for coronavirus came back negative, but an antibody test was positive. (Kliff, 3/10)