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‘This Is About Saving Lives’: As Death Toll Passes 1,000, New Yorkers Tackle Wide Range Of Challenges From Keeping Lights On To Testing

KHN Morning Briefing

The hard-hit city has also launched a website in 11 languages with updates for anyone who has symptoms. More than 40,000 New Yorkers have been infected. Media outlets report on news from Louisiana, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, Florida, Alabama, Ohio, Texas, Iowa, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, California, Massachusetts, Georgia, and Michigan.

Hospitals Granted ‘Unprecedented Flexibility’ As CMS Relaxes Safety Rules Around Treating Patients

KHN Morning Briefing

CMS rule changes involve what counts as a hospital bed, how closely certain medical professionals need to be supervised and what kinds of health care can be delivered at home. The move allows hospitals to use non-medical facilities like gymnasiums and hotels without the need for FEMA to get involved. Hospitals would be allowed to offer health care providers free meals, laundry or child care services, as well.

The Nation’s 5,000 Outpatient Surgery Centers Could Help With The COVID-19 Overflow

KHN Original

A coalition of anesthesiologists wants to repurpose the country’s more than 5,000 surgery centers to serve as emergency overflow amid the coronavirus pandemic. The centers have trained medical staff largely sitting idle, anesthesia machines that could be turned into ventilators, and empty medical space. But obstacles such as federal payment rules, logistics and some skepticism are getting in the way.

Trump Shifts Onus To Governors Amid Criticism About Lack Of Government Action Over Medical Supplies

KHN Morning Briefing

“The Federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping,” President Donald Trump said. “You know, we’re not a shipping clerk.” Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence said that new legislation will allow tens of millions more protective masks to reach health workers each month, but it still seems unclear if production can meet demand. Meanwhile, hospitals prepare to have to make tough ethical decisions amid bed and ventilator shortages.

Hospitals Aim To Bolster Communities’ Overall Health To Help Address Socio-Economic, Racial Inequities

KHN Morning Briefing

Health systems are trying innovative ways–like building a warehouse distribution facility and committing to hiring marginalized workers–to improve overall health outcomes. The push is part of a larger trend for health systems to tackle problems beyond just treating patients. In other hospital news: price transparency, co-ops, mental health care, a $1.8 billion settlement, and more.

California Surprise-Billing Law Protects Patients But Aggravates Many Doctors

KHN Original

A California law, which took effect in July 2017, protects consumers who use an in-network hospital or other facility from surprise bills when cared for by an out-of-network doctor. But physicians say the law has allowed insurers to shrink networks, limiting access to those doctors who have contracted with the patients’ insurance plans.

Despite Intense Scrutiny, Doctors Still Receiving Astronomical Sums From Drug and Medical Device Companies

KHN Morning Briefing

An analysis by ProPublica reveals that more than 2,500 physicians received at least half a million dollars apiece from drugmakers and medical device companies in the past five years alone. More than 700 of those doctors received at least $1 million. In other news on the health industry, costs and insurance: workers’ benefits, refunds from insurers, out-patient surgery policies, universal coverage, and more.

Health Care Products Planned By Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy All Closely Watched By Marketplace

KHN Morning Briefing

Amazon’s kickoff into telemedicine is already impacting potential competitors. And in moves that could shake up the health care industry in the future, Walmart says it is teaming up with companies to offer discounts to its customers while Best Buy touts a plan to provide health monitoring services for seniors. Other marketplace news covers the ambulatory surgery industry and developments in consumer genetic testing.

Tech Companies Are Jostling To Be The One Patients Turn To For Help Corralling Their Health Data

KHN Morning Briefing

The Trump administration is making a concerted push to make health data more available for patients, and tech companies are rushing in to get a piece of the lucrative field. But with profits comes great responsibility for a lot of personal information. In other health and technology news: what AI can tell from your voice, getting better bedside manner from robots, and a telehealth surge in 2017.

Scientists Acknowledge Genetic Research Needs To Be Presented With ‘Great Care’ In Racially Charged Landscape

KHN Morning Briefing

Geneticists are alarmed that their research is being misinterpreted by white supremacy groups. “Studying human genetic diversity is easier in a society where diversity is clearly valued and celebrated — right now, that is very much on my mind,” said John Novembre, a University of Chicago evolutionary biologist. In other public health news: brain science, obesity, concussions, mental health, surgery centers and more.