Hospitals Balance Covid-19 Care With More-Lucrative Services During Latest Virus Surge

Hospitals are holding off as long as possible before halting procedures to make room for fresh waves of Covid-19 patients, a reversal from earlier this year when facilities postponed care, leading to steep financial losses and public-health risks.

National hospital chain Tenet Healthcare Corp. pushed ahead with procedures as states permitted, such as knee and hip replacements, colonoscopies, and surgery to implant pacemakers, through recent surges in Alabama, California and elsewhere. In southeast Wisconsin, where already rising Covid-19 hospitalizations jumped 35% in the first two weeks of the month, Advocate Aurora Health continues nonessential surgery across a dozen hospitals.

HCA Healthcare Inc., one of the nation’s largest hospital systems, waited until last week to suspend some surgery in El Paso, Texas, where a coronavirus surge sharply accelerated in recent weeks. About 80% of the procedures there continue, however.

Nashville-based HCA stops surgery “as a last resort,” said Jon Foster, an

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Acute Care Measure Could Reduce Hospital Readmission Penalties

About one in four hospitals would see their penalty status change under the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) if penalties were determined using “excess days in acute care” (EDAC), a more comprehensive measure of hospital use after discharge, instead of looking only at 30-day readmissions.

The EDAC measure captures all days spent in acute care settings within 30 days of discharge, including emergency department (ED) visits, observation stays, and unplanned readmissions.

In the study, published online October 13 in Annals of Internal Medicine, half of hospitals in the highest-performing group under the more blunt 30-day readmissions measure would fall to a lower-performing group if EDAC were used.

Conversely, a similar number of low-performing hospitals would jump to a higher stratum.

“We know that linking the 30-day readmission measure to penalties under the HRRP has led to intensified efforts to treat patients in the ED or as observation stays,” said

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Opinion: Bailout US Cancer Care

Dr Randall A. Oyer

Many independent oncology practices struggled to make ends meet before COVID-19 ran roughshod over the US economy and health system. Now some are on the verge of collapse, threatening to strand patients without access to the care they need, according to a Viewpoint published online October 22 in JAMA Oncology.

Is a bailout needed for US cancer care? Ask a trio of University of Pennsylvania oncologists. Their answer: Yes — and then some.

“In the context of the current demand shock in oncology, ensuring the short-term solvency of independent practices is critical to preserving patients’ access to cancer care,” write Zachary Frosch, MD, Lawrence Shulman, MD, and Justin Bekelman, MD.

The new essay is “timely, important, and helpful,” Randall A. Oyer, MD, president, Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC), told Medscape Medical News in an email.

Outpatient cancer visits are down about 50% since the start

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3 Medical REITs to Play a Return in Health Care

To deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, Tim Wallace, CEO of

Community Healthcare Trust,

had to make a few changes.

Community, which owns medical offices and other health-care facilities, has now equipped buildings with “needlepoint bipolar ionization” air-filtration systems to kill the virus. Clinics and doctors’ offices are getting higher-speed internet to handle more telemedicine. And its chief building inspector travels in a recreational vehicle, rather than flying, to check out properties before an acquisition.

“As long as there’s demand for health care, there will be a need for office space,” says Wallace, 62, who has run medical real estate properties since the 1990s. “That isn’t going to change until we get one of those devices that Bones used in Star Trek to fix any medical issue.”

Hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices aren’t filling up to prepandemic levels. But with health services getting back to normal, demand for medical real

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Pillar Launches Collaborative Online Platform, Helping Families Better Protect & Care for Their Loved Ones | State

NEW YORK, Oct. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Today, a family-first digital platform called Pillar launches to make it easier for people to organize and store their family’s most important information in a secure online dashboard that they can share with other trusted family members. The innovative platform raised $1.5M in a seed extension led by Kleiner Perkins, totaling $7M for a seed round. Pillar provides step-by-step guidance on what to do as family members age and offers customized checklists that detail all the important information families might need to navigate that moment smoothly.

Pillar addresses all of the modern family’s recordkeeping needs across medical, financial, legal, identity, and housekeeping information. The platform stores and organizes important documents and information, enables secure family collaboration, offers customized checklists, and even prevents fraud and scams targeting the elderly population. Documents such as power of attorney, healthcare proxy, advance directive, wills and

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Care staff ordered to work in one home only

Amnesty International raised fears on Wednesday that these errors are being repeated, with leaked documents from councils to care homes asking them how many beds they can provide for Covid-positive patients. 

While the documents ask care homes to set out their infection control measures, the charity wared that any pressure on homes to accept patients who tested positive for Covid would be like “throwing a lit match into a haystack”.

Mark Adams, the chief executive of Community Integrated Care, a charity that runs 18 care homes, said the Government move would “100 per cent” lead to closures because homes would be dangerously understaffed if some carers had to self-isolate because of exposure to Covid. 

A recent outbreak at one of the charity’s homes saw 15 staff sent home to self-isolate after a resident who went into hospital underwent tests and was found to have Covid. If a provider was not

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Trump vs. Biden On Health Care: A Stark Choice For Voters

The future of the U.S. health care system will depend a great deal on whether President Donald Trump wins reelection or former Vice President Joe Biden defeats him, and the contrasts between Trump’s record and Biden’s aspirations make the stakes plain.

Although Biden, a Democrat, isn’t campaigning in favor of anything as dramatic as “Medicare for All,” it’s hard to overstate the differences between his vision for American health care and Trump’s.

Like his fellow Republicans, Trump wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act and for the government to do less about the cost and the availability of decent coverage. Biden wants to preserve and build upon the 2010 law also known as “Obamacare” and enlarge the government’s role in making health care more accessible and affordable.

Either man’s agenda would depend on outside political forces.

Trump is counting on the Supreme Court to eliminate the law, and has faced

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OPEN MINDS Integrated Care Online Community Announces Executive Summit — An Intentional Approach to Integrated Care | State

GETTYSBURG, Pa., Oct. 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ –The OPEN MINDS Integrated Care Online community, powered by NextGen Healthcare, is sponsoring an executive forum focused on integrated care on October 28, 2020 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm ET as part of the OPEN MINDS 2020 Executive Leadership Retreat. Register for the 2020 Executive Leadership Retreat and the Integrated Care Forum at

The clinical benefits of integrated care are becoming more and more understood. When the mind and body are treated as one—at the point of care—patient outcomes improve, overall costs are reduced, and health care achieves a higher standard.  In this one-of-a-kind forum, facilitated by OPEN MINDS CEO Monica E. Oss, a panel of integrated care providers will address the questions other organizations are asking as they consider care models that integrate physical and behavioral health. How do we address the medical, behavioral, and social needs of our patients

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GOW Task Force, health departments offer ‘Linkage to Care’ online app

Press release:

The GOW Opioid Task Force, in conjunction with the Genesee & Orleans County Health Departments, has released a new “Linkage to Care” online application to help citizens connect with support centers for opioid rehabilitation and training in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties.

“We are pleased to be a part of the development of this valuable application,” said Paul Pettit, director of the Genesee & Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). “Our region has been working collaboratively over the last several years to provide resources and access to services for those who are struggling with substance use issues.”

Pettit said the app provides locations and contact information for the GOW Opioid Task Force region’s programs and local services that are available in a user-friendly platform to access anytime on a person’s smart phone.

Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services for GO Health, encouraged those who are having issues

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Empathy Overload? How To Care For Yourself While Supporting Others : Shots

Social workers know "compassion fatigue" is a risk of the job, and have learned ways stay healthy and empathetic.
Social workers know "compassion fatigue" is a risk of the job, and have learned ways stay healthy and empathetic.

Feeling overwhelmed? Maybe the parent of a preschooler in your family just called to say they need extra help with child care, and a sick neighbor wants to know if you can pick up some groceries for her. Meanwhile, your best friend keeps calling, wanting to vent.

In less stressful times, perhaps, you’d have jumped to help out and lend an ear. But after months of social isolation, juggling work demands, and caring for loved ones, the balance has started to tip. Suddenly your own need for emotional support is outweighing your capacity for kindness.

That’s understandable, and OK. If you’re feeling numb or overburdened these days in response to another’s pain or request for help, that doesn’t make you unkind. What you’re feeling could instead be what we mental health professionals call “compassion fatigue.”

Anxiety, sadness, and low self-worth can also be symptoms of this sort of emotional exhaustion,

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