Despite promises from the Trump administration, a recent study confirmed that many nursing homes still lack the necessary resources to address the COVID-19 crisis adequately in their facilities. Analysis from a national database reflecting 98% of U.S. nursing homes found that more than one in five reported a severe shortage of PPE and staff from May to July.
My colleague Joe Burns and I previously highlighted a report from the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) showing that since July 26, 33 states have reported a positive infection rate from coronavirus tests of over 5%.
There is no federal standardized dataset on COVID-19, testing and school reopenings, making it challenging for journalists to report a national perspective of the pandemic.
Filling in the void are efforts created by journalists, such as the COVID-19 Tracking Project. Other sources include nonprofit organizations like the Kaiser Family Foundation and academic groups that include the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center. Continue reading
Graphic: Health Care Cost InstituteResearchers from the Health Care Cost Institute reviewed 210 million claims from individuals with health insurance through their employers in 2017 and compared what insurers paid physicians and other providers for those services against what Medicare would have paid for the same services in 271 metropolitan areas. (Click to enlarge graphic.)
During the coronavirus pandemic, any number of good news stories seem to get little or no coverage because most health care journalists are busy covering COVID-19.
One such case in point was a report earlier this month from the Health Care Cost Institute. In Comparing Commercial and Medicare Professional Service Prices, HCCI researchers compared what health insurers paid to physicians and other providers with what Medicare pays for those services.
This report should not be overlooked for at least three reasons. Continue reading
The Association of Health Care Journalists has hired broadcasting veteran Andrew Smiley as its next executive director, the association’s board of directors announced today. Smiley succeeds Len Bruzzese, who is stepping down after 15 extremely successful years as AHCJ’s executive director to serve as senior adviser to the organization.
Smiley, who begins his new role September 1, most recently served as coordinating director of the Golf Channel in Orlando, Fla. Continue reading
By forcing the Food and Drug Administration on Aug. 23 to approve blood plasma as a COVID-19 treatment under an emergency use authorization (EUA), President Trump again inserted politics into scientific research ― a situation that may create even more uncertainty about plasma as a potential treatment.
Plasma ― the part of blood that contains antibodies and proteins ― is still under investigation for this use, and those leading randomized clinical trials now far they may have difficulty recruiting new patients due to the controversy.
Why are some nursing homes doing so much better at containing the coronavirus among residents and staff than others? Testing, adequate protective gear and the ability to isolate infected residents are all important factors. Another key contributor is sufficient staffing, according to a recent research letter in JAMA.
Nursing homes that rated better on staffing had fewer COVID-19 cases than those facilities with poorer staffing ratings. Approximately 27% of deaths due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have occurred among residents of nursing homes, researchers noted in the August 10 letter. (The New York Times estimated closer to 40% if workers are included.) It seems like a no-brainer that more staff might result in fewer cases. Continue reading