Tag Archives: health care providers

Time to track how the pandemic is hurting health care provider finances

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Source: How health costs might change with COVID-19, Peterson KFF Health System Tracker, April 15, 2020.Elective procedures and routine (non-emergency) care represent 52% of what large employers pay for hospital care, according to the Peterson KFF Health System Tracker.

While the death of more than 120,000 Americans related to the novel coronavirus is the most important story, the economic impact of the pandemic on hospitals and physicians is another significant story to cover.

Not only are providers paying higher prices for equipment and supplies, but they also lost income when stay-at-home orders put a hold on elective surgeries and nonessential physician visits.

Mark Taylor recently wrote about the devastating financial effects the virus has had on hospitals in an article for MarketWatch, noting that, “The coronavirus is devastating U.S. hospitals, which will lose $200 billion in revenue by the end of June.” Continue reading

Be on the look out for projects integrating primary, oral health care

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

When AHCJ Executive Director Len Bruzzese shared this Grantmakers in Health report with me, I thought it provided great food for thought for health reporters anywhere in the country. The paper – “Returning the Mouth to the Body: Integrating Oral Health and Primary Care” (PDF) – summarizes weaving together these two varieties of basic, essential health care.

Mary OttoMary Otto, AHCJ’s topic leader on oral health is writing blog posts, editing tip sheets and articles and gathering resources to help our members cover oral health care.

If you have questions or suggestions for future resources on the topic, please send them to mary@healthjournalism.org.

The whole idea might ring a bell for those of you in states such as Washington, Colorado and Michigan where officials have examined the concept. The rest of you might want to stay tuned. A pilot project may be coming to a community near you.

As the Grantmakers in Health brief points out, combining primary and oral health care systems can potentially save money as well as pay off in streamlined information sharing and improved chronic disease management and prevention. Ultimately, integrated services might also get oral health care to at least some of the millions of Americans who are unable to get it.

“According to the American Dental Association, an estimated 30 percent of the population has difficulty accessing dental services via the predominantly private practice delivery system,” the brief points out.

“By expanding entry points into the dental care system, integration of oral health into primary care has the potential to improve access, especially for at-risk and underserved populations that typically have greater access to primary care professionals than to dental care.”

There are, however, barriers and challenges. Continue reading