Access to palliative care across the U.S. varies widely. It often depends more upon accidents of geography, whether a hospital is for-profit or nonprofit, and hospital size than it does on the needs of patients living with a serious illness, and their families, according to a new state-by-state report card from the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC). Continue reading
Health journalists across the country have been reading ProPublica’s accounts of the lengths to which hospitals pursue low-income patients for payment.
Earlier this year, ProPublica revealed that Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Memphis, Tenn., had filed thousands of lawsuits against patients, including its own employees.
In the latest dispatch about medical debt, ProPublica reports that “thousands of people are jailed each year for failing to appear in court for unpaid bills,” citing a court in Coffeyville, Kan., “where the judge has no law degree, debt collectors get a cut of the bail, and Americans are watching their lives — and liberty — disappear in the pursuit of medical debt collection.”
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts announced this week that it is taking the radical step of paying to keep patients out of the hospital.
In a partnership with South Shore Health System in Weymouth, Mass., BCBSM will change the financial reward system so that it will tie payments to health system to its success in collaborating with physicians to improve quality, patient outcomes and costs for the patients they physicians and health system. Under BCBSM’s Alternative Quality Contract (AQC), the health insurer will reward the health system and physicians for their success in doing so, the two parties said in an Oct. 30 news release. Continue reading
Bram Sable-Smith, who spent a year doing in-depth reporting on an endangered rural hospital in Pemiscot County, Mo., as part of an AHCJ Reporting Fellowship on Health Care Performance, did a tip sheet on how to report on the threat to rural hospitals, in the context of a wave of closures. Continue reading
Racial and socioeconomic disparities in outcomes among hospitalized patients?
Don’t blame the hospitals, say the authors of this JAMA Network Open study. They looked at factors that might underlie known divergences in health outcomes based on socioeconomic status and race or ethnicity, with a focus on heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia. Their findings suggest that hospitals perform similarly across socioeconomic and ethnic groups but that something “systemic” must explain the differences among these populations. Continue reading
For more than five years, the Association of Health Care Journalists has been updating quarterly the website HospitalInspections.org, where the public can search and review hospital inspection reports.
With this month’s update, the database now includes 30,541 records of hospital inspection results, covering from January 2011 into June 2018. Most of the records include a detailed report on each deficiency found in hospitals. Continue reading