Health Care-Related Infections Still Above Pre-Covid Levels

CDC data show that levels of health care-associated infections remain elevated. Clover Health, Cigna, University of North Carolina hospitals, a rural hospital closure in Iowa, and more are also in the news.

CDC: Healthcare-Associated Infections Continued To Climb In 2021

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in US hospitals remain elevated above pre–COVID-19 pandemic levels. Findings from the review of quarterly 2021 National Healthcare Safety Network data show continued increases in the quarterly standardized infections ratios (SIRs) for central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs), catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), ventilator-associated events (VAEs), and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia compared with 2019. The report analyzed data from acute care hospitals, critical access hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and long-term acute care hospitals. (11/11)

In other health care industry news —

Modern Healthcare:
Clover Health Pays Medicare Patients To See Doctors Who Use Clover Assistant

The insurtech will give its Medicare Advantage members $150 when they schedule in-person, virtual or home visits with providers that use Clover Assistant. The company, which has 88,000 Medicare Advantage customers, describes Clover Assistant as an electronic medical record combined with an artificial intelligence tool that prompts physicians for diagnoses, code entries and care protocols. (Tepper, 11/11)

UNC To Get Infectious Disease Treatment Designation

University of North Carolina hospitals will soon be designated as a treatment center for patients with highly infectious diseases in the region. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that UNC and Emory University are the only two Regional Emerging Special Pathogen Treatment Centers in the Southeast. (11/12)

St. Louis Public Radio:
SLU Medical Students Honor Body Donors With Memorial Service

When hundreds of people packed a memorial service at St. Louis University’s Francis Xavier Church, many came to celebrate people they had never spoken to. Medical student Stanley Wu addressed the standing-room only audience at the ornate church, letting those in the sanctuary know how much he and his classmate appreciated their departed family members. (Fentem, 11/14)

Also —

Public Service Journalism Team:
‘It Can Completely Destroy A Family’: Medical Debt Weighs On 1 In 5 North Carolinians

About 20% of North Carolina residents have medical debt that is in collections, making it the state with the fourth-highest level of unpaid medical debt. Alicia Pender lived a fairly normal life before contracting COVID-19 in 2020. She was a travel nurse working in central North Carolina and was active, taking vacations and handling her own home repairs. Nearly two years later, she’s facing a long list of health issues and more than $30,000 in medical debt. (Annable, 11/11)

Sick Profit: Investigating Private Equity’s Stealthy Takeover Of Health Care Across Cities And Specialties 

Two-year-old Zion Gastelum died just days after dentists performed root canals and put crowns on six baby teeth at a clinic affiliated with a private equity firm. His parents sued the Kool Smiles dental clinic in Yuma, Arizona, and its private equity investor, FFL Partners. They argued the procedures were done needlessly, in keeping with a corporate strategy to maximize profits by overtreating kids from lower-income families enrolled in Medicaid. Zion died after being diagnosed with “brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen,” according to the lawsuit. (Schulte, 11/14)

‘An Arm And A Leg’: No Money, No Job, No Health Care? Not Always

If you don’t have money and you don’t have a job, what are your best options for getting health care? It’s 2023 open enrollment season, and a lot of Americans are shopping for health insurance plans. And some are weighing the risks of skipping health insurance altogether. (Weissmann, 11/11)

Journalists Tackle The Midterms And Open Enrollment

KHN chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner discussed how politicians plan to take on health care costs and how health issues are playing into the midterm elections on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show” on Nov. 4. … KHN senior correspondent Julie Appleby discussed open enrollment and Affordable Care Act health plans on the “America’s Heroes Group” podcast on Nov. 5. (11/11)


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