VHHA will update Newsclips each weekday with relevant national and statewide health care news. Click on a headline below to view the article on that news organization's website. Please note that access to some articles will require registration on that website, most of which are free. If you have items of particular interest you would like to see posted here, please contact VHHA.

November 16, 2018


Safety First: A look at how 11 metro Richmond hospitals are doing in terms of keeping patients safe
(Richmond Magazine – November 15, 2018)

The safety report cards are in for metro Richmond hospitals, and seven out of 11 have earned A’s. The Fall 2018 ratings from the national nonprofit Leapfrog Group gave top marks to Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital, Bon Secours Regional Medical Center, the Chippenham and Johnston-Willis campuses of the CJW Medical Center, Henrico Doctors Hospital, Parham Doctors Hospital, and Retreat Doctors Hospital.

How hospitals are prioritizing behavioral health and affordable medication in rural communities
(American Hospital Association – November 15, 2018)

Bath Community Hospital in Hot Springs, Va., began a partnership with the Virginia Health Care Foundation, creator of The Pharmacy Connection, to provide prescription medications to chronically ill and uninsured patients.

Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital names successor
(The Franklin News-Post – November 14, 2018)

Carl Cline has been named vice president of Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital, transitioning into the position held by Bill Jacobsen, who is retiring. “It is a position I have always been working towards,” Cline said. Cline joined Carilion Clinic in 1989 as a registered nurse in the emergency department at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

UVA: Husband and Wife Doctors Receive $1.8M to Test New Breast Cancer Approach
(NBC 29 – November 15, 2018)

A husband-and-wife team at the University of Virginia is collaborating on a new treatment to fight breast cancer. "Myself as a breast surgeon, and him as a radiation oncologist, it became a natural fit to work together on this," said Shayna Showalter, breast surgical oncologist.

Ballad Health addresses concerns about NICU centralization in Johnson City
(WCYB – November 15, 2018)

A Ballad Health executive is addressing concerns about centralizing neonatal intensive care unit services in Johnson City, a day after the health system announced a seismic change to trauma and pediatric services. Ballad Health executives announced Wednesday plans to keep Johnson City Medical Center as a Level 1 trauma center, while reducing the status of Holston Medical Center and the Bristol Regional Medical Center to Level 3 trauma centers.

Here's why Medicaid in Virginia will cost $200 million a year more than expected
(Daily Press – November 15, 2018) METERED PAYWALL

State officials’ predictions that they could rein in the cost of care for elderly and disabled low-income Virginians turned out to be far too rosy, a fresh look at Medicaid’s finances shows. That — along with mis-estimates for hospital and nursing home bills and other payment issues — means Virginia’s Medicaid system will need $202 million more this year and $260 million more next than the system’s managers had expected, according to the system’s latest financial projections.

Federal court opens drug treatment court to fight addiction
(The Roanoke Times – November 15, 2018)

Federal court officials announced new help Thursday for nonviolent criminal defendants with a drug or alcohol addiction. The Drug Treatment Court Program for the Western District of Virginia will trade incentives — including the possibility of reduced penalties for criminal activity — for a defendant’s serious effort at sobriety.


More than 12K people in Arkansas have lost Medicaid coverage
(The Hill – November 15, 2018)

More than 12,000 Medicaid beneficiaries in Arkansas have lost coverage for not complying with the state’s work requirements, according to data released by the state on Thursday. In the past month alone, 3,815 beneficiaries lost coverage for failing to meet the work requirements for three straight months.

‘I Know What It Feels Like’: Program Embeds Peer Supporters In N.C. Emergency Rooms
(WFAE 90.7 – November 15, 2018)

When a patient is brought into the emergency room for a drug overdose, there will now be someone at a few hospitals to help. Called a “peer support specialist,” this person isn’t a doctor or a nurse, but has personally dealt with addiction, mental illness or both. As part of a pilot program, six North Carolina hospitals will have these positions to help people struggling with addiction and mental illness.


Barber Shops And Churches Could Improve Health In Minority Communities
(WJCT – November 15, 2018)

Negative experiences with health care have caused some minority patients, particularly African American men, to distrust the medical system. Experts say these patients are less likely to visit the doctor or participate in screenings and medical research, which can negatively impact their health.

U.S. hospitals ignore improving elder care. That’s a mistake
(STAT News – November 16, 2018)

Sick children deserve optimal medical care. So why were my colleagues and I saddened by a California midterm ballot initiative aimed at doing just that? Like the majority of Californians, I voted for the initiative to authorize $1.5 billion in bonds in grants for the “construction, expansion, renovation, and equipping of qualifying children’s hospitals.”

Ambulatory Centers’ Surgery Costs Below Hospitals’, Workers’ Comp Research Finds
(Insurance Journal – November 15, 2018)

There is new evidence that ambulatory surgery centers are less expensive for certain surgeries than hospitals. Payments for similar knee and shoulder surgeries performed in ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) were lower compared with hospital outpatient departments in 14 of 18 states studied, according to a new report from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI).

Why You Should Care About Big Data This Flu Season
(Forbes – November 15, 2018)

From targeted ads to Netflix, if there’s one thing big data has taught us, it’s that creatively mining information can offer insights that increase efficiency and improve outcomes. The healthcare industry presents one of big data’s greatest opportunities, with an estimated 2,314 exabytes (one exabyte = one billion gigabytes) of health data expected to be produced annually by 2020.

Blacks Are Twice as Likely as Whites to Experience Sudden Cardiac Death
(The New York Times – November 15, 2018) METERED PAYWALL

The rate of sudden cardiac death in African-Americans is twice as high as in whites, and no one knows why. Sudden cardiac death is an unexpected fatality from cardiac causes that happens within an hour of the onset of symptoms, usually with no known cause.

From Gene Editing to A.I., How Will Technology Transform Humanity?
(The New York Times Magazine – November 16, 2018)

“A geneticist, an oncologist, a roboticist, a novelist and an A.I. researcher walk into a bar.” That could be the setup for a very bad joke — or a tremendously fascinating conversation. Fortunately for us, it was the latter. On a blustery evening in late September, in a private room at a bar near Times Square, the magazine gathered five brilliant scientists and thinkers around a table for a three-hour dinner.


The number of uninsured Americans holds steady under Trump
(Axios – November 16, 2018)

Overall, the number of Americans who don’t have health insurance is holding pretty steady under President Trump. The uninsured rate stood at 12.5% in the first half of this year, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The big picture: Most of those people should be eligible for Medicaid if their states expanded, or for heavily subsidized ACA coverage.

Medicaid for rent, food? 'Stay tuned,' HHS chief says
(Becker’s Hospital Review – November 15, 2018)

Allowing hospitals to pay for housing and healthy food through Medicaid are among the ideas HHS Secretary Alex Azar said the federal government is considering to improve healthcare and social services, according to a briefing this week from Kaiser Health News.

Are Marketplace Premiums Higher in Rural Than in Urban Areas?
(RWJF – November 2018)

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) aimed to increase access to adequate, affordable health insurance coverage. Given the higher cost of living in urban compared with rural areas, one might assume health insurance would be more expensive in urban areas. However, factors like market competition and the structure of the ACA premium tax credits may lead to different premiums for insurers in the ACA nongroup marketplaces in rural versus urban areas.

Doctors Are Fed Up With Being Turned Into Debt Collectors
(Bloomberg – November 15, 2018)

Doctors, hospitals and medical labs used to be concerned about patients who didn’t have insurance not paying their bills. Now they’re scrambling to get paid by the ones who do have insurance. For more than a decade, insurers and employers have been shifting the cost of care onto their workers and customers, tamping down premiums by raising patients’ out-of-pocket costs.