May 16, 2021

Lonnie Listonsmith

Experienced Health Expert

Mental Health Crisis Sharpens | Kaiser Health News

4 min read

Critical care nurses were exhausted before the pandemic ever happened, they say. Other health industry news is on Privia Health, Neuralink, HCA Healthcare and more.


Modern Healthcare:
Critical-Care Nurses Were Physically And Mentally Fried Before The Pandemic Struck


A new analysis found that a majority of critical-care nurses scored themselves low on physical and mental health status even before the pandemic began. Survey results conducted by researchers at Ohio State University College of Nursing found 61% of more than 700 critical care nurses rated their physical health a score of five or lower out of a possible 10, while 51% reported their mental health with a score of five or lower The data were collected from Aug. 31, 2018, through Aug. 11, 2019. (Ross Johnson, 5/1)

KHN:
Mental Health Services Wane As Insurers Appear To Skirt Parity Rules During Pandemic

Therapists and other behavioral health care providers cut hours, reduced staffs and turned away patients during the pandemic as more Americans experienced depression symptoms and drug overdoses, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. The report on patient access to behavioral health care during the covid-19 crisis also casts doubt on whether insurers are abiding by federal law requiring parity in insurance coverage, which forbids health plans from passing along more of the bill for mental health care to patients than they would for medical or surgical care. (Huetteman, 4/30)


Modern Healthcare:
Texas Hospital Uses Quality Model To Increase Depression Screenings For Cancer Patients


UT Southwestern Medical Center in North Texas reports that it increased depression screenings of oncology patients by 44% in a quality improvement project. More than 90% of the hospital’s oncology patients received a screening and follow-up care, or about 14,000 patients. The findings were published Friday in the Journal for Healthcare Quality from the National Association for Healthcare Quality. (Gillespie, 4/30)

In corporate news —


Fierce Healthcare:
Physician Enablement Company Privia Health Pops In Public Debut With Outsized IPO 


Healthcare technology company Privia Health made a strong debut on the Nasdaq exchange Thursday, with its stock soaring above $30 per share. The company, which provides technology and services to physician practices, began trading Thursday and saw its share price jump during trading. The company’s stock closed at around $34.75 per share, about 50% above its $23 per share offering price, according to Yahoo. (Landi, 5/2)


CNBC:
Neuralink Cofounder Max Hodak Leaves Elon Musk’s Brain Implant Company


Neuralink President Max Hodak announced on Saturday, via Twitter, that he is no longer with the health tech venture in which he was a co-founder with Elon Musk and seven other scientists and engineers. He said he has not been working there for a few weeks, but did not reveal the circumstances of his departure. (Kolodny, 5/1)


Asheville Watchdog:
Profits Up At HCA, Ratings Down At Mission 


HCA Healthcare, which owns and operates Mission Hospital in Asheville, reported this month that it made $1.4 billion in profits for the first three months of 2021, more than double the amount for the same period last year. The new figures follow HCA’s report in February that annual profits rose to a record $3.8 billion in 2020, despite the pandemic, based on what the company called “solid cost management.” (Lewis, 5/1)


Fierce Healthcare:
Stakeholders Laud ‘Incremental Improvement’ To Star Ratings Methodology But Call For Further Updates 


Healthcare organizations are always on the lookout for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) annual hospital star ratings, but this week’s release of the quality measures carried a bit more weight for stakeholders than in years prior. Unveiled Wednesday, the latest star ratings represent CMS’ first crack at a long-awaited refinement of the methodology it uses to generate quality scores ranging from one to five stars. (Muoio, 5/1)


AP:
Employers, Insurers Push To Make Virtual Visits Regular Care


Make telemedicine your first choice for most doctor visits. That’s the message some U.S. employers and insurers are sending with a new wave of care options. Amazon and several insurers have started or expanded virtual-first care plans to get people to use telemedicine routinely, even for planned visits like annual checkups. They’re trying to make it easier for patients to connect with regular help by using remote care that grew explosively during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Murphy, 5/2)

In other health care industry news —


CIDRAP:
Flu Vaccine Uptake Increases After Text Reminders


Text message “nudges” before primary care visits may boost seasonal flu vaccine uptake more than 10%, a study yesterday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) shows. The finding was based on 47,306 patients in Penn Medicine and Geisinger Health systems who received 1 of 19 different possible nudges delivered to their mobile devices during the fall of 2020. The patients had opted in for text message from providers, and electronic health records showed they had not yet received a flu shot. (4/30)


Boston Globe:
Eli Broad, Whose Gift Established A Science Powerhouse, Dies At 87


Eli Broad, the billionaire entrepreneur whose philanthropy enabled the creation of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, one of the most influential scientific research centers in the country, died Friday at 87, according to the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. Mr. Broad, who cofounded homebuilding pioneer Kaufman and Broad Inc. and launched financial services giant SunAmerica Inc., had devoted his life to philanthropy since 1999, according to a statement from the Broad Foundation. He and his wife, known as Edye, have committed more than $5 billion through their foundations. (Fox, 5/1)


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