Showing: 1 - 10 of 17 RESULTS

As virus surges anew, Milan hospitals under pressure again

MILAN (AP) — Coronavirus infections are surging anew in the northern Italian region where the pandemic first took hold in Europe, putting pressure again on hospitals and health care workers.

At Milan’s San Paolo hospital, a ward dedicated to coronavirus patients and outfitted with breathing machines reopened this weekend, a sign that the city and the surrounding area is entering a new emergency phase of the pandemic.

For the medical personnel who fought the virus in Italy’s hardest-hit region of Lombardy in the spring, the long-predicted resurgence came too soon.


“On a psychological level, I have to say I still have not recovered,’’ said nurse Cristina Settembrese, referring to last March and April when Lombardy accounted for nearly half of the dead and one-third of the nation’s coronavirus cases.

“In the last five days, I am seeing many people who are hospitalized who need breathing support,” Settembrese said. “I am reliving the nightmare, with the difference that the virus is less lethal.”

Months after Italy eased one of the globe’s toughest lockdowns, the country is now recording well over 5,000 new infections a day — eerily close to the highs of the spring — as the weather cools and a remarkably relaxed summer of travel and socializing fades into memory. Lombardy is again leading the nation in case numbers, an echo of the trauma of March and April when ambulance sirens pierced the silence of stilled cities.

So far, Italy’s death toll remains significantly below the spring heights, hovering recently around 50 per day nationwide, a handful in Lombardy. That compares with over 900 dead nationwide one day in March.

In response to the new surge, Premier Giuseppe Conte’s government twice tightened nationwide restrictions inside a week. Starting Thursday, Italians cannot play casual pickup sports, bars and restaurants face a midnight curfew, and private celebrations in public venues are banned. Masks are mandatory outdoors as of last week.

But there is also growing concern among doctors that Italy squandered the gains it made during its 10-week lockdown and didn’t move quick enough to reimpose restrictions. Concerns persist that the rising stress on hospitals will force scheduled surgeries and screenings to be postponed — creating a parallel health emergency, as happened in the spring.

Italy is not the only European country seeing a resurgence — and, in fact, is faring better than its neighbors this time around. Italy’s cases per 100,000 residents have doubled in the last two weeks to nearly 87 — a rate well below countries like Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Spain and Britain that are seeing between around 300 to around 500 per 100,000. Those countries have also started to impose new restrictions.

This time, Milan is bearing the brunt. With Lombardy recording more than 1,000 cases a day, the regional capital and its surroundings account for as many as half of that total. Bergamo — which was hardest hit last time and has been seared into collective memory by images of army trucks transporting the dead to

Care providers protest police violence in hospitals after Harbor-UCLA shooting

L.A. County Sheriff's deputies gathered outside Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
L.A. County sheriff’s deputies meet outside Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where multiple investigations are underway into a patient who was shot by a deputy last week. (KTLA-TV)

A group of care providers and activists gathered outside Harbor-UCLA Medical Center on Tuesday evening to protest police violence in hospitals after a patient was shot there last week by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy.

“Hospitals are a place where we should be getting care,” said Mark-Anthony Clayton-Johnson, founder of the Frontline Wellness Network, a coalition of care providers working to end mass incarceration. “In that context, there should never be a reason why a law enforcement officer should use lethal force, such as a gun, on our folks.”

Clayton-Johnson, who does not work at the hospital but was scheduled to speak at Tuesday’s event, added: “Sheriffs shouldn’t have any place responding to crises in our hospitals when trained providers are better equipped to save lives.”

Dr. Anish Mahajan, chief medical officer for the hospital, said in a statement Tuesday that the patient was experiencing a psychiatric crisis on Oct. 6 when he was shot by a deputy assigned to South L.A. station who was not a member of the sheriff’s unit at Harbor-UCLA. The patient, a man 30 to 40 years-old, has not been identified.

The deputy “was on-site to provide security services for another hospitalized patient who was in an adjacent room,” Mahajan said. “Multiple investigations are underway within and outside the hospital about how and why this incident occurred.”

Meanwhile , he said, hospital leaders “will review best practices on how to provide security services that optimally protect the health and safety of patients, visitors, and staff.”

Sheriff’s Lt. Derrick Alfred said last week that the patient was using a metal device to break the window of the room where two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were with another patient. One of the deputies then shot him.

Alfred said the device was “about the size of a shoebox but metal — all metal.”

In a news release, the Sheriff’s Department said that the patient “turned his attention on the deputy” before he was shot.

Some speakers at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting called for the removal of law enforcement from hospitals. Last week’s shooting at Harbor-UCLA was the second there in five years.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva responded: “It was a scene out of ‘The Shining’ with Jack Nicholson,” he said of the shooting. “We’re gonna give all the details tomorrow so you can make a decision for yourself on the wisdom of having law enforcement in hospitals.”

Times staff writer Faith E. Pinho contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

Source Article

Vituity and Decoded Health Launch Virtual Front Door for Hospitals and Health Systems

Vituity, a nationwide, physician-owned-and-led multispecialty partnership, and Decoded Health, a startup focused on building the world’s first clinical hyper-automation platform, today announced the launch of the world’s first clinically trained, artificially intelligent virtual front door solution for hospitals and clinics. Serving as the digital entry point to the healthcare system, Vituity’s Intelligent Virtual Front Door Solution will utilize Decoded Health’s Hyperautomation Platform to scale the entire clinical workflow, from inferring patients’ needs to rationalizing a plan of care.

Through a deep learning network, the platform provides providers with the ability to multiply their capacity and focus on what matters most – treating patients – and patients with the right care from anywhere in the world. The platform goes beyond traditional telehealth platforms by utilizing conversational AI to interview the patient, recommend a care plan to the physician, gain physician approval, and provide the patient with the necessary treatment while integrating simultaneously with common electronic health records.

“We recognized that Decoded Health has deep technical expertise and is laser-focused on creating the best solution for patients and clinicians,” says Rick Newell, MD, Chief Transformation Officer at Vituity. “They have leveraged our four decades of industry-leading insights, our experience of providing care to millions of patients each year across the country, and our collaborative relationships with health systems and payers, and turned them into a solution that creates more efficiencies and also drives revenue. We are excited to launch this latest care innovation to hospitals and health systems nationwide.”

“Healthcare technologies frequently die on the vine because it is difficult to understand the problem across a diverse set of stakeholders, navigate the complexity of the healthcare environment, and then deploy through robust national relationships,” said Mark Hanson, CEO of Decoded Health. “An early critical insight for our team was that healthcare startups need a clinical partner to break through customer discovery and validation. This partnership allowed our team to benefit from the expertise of thousands of Vituity providers with experience and relationships across hundreds of healthcare systems to quickly develop a unique offering and accelerate growth.”

About Vituity

For nearly 50 years, Vituity has been a catalyst for positive change in healthcare. As a physician-led and -owned multispecialty partnership with a nationwide footprint, nearly 5,000 Vituity clinicians working across nine acute care specialties care for more than 6.5 million patients each year.

Vituity’s acute focus and compassionate care are the driving forces that place us at the heart of better care. Our clinicians and practice management leaders develop front-line solutions for healthcare challenges that improve quality and have a direct, positive impact on millions of lives nationwide.

Our services span the entire acute care continuum, integrating emergency medicine, hospital medicine, critical care, anesthesiology, acute psychiatry, neurology, acute care surgery, telehealth, post-acute care, and outpatient medicine. Partnering with hospitals, health systems, clinics, payers, employers, and state and local government, our footprint continues to rapidly expand. Learn more at vituity.com.

About Decoded Health

Decoded Health is developing the world’s first Clinical RPA

COVID On The Rise In UK As More Patients In Hospitals Than In March

KEY POINTS

  • England’s emergency nightingale hospitals will be used again in the north of the country to provide extra capacity for local health services amid a steep rise in COVID-19 infections, The Guardian reported
  • Jonathan Van Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, argued that infection rates are rising fast in northern England due to the fact that the COVID infection rate never dropped as far as it did in the south during the summer
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson implemented new COVID-19 restrictions for specific England regions, where infection rates are spiking

COVID-19 admissions are rising in the U.K., with a growing number of elderly people needing urgent treatment. According to the Guardian, England’s emergency Nightingale hospitals will be used again in the north of the country to provide extra capacity for local health services amid a steep rise in infections.

Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, said that temporary hospital establishments used at the height of the pandemic will be reopening and can accept patients within a few weeks. 

This is the first time any of England’s seven Nightingale hospitals have been brought back into service after being placed on standby as infection rates dipped during the summer months.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson implemented new COVID-19 restrictions for specific England regions, where infection rates are spiking. 

Jonathan Van Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, argued that infection rates are rising fast in northern England due to the fact that the COVID infection rate never dropped as far as it did in the south during the summer.

Powis, speaking alongside Van Tam at a press conference, said that there were now more coronavirus patients in England hospitals than before national restrictions were introduced on March 23.

Hospitals in the northwest and northeast had seen a significant increase in COVID-19 patients requiring intensive care in the past four weeks, he said. “If infections continue to rise, in four more weeks they could be treating more patients than they were at the peak of the first wave.”

“Pandemic fatigue” has set in across Europe, with France and Spain seeing a surge. Madrid has become a COVID hot spot.

In the U.S., 54% of rural counties are seeing a sharp uptick in COVID cases, according to the Daily Yonder, which covers rural America.

Source Article

Alignment Healthcare Adds MemorialCare Hospitals and Doctors to 2021 Medicare Advantage Provider Network

Nationally ranked nonprofit health system and Medicare Advantage insurance provider sign agreement to expand access to care for Medicare-eligible beneficiaries in Southern California

MemorialCare, a leading nonprofit health system in Southern California with hundreds of primary care and specialty providers, four top hospitals and 200 locations, is joining Alignment Healthcare’s Medicare Advantage provider network starting Jan. 1, 2021, expanding its scope of coverage to 2 million Medicare-eligible residents in Los Angeles and Orange counties.1

This means that Medicare beneficiaries who enroll in select plans from Alignment – named one of four 2020 Best Insurance Companies for Medicare Advantage in California by U.S. News & World Report – will have access to MemorialCare’s hospitals, health centers and urgent care locations and may seek “in-network” care from physicians associated with MemorialCare Medical Foundation. Medicare’s annual enrollment period for the 2021 plan year begins Oct. 15.

“As part of Alignment’s network, we will ensure that more people will have increased access to MemorialCare’s renowned services,” said Mark Schafer, M.D., CEO, MemorialCare Medical Foundation, which includes MemorialCare Medical Group, Greater Newport Physicians, and Edinger Medical Group. “MemorialCare has a long, 113-year history of providing quality care to Southern California communities, and joining Alignment’s network allows us to continue delivering on that commitment.”

Alignment Healthcare continues to grow and recently announced in August that it plans to expand its Medicare Advantage plans into several new markets across California, Nevada, and North Carolina starting in 2021. Alignment’s health care delivery model – powered by its proprietary command center technology AVA™ – and ACCESS On-Demand Concierge program, launched in 2019, offers its Medicare Advantage members white-glove service such as round-the-clock access to a doctor by phone or video, a dedicated concierge team, and a black benefits card that can be used like a debit card – all at no additional cost. Depending on their plan, members receive a monthly allowance automatically loaded onto their black card to purchase eligible over-the-counter and grocery benefit items at more than 50,000 retailers nationwide.

“At Alignment Healthcare, we are always looking for ways to make our members happy, and we hope they will be pleased with having access to MemorialCare’s top-rated doctors, hospitals and services,” said Dawn Maroney, president of consumer and markets, Alignment Healthcare. “This announcement is also an important consideration for Southern Californians who are making a decision about their 2021 Medicare coverage during this year’s Medicare Annual Election Period – to know what health care providers will be available to them in their health plan’s network when they need it in 2021.”

MemorialCare’s Long Beach Medical Center, Orange Coast Medical Center, Saddleback Medical Center and Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach have been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Hospitals and “high performing” in numerous clinical categories since the rankings began. In addition, MemorialCare Medical Foundation comprises more than 350 primary care physicians and 2,250 specialists in the areas of internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, geriatric medicine, pulmonology,

Hospitals in north of England ‘to run out of Covid beds within a week’

Some hospitals in the north of England are set to run out of beds for Covid patients within a week, health chiefs are warning, amid growing signs that the disease’s fast-unfolding second wave will seriously disrupt normal NHS care for a second time.



a person in a blue room: Photograph: Neil Hall/AP


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Neil Hall/AP

NHS trusts in the north-east and north-west are getting so many new Covid cases every day that some are already planning to ditch routine surgery again to free up staff and beds, despite a health service-wide diktat that they should continue to provide normal care this time round.

“Mutual aid” plans are also being laid for hospitals to take Covid cases from outside their area to help relieve the pressure on those in which all beds equipped to treat such patients have filled up.

Matt Ashton, Liverpool’s director of public health, told the Guardian that the city’s two main acute hospital trusts are admitting so many new Covid patients every day that they may reach their maximum capacity by the end of next week.

“I don’t want to panic people but within seven to ten days our hospitals will be at the level they were at the peak of the pandemic.”

In a meeting chaired by England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, on Thursday, MPs from the north and the Midlands were warned that some hospitals there could see even more Covid patients in intensive care units than during the spring peak within 22 days if no further action was taken.



MPs from the north and the Midlands have been warned that some hospitals could see even more Covid patients in intensive care units than during the spring peak.


© Photograph: Neil Hall/AP
MPs from the north and the Midlands have been warned that some hospitals could see even more Covid patients in intensive care units than during the spring peak.

Ashton said: “If the north-west capacity is likely to be reached in 22 days, we will get there first – Liverpool will get there first.”

The number of Covid patients being treated by the city’s Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen trust and Aintree University Hospital NHS trust has soared from 100 to 200 in the last week. The two trusts have about 400 beds between them which are suitable for caring for such cases. The fact that hospitalisations are doubling every seven days means they could reach their limits of 400 very soon, especially as Liverpool now has one of the highest infection rates in England, added Ashton.

“It’s doubled in a week in effect from roughly 100 to roughly 200. That’s hugely worrying,” said Ashton, adding that on current trends another doubling would see all 400 beds full by late next week. “Beds will fill up quickly now. This is the point where the NHS will start to struggle in doing its normal routine business alongside its Covid business.”

MPs who were briefed by Whitty and health minster Edward Argar believe that the government is preparing to impose further new restrictions on northern England, aimed at curbing the spread of infections, despite many of the local lockdowns already in force having failed to achieve that.

Video:

CMS Gives Hospitals 14 Weeks to Start Daily COVID, Flu Reports

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

The federal government is giving hospitals 14 weeks to comply with daily reporting requirements for COVID-19.

Hospitals that fail to meet the requirements will be barred from participating in Medicare and Medicaid, as announced in late August in a final rule.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will send letters on October 7 to all 6200 hospitals that receive reimbursement from the two federal health programs informing them of how well they are doing now, said CMS Administrator Seema Verma on a press call. 

Verma would not give an estimate on how many hospitals are currently not compliant. But Deborah Birx, MD, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said on the call that 86% of hospitals are currently reporting daily.

Federal officials on the call also announced that hospitals would have the option to begin reporting certain data on influenza starting October 19, but that it would become mandatory a few weeks later.

The reporting is important “to really ensure that we’re triangulating all data to understand where this epidemic is, how it’s moving through different populations, and ensuring that we’re meeting the needs of specific hospitals and communities,” Birx said.

The federal government began a new hospital reporting system in April but did not require hospitals to participate until it quietly issued guidance in mid-July informing facilities that they should no longer report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The move perplexed many public health experts and epidemiologists, who expressed concern that asking hospitals to use a new data system during a pandemic could result in delays and lost information. The new HHS data collection site, HHS Protect, is being managed by a private contractor, not the CDC, which also raised alarms.

The final CMS rule issued in August went into effect immediately, without any chance for comment or revision. CMS said at the time that the pandemic was reason enough to skip over the normal bureaucratic process.

Hospitals were not pleased. But Verma claimed that since then CMS had been working with hospital organizations on enforcement.

“We’re going to do everything we can to facilitate reporting, including an enforcement timeline that will provide hospitals ample opportunity to come into compliance,” she said.

Hospitals that do not comply will get a notice every 3 weeks. Three weeks after the second notice, they’ll get weekly notices for a month, and a final termination notice at 14 weeks.

The Federation of American Hospitals (FAH), however, said their members were still not happy. “It is both inappropriate and frankly overkill for CMS to tie compliance with reporting to Medicare conditions of participation,” said FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn in a statement. He called the CMS proposal “sledgehammer enforcement,” and said that the continuing data request might weaken hospitals’ response to the pandemic because it would divert time and money away from patient care.  

Rick Pollack, president and CEO of

Hospitals Failing To Meet New COVID-19 Data Reporting Mandate To Get Warning Letters : Shots

The federal government is starting to enforce new COVID-19 data reporting requirements for hospitals.

Studio 642/Getty Images/Tetra images RF


hide caption

toggle caption

Studio 642/Getty Images/Tetra images RF

The federal government is starting to enforce new COVID-19 data reporting requirements for hospitals.

Studio 642/Getty Images/Tetra images RF

The federal government is starting to crack down on the nation’s hospitals for not reporting complete COVID-19 data into a federal data collection system.

The enforcement timeline starts Wednesday, said Seema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in a call with reporters Tuesday. CMS issued a rule in early September requiring hospitals to report full, daily COVID-19 data to the federal government, including such information as the number of patients and ventilators they have. On Wednesday, CMS is sending letters to hospitals across America alerting many that they have not been in compliance.

Later this month, the department of Health and Human Services will also start posting a list of hospitals noting whether they are out of compliance.

The consequences are potentially severe. After multiple notifications, hospitals are subject to “termination from both Medicare and Medicaid, meaning the hospital would not receive reimbursement from these programs,” Verma says. This would be a major loss of funding and could go into effect as early as mid-December.

The warning letters are the latest in a string of actions, over several months, designed to get hospitals to provide more daily COVID-19 data to the federal government. Getting more complete COVID-19 data has been a mission of Dr. Deborah Birx, a lead on the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Daily hospital admission data is being used “to understand where this epidemic is, how it’s moving through different populations and ensuring that we’re meeting the needs of specific hospitals and communities,” Dr. Birx said on the call. “In order to make that data useful, it also has to be timely, complete and valid.”

Hospitals have struggled with the reporting requests, which increased in July and became mandatory in September, and have added to their administrative burdens in the midst of a pandemic. Hospitals have been asked, cajoled and are now being forced to provide that data on a daily basis. The industry is very concerned.

“Tying data reporting to participation in the Medicare program remains an overly heavy-handed approach that could jeopardize access to hospital care for all Americans,” said Rick Pollack, head of the American Hospital Association, in a statement.

The hospital data reporting system drew controversy in mid-July, when the Department of Health and Human Services instructed hospitals to stop reporting data to the CDC, which had been collecting the data — reported voluntarily by hospitals — through a system many had used for decades. Instead, hospitals were told to report to a newer system directly managed by HHS, which oversees the CDC, raising concerns among politicians and public health experts of political interference in public health surveillance.

Hospitals were initially incentivized to report into the newer system by a threat that

The Virus Surges in North Dakota, Filling Hospitals and Testing Attitudes

Around Bismarck, there is a range of responses to the virus; but people are generally left to make their own choices about the potential risks. Some cafes are bursting with maskless patrons and workers. Other businesses have limited their capacities. Around half of the customers in Al’s Barber Shop, near one of the city’s hospitals, wear a mask, Travis Zenker, the owner, said.

All of it should be a personal choice, said Wanda Serr, owner of Little Cottage Cafe, a popular diner where workers do not wear masks.

“If you feel safe, go out and do what you do; if you don’t feel safe, it’s your right to stay home,” she said.

As cases have risen, some officials have tried to press for county-level mask requirements.

“I feel like I’m powerless,” said Renae Moch, public health director for Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health, who said she received insulting and threatening emails and Facebook messages for suggesting that the county set a mandate.

Miles from Bismarck, smaller communities have long turned to city hospitals to handle cases they do not have capacity to manage, but that is shifting.

“In the past two weeks, my ability to send people to Fargo or to Bismarck has been nonexistent,” Dr. Sarah Newton of Linton Hospital, a facility in Emmons County, told her City Council last week.

Emmons County is dealing with the state’s worst level of infections per capita, and Linton Hospital has been completely full. Dr. Newton described spending hours calling around the state for a patient who needed emergency heart surgery. A bed finally opened in Fargo.

Source Article

Trump Administration Will Cease Federal Funding to Hospitals That Do Not Report COVID-19 Data | Top News

(Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will halt some federal funding to hospitals that do not comply with its requirements for reporting data on COVID-19, senior administration officials told reporters on a Tuesday call.

Starting Wednesday, hospitals will be given 14 weeks to provide daily reporting to HHS on COVID-19 cases and deaths, as well as other information such as influenza cases and use of personal protective equipment, the officials said.

Hospitals that fail to comply will lose access to reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid, federal insurance programs for seniors, the disabled, and people with low incomes, they said.

The data will help coordinate the federal government’s response to COVID-19, including helping allocate supplies of antiviral drug remdesivir, and distribute its stockpile of personal protective equipment, such as surgical masks, said Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator.

HHS is requiring that hospitals provide daily influenza case reporting because of the likelihood flu season will intersect with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the officials said.

“It is not certain what will happen this fall and winter, however the CDC is preparing for there to be COVID-19 and seasonal flu activity at the same time,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield.

Earlier this year, the U.S. government struggled to provide sufficient personal protective equipment to hospitals inundated with COVID-19 patients. It has also played a role in allocating Gilead Sciences Inc’s remdesivir to hospitals after U.S. regulators approved the antiviral drug in May for emergency use in some COVID-19 patients.

HHS took over responsibility for collecting hospitals’ COVID-19 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in July. News reports suggested the Trump administration move was aimed at bypassing the CDC, speculation the CDC director has rejected.

(Reporting by Carl O’Donnell; Editing by David Gregorio)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

Source Article