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Hospitals are trying to persuade federal officials to maintain multiple COVID-era policies beyond the emergency or work with Congress to change the law.

The Biden administration’s decision to end the COVID-19 public health emergency in May will institute sweeping changes across the health care system that go far beyond many people having to pay more for COVID tests. Read more»

The pandemic widened accessibility by creating flexibility by how people access mental health care — including telehealth for patients on Medicaid.

As pandemic-era benefits end, some 600,000 Arizonans are set to be removed from the Medicaid rolls next year - a situation causing distress to many who are certainly at risk of being disenrolled and also those who may fall just over the income threshold to qualify for Medicaid. Read more»

Federal law requires emergency departments at Medicare-participating hospitals to care for anyone who shows up, but the lack of clear guidelines on enforcement of the law sometimes stops emergency department doctors from redirecting patients to more appropriate facilities.

People who are injured or sick are asked, in a moment of stress, to prudently decide which medical setting is the best place to seek help, but revenue-driven operators of alternatives to hospital emergency rooms have little incentive to make the process easier for patients. Read more»

While hospital volunteer programs across the country reboot after the pandemic, labor experts say using volunteers may expose some medical facilities to liability.

At hospitals across the U.S., volunteers play an integral role, and the health system benefits from potentially more than $5 billion in free labor annually - but using volunteers, particularly at for-profit institutions, provides an opportunity for facilities to run afoul of federal rules. Read more»

Arizona officials are urging people to get flu shots this fall to avoid the double threat of flu and COVID-19, which they fear could overburden state hospitals.

With the winter holidays approaching, the Biden administration released a COVID-19 preparedness plan announcing access to free tests and vaccines as well as hospital staff support and equipment in anticipation of increased disease transmission. Read more»

Although the federal government doesn’t track who’s gotten the drug, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study using data from 30 medical centers found that Black and Hispanic patients with COVID were much less likely to receive Paxlovid than white patients.

Nearly 6 million Americans have taken Paxlovid - which helped prevent many people infected with COVID-19 from being hospitalized or dying - courtesy of the federal government, but the government plans to stop footing the bill within months, and millions may have to pay the full price. Read more»

Nationwide, about 50 million people — or 1 in 5 adults — are on a financing plan to pay off a medical or dental bill, and about a quarter of those borrowers are paying interest.

As Americans are overwhelmed with medical bills, patient financing is now a multibillion-dollar business, with private equity and big banks lined up to cash in when patients and their families can’t pay for care. Read more»

Absent massive regulatory changes that would make it too costly to finance buyouts or would entirely remove the carried interest tax savings, private equity firms will continue to grow and seek to generate market-beating returns for their investors.

From housing to hospitals and fisheries to fast food, private equity investors have acquired a host of businesses in recent decades and control more than $6 trillion in assets in the U.S. - but what makes them different from any other type of investor? Read more»

Lina Khan, chair of the Federal Trade Commission, said the agency would scrutinize how proposed mergers might affect not only prices but also workers in the labor market.

Fresh off the Federal Trade Commission’s successful challenges to four hospital mergers, the Biden administration’s new majority on the commission is primed to more aggressively combat consolidation in the health care industry than it has in past years. Read more»

A growing number of health care systems have faced cyberattacks.

In the past few years, a growing number of hospitals and health care organizations across the U.S. have faced cyberattacks, interrupting care and putting patients at risk, including some public health facilities run by state or local governments. Read more»

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky speaks during a COVID-19 response press briefing about new CDC studies on the effectiveness of booster shots against the omicron variant on Jan. 21, 2022.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study Friday that shows COVID-19 booster shots begin to become less effective against the Omicron variant after about four months but still provide substantial protection against hospitalization. Read more»

President Biden says his administration is ordering 500 million more rapid COVID-19 tests to be sent to Americans via mail for free, speaking at a news conference on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022.

As the Omicron variant surges and hospitals are pushed to capacity, the Biden administration announced a new program Wednesday to give 400 million nonsurgical N95 masks to Americans free of charge to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more»

As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread like wildfire in Arizona and shatter previous records in the pandemic, health experts are pleading with people to vaccinate, mask up and socially distance themselves to reduce stress on the health care system. Read more»

Arizona’s vaccination rate sits currently at 58% of the state being fully vaccinated, putting the state in 29th place for it’s vaccination rate by population.

The number of daily reported COVID-19 cases soared to more than 14,000 Monday - amid the surge of the Omicron variant - the second-most since the pandemic began, surpassed only by the 17,000 reported exactly one year ago. Read more»

Braden Wilson — pictured with his grandparents Fabian and Joe Wilson — died in January 2021 of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, a rare but life-threatening complication of COVID-19. His mother, Amanda Wilson, believes the 15-year-old contracted COVID after she took him to the Adventist Health Simi Valley emergency room to treat a bleeding cyst.

Throughout the pandemic, lawmakers from coast to coast have passed laws, declared emergency orders or activated state-of-emergency statutes that severely limited families’ ability to seek legal accountability on hospitals infection-control practices in COVID-related care. Read more»

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