Some Hospitals Found To Have Contradictory Masking Rules
Politico reports on conflicting mask rules found in health settings, including patients being told to replace high-filtering N95 masks with cheap surgical ones. Also: a new surgical glove-making factory, a class action suit against Aetna, laws to combat anti-competitiveness in health care and more.
Some Hospitals Ask Patients, Visitors To Remove N95s, Citing CDC
Late last year, Laura Wing-Kamoosi visited her 79-year-old father at the hospital in northern Michigan. To her surprise, a worker asked her to remove her N95 and replace it with a surgical mask. She declined, layering the surgical mask atop her N95 instead. She saw no staff wear N95s, among the best respiratory protection available, while they treated her father for a tear in his aorta and other medical issues, she told POLITICO. One doctor wore his surgical mask under his nose, she said. Her father, who was hospitalized for about a month, contracted Covid-19 during his stay, and while he survived, the virus slowed his recovery. (Levy, 3/16)
In other health care industry news —
The Baltimore Sun:
Medical Supply Company Plans $350 Million Plant At Tradepoint Atlantic In Baltimore County, Employing 2,000
A medical supply company founded in the early stages of the pandemic said Wednesday that it intends to build a $350 million glove-manufacturing facility at Tradepoint Atlantic and ultimately bring more than 2,000 new jobs to the Baltimore County site through a multiphase, three-year development. If all goes to plan, United Safety Technology will move into a 735,000-square-foot former Bethlehem Steel warehouse and make nitrile gloves — the kind worn every day by clinicians, doctors, dentists and first responders — as early as the first quarter of next year. These thin blue rubber gloves are made almost exclusively outside America, and they grew scarce amid skyrocketing demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Bologna, 3/16)
Judge Greenlights Proposed Class Action Against Aetna
A federal judge revived a proposed class action that alleged Aetna Life Insurance Co. violated its own contractual obligations by using an overly restrictive definition of "medically necessary", in order to avoid paying for physical therapy. U.S. District Court of Connecticut Judge Michael P. Shea gave the greenlight for the proposed class action on Tuesday, leaving Aetna to defend itself from accusations that its coverage limits violated the Employment Income Retirement Security Act. The potential class action includes anyone who is insured through an employment plan administered by Aetna. The insurer did not respond to an interview request. (Tepper, 3/16)
Hospital Mergers: Health Care Costs Rise, Patients Suffer, Studies Say
If you need to go to the hospital in Ohio these days, your choices are dominated by a handful of multibillion-dollar medical systems. Ohio's seven largest medical systems run a combined 58 community hospitals — more than 40% of the total — American Hospital Association statistics for 2019 show. Add in a variety of other medical facilities and doctors offices, and these seven systems occupy nearly 1,100 locations across the state, many of them offering multiple types of medical services, a Dispatch analysis found. Leaders of these systems say health-care consolidation means better, more cost-effective care and improved access to specialists for patients of once-independent hospitals. (Rowland, 3/16)
Missouri Tried To Fix Its Doctor Shortage. Now The Fix May Need Fixing.
Missouri state Rep. Tricia Derges is pushing a bill to give assistant physicians like herself a pathway to becoming fully licensed doctors in the state. Not that Derges — among the highest-profile holders of the assistant physician license created in 2014 to ease a doctor shortage — is the most persuasive advocate right now. Derges was indicted last year on charges accusing her of selling fake stem-cell treatments, illegally prescribing drugs, and fraudulently receiving covid relief funds. (Sable-Smith, 3/17)
The Washington Post:
A Dentist Broke His Patients’ Teeth On Purpose So He Could Fix Them. Prosecutors Say He Made Millions.
Scott Charmoli’s patients’ teeth were just fine, but fine wasn’t making him enough money. So the dentist in Jackson, Wis., drilled into and broke his patients’ teeth in order to charge them for fixing the damage he’d caused, according to federal prosecutors. By doing so, Charmoli went from pulling in $1.4 million and affixing 434 crowns in 2014 to raking in $2.5 million and performing more than 1,000 crown procedures a year later. (Edwards, 3/16)