Monday March 29, 2021 | Kaiser Santé news

How the pandemic reshaped healthcare costs and practices

The “skyrocket” of healthcare costs during the pandemic is concerning as charitable spending by healthcare systems has plummeted. And changes in telehealth could become permanent. And the FDA approves the first personalized cell therapy for patients with multiple myeloma.

Modern health care: ‘Soaring health care costs’ during pandemic inspires university workers to organize

A petition from New School of New York faculty denouncing “skyrocketing health care costs” during the pandemic has drawn support from more than 600 signatories, reflecting growing calls from workers, especially academics, increase the transparency of the price self-insured employers pay for health care. “Have Self-Insured Employers Made Money? The short answer is yes, the same way health plans have made a ton of money because of all the deferred care,” said Adam Block , New York-based health economist and former CMS regulator. . (Tepper, 26/3)

Modern healthcare: COVID-19 slashed health systems charitable spending in 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic caused hospital volumes to plummet in 2020. For most of the country’s largest healthcare systems, fewer patients meant providing less free or reduced-cost care. Modern Healthcare analysis found that the top 15 nonprofit healthcare systems by revenue for which data was available spent 1.4% of calendar year 2020 spending on charitable care, the term used by industry for free or discounted services for patients who meet financial eligibility. Criteria. This is compared to 1.6% in the 2019 calendar. These 15 health systems spent an average of $ 203.7 million on charitable care during the 2020 calendar, up from $ 216.5 million in 2019. (Bannow , 3/26)

The Star Tribune: COVID-19 Pandemic Fuels Telehealth Expansion

The use of electronic devices in patient care, known as telehealth, has long held promise as the next big thing in the industry, but it wasn’t until the coronavirus struck, raising a multitude of security concerns it has become commonplace. Nearly 30% of healthcare visits are now conducted electronically, much of it made possible because federal and state regulators, as well as insurance providers, responding to the pandemic emergency, relaxed some of the rules and requirements that have made the use of telehealth more difficult. (Howatt, 3/28)

In other news from the pharmaceutical and health industry –

Los Angeles Times: A beloved LA hospital is about to close. Why no one could save Olympia Medical Center

The announcement of the sale and closure of Olympia Medical Center came on New Year’s Eve. Before the clock struck midnight, the community began to rally against it. City council members wrote letters, health workers signed petitions, and labor groups staged protests in the days and weeks that followed. In late January, the LA County Emergency Medical Services agency passed a resolution calling on authorities to keep its doors open for at least six months. None of this worked. (Smith, 3/28)

Stat: FDA Approves First Personalized Cell Therapy For Multiple Myeloma

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved the first personalized cell therapy to treat patients with advanced multiple myeloma. It will be marketed under the Abecma brand by its manufacturers, Bristol Myers Squibb and Bluebird Bio. Multiple myeloma is cancer that forms in plasma cells, a type of white blood cell that helps fight infections. In people with multiple myeloma, malignant plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow, where they crowd out healthy blood cells, causing tumors, kidney damage, bone destruction, and impaired immune function. (Feuerstein, 26/3)

Modern healthcare: Jeb Bush and Marilyn Tavenner embark on the PSPC healthcare frenzy

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and former CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner join forces to lead a new healthcare blank check company. Both will serve on the board of directors of Jackson Acquisition, a so-called special-purpose acquisition company that files an IPO request through a funding mechanism that bypasses the traditional process of an initial public offering in favor of an IPO. faster and quieter fundraising. The company, based in Alpharetta, Georgia, is seeking to raise up to $ 300 million through its IPO. Bush will lead the company as chairman of the board. Its leadership team consists of CEO Richard Jackson and CFO Douglas Kline, who hold similar titles at Jackson Healthcare, a healthcare staffing company that made more than $ 1.4 billion in revenue in 2020. (Bannow, 3/26)

Statistics: Canada says drug spending continues to rise due to expensive specialty drugs

As Canadians brace themselves for new rules to manage prescription drug spending, a government report found that sales of patented drugs grew by a “modest” 3.5% in 2019 and that prices were stable, but a growing number of increasingly expensive specialist treatments are driving up overall costs. . These drugs – such as biologics and cancer therapies – now account for about half of all patented drug sales in the country, a “dramatic” increase from 10% less than a decade ago , according to the report. In 2009, only one of the top 10 selling patented drugs cost more than $ 1,000 per year. In 2019, seven of the top 10 had annual treatment costs over $ 10,000 per year. (Silverman, 3/26)

KHN: Scientists Seek Answers To Covid Treatment In Cheaper, Older Drugs

Could a decades-old antidepressant be a secret weapon against covid? Some scientists believe so, after two small studies showed that fluvoxamine, usually prescribed for obsessive-compulsive disorder, prevented serious illness in all participants who took the pills soon after developing symptoms. It’s an exciting notion: a two-week treatment at $ 10 of this drug could reduce deaths and hospitalizations. The drug could be used to fight ongoing epidemics in the United States and would be of particular boon to low-income countries who may have to wait years to get vaccinated against the virus. But fluvoxamine, along with other older drugs showing potential against covid, face hurdles for full evaluations. (Landhuis, 3/29)

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