MRCS Weekly Recap 8 (3.20.2022 - 3.26.2022)

1. COVID

The White House is running out of funding for its pandemic response. As a result, it has stopped paying providers for covid testing and treatment of uninsured patients. This comes when the Biden administration has asked Congress for $22.5 billion in emergency funds. The continuation of covid relief funding could be helpful for those currently unvaccinated. CDC data tracking shows that unvaccinated people were 12 times more likely than fully vaccinated people to be admitted to hospitals (and three times more unlikely than unboosted people).

The COVID-19 vaccine marketplace is overcrowded. After the miracle of producing and administering vaccinations quickly, new players looking to enter the market will be hard-pressed to find demand for their products. Meanwhile, Moderna seeks clearance for covid vaccinations for children as young as six months old. New data suggests that the drug is effective. Those who received the vaccinations generated similar antibody levels to young adults of equivalent doses.

2. Key Trends

We need to find ways to provide more granular data that accurately and precisely reflects the communities we serve. There is no more pressing issue than the advancement of equitable care in a country so rife with disparities. Data has helped level the playing field in healthcare and provide more significant equity. It is not that we need more data, but that we need better data. It is not what we currently know but what we don't know and how continued research on providers and payers will help boost underserved communities' healthcare quality.

Looking to form a purchasing coalition, labor union health funds target hospital prices. The large union's health funds were determined to rein in spending after analyzing its claims data showed that about 59% of its healthcare spending goes toward hospitals. On a similar note, a US report shows that Detroit was rated as the most racially segregated hospital market in the United States.

3. IT Updates

Though we have seen how the usage of telehealth has decreased among patients, it is increasingly being woven into hospitals' digital roadmaps. The future is with hybrid care models. It was being able to care for patients at home, in the hospital, or on the go. This not only helps improve value-based care but also access to care. While the baby boomer generation exits the workforce, there is an increased demand for hybrid-based care. Several major tech giants such as Amazon and Google have tried to make their mark on healthcare. Google announced a new search engine feature that will show available appointments for participating medical practices, similar to how users can check movie times and dinner reservations. The feature will offer appointments for CVS MinuteClinics and third-party scheduling tools- Kyruus and Stericycle Communications Solutions.

4. Policy Updates

The AHA wants healthcare workers to be protected like airline staff. The AHA asks the Justice Department to take a stricter stance on violence and threats against healthcare workers. No current federal laws protect healthcare workers from violence on the job like flight crews. However, some states (like Wisconsin) have rules for employers or laws penalizing offenders. Wisconsin recently passed a law making threats against healthcare workers a felony. The state already had a law that committing battery against nurses was a felony but has added that any threats to healthcare workers are also a felony.

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