May 1, 2020 Recent News




A new storm is arising.  Rural hospitals are closing at a huge rate.  At the same time many hospitals and chains are laying off personnel due to lower payments with no elective surgery.  The rural hospital problem started muh before the pandemic.  The CARES money did not reach these hospitals quickly as the money was distributed by Medicare share.  

In somewhat the same vein, The money from CARES going to physicians as SBA loans will bypass those physicians owned by private equity companies.

Physicians owned by systems are getting a double whammy.  Lack of PPE and a cut in salary.  They will not go on record for obvious reasons.  They will be fired.  The cuts range from 10% to 25% and is happening in all states.  Those affected include the ED physicians who are the front lines of this pandemic and yes those in New York.  It is amazing one does not har about a corresponding cut in admin pay.

A recent report by MGMA states that 97% of practices have experienced a negative financial impact from the pandemic. The average decrease has been 60% in patient volume and 55% decrease in daily revenue.  This means practices have begun to furlough and lay off employees.  Almost 50% have furloughed staff and 22% have permanently laid off staff.  This will increase in the next month.   Prescription writing is also down by half.  Telemedicine is increasing dramatically and may be kept on permanently by CMS.  However, there is no standard in paying for telemedicine.  Insurers have not decided what nor how to pay.  Medicare is also waiving co-pays during the pandemic.  This means an immediate 20% cut in pay for physicians.

Hackers have posted about 25,000 email addresses and passwords belonging to the NIH.  

The nursing home industry in California is pushing the Gov to mandate a sweeping order to protect them from law suits as other states have done.  However, California is a state that loves the plaintiff bar as they are solidly blue and have a lot of money.

Rockford, Illinois, Mercyhealth has gotten rid of its Medicaid contracts.  They find one can not lose mopney per patient an make it up on volume.

Jolly olde England and its wonderful health system has decided that since they are running out of PPE it now OK to treat patients with no full length gowns.  This is easier and cheaper than finding and buying more.        Top


Certain hospitals are continuing to be put on the WALL OF SHAME.  Highland Hospital in Oakland has fired a nurse who had a picture of him posted by his union rep on social media wearing a trash bag while working the telemetry unit.  He states at the time of the posting he was offered a promotion.  The hospital says it was for unsatisfying performance.  I know that hospital so I believe the nurse.  There are also labor tensions with this hospital.  Watch this develop into a law suit.  

Also on the list is Providence Saint John Health Center in Santa Monica, California.  They suspended 10 nurses for refusing to care for Covid-19 patient without N95 masks.  They were told they did not need the masks as regular masks were enough to keep them safe.  Balderdash!

Kaiser is not to be left off.  The Kaiser Fresno is making the nurses wear the same N95 mask all day and therefore potentially cross contaminating patients.

Another addition to the list is New York's Health + Hospital System.  They are requiring anyone who misses mmore than one day on the job to have a doctor's excuse.  Many of the staff have the virus and one has died.  Could this be tied to a protest last month after the system said the staff had to use their N-95 masks for five days?  Or a law suit filed against the state health department by the nurse's union for failing to protect their health and safety?  

Not to be left off the wall of shame is St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California.  They got the medical staff to pull the privileges of Dr. Ana Sanchez, an OB.  She had the audacity to cll out fellow healthcare workers who were putting lives at risk by not social distancing.  Dr. Sanchez had also complained about the lack of face masks during labor.  Sounds like an employed or purchased medical staff.

What is going on with hospitals?  Now NYU has said the residents are ungrateful for asking for hazard duty pay from the money the hospital will get from the bailout.  Herb Lepor, the chair or urology who should know better, was quoted as saying they should do what is asked and wanting hazard pay is not becoming of a compassionate and caring physician.  Really Herb.  

In a really bonehead play Denver Health Medical Center decided to give bonuses up to $230,000 to execs at the same time they asked the workers to take voluntary leave without pay or reduce their hours.  How stupid are they???        Top


 DISCLAIMER: Although this article is updated periodically, it reflects the author's point of view at the time of publication. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel before acting on any of the information presented.