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Nursing homes lag completing government COVID-19 training, CMS says

Only 12.5{f771d91d784324d4be731abc64bffe0d1fd8f26504ceb311bcfd8e5b001778f4} of the country’s one million nursing home staff has completed government COVID-19 training, according to CMS.

So far, 125,506 people at 7,313 nursing homes have taken the training, which was announced Aug. 25, CMS said Tuesday. There are 1,092 nursing homes at which 50{f771d91d784324d4be731abc64bffe0d1fd8f26504ceb311bcfd8e5b001778f4} or more of staff have completed the training. The agency made the names of those nursing homes publicly available.

“Ultimately, the ownership and management of every nursing must take it on themselves to ensure their staff is fully equipped to keep residents safe. With coronavirus cases increasing across the country and infection control identified as a major issue, we encourage all nursing homes to take advantage of this no-cost opportunity to train their staff,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said.

The training covers infection control, screening and surveillance, personal protective equipment usage, disinfection of the nursing home, cohorting and caring for individuals with dementia during

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Premier, member hospitals and DeRoyal team up to boost domestic gown production

Premier and 34 of its health system partners are teaming up with DeRoyal Industries to domestically source and produce isolation gowns, the organizations announced Monday.

The joint venture will produce isolations gowns in an existing facility outside of Knoxville, Tenn., and primarily source raw materials from U.S.-based manufacturers, with some backup from Mexican and South American suppliers. The health systems made multi-year commitments to purchase annual allotments from the joint venture, which expects to distribute its first batch in mid-2021.

“Domestic manufacturers face tremendous handicaps against foreign competitors, many of whom draw from among the cheapest labor and supply markets on the planet,” DeRoyal CEO Brian DeBusk said in prepared remarks. “One way we can restore diverse, on-shore and near-shore manufacturing is by investing in automation combined with assurances of long-term purchasing volume at globally competitive prices.”

DeRoyal plans to automate and scale production to “remain price competitive for

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AMA calls racism a ‘public health threat’

The American Medical Association Monday voted to recognize systemic racism and interpersonal bias by healthcare workers as a “serious” threat to public health that hinders efforts to achieve health equity and reduce disparities among minority populations.

The resolution, approved during a special meeting of the AMA House of Delegates, calls for the organization to acknowledge the role both historic and current “racist medical practices” have played in harming marginalized communities and for the group to develop a set of best practices to help stakeholders to address the effects of racism on patients and providers.

The country’s leading physicians group will also encourage medical education programs to do more to incorporate a greater understanding of the health effects of systemic racism within their curricula.

Addressing racial bias within medical education has received greater scrutiny in recent years as a growing number of medical schools have acknowledged the lack of attention

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For-profit hospital charges attacked by nurses union report

All but five of the100 hospitals with the highest price markups in 2018 were for-profit hospitals, and 53 of them were owned by HCA Healthcare, according to a prominent nurses union.

The report released Monday, the latest in a periodic analysis by the registered nurses’ union National Nurses United, used hospitals’ Medicare cost reports to calculate the ratio between hospitals’ charges and the cost of providing care, or their charge-to-cost ratios. The average ratio, it found, more than doubled between 1999 and 2018: from 200{f771d91d784324d4be731abc64bffe0d1fd8f26504ceb311bcfd8e5b001778f4} to 417{f771d91d784324d4be731abc64bffe0d1fd8f26504ceb311bcfd8e5b001778f4}.

Nashville-based HCA, an investor-owned giant that has been enormously profitable in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, had an average charge-to-cost ratio of 1,043{f771d91d784324d4be731abc64bffe0d1fd8f26504ceb311bcfd8e5b001778f4} in 2018, among the highest in the country, the report found.

In a statement, HCA noted that the amounts patients pay are more reflective of their insurance than hospitals’ charges.

As the report itself states, “These charges are known

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Trump’s executive order on drug rebate rule may not be binding

The Trump administration’s executive order placing restrictions on rulemaking requiring middlemen to pass drug rebates directly to patients may not be legally binding.

HHS on Friday submitted a final rule to the White House budget office that would require pharmacy benefit managers to retain rebates paid by drugmakers. The president in July signed an executive order stating that the HHS secretary must publicly certify that any such policy will not increase insurance premiums, federal spending or Medicare beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs. However, regulatory experts say the agency could likely work around the order.

Drugmakers like the policy as it insulates patients from the sticker prices of some expensive drugs, while pharmacy benefit managers and insurers oppose it.

If the administration releases a final rule, it could go into effect in 60 days. That means the rule would need to be released this week to be effective before Inauguration Day, when any

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