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Healthcare Roundup: WA, U.S. Hospitals’ Financial Struggles, TN’s Opioid Lawsuit against Walgreens & More

August 05, 2022

Hospitals Struggling Financially This Year in WA, Nationwide

Washington’s acute care hospitals, which provide inpatient and outpatient care in addition to nursing services, posted a 13 percent, or $929 million, aggregate net loss in the first three months of 2022, according to a study from the Washington State Hospital association.

Hospital expenses were up about 11 percent over last year, while revenues rose only about 5 percent.

The financial struggles of Washington’s hospitals are part of a national trend, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, labor shortages that are forcing hospitals to depend more on contract labor, and inflation-related cost increases for medicines and supplies. (SPOKESMAN-REVIEW [SPOKANE])

TN Suing Walgreens over Opioid Sales

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery (R) announced last week the state is suing Walgreens for unlawfully selling and distributing prescription opioids. Slatery said the company’s pharmacies sold 1.1 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pills - about 175 per state resident - between 2006 and 2020. (TENNESSEAN [NASHVILLE])

Black-Serving Hospitals Get Less in Reimbursements

Hospitals with more Black patients received less in federal reimbursements than those with fewer Black patients, according to a study released this month from the University of California Los Angeles, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, and Harvard universities. The nation’s 574 “Black-serving” hospitals, the 10 percent with the most Black patients, were paid $283 less per patient per day than other hospitals. And if reimbursed at the same level as other hospitals, Black-serving hospitals would have received $14 billion more in payments, or $25 per hospital, in 2018 alone. (BECKER’S HOSPITAL REVIEW)

Eli Lilly to Sell COVID-19 Antibody Drug Commercially

With orders for Eli Lilly & Co.’s COVID-19 monoclonal antibody drug bebtelovimab drying up from the federal government, the company plans to start selling the treatment to states, hospitals, and other healthcare providers. The shift will probably be the first test of whether COVID-19 vaccines and treatments will remain accessible through the commercial market. (WALL STREET JOURNAL)

CVS Plans to Follow Amazon, Walgreens into Primary Care

CVS is looking to move into primary care this year through investment in or acquisition of a provider, the company’s CEO Karen Lynch said during an earnings call last week. The news follows Amazon’s recent acquisition of One Medical for roughly $3.9 billion and Walgreens’ $5.2 billion investment in primary care provider VillageMD. (FIERCE HEALTHCARE)

Medicare Reverses Course on Reporting Hospital Safety Data

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will report hospital safety data as usual next year. The backlash from patient safety advocates evidently convinced CMS officials to abandon their plan of keeping some of the data from the public, due to distortions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. (STAT, KAISER HEALTH NEWS)

-- Compiled by KOREY CLARK

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