During the early months of the pandemic, many people put off noncovid-related care. Now, as more patients head to the doctor, health plan providers are feeling the effect on their bottom line. Other health industry news reports are on mergers, air ambulances, telehealth and more.
Axios: The Cost Of The Pandemic Is Catching Up To Health Insurers
Health insurers’ massive pandemic windfall may be interrupted, thanks to an uptick in people seeking the medical care they put off and higher COVID-19 testing and treatment costs. It turns out that an uncontrolled pandemic gets expensive for insurers, patients, and employers. (Owens and Brown, 3/4)
Georgia Health News: Federal Antitrust Scrutiny Revealed In Wake Of Navicent-Houston Merger Collapse
The Federal Trade Commission has revealed that it investigated a proposed merger of hospital systems in Middle Georgia. The announcement Wednesday that the FTC had reviewed the deal – and then closed its probe – came less than a week after the two hospital systems said they were calling the deal off. Atrium Health Navicent, in Macon, and Houston Healthcare, based in Warner Robins, said last Thursday that they had ended their partnership talks after three years. (Miller, 3/4)
Tampa Bay Times: Air Ambulance Service Jet ICU Relocating To Tampa International Airport
Air ambulance company Jet ICU is moving to Tampa. The service, which had been headquartered at Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport for most of the past 14 years, will relocate operations to Tampa International Airport after the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority approved a lease agreement on Thursday. (Cridlin, 3/5)
Axios: Virtual Doctor’s Visits And Digital Health Tools Take Off In Pandemic
Telemedicine and other health-related technologies have gotten huge boosts over the past year as COVID-19 upended how patients receive medical attention. Virtual doctor’s appointments and therapy sessions will likely be the norm, even after more people are vaccinated. (Hart, 3/4)
KHN: Firefighters — ‘Health Care Providers On A Truck’ — Signal Pandemic Burnout
Tim Dupin thought — or at least hoped — that Missouri firefighters, paramedics and other emergency medical services personnel would be among the first to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. After months of feeling overlooked by elected leaders in the distribution of safety equipment and other resources, surely, Dupin thought, their role on the front line of the medical system would be recognized. They had, throughout the pandemic, responded to calls the way they always had: Without regard to whom or what they would encounter at the scene, interacting with people who could have the coronavirus, despite often having makeshift personal protective equipment and masks that were old, faulty or moldy. (West, 3/5)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.