Monday, June 5, 2023 | KFF Health News

Compass Medical’s Sudden Closure Leads To Patient Lawsuit

The Massachusetts-based health organization abruptly shut down facilities last week, and this has now led to a class-action lawsuit that alleges Compass was negligent in not warning patients ahead of time. Another closure, this time of a psychiatric hospital in Washington state, is also in the news.

The Boston Globe:
Class-Action Lawsuit Filed Against Compass Medical Over Abrupt Closure Of Facilities In Mass.

An Abington man has filed a class-action lawsuit against Compass Medical claiming the Quincy-based health organization was negligent in not warning patients prior to shutting down its six South Shore medical offices last week. The lawsuit brought by Richard Callanan, whose family all received care through Compass Medical, argues that the organization abandoned its approximately 70,000 patients by abruptly closing the facilities without notice, leaving them scrambling to fill prescriptions, find new doctors, and reschedule examinations. (Stoico, 6/4)

Becker’s Hospital Review:
Acadia-Owned Psychiatric Hospital In Washington State To Close, Layoff 288

Cascade Behavioral Health Hospital in suburban Seattle is winding down operations and laying off 288 employees, according to a WARN filing posted June 1.A spokesperson for the Tukwila, Wash.-based hospital told Becker’s the 135-bed psychiatric hospital will close by July 31 due to financial challenges. (Emerson, 6/2)

More health care industry news —

Hospitals Unexpectedly Cut Off From Discounted Drugs At Outpatient Clinics

An unexpected policy change has left some hospital outpatient clinics potentially shut out of the government’s discount drug program, rattling health systems with a lot of poorer patients that are accustomed to buying medicines at cheaper prices and keeping the savings. The change means health systems may incur higher drug costs at a time when many are trying to push more care outside hospital walls, to offsite clinics. (Dreher, 6/5)

Modern Healthcare:
Critical-Access, Acute-Care Hospitals Increase Capital Spending

In a Modern Healthcare analysis of cost reports for hospitals filing from 2018 through 2022, median net capital costs for critical-access hospitals increased almost 17%, while those for acute-care hospitals rose only 1% over the same period. Net capital costs are defined as the total costs of buildings, fixtures and movable equipment. (Broderick, 6/5)

Modern Healthcare:
Hospital-At-Home Market To Grow By 50% Within 5 Years: Chilmark 

The hospital-at-home market is projected to grow 50% from $200 billion to nearly $300 billion by 2028, and is a magnet for companies trying to get a foothold in the space. (Eastabrook, 6/2)

BJC And St. Luke’s Hospital Merger Could Create $10 Billion Giant

BJC HealthCare of St. Louis and Saint Luke’s Health System of Kansas City said that they are exploring a merger that could create a 28-hospital academic health system valued at around $10 billion. The combined company wouldn’t have geographic overlap, which seems to be key for U.S. hospital operators that want to expand (and cut costs) without attracting antitrust attention. (Primack, 6/2)

How Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurers Ratcheted Up Profits In 2022

Publicly traded health insurers were not the only ones in the industry that continued to amass large windfalls in 2022. Many nonprofit and private Blue Cross Blue Shield companies ended last year with sizable gains that added to their mountainous cash reserves, according to a STAT analysis of financial filings. (Herman, 6/5)

Philadelphia Inquirer:
Penn Medicine, Jefferson Health, And Temple Health Have Reported Financial Results For Nine Months Of Fiscal 2023

Financial pressures from higher costs for labor, pharmaceuticals, and other supplies did not let up in the first three months of this year for not-for-profit health systems in Southeastern Pennsylvania, as most continued reporting operating losses through March 31. The Inquirer has been tracking financial results for the region’s nine health systems, as they work to recover financially in a world where experts expect permanently higher costs to prevent a return to pre-pandemic profitability levels. (Brubaker, 6/5)

On staffing and safety —

St. Louis Public Radio:
Vacancies And Turnover Still High At Missouri Hospitals

Missouri hospitals saw fewer unfilled jobs and staff turnover in 2022 than during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from the Missouri Hospital Association. But the report released this week notes that the shortage of health care workers is still higher than before. The report’s authors surveyed 128 of the state’s hospitals and found nearly 15% of all positions were vacant across the state last year, compared with 17% in 2021. Hospitals saw turnover in approximately one in four positions. (Fentem, 6/2)

NBC News:
Trapped At Work: Immigrant Health Care Workers Can Face Harsh Working Conditions And $100,000 Lawsuits For Quitting

Nurses and other health care workers who have been brought to the U.S. from overseas to fill thousands of vacant jobs say in some instances they’ve been subjected to unsafe working conditions, wage theft and threats of tens of thousands of dollars in debt if they quit or are fired. (Pettypiece, 6/4)

KFF Health News:
Will A ‘National Patient Safety Board,’ Modeled After The NTSB, Actually Fly?

People concerned about the safety of patients often compare health care to aviation. Why, they ask, can’t hospitals learn from medical errors the way airlines learn from plane crashes? That’s the rationale behind calls to create a “National Patient Safety Board,” an independent federal agency that would be loosely modeled after the National Transportation Safety Board, which is credited with increasing the safety of skies, railways, and highways by investigating why accidents occur and recommending steps to avoid future mishaps. (Jaklevic, 6/5)


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