News Clips

News Clips

VHHA will update News Clips each weekday with relevant national and statewide health care news. Click on a headline below to view the article on that news organization’s website. Please note that access to some articles will require registration on that website, most of which are free. If you have items of particular interest you would like to see posted here, please contact VHHA.

July 19, 2024

VIRGINIA

AI’s transformative potential in radiology
(Children’s National Hospital – July 17, 2024)

The adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to enhance radiological imaging, improve diagnostic capabilities and reduce burnout in the field, provided that physicians and scientists work together to ensure its careful integration into the practice of medicine, according to a special report in Radiology: Artificial Intelligence, a journal of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). Assembled by experts in radiology, medical imaging and machine learning, the special report lays out the clinical, cultural, computation and regulatory considerations that are being introduced, particularly as generative AI models become part of the field.

Bon Secours planning new cardiac surgery center in Short Pump
(Richmond BizSense – July 18, 2024)

Several years after opening an emergency department in Short Pump, Bon Secours is working on plans to further expand its presence in western Henrico. The health system recently filed a plan of development with Henrico County for a new ambulatory surgery center at its Short Pump Medical Plaza. Plans call for a one-story medical facility of more than 14,000 square feet, of which 8,000 square feet would be occupied by the surgical center and the remainder shell space, per online county records. The facility would be built on what’s now a 2-acre grassy pad north of the Aldi grocery store at the Broad Hill Centre development and west of an existing parking lot outside the Bon Secours Short Pump Emergency Center at 12320 W. Broad St. The land is already zoned appropriately for the project.

Carilion CEO Nancy Agee to leave position in September
(Cardinal News – July 17, 2024)

Nancy Howell Agee went from candy striper to nurse to chief executive officer at Carilion Clinic over five decades. Soon she will be stepping down, the clinic announced Wednesday. Agee became Carilion’s president and CEO in 2011 and was the first woman to run the clinic. Her final day as CEO will be Sept. 30, according to a Carilion news release. Steve Arner, the clinic’s president since May 2023, will succeed Agee as CEO on Oct. 1. Agee, the medical system’s seventh top executive, began her career there in 1973 and will be CEO emeritus through September 2025, focusing on matters including philanthropy and partnerships.

Carilion CEO Nancy Howell Agee to Retire
(The Roanoke Star – July 17, 2024)

Nancy Howell Agee, who led Carilion through more than a decade of transformative change, will step down as CEO Sept. 30. Steve Arner, who was promoted to president in May 2023, will succeed Agee and become president and CEO Oct. 1. The leadership transition comes after Agee’s long and distinguished career at Carilion, beginning as a nurse in 1973. She was named Carilion’s president and CEO in 2011, becoming the health system’s seventh – and only female — top executive. Agee earned national recognition for reorganizing Carilion as a fully integrated, physician-led clinic that includes a medical school and research institute with Virginia Tech, and served as chair of the American Hospital Association’s Board of Trustees in 2018.

Carilion Clinic CEO Nancy Agee to retire
(The Roanoke Times – July 17, 2024)

Carilion Clinic CEO Nancy Agee called this year “the right time for a change” in her retirement announcement after 51 years with the health system Wednesday — a not-unexpected move that will elevate her second-in-command to the top job this fall.

Children’s Author Holds Hook Signing to Support Cancer Care at Norton Community Hospital
(Ballad Health – July 18, 2024)

Elizabeth Fletcher, a respected children’s author, [held]  a book signing event at Norton Community Hospital on Thursday, July 18, at 11 a.m. As her most recent book handles children’s understanding of cancer, proceeds from the event will support Ballad Health Cancer Care in Norton, Virginia. Fletcher’s book, “Why is Ginny Anne Crying, Lincoln McCarthy?” was written in memory of Maddie Davis from Hampton, Virginia, who died of brain cancer in 2020. Maddie’s story inspired the story of Ginny Anne, the book’s protagonist, whose mother is battling cancer. Throughout the book, readers are taken on a journey of the emotional ups and downs of a 6-year-old understanding more about cancer and its effects.

Clinch Valley Health Launches TeleNephrology Service
(Clinch Valley Health – July 18, 2024)

Clinch Valley Health is contracting with the nation’s leading multispecialty telemedicine group to bring telenephrology services to its patients. The partnership with Access TeleCare will ensure access to inpatient nephrology care to allow more patients needing kidney treatment to stay close to home for essential health care. Through the partnership, on-site physicians, nurses, and other clinical staff connect with an Access TeleCare board-certified nephrologist via secure, high-resolution technology in minutes. On-site clinicians have access to the highest level of telenephrology consultation to respond quickly to diagnose and treat patients with common nephrology conditions, including electrolyte disorders, chronic kidney disease, acute kidney injury, and renal failure.

LewisGale Medical Center among nation’s top performing hospitals for treatment of heart attack patients
(HCA Virginia – July 16, 2024)

LewisGale Medical Center is one of 61 hospitals nationwide to receive the American College of Cardiology’s NCDR Chest Pain   ̶ MI Registry Gold Performance Achievement Award for 2024. LewisGale Medical Center is one of only 61 hospitals nationwide to receive the honor. The award recognizes LewisGale Medical Center’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care for heart attack patients and signifies that LewisGale Medical Center has reached an aggressive goal of treating these patients to standard levels of care as outlined by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association clinical guidelines and recommendations.

New mobile cancer screening initiative provides more access for rural Virginians
(VCU Health – July 18, 2024)

VCU Health is rolling out an innovative solution to common problems across healthcare systems – wait times and access to timely care. This solution just happens to have 18 wheels and state-of-the-art technology. A new 50-foot trailer will travel between three VCU Health locations to provide rapid scans for patients waiting for cancer screenings in under 17 minutes – about half the time of a traditional scan. By scanning the whole body in 17 minutes or less, the mobile, digital PET/CT scanner makes it easier and quicker for patients to get screened and be put on a treatment plan. PET/CT scans are advanced tools used in cancer care to provide an accurate picture of a tumor. Unlike regular scans, PET/CT uses a special tracer to highlight areas of high metabolic activity, helping doctors find and understand tumors better. These exceptionally high-clarity images are often used to determine the best course of treatment for patients.

Running in Humidity: Exercising Safely in Hot Weather
(Bon Secours – July 18, 2024)

Running is good for your physical and mental health. However, humid weather can interfere with your running plans. Running in humidity brings unique challenges and risks. Knowing how to handle these can help you stay safe and get the most out of your workouts. Humidity is all about the moisture in the air. This is measured by the dew point, which is when the air can no longer hold any more water, and it condenses. When the dew point is high, the air feels thicker and heavier because of the higher level of moisture in the air. Running in humidity causes your core body temperature to increase. This is because sweat doesn’t evaporate quickly in high humidity. As a result, it becomes more difficult for your body to effectively cool down.

Sentara continues partnership with Virginia Stage Company to raise mental health awareness
(Sentara Health – July 16, 2024)

Sentara is collaborating with the Virginia Stage Company (VSC) to bring an inspirational play about mental health to communities in Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. The play, “Every Brilliant Thing,” uses comedy, improv, and audience interaction to foster dialogue around mental health, specifically suicidal depression. Sentara’s $91,000 sponsorship ensures VSC can host 20 performances during the 2024-2025 season. This is in addition to a 2023 Sentara Cares grant that supported 20 performances during the 2023-2024 season.

The rise of zyn: pouches full of problems
(Children’s National Hospital – July 17, 2024)

As parents and caregivers, we juggle a million worries. From social media pressures to academic anxieties, the teenage years are a whirlwind. But lately, a new concern has crept onto the scene: Zyn. These discreet nicotine pouches are becoming increasingly popular among teens, and their popularity is a cause for serious alarm. What is Zyn? Zyn is a pillow-like pouch that is placed between the user’s gum and upper lip. It contains flavoring and nicotine salts which absorb into the bloodstream through tissues in the mouth. This smokeless nicotine pouch product was initially marketed to help adult smokers quit and lower their health risks but has demonstrated concerning popularity among teens.

UVA Health opens a new Comprehensive Parkinson’s Disease Clinic
(CBS 19 News – July 17, 2024)

The University of Virginia Health System had a grand opening for a new comprehensive Parkinson’s disease clinic on Wednesday. The new clinic will bring together a multidisciplinary team to offer the full range of treatment options, including a groundbreaking treatment pioneered at UVA. “I just think this is a wonderful resource for our community and I’m so excited that it’s going well and the patients seem to be enjoying it and we are too,” said Renee Bricker, a speech language pathologist with UVA Health. Officials say they started introducing patients into the clinic six months ago, but that this has been in the works for years.

VCU Health announces new multi-year contracts with Aetna and Cigna
(VCU Health – July 18, 2024)

VCU Health has reached new, multi-year agreements with Aetna and Cigna. Both agreements ensure continued in-network access to VCU Health’s expansive network of hospitals, facilities, and physicians throughout the commonwealth including but not limited to VCU Medical Center, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital, and VCU Health Tappahannock Hospital. “We are very thankful for the partnerships that we have forged with both Aetna and Cigna,” said Marlon Levy M.D., interim CEO of VCU Health System and interim senior vice president of VCU Health Sciences. “Our collaborative efforts are crucial as we work to preserve and restore health for all people of Virginia and beyond through our innovations in service, research, and education.”

OTHER STATES

How Missouri is getting more people to the dentist — for more than a pretty smile
(St. Louis Public Radio – July 18, 2024)

Missouri Medicaid began covering teeth cleanings, and almost no other routine dental work, for adults a few years ago. But the bill for the dentist actually peering in your mouth to check teeth and gums went to the patient. While some dentists wrote off the cost of the dental exam, many patients just stayed away from the dental chair and the potential bills it represented. That changed July 1, when routine dental exams for adults were added to the state’s Medicaid coverage. Health experts said it is a significant step in the state’s multiyear effort to improve dental access — and to boost overall health, beyond cavities, molars and gums.

Individual health insurance rates in Colorado could see below-average increase in 2025
(The Colorado Sun – July 18, 2024)

Health insurance premiums for people who buy coverage on their own in Colorado look set to increase 5.5% overall next year, slightly below average for recent years, according to preliminary numbers released Wednesday. Colorado Option plans — which are designed by the state with the intention of providing better benefits for lower prices — look likely to increase by slightly less, 4.2%.The figures are part of preliminary filings that health insurers sent to state regulators for their approval. The state Division of Insurance reviews and typically knocks proposed rate increases back somewhat before releasing finalized rates in the fall.

Maryland board approves $148M in cuts to help support Medicaid, child care
(Associated Press – July 17, 2024)

A Maryland board approved $148.3 million in state spending reductions on Wednesday to balance the budget while directing more money to pay for child care and Medicaid — two priorities that Democratic Gov. Wes Moore’s administration hopes will help improve a stagnant state economy. The Board of Public Works, which Moore chairs, made cuts across a variety of state agencies to address larger-than-expected demand for Medicaid and a state child care program. The board, which also includes Treasurer Dereck Davis and Comptroller Brooke Lierman, can cut up to 25% of the state’s operating budget when the Legislature isn’t in session.

North Carolina: No state budget this year means Medicaid could run low
(North Carolina Health News – July 18, 2024)

NC Medicaid costs fluctuate each year. The state Department of Health and Human Services forecasts how costs might change and asks the legislature for funding adjustments based on those predictions. For the 2024-25 fiscal year, the department asked for almost half a billion dollars extra to meet higher costs — an adjustment known as the “rebase.” About $136 million of that is needed because the state will receive less money as federal reimbursement decreases for the program, according to DHHS. But lawmakers left Raleigh last month without making a second-year budget adjustment. Without it, Medicaid funds could start running dry in the spring, Rep. Donny Lambeth (R-Winston-Salem) said. Both the House and Senate’s proposed budgets would have given DHHS about $100 million less than they asked for, said Melanie Bush, deputy Medicaid director at DHHS.

MISCELLANEOUS

Bird Flu Is Spreading. Why Aren’t More People Getting Tested?
(The New York Times – July 17, 2024)

The first step in combating any infectious disease outbreak is detection. Without widespread testing, health officials have little sense of who is infected, when to treat patients and how to monitor their close contacts. In that sense, the bird flu outbreak plaguing the nation’s dairy farms is spreading virtually unobserved. As of Monday, the virus had infected 157 herds in 13 states. But while officials have tested thousands of cows and are monitoring hundreds of farmworkers, only about 60 people have been tested for bird flu. Officials do not have the authority to compel workers to get tested, and there is no way for workers to test themselves. In the current outbreak, just four dairy workers and five poultry workers have tested positive for H5N1, the bird flu virus, but experts believe that many more have been infected.

COVID-19 lockdowns, quarantines linked to mental distress in teens
(CIDRAP – July 17, 2024)

A study of 7,800 teens aged 16 to 18 years in Norway ties stringent COVID-19 public health protocols and quarantine with mental distress, particularly among 16-year-olds and those with less-educated parents and a lower genetic susceptibility to depression. Led by researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the study collected data on 7,787 teens from the Norwegian Mother, Father, and Child Cohort Study (MoBa), national health registries, and a national lockdown-stringency index from April 2020 to February 2021. MoBa recruited pregnant women from 1999 to 2008, consenting to provide umbilical-cord blood samples for genotyping at delivery. The team measured mental distress with the Hopkins Symptom Checklist in six COVID-19 surveys. A total of 57% of the adolescents were girls, and 22% had experienced quarantine.

Healthcare costs set to rise by as much as 8% in 2025: PwC
(Fierce Healthcare – July 17, 2024)

Healthcare costs are set to rise between 7% and 8% in 2025, according to a new report from PwC. The analysis comes from PwC’s Health Research Institute and projects that costs will rise 8% year-over-year in the group market and 7.5% in the individual market. That spending growth is likely to reach a 13-year high, according to the analysis. Factors behind the increases in spending include ongoing inflationary pressures, prescription drug spend and increases in utilization for behavioral health, according to the report.

Healthcare is an ‘easy victim’ for ransomware attacks. How hospitals can mitigate the damage.
(Healthcare Dive – July 18, 2024)

Ransomware attacks against the healthcare sector have spiked in recent years as cybercriminals launch sophisticated assaults against hospitals — posing a serious threat to operations and patient safety. Ransomware, a type of malware that denies users access to their data until a ransom is paid, can have dire consequences for health systems, disrupting care delivery, shutting down electronic health records, canceling scheduled appointments or procedures and forcing ambulances to travel to other facilities. Some research has shown ransomware attacks — and other cyberattacks — could increase patient mortality rates. Those high stakes make the sector a more attractive target for cybercriminals, said Phyllis Lee, vice president of security best practices content development at the Center for Internet Security.

Mammograms have pros and cons. Women can handle the nuance, study argues
(NPR – July 17, 2024)

New research makes the case for educating women in their 40s — who’ve been caught in the crossfire of a decades-long debate about whether to be screened for breast cancer with mammograms — about the harms as well as the benefits of the exam. After a nationally representative sample of U.S. women between the ages of 39 and 49 learned about the pros and cons of mammography, more than twice as many elected to wait until they turn 50 to get screened, a study released Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine found. Most women have absorbed the widely broadcast message that screening mammography saves lives by the time they enter middle age. But many remain unaware of the costs of routine screening in their 40s — in false-positive results, unnecessary biopsies, anxiety and debilitating treatment for tumors that left alone would do no harm.

Medical debt fuels mental health treatment gap
(Axios – July 18, 2024)

As many as 1 in 4 U.S. adults with depression and anxiety can’t pay their medical bills — a situation that could be limiting their ability to get timely psychiatric care, Johns Hopkins researchers found. Fewer than half of all U.S. adults with mental disorders receive treatment, and the findings show those with common behavioral disorders face high out-of-pocket costs because many psychiatrists don’t participate in insurance networks. Medical debt was linked with more than a twofold increase in delayed or forgone treatment for mental disorders among more than 27,600 adults surveyed, the researchers wrote in JAMA Psychiatry.

Vaccination slashes risk of long Covid, says large study tracing cases through Delta and Omicron variants
(STAT News – July 17, 2024)

Vaccination lowers the chance of developing long Covid, according to a large new study that also found that the risk of serious complications has diminished but not disappeared as new coronavirus variants emerged. The study, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, compared the health records of more than 440,000 Veterans Affairs patients who were infected with Covid-19 with records of more than 4 million uninfected people. The analysis found that cases of long Covid — also called PASC (post-acute sequelae of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) — fell among all participants during the Delta and Omicron eras of the pandemic, but dropped almost twice as much for vaccinated people when the Omicron variant dominated cases.

Women are more likely to die from cancer in the southern U.S
(Axios – July 18, 2024)

Women are likelier to die from breast and cervical cancer in a cluster of southern states where screenings and other preventive care lag behind the rest of the country. The gap, shown in a new analysis of 2022 federal data by the Commonwealth Fund, illustrates how widening disparities in women’s health aren’t limited to reproductive care. Where a woman lives is becoming a key determinant in how dangerous it is to give birth or if she’ll die from cancers considered treatable with proper screening and routine care.

REFORM

Biden just got covid. What are the latest coronavirus guidelines?
(The Washington Post – July 18, 2024)

President Biden tested positive for the coronavirus Wednesday, placing a renewed spotlight on covid-19 and the precautions the broader public can take as a summer wave of the disease sweeps over much of the United States. In a statement, the White House said Biden is experiencing mild symptoms and plans to self-isolate at his home in Rehoboth, Del., while continuing to work. The president, who previously tested positive for the coronavirus in 2022, told reporters he was “doing well” after landing at Dover Air Force Base late Wednesday. Coronavirus levels in wastewater were considered high or very high in 26 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week, but the nation’s approach to the pandemic has evolved significantly over the years — meaning it can be difficult to determine how best to stay safe. Here’s what to know.

Covid’s summer wave surges on as Biden tests positive
(NBC News – July 18, 2024)

President Joe Biden’s positive Covid test is reminiscent of many Americans’ experiences this month, as it comes amid a pronounced wave of summer cases. Though the U.S. is no longer tracking Covid cases, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that infections are most likely rising in 45 states and aren’t declining anywhere in the U.S. Indeed, wastewater data show high levels of Covid nationwide — especially in the West and Southeast.

President Joe Biden tests positive for COVID-19 while campaigning in Las Vegas, has ‘mild symptoms’
(Associated Press – July 18, 2024)

President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 while traveling Wednesday in Las Vegas and is experiencing “mild symptoms” including “general malaise” from the infection, the White House said. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden will fly to his home in Delaware, where he will “self-isolate and will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time.” The news had first been shared by UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía, who told guests at the group’s convention in Las Vegas that president had sent his regrets and could not appear because he tested positive for the virus. Dr. Kevin O’Connor, the president’s physician, said in a note that Biden, 81, “presented this afternoon with upper respiratory symptoms, to include rhinorhea (runny nose) and non-productive cough, with general malaise.” After the positive COVID-19 test, Biden was prescribed the antiviral drug Paxlovid and has taken his first dose, O’Connor said.