Workers out sick in droves.

Patients' conditions being exacerbated by Omicron.

Add the threat of in-hospital transmission.

There’s a reason hospitals are telling people to stay away from the ER - @jeremyfaust

W/ @philgalewitz @gahealthnews @KHNews…
Regardless of whether patients are admitted for or with covid, the patients still tax the hospital’s ability to operate, said Dr. Alex Garza, head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force.

He also warned exposure risk in the ER is high: “It’s physics and math."
Incidental cases also pose a greater risk to staffers and other hospital patients because they are typically at a more contagious stage of the disease — before symptoms begin: @jeremyfaust

Before this wave, folks were hospitalized in the middle and later phases of the illness
As @MJainMD pointed out, "People in the hospital are vulnerable for many reasons," so being exposed to Omicron could be very dangerous for them.

“All of their existing underlying illnesses with multiple medical conditions — all of that puts them at much greater risk.”
In @jeremyfaust analysis of federal data, Jan. 7 showed the second-highest number of “hospital onset” covid cases since the pandemic began.

This data accounts for only people who were in the hospital for 14 days before testing positive for covid, so it’s likely an undercount.
In @By_CJewett and my investigations last year, we revealed multiple gaps in government oversight in holding hospitals accountable for high rates of covid patients who didn’t have the diagnosis when they were admitted.…
Federal reporting systems don’t publicly note covid caught in individual hospitals -- they just do the limited state-level snapshots that @jeremyfaust referenced. It can't be added for totals.

But @By_CJewett found Medicare data from 2020 that details:…
And if you do get covid while in the hospital, you won't have much recourse.

A wave of liability shield lawsuits, pushed by corporate groups like @ALEC_states and others, makes it nearly impossible to force infection control improvements, we found.…
So the doctors I spoke to said to do the following if you must be hospitalized:

Wear the highest quality mask (KN95 or N95) you can tolerate. If you can't wear it all day, put it on when you see other people -- like when you're wheeled around the hospital or see your nurses.
.@AbraarKaran believes all health care workers should be mandated to wear N95s for every patient interaction, considering the rise in covid-exposure risk.

In the absence of higher-quality mask mandates for staffers, he recommended that patients ask that their providers wear N95s
“Why should we be putting the onus on patients to protect themselves from health care workers when health care workers are not even going to be doing that?” @AbraarKaran said.

“It’s so backwards.”
Some hospital workers may not know they are getting sick — and infectious.

And even if they do know, in some states, including Rhode Island and California, health care workers who are asymptomatic can be called back to work because of staffing shortages.
That's why some would love to see more regular testing of health care workers to prevent possible spread.

But @MJainMD said hospitals often resist.

“Hospitals don’t want to know,” he said. “We just don’t have the staff.”…

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More from @LaurenWeberHP

23 Dec 21
🚨 Hospitals with high rates of covid patients who didn’t have the diagnosis when they were admitted have rarely been held accountable due to multiple gaps in government oversight, my & @By_CJewett investigation found.

A 🧵 for @KHNews @USATODAY…
.@CMSGov urged private accreditors — which almost 90% of hospitals pay for oversight — to do targeted infection-control inspections as covid began to sweep the country last March.

They said no.…
Government inspectors went into nearly every nursing home last year, @HealthcareSeema told us.

That the same couldn’t be done for hospitals reveals a problem, she said.

“We didn’t have the authority,” @HealthcareSeema said. “This is something to be corrected.”
Read 14 tweets
8 Oct 21
IMPACT: Five New York state and local government agencies agreed to fix covid-19 vaccine websites to make them accessible for blind users following a @TheJusticeDept investigation spurred by our @KHNews story

W/ the relentless @hannah_recht

Our update:…
As Bryan Bashin told me amid the vaccine race of the winter, he had appointments slip away twice in the same day while he battled inaccessible websites.

"It’s an awful bit of discrimination, one as stinging as anything I’ve experienced,” Bashin, who is blind, said.
.@AccessBoard @sdpavithran said he knew @thejusticedept had investigations in progress in other states

@AndyDRC , a member of the White House’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, said their report will likely call for an outside evaluation of access issues in the covid response
Read 6 tweets
26 Mar 21
Kyunghee Lee noticed her doctor's office had moved up a floor when she went to get her usual arthritis shots.

It was the same doctor, same shots, same time.

But it cost 10 times more.

Welcome to the "facility fee."

@KHNews @npratc #BilloftheMonth…
The increasingly controversial charge — basically a room rental fee — comes without warning

“It’s the same physician office it was, operating in exactly the same way, doing exactly the same services — but the hospital chooses to attach a facility fee to it” @TrishRiley207 said
Facility fees are one reason hospital prices are rising faster than physician prices.

There is some state legislation to combat the rising phenomenon, but it’s difficult to fight powerful hospital lobbyists in a pandemic political climate.
Read 6 tweets
26 Mar 21
Missourians have driven hours to find vaccines in rural counties. Doses are still slowly being rolled out in a federal long-term care program. Black residents are getting left behind.

Here's what went wrong in Missouri's vaccine rollout.
#moleg @KHNews…
If Missouri were on par with the national rate of vaccinations, that would be roughly equivalent to more than 162,000 additional people vaccinated, or almost the entire population of the city of Springfield.

Instead, MO is in the bottom of states for its rocky rollout.
The former director of the St. Louis health department put it simply:

“You get what we pay for."

Our 2020 @AP @KHNews #UnderfundedUnderThreat investigation found that Missouri public health staffing at the state level had fallen 8% from 2010 to 2019, a loss of 106 employees.
Read 15 tweets
24 Mar 21
Dr. Deborah Birx has joined an air-cleaning company that built its business, in part, on technology that is now banned in California due to health hazards.

At stake? Some of the $193 billion in federal funding to schools.

From @By_CJewett and me:…
The company’s own studies show that, in its effort to create the “healthiest indoor environments in North America,” it leveraged something less impressive: the disinfecting power of ozone — a molecule considered hazardous and linked to the onset and worsening of asthma.
In an interview with @KHNews , CEO Joe Urso acknowledged that ActivePure's air cleaners that emit ozone account for 5% of sales, even though its marketing repeatedly claims “no chemicals or ozone.”

"It is very confusing,” he said.
Read 11 tweets
25 Feb 21
INVESTIGATION: Covid vaccination registration websites at the federal, state and local levels violate disability rights laws, hindering the ability of blind people to sign up for lifesaving vaccine.

Even @CDCgov 's embattled VAMS system is inaccessible.…
As @hannah_recht and I found:

🚨 In at least 7 states, blind residents were unable to register for the vaccine without help
🚨 94 covid info and vaccine pages from the states had accessibility issues @webaim found
🚨 Phone alternatives were not available or had too long of lines
When blind people use the internet, they have software called screen readers read the text aloud to them.

If websites are not programmed properly, the software cannot read them aloud -- leaving blind people unable to register for #COVID19 vaccines.
Read 13 tweets

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