“It’s the prices, stupid”

That’s really the name of a 2003 paper that explains health care spending is so high in the US because the prices for health care are so high, stupid. 14 years later the story still rings true—the per unit cost of health services hasn’t shifted much. Vox, in an effort to get a scope of these prices across the nation, is asking readers to send in their emergency facility fee (think: what the hospital charges to keep their lights on waiting for you to break your toe) to crowdsource the cost of that specific unit price. It’s an interesting idea since hospitals don’t advertise their ED admission fees. Telling patients they have to pay at least $500 beforehand typically isn’t the best look after all.

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NHS may wanna cry about this one

A huge cyberattack hit dozens of countries over the past week. British National Health Services were hit particularly hard, leaving healthcare workers without patient data, which forced hospitals to cancel procedures. The attack used “ransomware” to get into computers, encrypt data, and then forced people to pay up in untraceable currency before giving the files back. Basically, imagine someone breaking into your office, putting a lock on your file cabinet, and refusing to give you the key until you leave money next to the stump in that seedy park you never see any kids at during the day. The attack is still ongoing, but if you’ve updated your Windows system past XP (which NHS hadn’t,) you’re probably fine.

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Medicare over(under)sight

Hospitals must report the number of hospital-originated patient infections to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This is mandated because, according to a 2016 report (paywall warning), medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. No way?!? Way. Medicare is then supposed to review and investigate suspicious reports—ones that hint of under-reporting. But why would a healthcare facility under-report these figures, you ask? Because results are made public and hospitals receive financial bonuses or penalties based on their numbers. A recent investigation by the Office of the Inspector General reported that the vast majority of hospitals they sampled passed inspection, but CMS needs to rely more heavily on data analytics to identify likely offenders. If you ever think InsightCity is behaving unethically, let us know. We’ll investigate ourselves and get back to you. Trust us.

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Baby boomers + healthcare hiring = A boom in healthcare hiring, baby!

Even with rising healthcare costs and uncertainty surrounding healthcare legislation, one thing never changes: people getting old. That shockingly continues to hold true for the baby boomer generation currently straddling both sides of the senior citizen line. A large aging population—especially one predicted to be sicker in their twilight years than earlier generations—will need more healthcare workers to help manage and treat their health. Per new data from LinkedIn, the 100 largest hospital systems (by revenue) have increased their headcounts by about 6% over the past couple years. Couple that with about 30,000 healthcare jobs created per month in the past year, and it looks like job security won’t be an issue for the foreseeable future.

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