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    Diagnostics makers ride omicron surge in COVID-19 test demand. But for how long in 2022?

    The highly transmissible variant caused the Biden administration to announce plans to buy 1 billion rapid tests to provide free to Americans. However, when testing will ramp back down remains an open question.

    By Greg Slabodkin • Jan. 20, 2022
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    CMS extends COVID-19 vaccine deadline for health workers in 24 states

    New guidance from CMS sets different vaccine deadlines for healthcare workers in half the country, which could create confusion. Further complicating compliance is Texas' current shield from any deadline.

    By Jan. 18, 2022
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    Abbott, BD, Quidel pursue DTC strategies amid 'paradigm shift' for at-home, self-testing

    The three test makers said at last week's J.P. Morgan investor meeting that they see opportunities for direct-to-consumer, digitally-connected testing for other diseases beyond COVID-19.

    By Greg Slabodkin • Jan. 18, 2022
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    Biden administration to buy 500M more rapid COVID-19 tests to give to Americans

    The announcement by President Joe Biden now brings the administration's total purchase to 1 billion test kits. Abbott Laboratories, iHealth and Roche have so far been awarded contracts for a combined 380 million tests.

    By Greg Slabodkin • Jan. 14, 2022
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    Pandemic stresses physicians as they reevaluate careers, work-life balance

    About 60% of female physicians and 53% of male physicians said they would take a pay cut to have better work-life balance, Medscape's survey found.

    By Jan. 14, 2022
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    "Supreme Court" by Matt Wade is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

    Providers concerned about staffing shortages post-SCOTUS vaccination mandate ruling

    Nursing facilities are particularly worried about the strain a vaccination mandate could have on their shrinking workforce, and are urging CMS to consider a regular testing option for unvaccinated workers.

    By Jan. 14, 2022
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    SCOTUS narrowly upholds health worker vaccine mandate

    The court's liberal justices agree with the government that CMS has the authority to impose the requirement, just one of many healthcare organizations must comply with to be eligible for Medicare and Medicaid funding.

    By Jan. 13, 2022
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    Biden health officials defend COVID-19 testing policies amid diagnostics shortage

    Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock and others were under fire from senators during a Tuesday hearing for not doing enough to increase the availability of tests.

    By Greg Slabodkin • Jan. 12, 2022
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    Insurers will be required to cover 8 at-home COVID-19 tests per month

    The Biden administration is incentivizing insurers to create programs that enable people to get tests from preferred pharmacies without paying upfront or needing to file a reimbursement claim.

    By Nick Paul Taylor • Jan. 11, 2022
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    Telehealth use reached pandemic low in October, per tracker

    The decrease was seen in all U.S. regions except the Northeast, which was particularly slammed with COVID-19 cases and rising hospital admissions during the fall and winter months, nonprofit Fair Health found.

    By Jan. 10, 2022
  • SCOTUS justices leave opening for healthcare worker vaccine mandate

    The key question is whether the agencies enacting federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates — OSHA and CMS — had the authority to do so, or whether that power falls to the states.

    By Jan. 7, 2022
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    Unions petition to keep OSHA pandemic protections for health workers in place

    "The grave danger that led to issuance of the emergency temporary standard not only remains, but has dramatically increased with the omicron variant and current surge in infections and hospitalizations," National Nurses United said.

    By Jan. 6, 2022
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    Hospitals' labor expenses rose again just before omicron arrival, report finds

    Expenses outpaced revenue growth as hospitals continued grappling with nationwide staffing shortages in November, according to Kaufman Hall.

    By Jan. 5, 2022
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    Nurses at Massachusetts Tenet hospital ratify contract, ending 9-month strike

    The deal includes some staffing improvements that were top priorities for nurses, including limits on how many patients can be assigned in certain hospital units, along with wage increases, the union said.

    By Jan. 4, 2022
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    Roche, Siemens at-home tests get FDA EUAs as US faces COVID-19 testing shortage

    The agency granted emergency use authorizations to both companies' over-the-counter diagnostics under a new accelerated review program. However, it may take months for them to scale up production.

    By Nick Paul Taylor • Jan. 4, 2022
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    Supreme Court sets Jan. 7 hearing on vaccine mandate rules

    The justices will hear arguments on the requirement that healthcare workers must be fully vaccinated amid a flurry of legal challenges.

    By Dec. 23, 2021
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    COVID-19 pills from Pfizer, Merck authorized by FDA in major pandemic milestone

    Paxlovid and molnupiravir are the first oral treatments for COVID-19, potentially valuable new tools as the fast-spreading omicron variant fuels a sharp surge in cases across the U.S.

    By Jonathan Gardner • Updated Dec. 23, 2021
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    SCOTUS upholds another state vaccine mandate

    The high court blocked a challenge to New Mexico's statewide vaccine mandate for healthcare workers Tuesday. The CMS vaccine mandate remains in place, though injunctions in some states still stand.

    By Dec. 22, 2021
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    Most COVID-19 medical device EUAs lack documented supporting data, JAMA study shows

    The use of "low-quality data" is reasonable at the start of a crisis but FDA should consider raising the standard of evidence after multiple products come to market, according to the authors of the study.

    By Nick Paul Taylor • Dec. 22, 2021
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    UPMC launches in-house travel staffing agency

    The system said it can hire two of its own nurses or surgical technologists for the price of one contracted through an outside agency.

    By Dec. 21, 2021
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    Moderna vaccine weaker against omicron, but third shot boosts protection

    As a result of new laboratory data, the biotech company is deemphasizing more complex "multivalent" booster shots in favor of further study of its existing formulation and an omicron-specific version.

    By Jonathan Gardner • Dec. 21, 2021
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    Insurers returned $2B to consumers for 2020 under ACA

    The rebates, tied to lower medical loss ratios, were triggered as utilization rates dropped at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    By Susan Kelly • Dec. 21, 2021
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    Biden administration to send military medical personnel to overwhelmed hospitals

    As the omicron variant spreads rapidly, the White House is mobilizing federal agencies to assist hospitals and states in the latest wave of infection.

    By Dec. 21, 2021
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    Nurses, Tenet hospital reach deal 9 months into strike

    Nurses at St. Vincent Hospital are set to vote Jan. 3 to ratify a new contract after labor leaders and management reached a tentative agreement Friday. The nurses also agreed to suspend picketing outside the hospital until the vote.

    By Updated Dec. 21, 2021
  • Hospitals clamp down on elective surgeries as COVID-19 surges

    Cleveland Clinic, Banner Health and other hospital systems are pausing nonessential procedures, while provider groups issued a joint statement Friday declaring that doctors and nurses are exhausted and heartbroken.

    By Susan Kelly • Dec. 20, 2021