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Orange County Hospital Seeks Divorce From Large Catholic Health System

In early 2013, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Orange County, California, joined with St. Joseph Health, a local Catholic hospital chain, amid enthusiastic promises that their affiliation would broaden access to care and improve the health of residents across the community.


This story also ran on U.S. News & World Report. It can be republished for free.

Eight years later, Hoag says this vision of achieving “population health” is dead, and it wants out. It is embroiled in a legal battle for independence from Providence, a Catholic health system with 51 hospitals across seven states, which absorbed St. Joseph in 2016, bringing Hoag along with it.

In a lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court last May, Hoag argues that remaining a “captive affiliate” of the nation’s 10th-largest health system, headquartered nearly 1,200 miles away in Washington state, constrains its ability to meet the needs of the local population.

Hoag … Read the rest

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The Gender Vaccine Gap: More Women Than Men Are Getting Covid Shots


This story also ran on USA Today. It can be republished for free.

Mary Ann Steiner drove 2½ hours from her home in the St. Louis suburb of University City to the tiny Ozark town of Centerville, Missouri, to get vaccinated against covid-19. After pulling into the drive-thru line in a church parking lot, she noticed that the others waiting for shots had something in common with her.

“Everyone in the very short line was a woman,” said Steiner, 70.

Her observation reflects a national reality: More women than men are getting covid vaccines, even as more men are dying of the disease. KHN examined vaccination dashboards for all 50 states and the District of Columbia in early April and found that each of the 38 that listed gender breakdowns showed more women had received shots than men.

Public health experts cited many reasons for the difference, including that women … Read the rest

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Fauci Thanks US Health Workers for Sacrifices but Admits PPE Shortages Drove Up Death Toll

Dr. Anthony Fauci thanked America’s health care workers, who “every single day put themselves at risk” during the pandemic, even as he acknowledged that PPE shortages had contributed to the deaths of more than 3,600 of them.


This story also ran on The Guardian. It can be republished for free.

“We rightfully refer to these people without hyperbole — that they are true heroes and heroines,” he said in an exclusive interview with The Guardian. The deaths of so many health workers from covid-19 are “a reflection of what health care workers have done historically, but putting themselves in harm’s way by living up to the oath they take when they become physicians and nurses,” said Fauci.

KHN and The Guardian have tracked health care workers’ deaths throughout the pandemic in the “Lost on the Frontline” database. More than 3,600 health worker deaths have been tallied in the database, considered … Read the rest

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‘My Children Were Priceless Jewels’: Three Families Reflect on the Health Workers They Lost


This story also ran on The Guardian. It can be republished for free.

The daughter of an internist in the Bronx, the father of a nurse practitioner in Southern California and the son of a nurse in McAllen, Texas, share how grief over their loved ones’ deaths from covid-19 has affected them.

These health care workers were profiled in KHN and The Guardian’s yearlong “Lost on the Frontline” project.

Dr. Reza Chowdhury was a beloved internist with a private practice in the Bronx and a trusted voice in New York’s Bengali community. His daughter, Nikita Rahman, said that despite underlying health issues putting him at higher risk of developing covid complications, he saw patients through mid-March last year, when he developed symptoms. He died on April 9, 2020.

Nikita Rahman, Reza Chowdhury’s daughter:

My therapist says grief is the final act of love. Every time I miss him, I think … Read the rest

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They Tested Negative for Covid. Still, They Have Long Covid Symptoms.

Kristin Novotny once led an active life, with regular CrossFit workouts and football in the front yard with her children — plus a job managing the kitchen at a middle school. Now, the 33-year-old mother of two from De Pere, Wisconsin, has to rest after any activity, even showering. Conversations leave her short of breath.

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Long after their initial coronavirus infections, patients with a malady known as “long covid” continue to struggle with varied symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal problems, muscle and joint pain, and neurological issues. Novotny has been contending with these and more, despite testing negative for covid-19 seven months ago.

Experts don’t yet know what causes long covid or why some people have persistent symptoms while others recover in weeks or even days. They also don’t know just how long the condition — referred to … Read the rest

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12 Months of Trauma: More Than 3,600 US Health Workers Died in Covid’s First Year

More than 3,600 U.S. health care workers perished in the first year of the pandemic, according to “Lost on the Frontline,” a 12-month investigation by The Guardian and KHN to track such deaths.


This story also ran on The Guardian. It can be republished for free.

Lost on the Frontline is the most complete accounting of U.S. health care worker deaths. The federal government has not comprehensively tracked this data. But calls are mounting for the Biden administration to undertake a count as the KHN/Guardian project comes to a close today.

The project, which tracked who died and why, provides a window into the workings — and failings — of the U.S. health system during the covid-19 pandemic. One key finding: Two-thirds of deceased health care workers for whom the project has data identified as people of color, revealing the deep inequities tied to race, ethnicity and economic status in … Read the rest

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Doctor Survived Cambodia’s Killing Fields, but Not Covid

Linath Lim’s life was shaped by starvation.

She was not yet 13 when the Khmer Rouge seized power in Cambodia and ripped her family apart. The totalitarian regime sent her and four siblings to work camps, where they planted rice and dug irrigation canals from sunrise to sunset — each surviving on two ladles of rice gruel a day. One disappeared, never to be found.

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Just a few months before the Khmer Rouge fell in January 1979, Lim’s father starved to death, among the nearly one-quarter of Cambodians who perished from execution, forced labor, starvation or disease in less than four years.

For Lim, the indelible stamp of childhood anguish drove two of her life’s passions: serving people as a physician and cooking lavish feasts for friends and family — both of which she did until she died of covid-19 in … Read the rest

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What Covid Means for the Athlete’s Heart

For sports fans across the country, the resumption of the regular sports calendar has signaled another step toward post-pandemic normality. But for the athletes participating in professional, collegiate, high school or even recreational sports, significant unanswered questions remain about the aftereffects of a covid infection.


This story also ran on ESPN. It can be republished for free.

Chief among those is whether the coronavirus can damage their hearts, putting them at risk for lifelong complications and death. Preliminary data from early in the pandemic suggested that as many as 1 in 5 people with covid-19 could end up with heart inflammation, known as myocarditis, which has been linked to abnormal heart rhythms and sudden cardiac death.

Screening studies conducted by college athletic programs over the past year have generally found lower numbers. But these studies have been too small to provide an accurate measure of how likely athletes are to … Read the rest

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Despite Covid, Many Wealthy Hospitals Had a Banner Year With Federal Bailout

Last May, Baylor Scott & White Health, the largest nonprofit hospital system in Texas, laid off 1,200 employees and furloughed others as it braced for the then-novel coronavirus to spread. The cancellation of lucrative elective procedures as the hospital pivoted to treat a new and less profitable infectious disease presaged financial distress, if not ruin. The federal government rushed $454 million in relief funds to help shore up its operations.


This story also ran on The Washington Post. It can be republished for free.

But Baylor not only weathered the crisis, it thrived. By the end of 2020, Baylor had accumulated an $815 million surplus, $20 million more than it had in 2019, creating a 7.5% operating margin that would be the envy of most other hospitals in the flushest of eras, a KHN examination of financial statements shows.

Like Baylor, some of the nation’s richest hospitals and health systems … Read the rest

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Backed by Millions in Public and Private Cash, Rapid Covid Tests Are Coming to Stores Near You

Scientists and lawmakers agree that over-the-counter covid tests could allow desk workers to settle back into their cubicles and make it easier to reopen schools and travel.


This story also ran on Fortune. It can be republished for free.

But even as entrepreneurs race their products to market, armed with millions of dollars in venture capital and government investment, the demand for covid testing has waned. Manufacturing and bureaucratic delays have also kept rapid tests from hitting store shelves in large numbers, though the industry was energized by the Food and Drug Administration’s greenlighting of two more over-the-counter tests Wednesday.

Corporate giants and startups alike plan to offer a dizzying array of test options, most costing between $10 and $110. Their screening accuracy varies, as does the way consumers get results: collection kits mailed back to a lab, devices synced with artificial intelligence-enabled apps on a smartphone that spit out … Read the rest

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