Healthcare News Clips Taken from My In-Box

Physician signing bonuses reach $240,000, ASCs promote long term ROI (

While the median physician signing bonus was $29,656, physicians on the high end of the spectrum were offered $240,000 or more. While signing bonuses at the high end of the spectrum were around $140,000 more than they were in 2019-20, they were down from the 2015-16 high of $350,000.

Hospitals often are able to provide large signing bonuses, while physicians have to spend money initially to open their own practices or buy into a surgery center. Over time, physicians in independent practice tend to receive higher average compensation than physicians employed by hospitals. The Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2021 shows employed physicians earned $300,000, compared with independent physicians who earned $352,000 on average last year.

“The younger surgeons, sometimes they come out [of medical school] with a lot of debt, so that’s a problem, and I understand that,” said Chris Blackburn, administrator of South Kansas City Surgicenter in Overland Park, Kan. 

ASC sues to block hospital’s ‘anticompetitive’ acquisition: 5 details (

A Marion, Ill.-based multispecialty ASC is testing President Joe Biden’s executive order to scrutinize and halt acquisitions that would limit competition and increase healthcare prices.

“The effect of the proposed acquisition on the . . . primary and corollary product markets would be to substantially reduce competition in those markets, limiting alternative, competing providers of hospital and ambulatory surgery services, thereby potentially raising costs to patients, reducing choice of institutional providers and physicians, and further, causing antitrust injury to Marion HealthCare,” Marion HealthCare claims in the lawsuit.

I wonder about this test by the Marion, IL based ASC and whether they are serious about stopping the acquisition or are trying to short-circuit the executive order in court.

Thousands of physicians have joined the 3 biggest ASC companies in 2021 (

The largest ASC companies and physician groups in the U.S. added thousands of physicians in the first half of 2021 and have more acquisitions planned for the back half of the year.

United Surgical Partners International, a Dallas-based company and part of Tenet Healthcare, added 570 physicians in the second quarter and has grown its network by 1,100 physicians since Jan. 1. The company had 317 ASCs and 24 surgical hospitals as of June 30.

USPI is also focused on orthopedics, reporting 120 percent growth in the total joint replacement service line and 21 percent growth in spine for the second quarter.

Optum, part of UnitedHealth Group, reported adding more than 5,000 physicians and clinicians in mid-July, and boasted it was more than halfway to its goal of welcoming 10,000 physicians this year.

On the other hand this concerns me as it is an additional consolidation of the market which we have already experienced less competition in healthcare in particular regions due to the growing strength of ACOs.

US Teens 16 to 17 Have the Highest COVID Infection Rate (

Health experts have noted a trend for months: A growing number of children are becoming infected with COVID-19 as the Delta variant spreads across the United States.

Now older teenagers 16 and 17 years old have the highest COVID infection rate among all age groups — adult or children — in the nation, CNN reported.

As of Saturday, children 16-17 accounted for 160.3 COVID weekly cases per 100,000 people, CNN said, citing data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What worries me here is not so much Covid ; but, the lingering after effects from Covid in heart, lung and other organs.

Pace of US COVID Infections May Be Slowing, But Still Rising (

New COVID-19 infections in the United States appear to be increasing at a slower rate than in previous weeks.

New cases increased by 11% over the last week, compared to about 30% two weeks ago, CNBC said, citing data from Johns Hopkins University. The number of new cases is still very high, averaging around 152,000 per day, a rate not seen since last January, CNBC said.

This is confirmation of what NDd has said as well as others.

Coronavirus update: Pfizer CEO says another variant may be coming, Johnson & Johnson has positive booster news (

Many states are still grappling with the impact of the fast-spreading Delta variant. Meanwhile, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla is preparing for the next one.

In an interview with Fox News, Bourla said his researchers believe a future variant could be resistant to the current vaccines. Should that happen, he said the drug company has contingency plans that could produce a new vaccine in about three months.

Both the Pfizer and the J&J articles are worth a read. Two different topics.

Are We Jumping the Gun on COVID Boosters? | MedPage Today

While this will be contingent on an FDA evaluation to determine the “safety and effectiveness of the third dose,” a clear path forward has already been set. And just like everything else throughout the course of the pandemic, the choice has been made with a dearth of data and an abundance of political pressure.

First, what is current vaccine effectiveness? And second, what justifies boosters? 

Helping Patients Understand Breakthrough COVID Benefits Us All | MedPage Today

The recent change in masking guidance from the CDC and reinstated public health measures from local and state governments have been met with frustration and defiance, with people understandably questioning why they got vaccinated if they have to go back to masking and distancing anyway. The answer is in the degree of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, and the explanation lies in the way vaccines work. We can help our patients understand this with three talking points:

The three points made are worth the time to read. The antibody levels in the bloodstream are completely helpless at preventing infection (saying it that way seems to get everybody’s attention!) Now read the rest and find out why.

Getting Ready for the Next Plague | MedPage Today

Yesterday I got an email from the Department of Health here in New York City announcing that they are spraying local bodies of water in Brooklyn starting this Thursday, to eliminate mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus.

Man, it’s bad enough that we’re dealing with the Delta variant of COVID-19 — now we’ve got to remember to think about West Nile virus? What’s next, leprosy?

COVID Closes Texas Town; Vax Resistant Strain ‘Likely’?; Oregon’s Outdoor Mask Rule | MedPage Today

COVID has hit this small Texas town so hard that the schools closed and then the town shut down. (CNN)

Effect of Ivermectin on Time to Resolution of Symptoms Among Adults With Mild COVID-19: A Randomized Clinical Trial | Infectious Diseases | JAMA | JAMA Network

Question: What is the effect of ivermectin on duration of symptoms in adults with mild COVID-19?

If you have been reading on other sites, you will see some promoting the use of Ivermectin for Covid infection or why not?. This was a small trial of 476 individuals with half receiving a placebo and the other half Ivermectin. The findings did “not support the use of ivermectin for treatment of mild COVID-19.”

This is a five or so minute read and worth the time.