The top Healthcare News of Note blog posts for the first six months of the year were a mixed bag in terms of topics, but all of them grabbed the most reader attention based on number of clicks:
- Seven hospitals were recognized for elevating nursing excellence and improving patient outcomes with Press Ganey’s National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators Award for Outstanding Nursing Quality.
- CMS distributed 200 Medicare-funded physician residency slots to 100 hospitals, aiming to bolster healthcare access in areas with a shortage of qualified professionals.
- CVS Health completed the acquisitions of Signify Health and Oak Street Health, expanding its efforts to implement a value-based payment ecosystem focused on holistic care.
- The economic burden of racial, ethnic and education health inequities was deemed “unacceptably high” by the authors of a study published May 16 in JAMA.
- In 2022, healthcare private equity deals reached nearly $90 billion, the second highest on record.
1. 7 hospitals earn a Press Ganey award for outstanding nursing quality
The Feb. 20 post was the most-read of the first six months of the year. The focus of the lead story was on the seven hospitals recognized for “elevating nursing excellence and improving patient outcomes” with the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI) Award for Outstanding Nursing Quality for 2022.
The interest in the topic was no surprise at a time when hospitals and other healthcare facilities were still coming to grips with the continued nursing shortage even as the worst of the pandemic seemed to be over. While nurses continued to switch to travel nursing, better-paying/less-stressful nursing positions or jobs in other fields, here were six hospitals in the U.S. and one in Abu Dhabi that won a prestigious nursing award, as described in Press Ganey’s awards announcement.
The NDNQI Award is one of several Press Ganey 2022 Human Experience Awards.
Read The business of caring: Promoting optimal allocation of nursing resources, published by HFMA in 2020.
2. 100 hospitals receive funding for new physician residency slots to boost healthcare access
The Jan. 30 blog post, in which the main story reported on CMS’s awarding of 200 Medicare-funded physician residency slots to 100 hospitals, earned the No. 2 spot for reader engagement. The United States continues to contend with the issue of physician shortages, especially in rural areas, with shortages growing worse as the pandemic dragged on and physicians took early retirement or left the profession due to burnout. The national issue was compounded in underserved communities.
The CMS announcement was part of the agency’s efforts to improve health equity in U.S. healthcare. In awarding the first 200 of 1,000 positions to be distributed during a five-year period, CMS prioritized hospitals that are in designated health professional shortage areas for primary care and mental health.
Listen to the April 17 Voices in Healthcare Finance podcast episode “Sleepless in the C-suite: Workforce, Part 2,” hosted by HFMA’s Erika Grotto. In this episode, the focus is on ways clinical workers need support from their leaders. HFMA’s Todd Nelson, Janae Sharp of the Sharp Index and FinThrive’s Jonathan Wiik talk about shortages of clinical workers and offering help to those who remain.
Read the March 29 article “How investing in the workforce can improve a health system’s bottom line,” about an initiative by Keck Medicine of USC to implement a systematic approach to workforce well-being and resiliency after seeing workforce challenges explode in the wake of the pandemic.
3. CVS finalizes purchases of Signify Health, Oak Street Health, moving into home healthcare and primary care
The No. 3 post of the first half of 2023 likely piqued the interest of readers because of its spotlight on the potential to disrupt segments of healthcare. In the May 8 entry, Nick Hut, senior editor with HFMA, wrote: “CVS Health in recent weeks has finalized the purchases of Signify Health and Oak Street Health for a combined $18.6 billion.
“With the acquisitions, CVS Health gains a foothold in both the home healthcare space and primary care, adding to its retail care capacity, Aetna health plans and pharmacy benefit manager business.
“The antitrust waiting period for each deal passed, allowing the transactions to close. In theory, however, regulators can still challenge the deals.”
The post reviewed both the Oak Street Health and Signify deals and provided a big-picture industry view as well.
Oak Street Health update
On May 31, Chicago-based Oak Street Health announced plans to expand into four new states by opening centers in Little Rock, Arkansas; Des Moines and Davenport, Iowa; Kansas City, Kansas; and Richmond, Virginia, beginning this summer, according to a news release.
“The expansion into these new states will mark the 25th state in which Oak Street Health serves older adults,” stated the release.
The company “will also continue to expand into new communities within states where it has an existing presence with additional centers planned for Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania this year,” according to the release.
Read the Dec. 20, 2022, article, “Healthcare M&A: Are you prepared for the pitfalls?” by HFMA’s Eric Reese, PhD.
4. Economic burden of racial and ethnic health disparities in the U.S. grew by 41% in 4-year span
As seen in the attention garnered by the June 16 post, industry leaders continue to strive to understand and address health inequities.
- Racial and ethnic health disparities in 2018 cost the U.S. economy $451 billion, a 41% increase from the previous estimate of $320 billion in 2014.
- The total burden of education-related health disparities for individuals with less than a college degree in 2018 reached $978 billion.
The study authors wrote: “The economic burden of health inequities is unacceptably high and warrants investments in policies and interventions to promote health equity for racial and ethnic minorities and adults with less than a 4-year college degree.”
- “A brief guide to the health-equity journey” was published online June 12.
- “10 steps toward health equity” was a report based on insight from industry leaders participating in HFMA’s 2022 Thought Leadership Retreat.
5. Healthcare private equity deals amounted to a strong $90B in 2022
The main story in the No. 5 entry, which was posted online April 28, discussed how 2022 was the second-best year on record for healthcare private equity deals.
Authors of Bain & Company’s Global Healthcare Private Equity and M&A Report 2023 wrote in a welcome letter, “The uncertainty from these macroeconomic and geopolitical dynamics — and now mounting turbulence in the banking sector — is far from resolved, but rising asset valuations and scale corporate merger and acquisition (M&A) deals late in 2022 suggest continued faith in healthcare investments.”
HFMA provides regular coverage of private equity dealmaking, including:
- David Johnson’s column “The orthopod’s dilemma — Caught between the PE rock and the venture capital hard place” published in the Summer issue of hfm
- The article “3 ways healthcare providers should vet potential private equity partners,” by Gary Bruce, JD, MBA, a healthcare attorney with Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, in the Winter 2022-23 issue of hfm