News | Coronavirus

Healthcare News of Note: Brigham and Women’s home hospital program freed up 419 beds during early COVID-19 surge, study shows

News | Coronavirus

Healthcare News of Note: Brigham and Women’s home hospital program freed up 419 beds during early COVID-19 surge, study shows

  • Over a three-month period of the pandemic, Brigham and Women’s Hospital freed up 419 hospital bed-days by treating 65 non-COVID patients at home.
  • Most Americans believe nurses and aides are underpaid, but fewer believe the same about physicians.
  • The technology, healthcare and finance industries were the most targeted by distributed denial-of-services (DDoS) attacks in Q2 2021.

Over the last few weeks, I have found these industry news stories that should be of interest to healthcare finance professionals.

1. Brigham report: 419 hospital bed-days saved by treating acutely ill patients at home

A research team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital has found that delivering acute care at home for non-COVID patients for 95 days freed up substantial inpatient capacity during the COVID-19 surge last spring.

The program provided care for 65 acutely ill patients, according to information in an Aug. 6 research report, “Acute Care at Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic Surge in Boston,”  published in The Journal of General Internal Medicine.

In addition to freeing up more than 400 bed-days for patients at the hospital, study authors determined the home hospital program offered a care option for patients who otherwise may have deferred care during the pandemic.

To evaluate the program’s capacity creation, study authors included patients hospitalized at home during pandemic surge conditions, beginning March 15, 2020 (when Massachusetts emergency restrictions took effect) until the initial surge ended on June 18, 2020 (defined as fewer than 30 patients hospitalized with COVID-19). 

David Levine, MD, of the Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care at Brigham and the study’s corresponding author, stated in press release: “Our study shows that another benefit of home hospital care is that it can be a part of the pandemic playbook. We know that home hospital programs can provide high-quality care for patients from the comfort of their home. Our study shows that this model can also be effective during a pandemic to free up hospital beds during a surge by treating non-COVID patients at home.”

2. NORC/AP Poll: Most Americans agree that nurses and aides are underpaid, while far fewer believe doctors are underpaid

Bipartisan consensus around health care workers’ pay provides insights into the types of policies that could gain broad public support,” according to a report on results of a nationwide poll of 1,071 adults in the U.S. in June.

The poll, conducted by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, found:

  • 59% of Americans believe that nurses are underpaid, while 61% believe healthcare aides are underpaid.
  • 11% of Americans believe doctors are underpaid, while 50% say doctors are paid the right amount. Many Americans also say physical therapists and pharmacists are paid about right.
  • Views on doctors’ pay are not tied to partisanship, with 36% of Democrats and 37% of Republicans saying doctors are overpaid.
  • About 70% say both hospital and insurance executives are overpaid.
  • While most Americans believe that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) had no effect on the pay of doctors or nurses, about a third think the law created a windfall for hospital and insurance executives.

“The results show the usual partisan divides when it comes to the ACA and other major health care reform proposals but highlight a bipartisan consensus around the pay of health care workers,” said Trevor Tompson, director of the AP-NORC Center. “These findings provide some evidence that policies designed to improve pay for nurses and health care aides or lower the salaries of executives could be popular with both Democrats and Republicans.”

3. Radware report: Healthcare industry second only to technology when it comes to DDoS attacks

“The technology, healthcare and finance industries were the most targeted by distributed denial-of-services (DDoS) attacks, while the gaming and telecommunications industries observed the largest attack volumes in Q2, 2021,” according to a Radware quarterly report released in July.

Although technology was the most attacked industry in Q2 with an average of almost 3,000 attacks per customer, the healthcare industry wasn’t far behind at 2,000, reported Radware. The finance sector was third at 1,350.

Report highlights and fastest attack vectors

Highlights from the report include:

  • DDoS attack volumes increased 40% quarter over quarter
  • The average DDoS attack size grew by over 10% from Q1 2021
  • The Americas and Europe/the Middle East/Africa (EMEA) accounted for 80% of DDoS attack volume

The report also noted the fastest attack vectors:

  • DNS, with a rate of over 40 million packets per second (MPPS)
  • SYN Flood, reaching 27 MPPS
  • SYN-ACK Flood,  at 20 MPPS

“DDoS extortions have been a persistent part of the DDoS threat businesses face in all verticals since August of 2020, and Q2 of 2021 was no different, with new campaigns targeting particularly unprotected assets,” the Radware authors stated in the report.

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Provider conduct could have a big impact on the future of telehealth, experts say,” is one of the latest online articles by Nick Hut, HFMA senior editor.


About the Author

Deborah Filipek

is a senior editor with HFMA,, Westchester, Ill.

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