What We’re Reading: 70% of US Vaccinated; CMS Payment Rules Released; Alcohol Consumption and Cancer

Seventy percent of Americans have received at least 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine; CMS releases payment rules for fiscal year 2022; alcohol linked to over 700,000 new cancer diagnoses in 2020.

US Meets Biden's Vaccine Goal 1 Month Late

One month after President Biden’s set goal of vaccinating 70% of eligible Americans against COVID-19, the country met this threshold as the delta variant continues to sweep throughout states, The Associated Press reports. The president had originally hoped to have 70% of Americans receive at least 1 dose of the vaccine by July 4, and the country is still 8.5 million people short of its previous goal of fully vaccinating 165 million Americans. Meanwhile, new COVID-19 cases per day have increased 6-fold over the past month and most deaths and serious illness are among the unvaccinated.

Hospitals to Get Payment Boosts

CMS’ 2022 inpatient pay rule stipulates providers will no longer have to disclose their contract terms with Medicare Advantage insurers, Modern Healthcare reports. Thanks to the rule, providers will receive a 2.5% increase for inpatient service payments, amounting to $2.3 billion more than in 2021. In addition, long-term care hospitals will receive a 1.1% raise, or $42 million, while the rule will extend add-on payments for new COVID-19 treatments through the end of the fiscal year. It also mandates hospitals submit data on several measures to identify emerging COVID-19 outbreaks, according to Fierce Healthcare.

Alcohol Linked With Cancer Diagnoses in 2020

Data published in The Lancet Oncology found that over 700,000 new cancer cases were linked to alcohol consumption in 2020, CBS News reports. Specifically, analyses revealed over 4% of all new cancer cases in 2020 were caused by alcohol consumption, and although most were in those who consumed more than 2 drinks per day, over 100,00 cases globally were in individuals who averaged less than that. In 2020, many Americans turned to alcohol when COVID-19 led to nationwide shutdowns. In the analyses, most cancers identified were among men and were of the liver and esophagus, while breast cancer was most common among women.