What We're Reading: Nonprofit Hospitals' Charity Care; FDA Approves New LDL-C Drug; Emergency Coronavirus Funding

February 24, 2020

Nonprofit hospitals with the highest net income were shown in a study to devote the smallest proportion of earnings to charity care; FDA approves a novel drug to lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C); the White House is seeking emergency funding from Congress to fight the novel coronavirus.

Wealthiest Nonprofit Hospitals Devote Lowest Proportion to Charity Care

According to a study published last week in JAMA Internal Medicine, nonprofit hospitals with the highest net income were shown to dedicate the smallest proportion of their earnings to providing free care to uninsured patients and low-income people struggling to pay their bills. Reuters reports that for every $100 of net income, the top earning hospitals devoted just $11.50 to charity care for the uninsured and $5.10 to free care for other low-income individuals, whereas the lowest-earning hospitals gave $72.30 of every $100 of net income to charity care for the uninsured and another $40.90 to free care for other low-income patients.

FDA Approves New Type of Cholesterol-Lowering Drug

Last Friday, the FDA approved Esperion Therapeutics Inc’s low-density lipoprotein cholesterol—lowering drug bempedoic acid (Nexletol), a new type of drug that aims to expand therapeutic efficacy for patients who cannot tolerate or do not get enough benefit from widely used statin pills such as atorvastatin (Lipitor) and rosuvastatin (Crestor), according to The Associated Press. The drug is approved for people genetically predisposed to have very high cholesterol and in people with heart disease who need to further lower their bad cholesterol.

White House Seeks Emergency Coronavirus Funding

According to POLITICO, the White House will soon ask Congress for emergency funds to assist in fighting the novel coronavirus outbreak, after prior hesitations by the administration to seek additional funding. However, the amount being sought by the administration could be significantly lower than some public health officials have recommended, totaling nearly $1 billion. A White House official told POLITICO that the pending request is still preliminary and subject to change before it is expected to occur in the coming days.