What We're Reading: Patient Safety Concerns; 340B Proposal; Rural Physician Shortage


NIH Report Highlights Patient Safety Concerns

The National Institute of Health (NIH) released a report that highlighted staff concerns about patient safety issues, as well as low morale at the NIH’s Clinical Center. The report outlined poor management and communication, out-of-date equipment, and even water leaks in operating rooms, according to The Washington Post. In addition, staff members at the center have reported a lack of transparency and that they often learn about patient safety issues from the news.

Proposal Aims to Cut 340B Payments

The Trump administration unveiled a proposal to reduce payments to hospitals through the 340B drug discount program. According to STAT, the purpose of the proposal is to fulfill the president’s promise to address rising drug costs. HHS estimated that the change will save Medicare $900 million, with beneficiaries saving $180 million. The proposal could reduce a hospital’s incentive to prescribe a more expensive drug, but advocates of the 340B program call the proposal “shortsighted” and note that funds gained through the program are used for initiatives to help vulnerable populations.

Physician Shortage in Rural America

Recruiting doctors to practice in rural America has been difficult as new doctors choose to stay in metropolitan areas, where they can make more money. An article from NPR delves into the impact that this physician shortage has on people living in these rural areas, and how difficult it can be for them to go see a doctor. Unfortunately, the physician shortage, and its impact on rural America, has been missing from the healthcare debate currently going on in Washington, DC.

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