What We're Reading: Trauma Fees Inflate ED Bills; CDC Chief Switches View; Painkiller Shortages in Hospitals

July 2, 2018

Collected emergency department (ED) bills show that trauma fees are costly and swing widely; the head of the CDC has changed his mind about opposing the use of condoms and needle programs as ways to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases; EDs around the country are struggling with shortages of painkillers and cardiac drugs.

Trauma Fees Inflate Emergency Department Bills

Emergency department (ED) bills collected by Vox and Kaiser Health News show that trauma fees, which are billed by trauma centers when they activates and assembles a team that can meet a patient with potentially serious injuries in the ED, are costly and swing widely. The fee is billed on top of the hospital’s other fees. Charges ranged from $1112 at a hospital in Missouri to $50,659 at a hospital in California.

CDC Head Now in Favor of Condoms, Needle Exchanges to Stop HIV Spread

Robert Redfield Jr, MD, head of the CDC, told the Associated Press his views on opposing condoms and needle exchange programs as ways to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases have changed. Until this year, Redfield sat on the board of Children's AIDS Fund International, an organization that has long prioritized abstinence before marriage in preventing the spread of HIV. He said it is now clear to him that “the data is just clear that these strategies work.”

Hospitals Struggle With Shortages to Painkillers, Cardiac Drugs

EDs around the country are struggling with shortages of painkillers and cardiac drugs, The New York Times reported. Medical staff are watching patients suffer through pain or risk reactions to alternative drugs that aren’t the best option. Pfizer, which makes many of the drugs, has warned that manufacturing problems at some of its plants will lower supplies of many of its products until next year.