Patients getting slammed by surprise costs related to COVID-19

COVID-19 can do more than torment patients physically. It also clobbers some financially.

Even though many insurers and the U.S. government have offered to pick up or waive costs tied to the virus, holes remain for big bills to slip through and surprise patients.

People who weren’t able to get a test showing they had the virus and those who receive care outside their insurance network are particularly vulnerable. Who provides the coverage and how hard a patient fights to lower a bill also can matter.

There are no good estimates for how many patients have been hit with big bills because of the coronavirus. But the pandemic that arrived earlier this year exposed well-known gaps in a system that mixes private insurers, government programs and different levels of coverage.

“There are in our system, unfortunately, lots of times when people are going to fall through the cracks,” said Sabrina

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Largest single-day spike after jurisdictions report 2,558 new patients

On Friday, Oct. 9, jurisdictions around Canada reported 2,558 new cases of COVID-19, along with 31 fatalities and 2,016 recently recovered patients.

Alberta and Quebec combined to withdraw three deaths from previous dates. However, the nationwide updates have increased Canada’s active case count by 514, leaving 19,008 currently infected patients around the country.

The 2,558 new cases that were announced on Friday marks the largest single-day spike Canada has recorded throughout the pandemic. It surpasses the 2,437 cases that were announced on Thursday.

The latest modelling data was presented Friday by Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam. If people don’t start to limit their contacts, we could be seeing up to 5,000 cases a day by late October to early November.

“We’re at a tipping point in this pandemic,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday morning while reflecting on the rise in cases nationwide.

Ontario started the

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Hydroxychloroquine doesn’t help COVID-19 patients

Researchers at the University of Oxford in the U.K. have concluded that hydroxychloroquine does nothing to prevent COVID-19-related deaths.

The research is a continuation of a major clinical trial that found that the drug — which has previously been touted by President Donald Trump and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro — had no clinical benefit.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, examined the outcomes of 1,561 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 who received hydroxychloroquine and compared them to 3,155 patients who served as a control group.

Within a month, about a quarter of the patients in each group had died.

There was also a slightly higher number of heart-related deaths in the hydroxychloroquine group; however, that finding was not robust enough to be statistically significant — meaning it could have been due to chance.

“The scientific evidence is clear,” said Dr. Caleb Alexander, a professor of

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Remdesivir Speeds Recovery for COVID Patients | Health News

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

THURSDAY, Oct. 8, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Remdesivir has proved its mettle against COVID-19, a final report on the antiviral concludes.

Remdesivir hastened recovery for COVID patients who were so sick they had to be hospitalized, said Dr. Raymund Razonable, vice chair of infectious diseases for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

People on remdesivir recovered in 10 days, on average, compared with 15 days for those only receiving supportive care like oxygen and IV fluids, according to the results published Oct. 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“The time to clinical improvement for somebody who is admitted to the hospital for COVID with pneumonia is reduced significantly,” Razonable said. “There is about a five-day difference in time to clinical improvement.”

However, the drug did not appear to alter a person’s risk of dying from COVID, noted Dr. Mangala Narasimhan, senior

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Pandemic Delays Treatment, Threatening Patients and Research

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a severe toll on patients with retina diseases, according to leading European specialists who took stock and exchanged tips on innovative responses to the crisis at the virtual European Society of Retina Specialists 2020 Congress.

The number of new patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration decreased by an average of 72% after the onset of the pandemic, said Adnan Tufail, MBBS, MD, from Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, citing findings from a survey he and his colleagues conducted at three treatment centers in the United Kingdom.

A delay in treatment initiation of 3 months could cause an increase of more than 50% in the number of eyes with age-related macular degeneration with 6/60 vision or worse, the survey team estimates, and a 25% decrease in the number of eyes with driving

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Anticoagulation for Sickest COVID-19 Patients: Tread Carefully

COVID-19 patients without overt venous thromboembolism (VTE) should receive anticoagulation in the hospital but only at relatively low doses, according to American Society of Hematology (ASH) draft guidance.

ASH endorsed prophylactic-intensity anticoagulation — not intermediate- or therapeutic-intensity — to prevent clotting in COVID-19 patients who are acutely or critically ill.

This conditional recommendation was based on very low certainty in the evidence about the effects of anticoagulation in affected patients, the guideline panel acknowledged.

But that may change in the near future, as there are currently 20 or so global randomized trials studying the question of anticoagulation dosing for primary thromboprophylaxis in sick, hospitalized COVID-19 patients, according to Alex Spyropoulos, MD, of Northwell Health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, who was not involved with the group.

A pilot randomized trial, HESACOVID, recently suggested that therapeutic-level dosing of enoxaparin (Lovenox) improved respiratory outcomes in severe COVID-19.

Spyropoulos said

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ASH Releases Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Use of Preventive Anticoagulation in Patients with COVID-19

ASH Releases Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Use of Preventive Anticoagulation in Patients with COVID-19

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2020

Evidence-based recommendations will inform prevention of COVID-related blood clotting

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Today, ASH released new guidelines to help clinicians prevent serious blood clotting complications affecting COVID-19 patients. The recommendations suggest that clinicians should use a standard prophylactic anticoagulant dose over higher doses to prevent clotting in patients who have been hospitalized with COVID-19, including those in intensive care.

American Society of Hematology logo.
American Society of Hematology logo.

Abnormal blood clotting has been reported as a complication associated with increased risk of death in patients with COVID-19, particularly hospitalized patients. The guidelines address both critically ill hospitalized patients – people who are ill enough to require intensive care – and acutely ill hospitalized patients – people who require monitoring and treatment in the hospital but not intensive care. It

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New Analysis Shows Contract Pharmacies Financially Gain From 340B Program With No Clear Benefit to Patients

New Analysis Shows Contract Pharmacies Financially Gain From 340B Program With No Clear Benefit to Patients

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2020

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the Berkeley Research Group (BRG) published an analysis of historical trends in 340B contract pharmacy arrangements. The findings conclude that the growth in the number of these arrangements is fueling explosive growth in the program at large and driving the 340B program farther and farther away from its original intended goal of providing discounted medicines to safety-net entities treating uninsured and vulnerable patients. 

New Analysis Shows Contract Pharmacies Financially Gain From 340B Program With No Clear Benefit to Patients
New Analysis Shows Contract Pharmacies Financially Gain From 340B Program With No Clear Benefit to Patients

Congress created the 340B program to help safety-net providers, including certain qualifying hospitals and federally-funded clinics, access discounts on prescription medicines for low-income or uninsured patients. In 2010, a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) policy opened the door to allow

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Virtual care after surgery may be more convenient for patients

Virtual follow-up care for surgical patients provides as much face time with doctors as in-person care, according to a new study.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many surgical patients are being offered virtual follow-up appointments instead of in-person visits, the researchers noted.

Their study included 400 patients who had minimally invasive laparoscopic removal of their appendix or gallbladder at two North Carolina hospitals. They were randomly assigned to a post-discharge virtual or in-person visit.

The study began in August 2017 but was put on hold in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, and only 64% of patients completed the follow-up visit.

Lead author Dr. Carolina Reinke said sometimes people are feeling so well after minimally invasive surgery that they don’t bother with the follow-up.

Total clinic time was longer for in-person visits than virtual visits — 58 minutes versus 19 minutes — but patients in both groups spent the

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Trump was one of the first 10 patients to get an experimental COVID-19 treatment under special use

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

A car with US President Trump drives past supporters in a motorcade outside of Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland on October 4, 2020. – US President Donald Trump drove past supporters outside the hospital where he was being treated for Covid-19, after announcing on Twitter a “suprise visit” to his backers. ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images

Ahead of President Donald Trump’s Monday discharge from the care of Walter Reed Medical Center, where he had been treated for three days for symptoms of COVID-19, came a tweet

“Don’t be afraid of Covid,” the president claimed, in part because the country had developed “some really great drugs.”

However, the president himself — who once suggested injecting household disinfectants to treat the deadly disease — had just become one of the first 10 patients granted an extraordinarily rare level of access to an experimental antibody infusion to combat 

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