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February 2021
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Shifts in case mix bode well for future of outpatient surgery

Before COVID-19 emerged as the biggest disruptor of 2020, many ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) had been growing volume and receiving Medicare reimbursements for an increasing number of procedures. Stopping elective procedures in the spring was a significant setback, especially for smaller, independent facilities, notes a Global Healthcare Advisors (GHA) brief,…

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By: Elizabeth Wood
November 17, 2020
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CDC: Impact of COVID-19 stress on children’s mental health

Editor's Note The number of children’s mental health emergency department (ED) visits decreased sharply from mid-March through early April 2020, coincident with the implementation of community mitigation measures enacted to prevent COVID-19 transmission, and then visits increased steadily through October, this study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…

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By: Judy Mathias
November 16, 2020
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Moderna announces 94.5% efficacy for COVID-19 vaccine

Editor's Note Moderna Inc (Cambridge, Massachusetts) on November 16 announced that its vaccine is 94.5% effective at preventing COVID-19. Their analysis of a 30,000-person trial (half received the vaccine and half received a placebo) finds that 90 of the 95 COVID-19 documented cases are in the placebo group. The Moderna announcement…

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By: Judy Mathias
November 16, 2020
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Joint Commission modifies Environment of Care survey process

Editor's Note The Joint Commission announced November 11 that it has modified its Environment of Care (EC) survey process for ambulatory surgery centers (those deemed and/or assigned life safety code surveyors), critical access hospitals, and hospitals, effective January 1, 2021. The change eliminates the 1-hour, sit-down discussion with members of…

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By: Judy Mathias
November 12, 2020
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Medicare to cover monoclonal antibody COVID-19 treatments

Editor's Note The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on November 10 announced that Medicare will cover out-of-pocket costs for monoclonal antibody drugs for COVID-19 during the public health emergency. The agency’s coverage includes Eli Lilly’s bamlanivimab, which recently received an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug…

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By: Judy Mathias
November 12, 2020
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FDA issues EUA for first test to detect neutralizing antibodies after COVID-19

Editor's Note The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on November 6 issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the first serology test (GenScript USA Inc) to identify patients with neutralizing antibodies after a COVID-19 infection. Neutralizing antibodies have reduced the infection of cells in the laboratory, but their effects in…

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By: Judy Mathias
November 10, 2020
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Pfizer, BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine more than 90% effective, EUA application could come next week

Editor's Note Pfizer and BioNTech announced November 9 that their COVID-19 vaccine is more than 90% effective 7 days after the second dose in preventing COVID-19 infection in participants without evidence of prior infection. This means that protection is achieved 28 days after initiation of the vaccination, which consists of…

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By: Judy Mathias
November 9, 2020
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CMS: How to prepare for COVID-19 vaccine

Editor's Note The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on November 5 released a set of toolkits and enrollment actions to take to administer the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available. Many Medicare-enrolled providers don’t have to take any actions until the vaccine is available. Some Medicare-enrolled providers must also…

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By: Judy Mathias
November 5, 2020
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CDC: Birth, infant outcomes after COVID-19 in pregnancy

Editor's Note In this analysis of COVID-19 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the proportion of preterm live births in women with COVID-19 infection during pregnancy was higher than that in the general population in 2019, suggesting that pregnant women with COVID-19 infection might be at risk…

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By: Judy Mathias
November 5, 2020
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FDA alerts providers on how to prevent false positive results with COVID-19 antigen tests

Editor's Note The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on November 3 issued a letter alerting clinical laboratory staff and healthcare providers that false positive results can occur with antigen tests, including when users do not follow instructions for use of antigen tests for the rapid detection of COVID-19. Among the…

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By: Judy Mathias
November 5, 2020
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