As Covid Starts To Fade, Cosmetic Dentistry Soars

Alyson R. Briggs

NBC News reports on rising demand for cosmetic dentistry treatments, to levels possibly higher than pre-pandemic. Sexual assault nurse training, Spectrum Health’s hospital visitation rules, a stabbing lawsuit at Penn Medicine and more are also in the news.

NBC News:
Dentists See Rise In Cosmetic Dentistry Requests As Pandemic Restrictions Ease

Cosmetic dentist Kourosh Maddahi noticed a trend among his patients in Beverly Hills, California, beginning around March: Demand for treatments, everything from teeth whitening to full smile-makeovers, was higher than pre-pandemic levels. Even international virtual consultations restarted as people again consider traveling to the United States for cosmetic dentistry work. Why now? Maddahi said the main reason his patients have been giving is: “I’m not scared anymore.” (Silva, 6/16)

UT Health Center: $1.5M Sexual Assault Nurse Training Grant

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Nursing has secured a $1.5 million federal grant to expand training and certification for nurses caring for sexual assault victims. On Wednesday, the center in Memphis announced that the three-year grant from the Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration will expand the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program in West Tennessee. (6/17)

Detroit Free Press:
Spectrum Health Now Allows 2 Visitors A Day For COVID-Positive Patients

In a reversal of long-standing pandemic restrictions, Grand Rapids-based Spectrum Health announced Wednesday that COVID-19 patients getting treatment at its 14 hospitals now will be able to have two visitors per day — even if those patients are infectious. “We’ve really been looking forward to the day when we can make sure that we can get loved ones (in to visit) some of these very long-term, very sick patients,” said Chad Tuttle, senior vice president of hospital operations for the health system. (Jordan Shamus, 6/17)

Philadelphia Inquirer:
Pennsylvania Hospital Doctor Sues Penn Medicine After Patient Repeatedly Stabbed Her

A doctor who was repeatedly stabbed by a patient at Pennsylvania Hospital this year sued the facility and its parent organization Wednesday, accusing both of failing to take steps that could have prevented the attack and adopting an “abject disregard” for the safety of employees. The complaint, which was filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court and names the hospital and Penn Medicine among its defendants, offers a harrowing account of the Feb. 23 assault by a psychiatric patient, who repeatedly stabbed his victim in the head and face using a knife taken from a lunch tray. (Roebuck, 6/16)

In other health care industry news —

Modern Healthcare:
Steward Health Care To Pay $1.1 Billion For Five Tenet Hospitals

Steward Health Care will pay Tenet Healthcare Corp. $1.1 billion for five of its Florida hospitals, the Dallas-based for-profit health systems announced late Wednesday. Steward will acquire Coral Gables Hospital, Florida Medical Center, Hialeah Hospital, North Shore Medical Center and Palmetto General Hospital. As part of the agreement, Steward will still use Tenet’s Conifer Health Solutions subsidiary for the hospitals’ revenue cycle management and Tenet’s United Surgical Partners International will continue to operate the associated ambulatory facilities. (Kacik, 6/16)

State Health Plans Are Reluctant To Tackle High Hospital Costs 

If anyone’s incentivized to drive down hospital costs, it’s state employee health plans. But that’s often not where they’re focused, per a new study by Georgetown’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms. Hospital prices are cited most frequently by state plans as their top cost driver, but they’re more likely to target other forms of health care spending when it comes to curbing costs. (Owens, 6/17)

Health News Florida:
All Children’s, UF Shands Get High Marks Among Southeast Pediatric Hospitals 

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg and UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville shared top honors among the state’s pediatric facilities and were among the best pediatric hospitals in the Southeast in U.S. News & World Report’s 2021-22 Best Children’s Hospital Rankings. No Florida children’s hospitals were included in the top 10 nationally. It’s the first year that U.S. News & World Report produced state-specific and regional rankings. (6/16)

Planned Changes At Open Society Has Medicine Advocacy Groups On Edge

The Open Society Foundations, one of the world’s largest backers of public health initiatives, is undergoing a “significant” reorganization that will affect grant decision-making, a shift that has created anxiety among advocacy groups that work on access to medicines. The changes at the OSF, which was founded by billionaire philanthropist George Soros, are still being finalized, although grants will be handled by different OSF offices, according to a foundation spokesperson. She insisted “it is too early to tell” how advocacy groups will be affected, but maintained the contemplated changes may result in “significantly bigger” discretionary funds for public health programming. (Silverman, 6/17)

Mobile Health Apps Plagued By Privacy Issues, Study Finds

Health and fitness apps, which help mobile-phone users track everything from calorie intake to menstruation dates, can access and share personal data in a way that’s concerning, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal. The analysis of more than 20,000 apps found that inadequate privacy disclosures for many of them prevented users from making informed choices about their data. One third could collect user email addresses and many more transmitted data to third parties such as advertisers. (Gemmell, 6/16)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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