The Rundown by inforMD | Week of 2.17.2020

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Popular Hypertension Drug Tied to Adverse Side Effects

In a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers testing the difference between two common drugs used to treat hypertension, Chlorthalidone and hydrochlorothiazide, found “no statistically significant differences in risk of acute myocardial infarction, hospitalized heart failure, stroke, or the composite cardiovascular outcome” in a comparative study. Although there were no significant differences in patient outcomes between the two drugs, researchers found that Chlorthalidone, which is “recommended as the preferred thiazide diuretic to treat hypertension,” had a “significantly worse safety profile” that includes “greater risk of renal and electrolyte abnormalities.”
>>Read More: Comparison of Cardiovascular and Safety Outcomes of Chlorthalidone vs Hydrochlorothiazide to Treat Hypertension

Medicare Beneficiaries Experiencing Higher Rates of Sepsis

A study from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) uncovered that “a 40 percent increase in the rate of Medicare beneficiaries with sepsis” has cost Medicare “more than $41.5 billion.” The study determined that the “increase in sepsis was not due to the growing number of American seniors enrolling in Medicare.” The sepsis cases do not appear to be coming from hospitals themselves, as “two-thirds of these sepsis patients had a medical encounter in the week prior to hospitalization.”
>>Read More: Largest Study of Sepsis Cases among Medicare Beneficiaries Finds Significant Burden

Hospitals in States That Expanded Medicaid Provide Less Charity Care, Study Finds

A study from the JAMA Network determined that “for both insured and uninsured patients, nonprofit hospitals with superior financial performance provided disproportionately low levels of charity care” and that “Hospitals in states that expanded Medicaid provided less charity care than hospitals in other states.” The study stated that 2017 alone, “US nonprofit hospitals generated $47.9 billion overall net income and provided $9.7 billion of charity care to uninsured patients and $4.5 billion of charity care to insured patients.”
>>Read More: Charity Care Provision by US Nonprofit Hospitals

IBM Report: Hackers Use the Coronavirus to Spread Malware

The IBM X-Force Exchange released a report warning that different prefectures in Japan have been receiving malicious emails infected with the Emotet trojan from a “disability welfare service provider in Japan.” According to the report, the email “briefly states that there have been reports of coronavirus patients in the Gifu prefecture in Japan and urges the reader to view the attached document.” The report warns that “the practice of leveraging worldwide events by basing malicious emails on current important topics has become common among cyber criminals” and that they “expect to see more malicious email traffic based on the coronavirus in the future, as the infection spreads.”
>>Read More: Coronavirus Goes Cyber With Emotet

2019 Was the Year of Rural Hospital Closures

A study by the Chartis Center for Rural Health reveals that “the rural hospital closure crisis has claimed 120 facilities across the nation,” and that the “year 2019 was the single worst year of the closure crisis as 19 rural hospitals closed.” Researchers noted that rural hospitals declined in similar patterns, noting that their “operating margin and revenue declined steadily” between three to one years prior to the hospital’s closure, but the hospital’s “decrease in operating margin and revenue is much more precipitous.”
>>Read More: The Rural Health Safety Net Under Pressure: Rural Hospital Vulnerability

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