In the News: July 28–Aug 4

Pediatric Virtual Care Addresses Barriers to Autism

Closures of testing and therapy centers over the past several months have reduced access to resources that families with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) need to prevent regression. A recent Forbes article offers insight into how to fill the gaps in ASD care, featuring start-up Sprout. With a $10 million seed fund, they are launching a digitized approach to autism care and treatment.

This tech-enabled platform offers free autism assessments, need-based therapy-matching services and individualized in-home treatment plans. Offering home-based services with wraparound coordination, tracking and care plan modification removes traditional barriers to ASD care. Sprout also utilizes Applied Behavior Analysis, an immersive therapeutic intervention to ensure evidence-based, high-quality care.

Many providers continue to leverage virtual health to bring care into the homes of patients—and beyond. To learn more about how pediatric hospitals and health systems can utilize virtual health to help diagnose, treat and monitor children’s health problems, please listen to the Sg2 netcast Health Tech Weekly: Pediatric Virtual Health.

Women’s Health Needs Primary Care Coordination

A recent PatientEngagementHIT article brought awareness to a Commonwealth Fund and Manatt Health report that identified primary care as the key connector for a well-rounded approach to coordinated health care delivery across a woman’s lifetime. However, research shows many gaps across the US primary health care system, specifically regarding women’s health. Among other high-income countries, women in the US have some of the worst health outcomes.

Disparities in women’s health care exist across racial, educational and socioeconomic backgrounds, with women of color being least likely to receive preventive health care services regardless of economic background. Ultimately, the root of these limitations is categorized under policy, primary care delivery systems and primary care utilization. Improvement of care coordination across the care pathway, as well as a woman’s lifetime, is necessary for visible change in women’s health disparities.

In the past, developing comprehensive women’s health programs involved connecting several women-specific offerings ranging from basic wellness screenings to women’s heart programs. Today the structure of a women’s health program is determined through its vision and supporting strategically selected populations. To learn more about how your organization should define, build and support comprehensive women’s health programs, please read the Sg2 FAQ Comprehensive Women’s Health: How to Develop Services and Engagement.

Hospitals Want Forgiveness for Medicare Loans

A recent CNBC article discusses how hospitals are asking Congress for forgiveness on $100 billion worth of Medicare loans that were provided to health systems last spring as part of the COVID-19 relief aid package.

Currently, new Medicare payments will be withheld unless hospitals repay these loans, and the American Hospital Association is concerned that just isn’t possible at this time. As new COVID-19 outbreaks continue to occur, hospitals remain under financial pressure; without more funding, many will be operating at a median loss of 7% the rest of the year. At this point, giving hospitals and providers more time to pay back the advance Medicare payments appears to have bipartisan support—possibly with deadlines to begin repayment in January 2021, with the extension of the overall loan payback time.

Health systems are shifting focus to restarting operations under today’s “new normal,” where unemployment, uncertainty and ongoing fears of contracting the virus in health care settings continue to depress utilization. For help with scenario planning, please access the Sg2 COVID-19 Financial Recovery Calculator to assess your organization’s unique financial picture during trough, reactivation and OR surge phases of COVID-19 recovery.


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