AHA issues 2011 data on hospitals' uncompensated care   01/04/2013
U.S. hospitals provided $41.1 billion in uncompensated care in 2011, according to the latest data from the AHA's Annual Survey of Hospitals. That's $1.8 billion more than in 2010. The total includes "bad debt" (services for which hospitals anticipated but did not receive payment) and charity care (services for which hospitals neither received nor expected payment because they determined, with help from the patient, the patient's inability to pay). It does not include Medicaid and Medicare underpayment.
CDC: Flu activity picks up nationwide   01/04/2013
The proportion of Americans seeing their health care provider for flu-like illness has doubled over the past four weeks to 5.6%, according to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That compares with an overall high of 2.2% last flu season, which was relatively mild. Twenty-nine states and New York City are reporting high levels of flu-like illness, and nine states are reporting moderate levels. "While we can't say for certain how severe this season will be, we can say that a lot of people are getting sick with influenza and we are getting reports of severe illness and hospitalizations," said Joe Bresee, chief of the epidemiology and prevention branch at CDC's Influenza Division. "Anyone who has not already been vaccinated should do so now." CDC also recommends early antiviral treatment for people with confirmed or suspected flu who are hospitalized, severely ill or at higher risk for complications. Flu hospitalizations since October have totaled 2,257, or 8.1 per 100,000 people, which Bresee called "high for this time of year."
Hospital employment climbs by 11,700 in December   01/04/2013
Employment at the nation's hospitals rose by 0.24% in December to a seasonally adjusted 4,862,100 people, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. That's 11,700 more people than in November and 87,800 more than a year ago. Without the seasonal adjustment, which removes the effect of fluctuations due to seasonal events, hospitals employed 4,868,700 people in December - 16,300 more than in November and 93,000 more than a year ago. The nation's overall unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percentage point in December to 7.8%.