HEALTH

Antibody treatment is rising in Virginia, raising hopes — and concerns — from providers

BY: - September 27, 2021

For the last nine months, Augusta Health has been mounting an intensive immunization campaign, administering more than 85,000 doses across its small community in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. “Given that we don’t have unlimited resources, we’ve chosen to focus most recently on the vaccination efforts,” said John Mack, chief operating officer of the hospital system. But faced […]

Who will get a booster shot? A Q-and-A about what the feds are saying

BY: - September 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — Booster shots soon will begin rolling out to some Americans who received the two-shot vaccine made by Pfizer—after a contentious and confusing federal approval process that isn’t over yet. Determining who exactly should be rolling up their sleeves for an additional dose was tricky. The Biden administration had leapfrogged federal regulatory panels in […]

Virginia patients will soon have access to at-home abortion medication

BY: - September 20, 2021

Starting in October, Virginia patients will be able to access at-home abortion medication through telehealth visits. Both Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and the Virginia League of Planned Parenthood, which operate six clinics across the state, announced they’ll begin offering abortion medication through the mail after a virtual consultation with a provider. The service will be […]

Virginia pediatricians put out ‘call for help’ amid surging demand for care

BY: - September 18, 2021

Over the last week, health systems and emergency physicians across Virginia have sounded the alarm over a surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations threatening to overwhelm many emergency rooms. But the rise of the delta variant, coupled with the start of the new school year, is also creating chaos for pediatricians, who are struggling to treat an […]

Biden administration announces ‘comprehensive’ plan to fix high drug prices

BY: - September 17, 2021

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last week issued its plan to address high drug prices as part of President Joe Biden’s push to take on anticompetitive practices across the economy. But while it addressed in detail abusive practices by drugmakers, it was a lot more superficial about the practices of much-larger corporations that serve […]

The demand for COVID-19 testing is surging — another challenge for overworked hospitals

BY: - September 16, 2021

As COVID-19 continues to circulate across Virginia, health officials are still grappling with the downstream effects — including a ballooning demand for testing. In some cases, it’s created additional challenges for already overwhelmed hospitals. Last week, the Virginia Department of Health announced it would add another 170 testing events across the state this month “to […]

Putting on pandemic pounds: State obesity rates hit all-time highs

BY: - September 16, 2021

WASHINGTON — The number of states with high obesity among residents has nearly doubled since 2018, according to new data Wednesday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were 16 states that had obesity rates among adult residents of at least 35% last year, with Iowa, Ohio, Delaware and Texas on that list for […]

The COVID-19 surge is overwhelming emergency rooms across Virginia

BY: - September 13, 2021

Over the last few weeks, hospital systems across Virginia have been sounding alarms over the latest coronavirus surge, largely driven by the highly infectious delta variant.  In Southwest Virginia, Ballad Health is facing its “worst-case scenario” with more than 700 COVID-19 patients. In Northern Virginia, hospitals already nearing capacity with COVID-19 cases have been overwhelmed […]

In court, drug middlemen fight to limit access to pharmacies for insured patients

BY: - September 8, 2021

In the first test of a 2020 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, drug middlemen last week argued that federal law gives them a crucial right to limit what pharmacies patients with health insurance can use — or at least make it more expensive if patients get their medicine at a shop that isn’t preferred by the […]

Hampton Roads hospitals spar over impact of hospital-owned insurance plans

BY: - September 2, 2021

A new report presented to state legislators this week warns against the potential drawbacks of vertically integrated health carriers — hospital systems that also own their own insurance plans. The white paper, authored by consultants for Chesapeake Regional Medical Center, is the latest effort to sway lawmakers in a long-running battle between Chesapeake and Sentara, […]

Virginia’s breakthrough case numbers are likely an undercount

BY: - August 27, 2021

Earlier this week, the Virginia Department of Health updated its public reporting on breakthrough COVID-19 cases to “more accurately represent the impact of vaccinations on infection rates in the commonwealth,” according to a release from the agency.  As the Mercury reported, the data illustrates the higher risk for infection, hospitalization and death among unvaccinated Virginians. […]

Some Virginians are trying to game the system for early COVID-19 booster shots

BY: - August 27, 2021

Over the last week, Dr. Henry Ranger estimates he’s gotten hundreds of calls about COVID-19 booster shots — not only from Williamsburg, where he co-owns a pharmacy with his wife, Dr. Jade Ranger, but from Newport News, Hampton, Richmond and other cities across the state.  “We were the first pharmacy in Williamsburg to get the […]