Black mothers in Virginia have worse health outcomes. Advocates want bias training for doctors, but can it narrow the gap?

BY: - June 25, 2021

Like many health experts, Dora Muhammad was dismayed when national headlines began to highlight growing racial disparities in maternal mortality.  Virginia was no exception. Black women in the state are more than twice as likely to die in childbirth than White women, according to the most recently available data from the state Department of Health. […]

She’s been out of prison for 11 years. In Virginia, she still has a lifetime employment ban from many professions.

BY: - June 21, 2021

In 2002, Melissa Brown stole a purse from a grocery store cart and ran. For the past two years, she had been addicted to crack cocaine and “had gotten to a very low place in my life,” she said. Police later charged her with robbery, and she pled guilty in exchange for prosecutors dropping several […]

Study: VCU and UVA hospitals led nation in suing patients before ending practice last year

BY: - June 21, 2021

Hospitals operated by Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia filed more lawsuits against patients over unpaid bills than any other large medical groups in the country, according to an analysis by Johns Hopkins University and Axios released this week. Both health systems ended the practice last year amid growing scrutiny of their debt-collection […]

Deaths rose in Virginia’s mental hospitals last year, but COVID-19 wasn’t the prime culprit

BY: - June 10, 2021

Like many congregate facilities, Virginia’s state-run mental hospitals reported an increase in deaths during the coronavirus pandemic. But the “vast majority” of those deaths weren’t the result of COVID-19, according to a state watchdog group tasked with advocating for Virginians with disabilities. The findings are raising concerns that patients are being inappropriately admitted to mental […]

Virginia has invested more than $20 million in vaccine outreach. But demand is still dropping.

BY: - June 7, 2021

On a warm day in May, Garry Wakely strode vigorously down the streets of downtown Bristol, Virginia, stopping just short of flat-out run.  In less than 15 minutes, a group of volunteers and employees with the Mount Rogers Health District would pack up the day’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the local public library. But nurses […]

Sentara ends plans to merge with North Carolina-based hospital system

BY: - June 2, 2021

Sentara, one of Virginia’s largest hospital systems, announced Wednesday that it was ending its pursuit of a merger with North Carolina-based Cone Health. The two companies first announced their intention to consolidate in August 2020, saying the merger could serve as a “model for the rest of the nation’s health care systems.” The move would […]

Antitrust concerns are increasing on Capitol Hill. Advocates say they should extend to drug pricing.

BY: - June 2, 2021

Congress is beginning to take notice as corporations become increasingly dominant in one or more marketplaces. It’s investigating whether Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook are engaging in anticompetitive practices. And Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., just published a book about the need to revive the government’s antitrust powers. But if this is to be a new era of trust-busting, advocates […]

Va. Finance Secretary Aubrey Layne is departing for job at Sentara Healthcare

BY: - May 26, 2021

As Gov. Ralph Northam’s term starts to wind down, Finance Secretary Aubrey Layne is leaving his post in the Northam administration for a job at Sentara Healthcare, the Hampton Roads-based health system announced Wednesday. Layne, who served as Virginia’s secretary of transportation under former Gov. Terry McAuliffe and was named finance secretary in 2018, will […]

Specialty drugs are sparking the latest battle between Virginia hospitals and health insurers

BY: - May 21, 2021

Some of Virginia’s largest health insurers are taking more control over the supply chain for specialty — and often expensive — drugs used to treat cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. Hospitals aren’t happy about it. The practice, known as “white bagging,” isn’t new. But Virginia is the […]

Two Hampton Roads health systems’ legal battle reignites old debate over state’s medical facility policy

BY: - May 18, 2021

For years, a battle between two competing hospital systems in Hampton Roads has spilled into the halls of the Virginia Capitol and the hands of sometimes reluctant legislators. Now, it’s spilled into the court system. In late April, Chesapeake Regional Medical Center sued Sentara, the region’s dominant health system, claiming Sentara worked deliberately to “cripple” […]

Virginia medical facilities grapple with a new worry — a rise in drug-resistant fungus infections

BY: - May 12, 2021

An emerging fungal infection — one that’s especially dangerous for patients with weakened immune systems — is the latest risk facing long-term care facilities in Virginia after more than a year of weathering the COVID-19 pandemic.  Called Candida auris, the yeast has been deemed a “serious global health threat” by the U.S. Centers for Disease […]

Federal probe of drug middlemen urged

BY: - May 11, 2021

By Marty Schladen After years of accusations, a bipartisan group in the U.S. Senate wants federal regulators to investigate whether drug middlemen and their parent companies are rigging the system to raise prices and pad their pockets. Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., last month filed legislation that would require the federal trade commission […]