Congrats on the baby — now pay up

BY: - October 12, 2021

By Jasmine Winter Here’s a notice a new mom shouldn’t receive: “Your doctor ordered a test to see if the membranes around your baby were leaking.  The procedure is not approvable under the plan clinical criteria because there is no proof or not enough proof that it works as well as other tests to check […]

Petition asks the Virginia Department of Health to mandate COVID-19 vaccines in schools

BY: - October 11, 2021

A petition to mandate coronavirus vaccines for all eligible students and staff in Virginia schools has accumulated nearly 6,000 comments online — setting a record for the Virginia Department of Health’s typically sleepy regulatory process. The request was submitted last month as a public petition to the Virginia Board of Health. Under state law, any […]

Understaffing at some CVS pharmacies in Virginia has put patients at risk, former employees say

BY: - October 11, 2021

Over the last two years, employees at a CVS Pharmacy in Virginia Beach have raised repeated concerns over patient safety. At one point, multiple pharmacy technicians told a state inspector that a pharmacist at the store had mistakenly given a patient a hundred extra doses of Percocet — a powerful prescription opioid. Another customer received […]

A year into legal sales, medical marijuana patients see high prices and long waits

BY: - October 11, 2021

As Virginia’s medical marijuana industry closes out its first year of sales, some patients are complaining about long waits to register with the state and high prices once they get into dispensaries. “A month’s supply costs me between $600 and $700 — and that’s not covered by insurance,” says Tamara Netzel, a former schoolteacher from […]

Black and low-income Virginians are disproportionately affected by nursing home understaffing

BY: - October 7, 2021

For nearly two decades, Virginia’s General Assembly has failed to land on a legislative solution for understaffing in nursing homes. Setting requirements for facilities could be one of the most effective ways of addressing the problem, according to a new report presented to lawmakers this week. The move would set legislators against the nursing home […]

Hospitals battling the COVID-19 surge sought state help for weeks. They haven’t gotten it.

BY: - October 5, 2021

In mid-August, as the delta variant was surging across Virginia, hospitals reached out to Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration for help. “This rise in infections is once again placing significant stress on general hospitals and nursing facilities within the commonwealth,” wrote Sean Connaughton, president of the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, in a letter to Health […]

Vaccine mandates don’t appear to be driving the current nursing shortage in Virginia

BY: - September 27, 2021

Last week, the Virginia Nurses Association held a virtual news conference to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike in the summer, the tone wasn’t optimistic. This time, nurses across the state had gathered to share the growing toll of providing intensive care amid worsening staffing shortages. “Our nurses are mentally depleted, exhausted and traumatized,” said association […]

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 […]