Category: Healthcare

c161c546-7783-4ddb-a447-650937707ce7-missionrally_08052020_031(Asheville Citizen-Times)  Kate McGee had worked all night — from 6:45 p.m. to 7:15 a.m.  at Mission Hospital in a Copestone behavioral health unit on the St. Joseph’s campus. She got off the morning of Aug. 5 knowing she had to be back that night for the same shift, but instead of going home to bed, she headed to the corner of Biltmore Avenue and Hospital Drive to join dozens of other registered nurses from Mission Hospital in protest. “This is too important to not show up,” she said.

The RNs were doubling down on a call for more staff and other patient safety measures as COVID-19 hospitalizations surge. Mission Health — which operates Mission Hospital along with five other hospitals in Western North Carolina and numerous clinics — has hit record numbers repeatedly for inpatients with COVID-19 over the past month.

Administrators have made assurances that the system has adequate resources and staffing. But Mission Hospital RNs delivered a letter to hospital administration July 10 calling for an increase to staffing to manage a situation they said had become dangerous. The letter said the conditions at the hospital were “such that patient care is suffering” and demanded that Mission hire more full- and part-time RNs and support staff. The nurses said they did not feel as though their requests were adequately addressed. So, they gathered on a public sidewalk outside the Asheville hospital to make that known.

Read the complete report by Mackenzie Wicker HERE>

c23797fd-5c72-401d-8dfa-ba2b59c38db9-ingles_01(Asheville Citizen-Times) The Centers for Disease Control says face coverings “are a critical tool” against the spread of COVID-19. But to mask or not has become a politically charged question. Most visibly, this powder-keg debate is happening in one of the few places where the public still congregates, the grocery store.

A wave of stores are promising to enforce state and countywide mandates that require customers to wear face coverings, but with media largely shut out and little to no government checks in place, accountability for those policies is virtually impossible.

The Citizen Times asked to observe customer and employee mask compliance at local grocery stores. Almost all refused. Though all of the stores the Citizen Times contacted say they require masks to shop, only the French Broad Food Co-Op said it would allow a reporter to verify the claims.

Read the full story by Mackensy Lunsford, and how local grocery stores responded HERE.

medicare-logo(Asheville Citizen-Times) A local laboratory company allegedly tested patients’ feces unnecessarily and billed the federal government, leading to charges of Medicare fraud. Now, they’ll pay between $17-43 million to settle those allegations and others, according to the Department of Justice. A spokesperson for Genova Diagnostics Inc. said the company denied any guilt or wrongdoing and settled the suit “to avoid considerable distraction and expense.”

Genova allegedly violated the False Claims Act, a Civil War-era law that outlines punishments for businesses that defraud the government.  A lawsuit filed in federal court alleged Genova improperly submitted claims to Medicare, TRICARE (the government health care program for service members and their families) and the federal employee health program for tests that weren’t medically necessary.

Full story HERE>