Trending News Today: Out-of-Pocket Costs Could Increase Under AHCA

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

Scope manufacturer Olympus Corp is on the hot seat because of a link between contaminated medical scopes and a deadly superbug outbreak, according to California Healthline. Theresa Bigler’s case is the first to go to trial in the United States. The suit claims that one of the tainted devices caused the infection that led to her husband’s death. Bigler’s husband—–who died in 2013––is 1 of 35 patients in US hospitals who have died after developing infections linked to Olympus duodenoscopes. To date, more than 25 patients and families have sued the company for alleged wrongful death, negligence, or fraud, California Healthline reported. Olympus attorney Mark Anderson defended the company, placing blame on the hospitals for failing to follow Olympus’ cleaning instructions.

Some older adults are refusing home health care after hospitalization, a recent study found. An estimated 28% of patients—–mostly seniors––who are offered home health care after being discharged decline these services. As a result, refusing home health care can make recovery more challenging and the odds of older adults being readmitted to the hospitals within 30 or 60 days’ doubles. Caroline Levine, director of the United Hospital Fund’s Families and Health Care Project, a sponsor of the report, said there are a lot of misconceptions about what home health care is. According to Kaiser Health News, home health care services typically last 4 to 6 weeks after hospitalization and are available to older adults who are homebound and need intermittent skilled care from health care providers, such as nurses, physical therapists, or speech therapists. Unfortunately, many seniors and caregivers refuse home health care because they confuse it with “home care,” which is delivered by aides who help patients shower, get dressed, or cook and clean for them. “Home health care is delivered by medical professions; home care is not,” KHN wrote.

The latest report from the Office of the Actuary—–a nonpartisan economic unit at the HHS Department––found that out-of-pocket costs would average 61% higher under the American Health Care Act, reported The New York Times. Policy expert Chris Sloan, from Avalere Health, told the NYT the report indicates that on average, people will be paying more, even though the underlying premium is lower than the costs under the Affordable Care Act. The Trump administration stated that the report is not reflective of all the president’s proposals.