September 13, 2021

Around the nation: Around 16K Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes went unreported last year, study finds

Daily Briefing

    A study published in JAMA Network Open found that around 16,000 Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes last year went unreported, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Illinois, and Texas.

    • Connecticut/Texas: Indeed last week released data showing that job postings with Covid-19 vaccination requirements sharply increased in August amid a surge in coronavirus cases around the country. According to The Hill, the share of job postings on the website that required Covid-19 vaccination rose 119% in the week ending in Aug. 30 compared to the same time period in July. In addition, job postings that included a vaccination requirement, but did not mention Covid-19 specifically, increased by 242% in the same time period. Although these job postings made up less than 1% of all jobs on Indeed, AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab, said, "[E]mployers are undoubtedly wondering how they can keep their business's recovery on track." She added, "Vaccine requirements are a way to keep staff and customers safer and business operations running." (Lane, The Hill, 9/9)
    • District of Columbia: FDA on Thursday delayed its ruling on whether Juul Labs and other e-cigarette manufacturers can continue selling their products in the United States, the New York Times reports. According to STAT News, a federal judge in April 2020 ordered FDA to finalize a decision on e-cigarette products by Sept. 9, a deadline the agency failed to meet. So far, FDA has denied 946,000 applications of e-cigarette products, mostly from small companies, but said it will need more time to review the remaining applications. In a statement, the agency said it is "committed to completing the review of the remaining products as quickly as possible." (Florko, STAT News, 9/9; Richtel, New York Times, 9/9)
    • Illinois: According to a new study published in JAMA Network Open, around 16,000 Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes that occurred in the early months of the pandemic were not reported to the federal government. In the study, researchers analyzed data from 20 states' departments of health and information submitted to CDC's National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). They estimated that 68,613 Covid-19 cases and 16,623 Covid-19 deaths that occurred before May 24, 2020 were not reported. According to the researchers, these numbers represent 12% of all nursing home cases and 14% of all nursing home deaths, respectively. "These findings suggest that federal NHSN data understated total cases and deaths in nursing homes," the authors wrote. "Failure to account for this issue may lead to misleading conclusions about the role of different facility characteristics and state or federal policies in explaining Covid outbreaks." (Christ, Modern Healthcare, 9/9; Stein, USA Today, 9/9; Weixel, The Hill, 9/9)
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