Healthcare Roundup—Moody’s: CHS’ $262M settlement could cause a cash crisis

Moody’s: CHS’ $262M fraud, antikickback settlement could cause a cash crisis for the system

An analyst for Moody’s Investors Service has warned that Community Health Systems’ $262 million fraud settlement could “severely weaken” the system.

In a comment emailed to FierceHealthcare, Jessica Gladstone, a senior vice president for Moody’s, said that the payout could have a significant impact on the system’s “already constrained liquidity.”

“We expect the company will need to borrow on its revolvers in order to fund the settlement, reducing the cushion under the company’s already tight financial covenant on its revolving financial facility, potentially leading to a covenant breach over the next 12 to 15 months,” Gladstone.

CHS’ ongoing financial struggles have been well-documented, although the system did beat its second-quarter expectations this year. (FierceHospitals)

Study: Hospital room curtains pose infection risk

Hospital privacy curtains can quickly become home to dangerous bacteria, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

Researchers tracked the contamination rate over time of 10 sets of curtains, beginning from when they were freshly laundered, at the Health Services Center in Winnipeg, Canada. At 14 days, according to the study, about 87% of the curtains tested positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

None of the patients staying in the rooms included in the survey were infected with MRSA, according to the study.

Hospitals should ensure a regular cleaning schedule to avoid contamination, the researchers said. (Announcement)

HHS awards American Indian, Alaska Native tribes $50M in opioid epidemic grants

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration announced that it has granted $50 million to American Indiana and Alaska Native tribes to aid in their efforts against the opioid epidemic.

The Tribal Opioid Response grant program offers funding for culturally appropriate and evidence-based treatment, such as medication-assisted options, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Accessing treatment services can be especially challenging in rural areas like many parts of Indian Country,” HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan said. (Announcement)

JAMA study examines variation in type, extent of health data breaches over time