An analysis shows diversity efforts in US medical schools have been failing, with figures worsening over 40 years. In other news, Michigan tries “recharge rooms” to help tired medical staff and new CMS rules boost star ratings for acute-care hospitals.

Report Finds Drop In Black Male, Native American Medical Students 

In what some are calling a “persistent failure” of medical schools to improve diversity, a comprehensive new analysis going back 40 years shows the number of students from the most underrepresented groups in medicine —  Black males and Native American and Alaskan Native men and women — has declined. While Black male medical students accounted for 3.1% of the national medical student body in 1978, in 2019 they accounted for just 2.9%. Without the contribution of historically Black medical schools, just 2.4% would be Black men. The number of Native American students also declined, accounting for just a fraction of 1% of the nation’s roughly 22,000 medical students in 2019. (McFarling, 4/28)

In other health care industry news —

Uber Names A New Head Of Its Growing Health Business

Uber hailed a new lead for its expanding health business on Thursday, naming Caitlin Donovan its newest general manager and head of health. Donovan comes to the ride-sharing company from orthodontist platform myOrthos, where she served as chief operating officer. She’ll step into a role first helmed by Dan Trigub, who steered Uber Health through a period of rapid growth centered around non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT). (Brodwin, 4/29)

Modern Healthcare:
Primary-Care Practitioners Lean Toward Potentially Excessive Care, Study Shows

Primary-care practitioners tend to overestimate the risk of common conditions based on symptoms and test results, leading to potentially excessive and harmful care, a new study shows. Residents, attending physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants estimated a 70% likelihood of cardiac ischemia in patients who had a positive stress test when the actual likelihood is 2% to 11%, researcher’s analysis of 533 practitioners found. Survey respondents also estimated a 50% risk of breast cancer after a positive finding on a mammogram when evidence shows only a 3% to 9% risk. (Kacik, 4/28)

5 Startups Racing To Shake Up The Electronic Health Record Industry

The road to shake up the health record industry is littered with failures. But a new group of startups are giving it another go — and there are reasons to believe companies may find success where others fell short. Chief among them is the recent introduction of a federal rule that bars data blocking and, for the first time, lets patients access their health information using apps. (Brodwin, 4/29)

Georgia Health News:
Possible Sale Of Hospital Could Shake Up Rome 

Speculation is swirling in Rome about the possible sale of Redmond Regional Medical Center, owned by HCA, to AdventHealth, a Florida-based health system. Redmond CEO John Quinlivan declined to comment Wednesday about a potential deal. The potential for a sale could be part of a larger strategy by HCA Healthcare, a Tennessee-based hospital chain. Talk among industry officials has centered on HCA selling other Georgia hospitals as well. (Bailey and Miller, 4/28)

Modern Healthcare:
Acute-Care Hospitals See Higher Star Ratings On New CMS Methodology

Nearly one-third of hospitals scored higher star ratings under CMS’ new methodology that’s meant to create a clearer picture of quality and safety, according to data released Wednesday. It’s the first time CMS has applied the new methodology, and 45% of hospitals received the same star rating as before. Nearly a quarter, 22.7% of acute-care hospitals, had worse ratings. (Gillespie, 4/28)

Crain’s Detroit Business:
Michigan Provider Uses ‘Recharge Rooms’ To Alleviate Staff Stress, Prevent Burnout

Michigan Medicine has opened three “recharge rooms” at its 1,043-bed Ann Arbor medical center in an effort to alleviate staff stress and reduce burnout that a recent survey found was widespread before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Michigan Medicine and the University of Michigan School of Nursing partnered with Studio Elsewhere, a New York-based design and technology company, to license the AI-powered environments. The virtual reality technology creates environments that stimulate the senses through light, sound and scent. The purpose is to relax and improve the cognitive performance of the viewer. (Greene, 4/28)

Modern Healthcare:
Ways & Means Reps. Bullish On Telehealth, But Say Questions Remain

Ensuring telehealth policies don’t exacerbate existing health disparities proved a major point of concern among lawmakers during a House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Health hearing Wednesday. Most lawmakers at the nearly three-hour hearing on the future of telehealth were bullish on telehealth’s potential, citing how virtual technologies can make healthcare more accessible for patients who face barriers like lack of affordable childcare and lack of transportation that make it difficult to attend in-person appointments, as well as potential cost savings. “This is a real opportunity—I think we all sense that—to make a big difference,” said Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) at the hearing. (Kim Cohen, 4/28)

Modern Healthcare:
CHS Reports Q1 Net Loss As COVID-19 Continues To Dent Admissions

Community Health Systems reported a net loss in the first quarter as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to dent admissions, the hospital chain announced late Wednesday. The Franklin, Tenn.-based system reported a net loss attributable to shareholders of $64 million on operating revenue of $3.01 billion for the quarter ended March 31, down from a net income attributable to shareholders of $18 million on operating revenue of $3.03 billion from the same prior-year period. That was, in part, due to a 7.2% decline in same-store adjusted admission year over year. (Kacik, 4/28)

What A Difference A Year Makes In Colorado’s Case For A Public Option Plan 

Before the pandemic, Colorado looked set to become the second state to pass what’s known as a “public option” health insurance plan, which would have forced hospitals that lawmakers said were raking in obscene profits to accept lower payments. But when covid-19 struck, legislators hit pause. Now, after a year of much public lionizing of doctors and other health professionals on the front lines of the covid fight, it’s a lot harder to make the case hospitals are fleecing patients. (Hawryluk, 4/29)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.