Poor information-sharing between hospitals and public health agencies has hurt the response to the pandemic. Some health care systems and IT companies are making inroads, but an overhaul would cost billions.
Virginia Mason Health System and CHI Franciscan announced plans in July to merge 12 hospitals and more than 250 other treatment sites in the Puget Sound region and the Yakima area. Some patient advocacy groups warn the proposal would jeopardize access to needed services, such as emergency termination of pregnancies, contraception and physician aid in dying.
While Congress negotiates liability protection for reopening businesses as part of its latest pandemic bailout package, some employers are already requiring workers to sign waivers agreeing not to sue if they get COVID-19 on the job.