• Wed. Dec 6th, 2023

Healthcare Definition

Healthcare Definition, You Can't Live Withou It.

Monday, January 9, 2023 | California Healthline

Hospitals Struggle With Seismic-Safety Retrofits: It’s been close to 30 years since California enacted the bulk of its seismic safety standards, but hospitals continue to ask for more time and flexibility. They argue that many facilities, especially smaller ones, can’t afford the retrofitting or replacement costs. Read more from CalMatters.

Fresno Hospital Contract Lapse Sends Costs Soaring: Central California’s largest hospital system is no longer among facilities available to thousands of Fresno- and Clovis-area residents for in-network medical insurance coverage following the expiration of contracts this week with three major insurers. Read more from the Fresno Bee.

The New York Times:
Health Experts Warily Eye XBB.1.5, The Latest Omicron Subvariant

Three years into the pandemic, the coronavirus continues to impress virologists with its swift evolution. A young version, known as XBB.1.5, has quickly been spreading in the United States over the past few weeks. As of Friday, the Centers for Disease Control estimated that it made up 72 percent of new cases in the Northeast and 27.6 percent of cases across the country. (Zimmer, 1/7)

Orange County Register:
Why Do Some In Orange County Die From COVID-19 But Others Don’t?

Since Jan. 20, 2020, when health officials reported the first local fatality from COVID-19 – involving a man who had just come back from Wuhan, China – the still-mysterious and evolving disease has gone on to kill more than 7,700 people in Orange County, making it the most lethal health event of the past century. But according to three years of local health data, COVID-19 has been something else as well – an unequal-opportunity killer. (Mouchard, 1/8)

San Francisco Chronicle:
Stanford Scientists Pinpoint Virus’ Entry And Exit Ports Inside The Nose

Stanford Medicine scientists have pinpointed the routes the coronavirus takes to enter and exit cells inside the nasal cavity. “Our upper airways are the launchpad not only for infection of our lungs but for transmission to others,” said Peter Jackson, a professor of pathology and of microbiology and immunology, who led the study co-funded by the National Institutes of Health and published Thursday in the journal Cell. (Vaziri, 1/6)

A Writer Gives Voice To Long Covid And Mothering From Bed

Kristin Houlihan, 38, got sick in March 2020 with a virus she assumes was Covid. She wasn’t sick, in a flu-like sense, for long. But then, some symptoms never went away: night sweats, extreme temperature swings after meals. She spent the next year or so living life, raising her children, but also noticing that some things were different. She’d come home from doing groceries and be “unusually tired,” or be shaky after taking her kids to the park. (Cueto, 1/9)

FDA Grants Alzheimer’s Drug Leqembi Accelerated Approval

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug that may help people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s maintain their mental abilities. Lecanemab, which will be marketed as Leqembi, is likely to reach many more patients than a similar product, Aduhelm, which flopped after receiving a controversial approval in 2021. (Hamilton, 1/6)

The Wall Street Journal:
New Alzheimer’s Drug Leqembi Will Be Out Of Reach For Most Patients

A sweeping Medicare rule issued last year will keep the newly approved Alzheimer’s disease drug Leqembi out of reach of most U.S. patients for months to come. The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved Eisai Co. and Biogen Inc.’s Leqembi, known generically as lecanemab, for the treatment of people with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, the vast majority of whom are insured by Medicare. However, Medicare won’t pay for the drug unless patients are enrolled in government-sanctioned clinical trials, and no such studies are ongoing or planned. (Walker, 1/7)

New Guidance: Use Drugs, Surgery Early For Obesity In Kids

Children struggling with obesity should be evaluated and treated early and aggressively, including with medications for kids as young as 12 and surgery for those as young as 13, according to new guidelines released Monday. The longstanding practice of “watchful waiting,” or delaying treatment to see whether children and teens outgrow or overcome obesity on their own only worsens the problem that affects more than 14.4 million young people in the U.S. Left untreated, obesity can lead to lifelong health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and depression. (Aleccia, 1/9)

ABC News:
Children With Obesity Should Get Proactive Treatment: American Academy Of Pediatrics Guidelines

The guidelines note that treatments, including medications and weight loss surgery, can be effective and can help reduce the risk of developing other health conditions. The AAP also said childhood obesity is a disease with genetic, social and environmental factors — not something caused by individual choices — and that it shouldn’t be stigmatized by health care providers. (McLean and Manier, 1/9)

Los Angeles Business Journal:
Molina’s California Medi-Cal Contract Wins Scaled Back

Last summer, Long Beach managed care company Molina Healthcare Inc. appeared to score a huge coup, snagging Medi-Cal contracts that could bring in an additional 1.4 million enrollees and up to $6 billion in new revenue. The crown jewel of the contract wins: 1 million new enrollees in Los Angeles County that are currently being served by Woodland Hills-based Health Net of California, a subsidiary of St. Louis-based health care giant Centene Corp. But last month, the state agency that had preliminarily awarded the contracts to Molina scaled back the gains in its final contract award announcement. The biggest change was splitting up the L.A. County pot with incumbent Health Net. (Fine, 1/9)

San Francisco Chronicle:
A ‘National Poisoning’: Expert On U.S. Drug Abuse Says Conditions In S.F.’s Tenderloin Are Tragically Familiar

Sam Quinones, one of the nation’s foremost chroniclers of American drug abuse, took a stroll around San Francisco’s Tenderloin last week to take a hard look at the beleaguered neighborhood’s street addict scene. Like anyone else who’s taken that stroll lately, he saw the brazen fentanyl and methamphetamine use — and the grim consequences of unchecked addiction — that’s become a dispiriting calling card for that part of town. Nothing much surprised him. (Fagan, 1/8)

The New York Times:
Tranq Dope: Animal Sedative Mixed With Fentanyl Brings Fresh Horror To US Drug Zones

In her shattered Philadelphia neighborhood, and increasingly in drug hot zones around the country, an animal tranquilizer called xylazine — known by street names like “tranq,” “tranq dope” and “zombie drug” — is being used to bulk up illicit fentanyl, making its impact even more devastating. Xylazine causes wounds that erupt with a scaly dead tissue called eschar; untreated, they can lead to amputation. (Hoffman, 1/7)

How Health Insurance May Have Made Health Care More Expensive

Widespread medical debt is a uniquely American problem. Roughly 40% of U.S. adults have at least $250 in medical debt, according to a survey conducted by Kaiser Family Foundation. “The history of medical debt is basically a history of the changing answer to the following question: When the patient can’t pay the bill, who foots it?” said Dr. Luke Messac, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston who is writing a book about the history of medical debt. (Morabito, 1/8)

Drugstores Make Slow Headway On Staffing Problems

A rush of vaccines, virus tests and a busy flu season started overwhelming pharmacies more than a year ago, forcing many to temporarily close when workers weren’t available. Major drugstore chains have raised pay and dangled signing bonuses to add employees. They’re also emphasizing the lunch breaks and sending routine prescription work to other locations to improve conditions in their pandemic-battered pharmacies. (Murphy, 1/7)

The Wall Street Journal:
71-Year-Old Cancer Patient Broke Trial Age Limits For A Chance At A Cure

After Mikhail Rubin learned his lethal blood disease had progressed, he decided that he wanted a stem-cell transplant through a clinical trial. But there was an obstacle: his age. Mr. Rubin, who is now 72, was too old to participate. Many cancer trials cap enrollment at age 65. Even when trials for older people are available, oncologists are reluctant to enroll elderly patients because frailties might make them less resilient against side effects from toxic treatments, according to a 2020 study in an American Cancer Society journal. People over 70 represent a growing share of the cancer-patient population but are vastly underrepresented in clinical trials, the study said. (Dockser Marcus, 1/8)

California Hit By More Storms, Braces For Potential Floods 

California was hit with more turbulent weather Sunday as thunderstorms, snow and damaging winds swept into the northern part the state, preceding another series of incoming storms and raising the potential for road flooding, rising rivers and mudslides on soils already saturated after days of rain. The National Weather Service warned of a “relentless parade of atmospheric rivers” — storms that are long plumes of moisture stretching out into the Pacific capable of dropping staggering amounts of rain and snow. (1/9)

As Respiratory Diseases Rise, EPA Tightens Air Quality Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Friday more aggressive air quality standards for particulate matter, pollutants small enough to be inhaled and cause respiratory illness and other disease. The agency’s new rules would help clean the nation’s air and bring it more in line with the past decade of research on the harmful effects of particulate matter. (Cueto, 1/6)

VA Says It’s Back On Track To End Veteran Homelessness

After several years of limited progress, an 11 percent drop since 2020 has encouraged advocates and VA officials. It’s the biggest reduction in five years. There were 33,136 homeless vets in 2022 — down from 37,252 in 2020 according to the annual point in time count conducted by the VA, HUD and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. The same count found 582,462 homeless people in America – the Biden Administration says it’s aiming to reduce that number 25 percent by 2025. (Lawrence, 1/7)

The 19th:
House Republicans May Soon Vote On A ‘Born-Alive’ Abortion Bill

House Republican leaders have vowed swift action on a number of measures related to abortion this year — including one that compels health care providers to provide life-sustaining care to infants born after an attempted abortion. But, reproductive rights advocates and physicians say, the rights of infants born by any method, including after an attempted abortion, are already protected by a bipartisan 2002 law that established that infants have the rights of a full human. (Barclay and Luthra, 1/6)

Former FDA Commissioner On Loosened Restrictions On Abortion Pills

When the Food and Drug Administration lifted some — but not all — of its restrictions on an abortion pill this week, it raised questions about why these rules were there in the first place. Mifepristone, the drug in question, has been used by over 3.7 million Americans to end early pregnancies since its approval in 2000, is more than 97% effective, tends to have only mild side effects such as cramping, with severe ones occurring in fewer than 0.5% of patients. So why was it on a list of prescription drugs requiring extra precautions and red tape, alongside opioid painkillers? (Boodman, 1/7)

RSV Recedes And Flu Peaks As A New COVID Variant Shoots ‘Up Like A Rocket’

The good news is the worst appears to be over from the RSV surge that has been making life miserable for many children and their parents. RSV cases have been falling steadily since the end of November, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the same time, the flu — which also came roaring back this fall after mostly disappearing for the previous two years — looks like it’s finally receding in most places, according to the latest data out Friday from the CDC. (Stein, 1/6)

US Flu Markers Decline Further, But 13 More Pediatric Deaths Reported

Flu activity is still high, but it continues to drop in most regions, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today in its weekly report, which covers data ending Dec 31. Most markers declined, including the percentage of outpatient visits for flulike illness, which dropped from 6.1% to 5.4%. Also, the percentage of respiratory samples at clinical labs testing positive for influenza declined from 19.8% to 15.0%. (Schnirring, 1/6)

NBC News:
China’s Covid Wave Threatens Another Snarl Of U.S. Medical Supply Chain

U.S. hospitals, health care companies and federal officials worked to lessen their dependence on China for medical goods after the first wave of Covid infections in 2020 laid bare the major role China plays in manufacturing such crucial items as masks, latex gloves and surgical gowns, along with the key drugs and components in many medical devices. (Pettypiece, 1/8)

‘Everything Starts To Become Better’: After Three Years Of Covid Isolation, China Opens Its Gates

Thousands of travelers crossed mainland China’s borders on Sunday for joyful reunions and long-awaited journeys as authorities relaxed restrictions that had both separated families and isolated the world’s most populous country for nearly three years.At international airports in China’s major cities, families awaited returnees at the exit gates for the first time since the early days of the pandemic — a sharp change from the longstanding Covid protocols that saw all arrivals processed by hazmat-clad workers and taken to mandatory hotel quarantine for days or weeks. (McCarthy, Wang, Watson and Chang, 1/9)


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