January 29, 2023
Chicago 12, Melborne City, USA

First Edition: May 2, 2022


Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations.

California Opens Medicaid To Older Unauthorized Immigrants

On May 1, California opened Medi-Cal to older immigrants residing in the state without legal permission. Unauthorized immigrants over age 49 who fall below certain income thresholds are now eligible for full coverage by Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid, the federal-state partnership that provides health insurance to low-income people. (Wolfson, 5/2)

Downsized City Sees Its Health Care Downsized As Hospital Awaits Demolition

In 1898, three nuns took a train to this city along the south shore of Lake Michigan to start a hospital. They converted an old farmhouse into a seven-bed medical center. They treated their first patient for a broken leg amid carpenters hammering nails. Surgeons laid their patients on a kitchen table for operations. The hospital — then named after St. Margaret, known for her service to the poor — eventually became one of the largest in the area. Hundreds of thousands of Indiana and Illinois residents took their first, or last, breaths there. (Bruce, 5/2)

Moderna Says Its Vaccine For Ages Under 6 Will Be Ready For U.S. Review In June

Moderna Inc’s chief medical officer said on Sunday the company’s vaccine for children under 6 years old will be ready for review by a Food and Drug Administration panel when it meets in June. Moderna sought emergency use authorization from the FDA on Thursday. An advisory panel of experts to the U.S. drug regulator will meet in June to review the request. (Chiacu, 5/2)

The Hill:
Moderna Expects ‘Large Amounts’ Of Omicron Booster Available By Fall

Moderna’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton said on Sunday that his company was preparing to provide large amounts of its vaccine booster against omicron and other COVID-19 variants this fall. “We’re confident by the fall of this year we should have large amounts of that new booster vaccine that will protect against Omicron and other variants,” Burton said in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Last month, Moderna announced that its new bivalent COVID-19 booster shot was more effective against all variants than the company’s currently available coronavirus vaccine. (Beals, 5/1)

Pfizer Says COVID Treatment Paxlovid Fails To Prevent Infection Of Household Members

Pfizer Inc on Friday said a large trial found that its COVID-19 oral antiviral treatment Paxlovid was not effective at preventing coronavirus infection in people living with someone infected with the virus. The trial enrolled 3,000 adults who were household contacts exposed to an individual who was experiencing symptoms and had recently tested positive for COVID-19. They were either given Paxlovid for five or 10 days or a placebo. (Beasley, 4/29)

Paxlovid’s Failure As A Preventative Measure Raises Questions, But Doctors Still Back It As A Therapeutic

Pfizer released news late Friday that Paxlovid, the antiviral currently subject to a big push from the U.S. government, failed to prevent people living with Covid patients from catching the infection. The news is one of several bad headlines for the new Covid pill, but one experts say doesn’t affect the medicine’s primary use: treating people who are already sick. Paul Sax, clinical director of the division of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said he would “absolutely” prescribe Paxlovid to people at high risk of severe disease who have Covid. “Without hesitation,” he said. “Because the net benefit in the high risk study was extremely high.” (Herper, 3/2)

U.S. Seeks ‘Urgent’ Data On Covid Relapses After Using Pfizer’s Paxlovid Drug

U.S. government researchers are planning studies of how often and why coronavirus levels rebound in some Covid patients who have completed a five-day course of treatment with Pfizer Inc.’s Paxlovid. “It is a priority,” said Clifford Lane, deputy director for clinical research at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, calling the issue “a pretty urgent thing for us to get a handle on.” The agency is discussing a variety of possible epidemiological and clinical studies to examine post-Paxlovid rebound with scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he said. (Langreth and Muller, 4/29)

COVID’s New Omicron Sub-Lineages Can Dodge Immunity From Past Infection, Study Says

Two new sublineages of the Omicron coronavirus variant can dodge antibodies from earlier infection well enough to trigger a new wave, but are far less able to thrive in the blood of people vaccinated against COVID-19, South African scientists have found. The scientists from multiple institutions were examining Omicron’s BA.4 and BA.5 sublineages – which the World Health Organization last month added to its monitoring list. They took blood samples from 39 participants previously infected by Omicron when it first showed up at the end of last year. (Cocks, 5/1)

Omicron Sublineages Evade Antibodies From Earlier Infections

New omicron sublineages show an ability to evade antibodies from earlier infection and vaccination, a South African laboratory study has found. The findings could signal a fresh wave of infections by the BA.4 and BA.5 sublineages of the omicron variant that were discovered this month in South Africa. Blood samples from people who had been infected with the original omicron variant saw an almost eightfold drop in neutralizing antibody production when tested against the BA.4 and BA.5 sublineages, the study, led by the Africa Health Research Institute in South Africa, showed. (Sguazzin, 4/30)

The Washington Post:
Coronavirus Mutations Aren’t Slowing Down

“This virus has probably got tricks we haven’t seen yet,” virologist Robert F. Garry of Tulane University said. “We know it’s probably not quite as infectious as measles yet, but it’s creeping up there, for sure.” The latest member of the rogue’s gallery of variants and subvariants is the ungainly named BA.2.12.1, part of the omicron gang. Preliminary research suggests it is about 25 percent more transmissible than the BA.2 subvariant that is currently dominant nationally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC said the subvariant has rapidly spread in the Northeast in particular, where it accounts for the majority of new infections. “We have a very, very contagious variant out there. It is going to be hard to ensure that no one gets covid in America. That’s not even a policy goal,” President Biden’s new covid-19 coordinator, Ashish Jha, said in his inaugural news briefing Tuesday. (Achenbach, 5/1)

The Washington Post:
Covid Deaths No Longer Overwhelmingly Among The Unvaccinated

The pandemic’s toll is no longer falling almost exclusively on those who chose not to or could not get shots, with vaccine protection waning over time and the elderly and immunocompromised — who are at greatest risk of succumbing to covid-19, even if vaccinated — having a harder time dodging increasingly contagious strains. The vaccinated made up 42 percent of fatalities in January and February during the highly contagious omicron variant’s surge, compared with 23 percent of the dead in September, the peak of the delta wave, according to nationwide data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed by The Post. The data is based on the date of infection and limited to a sampling of cases in which vaccination status was known. (Nirappil and Keating, 4/29)

CDC: Half Of Vermont’s 14 Counties Have High COVID-19 Levels 

Half of Vermont’s 14 counties have been rated as having high community levels of COVID-19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rankings are based on a handful of factors including new hospital admissions for COVID-19, recent case counts, and the community’s overall hospital capacity. Washington County reported the highest number of cases per 100,000 individuals, followed by Chittenden County and Bennington County. The other counties with high community levels of the virus are Addison, Franklin, Grand Isle and Orleans. (5/1)

CDC Casts Doubt On Covid Causing Kids’ Mysterious Liver Disease

U.S. health officials cast doubt on Covid-19 as a potential cause of severe hepatitis that’s been seen in dozens of previously healthy children around the world, while adding weight to the possibility it’s caused by a more common virus linked to stomach ailments. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday released its most detailed report yet on nine cases of pediatric hepatitis in Alabama that have captured national attention. All the patients tested negative for Covid-19 at the hospital and had no documented history of infection with SARS-CoV-2, the report said. (Muller, 4/29)

Mysterious Pediatric Liver Disease Found In Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Health said it’s investigating several severe cases of hepatitis among children and has reported the cases to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC continues to investigate cases of the sudden liver disease in nearly 200 children that has health authorities in several countries racing to find answers. The illness is being called hepatitis of unknown origin. The cases have no known connection, although a link with a virus that can cause colds is being investigated. (4/30)

US Pediatricians’ Group Moves To Abandon Race-Based Guidance

For years, pediatricians have followed flawed guidelines linking race to risks for urinary infections and newborn jaundice. In a new policy announced Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics said it is putting all its guidance under the microscope to eliminate “race-based” medicine and resulting health disparities. A re-examination of AAP treatment recommendations that began before George Floyd’s 2020 death and intensified after it has doctors concerned that Black youngsters have been undertreated and overlooked, said Dr. Joseph Wright, lead author of the new policy and chief health equity officer at the University of Maryland’s medical system. (Tanner, 5/2)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Biden Administration Suspends Georgia Plan To Block Access To ACA Website

The Biden administration has officially suspended Gov. Brian Kemp’s plan to block Georgians from shopping for health insurance coverage on the Affordable Care Act marketplace later this year. Open enrollment for ACA plans typically begins Nov. 1. More than 400,000 Georgians use the marketplace to sign up for their insurance. Currently, 700,000 Georgians are covered by ACA plans and the majority buy them on the website healthcare.gov. Under the Kemp plan, when shoppers went to the website to shop for plans, it would have instead directed them to buy their plans from individual insurance companies or private brokers. President Trump’s administration approved the plan, called a “waiver,” shortly before he left office. (Hart, 4/29)

Feds Block Georgia’s Plan To Have Private Sector Handle ACA

The letter from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services gives Georgia until July 28 to formulate a “corrective action plan … ensuring that the waiver will provide coverage to a comparable number of residents, that the coverage will be at least as comprehensive and affordable as coverage provided without the waiver, and that the waiver will not increase the federal deficit.” (5/1)

Modern Healthcare:
CMS Report Details Health Disparities Among Medicare Advantage Enrollees

Black, Indigenous and Alaska Native patients experienced the most significant disparities in clinical care among Medicare Advantage enrollees last year, according to a report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the RAND Corp. The CMS Office of Minority Health and the consulting company analyzed information from the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) and the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) for the study, which compares clinical data and patient satisfaction surveys across demographics. (Hartnett, 4/29)

Biden Attends Correspondents’ Dinner As Virus Stalks Washington

President Joe Biden attended the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner for the first time as commander-in-chief, even as the coronavirus continues to infect those around him. “We’re here to show the country we’re getting through this pandemic,” Biden told the crowd of some 2,600 people at the Washington Hilton on Saturday night, adding all attendees had to be fully vaccinated and boosted. “We have to stay vigilant.” Biden told the room that Vice President Kamala Harris, who spent this week working from her residence after receiving a positive diagnosis, was doing well although she couldn’t attend. White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield announced on Friday via Twitter that she too had tested positive as the virus advanced further into the president’s inner circle. (Cook, 5/1)

Sen. Rand Paul Wants To Investigate Origins Of COVID-19

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul promised Saturday to wage a vigorous review into the origins of the coronavirus if Republicans retake the Senate and he lands a committee chairmanship. Speaking to supporters at a campaign rally, the libertarian-leaning Kentucky Republican denounced what he sees as government overreach in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He applauded a recent judge’s order that voided the federal mask mandate on planes and trains and in travel hubs. (Schreiner, 5/1)

The Hill:
Sen. Bennet Tests Positive For COVID-19

Sen. Michael Bennet (D- Colo.) on Sunday announced that he has tested positive for COVID-19, after cases among his colleagues delayed some Senate business last week. “I am vaccinated and boosted and thankfully experiencing only minor, cold-like symptoms,” Bennet said in a statement announcing his diagnosis.  “I will work virtually while quarantining in Denver according to the guidance set forth by the Senate Attending Physician,” he added. (Beals, 5/1)

The Hill:
Birx Says US Must Prepare For Summer COVID Surge As Immunity Wanes

Deborah Birx, a leading member of the Trump administration’s White House coronavirus task force, said on Sunday the U.S. should be prepared for another potential COVID-19 surge after a recent uptick in infections in South Africa. “They’re on an upslope again,” Birx said of South Africa’s infections on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “Each of these surges are about four to six months apart. That tells me that natural immunity wanes enough in the general population after four to six months that a significant surge is going to occur again. And this is what we have to be prepared for in this country,” she added. (Beals, 5/1)

The Hill:
House Panel Documents Reveal Trump Officials Overrode CDC On COVID-19 Church Guidance

The House select subcommittee investigating the U.S. coronavirus response released new evidence on Friday detailing how Trump administration officials involved themselves in COVID-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) related to faith-based communities. The CDC had sent guidance for faith-based communities to the White House in May 2020. In an email exchange shared by the subcommittee, administration officials, including then-White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, discussed the proposal and offered edits. (Vakil, 4/29)

Washington Post:
Trump Officials Muzzled CDC On Church COVID Guidance, E-Mails Show

Trump White House officials in May 2020 removed public health advice urging churches to consider virtual religious services as the coronavirus spread, delivering a messaging change sought by the president’s supporters, according to emails from former top officials released by a House panel on Friday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent its planned public health guidance for religious communities to the White House on May 21, 2020, seeking approval to publish it. The agency had days earlier released reports saying that the virus had killed three and infected dozens at church events in Arkansas and infected 87 percent of attendees at a choir practice in Washington state, and health experts had warned that houses of worship had become hot spots for virus transmission. (Diamond, 4/29)

Rachel Levine Calls State Bills Dangerous To Transgender Youth

The highest ranking transgender official in U.S. history will give a speech in Texas Saturday, urging physicians-in-training to fight political attacks against young trans people and their families. Adm. Rachel Levine, the U.S. assistant secretary for health, will make a speech in Fort Worth at the Out For Health Conference at Texas Christian University. In prepared remarks shared exclusively with NPR, she writes: “Trans youth in particular are being hounded in public and driven to deaths of despair at an alarming rate. Fifty-two percent of all transgender and nonbinary young people in the U.S. seriously contemplated killing themselves in 2020. Think about how many of them thought it was better to die than to put up with any more harassment, scapegoating and intentional abuse.” (Simmons-Duffin, 4/29)

Dallas Morning News:
In Texas, Transgender Official Says Science Is Being ‘Politically Perverted’ To Attack LGBT People

The nation’s top transgender official came to Texas this weekend to call out what she called the political perversion of medicine and science and urge doctors to stand up against attacks on LGBT Americans’ access to health care. “The truth we need to confront now is that medicine and science are being politically perverted around the country in ways that destroy human lives,” Dr. Rachel Levine, the U.S. assistant health secretary, said Saturday at a conference on LGBTQ health care hosted by students at Texas Christian University School of Medicine in Fort Worth. (McGaughy, 5/1)

Oregon, Kentucky Dust Off An Obama-Era Policy To Expand Health Insurance

Two states are dusting off a little-used provision of the Affordable Care Act hoping to make health care more affordable for tens of thousands of low-income residents. Oregon and Kentucky, despite their wildly different politics, are pursuing an Obama-era policy that uses federal dollars to establish a health insurance plan for people who make too much money to qualify for their state’s Medicaid programs. The goal is to provide residents who find Obamacare plans too expensive a less costly option, while smoothing insurance gaps for people teetering on the edge of Medicaid eligibility. (Messerly, 4/30)

New York Times:
Connecticut Moves To Blunt Impact Of Other States’ Antiabortion Laws

The law would protect a provider in Connecticut who administers an abortion that is legal in the state to a resident of a different state where the procedure is illegal, by prohibiting Connecticut authorities from cooperating with investigative requests or extradition orders from the patient’s home state. The law would also allow people who are sued over their role in providing an abortion to countersue in Connecticut court, and to recoup legal fees and other costs if they win. As states across the country prepare for the possibility of a post-Roe world, many are tightening restrictions on abortion. Twenty-six states — a swath stretching from Florida to Idaho — would ban or severely restrict the procedure if the court overturns Roe. (Maslin Nir and Zernike, 4/30)

SC House Approves Bill Over Unproven Abortion Pill Reversal

The South Carolina House has approved a bill that [would] require doctors to tell women who seek medication to have an abortion that there is an unproven way to reverse the procedure. The 71-29 vote Wednesday sent the bill to the Senate, where its ultimate fate is unclear. There is just six legislative days left in the 2022 General Assembly’s regular session. Chemical abortions require two drugs and the bill would have doctors attach a statement to the prescription or other medical papers that research has shown a pregnancy can be saved after the first pill is taken. (4/30)

Connecticut Looks To Expand Abortion Rights In Response To Restrictions

Lawmakers in Connecticut have approved a bill that would expand the types of medical professionals who can provide abortion services in the state and shield residents from facing penalties under other states’ anti-abortion laws. The legislation is partly a response to the wave of new measures in conservative states restricting abortion access and in some cases levying civil and criminal penalties on people who perform them. (Hernandez, 5/1)

As US Abortion Access Wanes, This Doctor Travels To Fill A Void

Inside Planned Parenthood’s Birmingham, Alabama, clinic, a quiet space with few windows and stock photos of the city lining the walls, a woman tapped her hand against her stomach as Dr. Shelly Tien performed a surgical abortion. Tien, 40, had flown to Birmingham the day before, and she would return home to Jacksonville, Florida, that night. A week earlier, she performed abortions at a clinic in Oklahoma. She’s among an estimated 50 doctors who travel across state lines, according to the National Abortion Federation, to provide abortions in places with limited abortion access. (5/1)

Texas Got A Sex Ed Update, But Students And Educators Say There’s Still A Lot Missing

Cali Byrd is a junior at Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas. She remembers when a group came to talk to her class about sexually transmitted infections in eighth grade. The talk involved a bunch of tennis balls with the names of STIs written on them. “They had a couple of kids come up, put on gloves, and said, ‘If he throws the ball to her and she has a glove on, then she’s protected. But if she doesn’t have a glove on, then she’ll get the disease or something,’ ” Byrd said. “It was really weird.” (Rivera, 4/30)

The Washington Post:
Lone Star Tick That Makes People Allergic To Red Meat Is In D.C.

Our recent warm weather has reawakened ticks, and one type in particular is becoming more common in the D.C. area: the lone star tick. One bite from this tick, which is easily identified by the white spot on its back if it’s a female, can cause a life-long adverse reaction to eating red meat. The lone star tick originated in the southern states but has spread north and west to cover much of the eastern half of the country. With a warming climate, more ticks survive the winter months, and their range is expanding. Unlike the black-legged (deer) tick, the lone star tick doesn’t transmit Lyme disease, but it can produce a severe food allergy in people known as alpha-gal syndrome, which is an allergy to red meat. (Ambrose, 5/1)

The Washington Post:
Babies Die As Congenital Syphilis Continues A Decade-Long Surge

For a decade, the number of babies born with syphilis in the United States has surged, undeterred. Data released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows just how dire the outbreak has become. In 2012, 332 babies were born infected with the disease. In 2021, that number had climbed nearly sevenfold, to at least 2,268, according to preliminary estimates. And 166 of those babies died. About 7 percent of babies diagnosed with syphilis in recent years have died; thousands of others born with the disease have faced problems that include brain and bone malformations, blindness and organ damage. (Maria Barry-Jester, 5/1)

USA Today:
Drug And Alcohol Abuse May Be Contributing To US Labor Shortage

The U.S. workforce has yet to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels, and researchers are shedding light on one factor that may be contributing to the labor shortage in the U.S.: substance abuse. A rise in drug abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic could account for between 9% to 26% of the decline in labor force participation among people aged 25 to 54 between February 2020 and June 2021, according to a new working paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research. (Pérez Pintado, 5/1)

Mower, Co-Inventor Of Implantable Defibrillator, Dies At 89

Dr. Morton Mower, a former Maryland-based cardiologist who helped invent an automatic implantable defibrillator that has helped countless heart patients live longer and healthier, has died at age 89. Funeral services were held Wednesday for Mower, who died two days earlier of cancer at Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver, The Baltimore Sun reported. The Maryland native had moved to Colorado about a decade ago. Mower and Dr. Michel Mirowski, both colleagues at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, began working in 1969 on developing a miniature defibrillator that could be implanted into a patient. The device would correct a patient’s over-rapid or inefficient heartbeat with an electric shock to resume its regular rhythm. (5/1)

The New York Times:
Fuad El-Hibri, Who Led A Troubled Vaccine Maker, Dies At 64

Fuad El-Hibri, whose biotech company won billions of dollars in government contracts to manufacture a vaccine against anthrax but stumbled in 2021 when, having been hired to produce Covid vaccines, it had to throw out the equivalent of 75 million contaminated doses, died on April 23 at his home in Potomac, Md. He was 64. His death was announced in a statement by his family. A representative for the family said the cause was pancreatic cancer. Mr. El-Hibri’s Maryland-based company, Emergent BioSolutions, was an obscure player in the world of government contracting, but an influential one: It deployed extensive lobbying efforts and campaign contributions to secure a near-monopoly on the production of an anthrax vaccine in the early 2000s. The contract accounted for nearly half the budget for the Strategic National Stockpile, a medical reserve held in case of crises like a bioweapons attack or a pandemic. (Risen, 4/30)

The New York Times:
Philip J. Hilts, 74, Dies; Reporter Exposed A Big-Tobacco Cover-Up

Philip J. Hilts, who as a science reporter for The New York Times in 1994 exposed a tobacco company’s decades-long cover-up of its own research showing that tobacco was harmful and nicotine was addictive, died on April 23 in Lebanon, N.H. He was 74. The cause was complications of liver disease, his son Ben said. Mr. Hilts was a longtime journalist, writing for The Times, The Washington Post and other publications, and was the author of six nonfiction books on scientific, medical and social topics. (Seelye, 4/29)

NBC News:
Naomi Judd Struggled With Severe Depression. It Led Her To Advocate For Others With Mental Health Issues

In recent years, Naomi Judd had been candid about her battle with suicidal ideation, panic attacks and the ups and downs of her mental health struggles. The fight eventually led her to advocate for others, offering words of solace and solidarity to those who also struggled with suicidal thoughts. Judd died Saturday at 76. Daughters Wynonna and Ashley Judd said they had lost their mother to “the disease of mental illness.” (Rosenblatt, 5/1)

Modern Healthcare:
Mayo Study: AI Can Detect Heart Condition From Apple Watch ECGs

An artificial-intelligence algorithm developed at Mayo Clinic could identify left ventricular dysfunction—or a weak heart pump—in most patients based on Apple Watch data, researchers shared at a conference Sunday. The proof-of-concept study was funded by Rochester, Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic without technical or financial support from Apple. Left ventricular dysfunction, which affects 2-3% of people globally, might be accompanied by symptoms like shortness of breath, legs swelling or an irregular heartbeat, but it sometimes has no symptoms at all, said Dr. Paul Friedman, chair of Mayo Clinic’s cardiovascular medicine department in Rochester and a researcher on the study. (Kim Cohen, 5/1)

Scientists Detail Clinical Picture In Alabama Hepatitis Cases

Today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) authors describe the clinical findings of nine children in Alabama who developed acute hepatitis. The children also had adenovirus upon hospital admission. The Alabama cluster was the first hepatitis cluster identified in the United States, after similar patterns of illness have been detected across the United Kingdom, Europe, and Israel. All children were identified after Oct 1, 2021. The children had no geographical or epidemiological links, and all were age 5 and under. (4/29)

Clinical Trial Will Examine Antibiotic Use In Treatment Of Gum Disease

The National Institutes of Health this week announced a $2.4 million grant for a clinical trial to study responsible use of antibiotics in the treatment of severe gum disease. The trial, which will be run by the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in collaboration with American Dental Association Science & Research Institute, will enroll 1,050 periodontal patients. Clinicians will share clinical and patient-experience data about the efficacy of adjunctive antibiotics, which are commonly used for treatment of periodontitis in conjunction with deep cleaning. To date, data on the benefit of adjunctive antibiotics for periodontitis has been unclear. (4/29)

This Kidney Researcher Hopes To Break A Lethal Chain Of Inheritance 

Autumn Steen roiled in the pew of the chapel, Bowditch Union Free Will Baptist Church — the one she could see from home, the house of God she knew so well she could get in with a spare key. If I just pray hard enough, none of this will happen, she thought. At just 17, she was unable to grasp that this had already happened. Her dad, Tommy Bruce Carroll, was dead. Minutes earlier, she had arrived home from summer Bible school to find an ambulance in the gravel driveway, her mother sobbing uncontrollably on the back porch. Steen had known her father was sick with the same kidney disease he shared with more than half of his 13 siblings, and he’d slowed down a bit since starting dialysis. But he had been OK when they spoke that morning. He was only 50 years old. How could his heart just stop? (Cueto, 5/2)

Study: SARS-CoV-2 Virus Shedding Varied Widely In The Mildly Ill

Daily infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus shedding varied substantially among 60 newly diagnosed asymptomatic or mildly ill COVID-19 patients early in the pandemic, suggesting that individual differences in viral dynamics may account for “superspreading,” according to a first-of-its-kind modeling study published yesterday in Nature Microbiology. A superspreader transmits the virus to an exceptionally large number of other people. “Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 by both presymptomatic and asymptomatic individuals has been a major contributor to the explosive spread of this virus,” the researchers wrote. (Van Beusekom, 4/29)

Sensitivity Of Home COVID Rapid Antigen Tests Peaks 4 Days After Illness Onset

The sensitivity of home rapid antigen COVID-19 tests peaks 4 days after symptom onset, suggesting that a negative antigen test should be followed by a second test in 1 or 2 days, according to a prospective study published today in JAMA Internal Medicine. The study, led by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Response Team, studied test sensitivity in 225 adults and children from 107 households who tested positive for COVID-19 in San Diego County, California, and metropolitan Denver from January to May 2021. (4/29)

Black Doctors Say They Face Discrimination Based On Race

Dr. Dare Adewumi was thrilled when he was hired to lead the neurosurgery practice at an Atlanta-area hospital near where he grew up. But he says he quickly faced racial discrimination that ultimately led to his firing and has prevented him from getting permanent work elsewhere. His lawyers and other advocates say he’s not alone, that Black doctors across the country commonly experience discrimination, ranging from microaggressions to career-threatening disciplinary actions. Biases, conscious or not, can become magnified in the fiercely competitive hospital environment, they say, and the underrepresentation of Black doctors can discourage them from speaking up. (Brumback, 5/1)

Modern Healthcare:
Stanford Health, Nurses Reach Tentative Agreement To End Strike

Five thousand striking nurses at Stanford Health Care and Stanford Children’s Health in California could return to work by Tuesday, if members of the nurses’ union approve a tentative agreement reached late Friday with the hospitals. The tentative three-year contract negotiated by the Committee for the Recognition of Nursing Achievement union and Stanford Health Care and Stanford Children’s Health would end a strike that started Monday. Nurses will vote on the agreement Sunday, and results will be announced Monday, the union said. (Christ, 4/30)

Modern Healthcare:
Cedars-Sinai Workers Set Strike Date

Members of a union representing 2,000 workers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles are set to go on strike May 9. Service Employees Union International-United Healthcare Workers West members are protesting unfair labor practices, safety concerns, short staffing and low wages, the union said Friday. The union’s contract with the not-for-profit hospital ended March 31. Contract bargaining began March 21, according to the union. Earlier this month, the union announced workers planned to go on strike in May if no progress was made in negotiations. (Christ, 4/29)

The New York Times:
Loss Of Pandemic Aid Stresses Hospitals That Treat The Uninsured

The infusion of aid is ending at a time when hospitalizations from Covid are receding, but as safety-net providers are facing tremendous unmet needs from patients who have delayed care for chronic conditions and other health problems even more than usual during the pandemic. “Their margins are slim to begin with,” Beth Feldpush, the senior vice president for policy and advocacy at America’s Essential Hospitals, which represents safety-net hospitals, said of the institutions. She added that some were already having a “more difficult time bouncing back operationally and financially.” Nashville General has seen an average of just one Covid patient a week recently. But its doctors and nurses say that a wide range of health problems that worsened during the pandemic are now overwhelming the hospital. (Weiland, 5/1)

Law Firm Files Class Action Against Pharma Company Natera

Law firm Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check LLP on Sunday said it had filed a securities class action lawsuit against pharmaceutical company Natera Inc (NTRA.O) on behalf of shareholders, according to a statement. The law firm said the main justification for the lawsuit filed in the U.S. district court of the Western district of Texas was that Natera, which specializes in genetic testing and diagnostics, provided information about the efficacy of its tests that have not proved accurate. (5/1)

Crain’s Detroit Business:
Michigan State University, Henry Ford Health Partnership Will Continue Without Lassiter

The departure of Henry Ford Health CEO Wright Lassiter III is hardly surprising — he’s been a rising star in healthcare nationally for years — but it comes in the middle of several projects that are career- and legacy-defining. The most prominent of the projects is a partnership with Michigan State University with plans for a new research center located south of the health system’s Detroit campus on West Grand Boulevard. It will house researchers and physicians on translational research — specifically looking at cancer, neuroscience, women’s health, imaging and public health. (Walsh, 4/29)

Meet The Policy Makers Who Want To Bring Health Tech Into The Home 

Years into the pandemic’s almost overnight transition to virtual care, providers and health plans are now scrambling to build sustainable systems that can more permanently treat patients in their homes via telehealth or other means, a trend they say could cut costs and make health care more convenient for patients. There’s widespread interest. Health systems are piloting their own “hospital at home” programs, some of which use biometric sensors to passively monitor patients before their conditions worsen, minimizing unnecessary in-person visits. Industry giants like UnitedHealth Group are poised to spend billions of dollars on home health providers; Amazon’s clinic chain Amazon Care threw its weight behind home health when it joined the Moving Health Home policy coalition last year. (Ravindranath, 5/2)

Modern Healthcare:
UCM Digital Health Forms Partnership To Launch Mobile Integrated Healthcare Nationwide

Telehealth and emergency medicine triage provider UCM Digital Health is partnering with another emergency medicine group to expand patient-centered, mobile resources outside of hospitals. UCM and Empress Emergency Medical Services expect their collaboration will allow patients to access virtual and hands-on medical care at home, work, or wherever they are without visiting the emergency department or urgent care. (Devereaux, 4/29)

The Wall Street Journal:
OrbiMed Seeks $4.75 Billion For Fresh Slate Of Healthcare-Focused Funds

Healthcare-focused investment firm OrbiMed Advisors is seeking $4.75 billion across three new funds a little more than a year after raising $3.5 billion for a trio of predecessor vehicles, regulatory filings indicate. The New York-based firm is pitching its latest funds following a record year of private investment in the healthcare sector. Private-equity firms signed a total of some $151 billion worth of healthcare deals globally in 2021, driven by a glut of large transactions, WSJ Pro Private Equity previously reported. Venture investment in the sector also hit a record, surpassing $86 billion in 2021, according to a report by Silicon Valley Bank that cites data from PitchBook Data Inc. (Kreutzer, 4/29)

Transgender Youth Care Specialist Gordon Quits As Texas Hospital Chief

The chief pediatrician at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, who specialized in care for transgender youth, has resigned about six months after being named to the job. Catherine M. Gordon recently wrote an article in support of providing care for transgender adolescents, a practice Texas Governor Greg Abbott is trying to criminalize. A spokesperson for Texas Children’s, one of the largest pediatric hospitals in the country, said the resignation was unrelated to the journal publication, which the organization “fully supports.” (Xu, 4/29)

Columbus Dispatch:
ACLU, Equitas Health Challenge Ohio Law Letting Doctors Deny Care

A law that lets Ohio health providers refuse services that violate their religious or moral beliefs is being challenged in court not on its merits but on the way it was passed. The “medical conscience clause” wasn’t a freestanding piece of legislation. Instead, Republicans folded the language into Ohio’s 2,400-page budget during final negotiations. “The Healthcare Denial Law was snuck into an unrelated appropriations bill in the eleventh hour behind closed doors,”  ACLU of Ohio attorney Amy Gilbert said in a statement. “Our constitution’s single-subject rule serves an essential democratic purpose in placing concrete limits on the power of the General Assembly.” (Staver, 4/29)

USA Today:
Tuberculosis Cases Washington: State’s Largest Outbreak In 20 Years

Health officials warn that Washington is experiencing the state’s largest tuberculosis outbreak in 20 years. And it’s part of a concerning surge in TB cases worldwide. A Washington State Department of Health release from Thursday shared that state and local health officials are on “heightened alert” due to the current rise in TB cases. While TB cases in Washington appeared to trend downward during the first year of the pandemic (potentially due to decreased reporting), cases notably rose in 2021 – which saw a total of 199 reported cases statewide, a 22% increase from 2020, according to the state department of health. (Grantham-Philips, 4/30)

Tennessee Gets ‘Acquired Immunity’ COVID Law; Gov Won’t Sign

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee declined to sign off on a new law requiring governments and businesses to treat immunity from a previous COVID-19 infection as equal to getting vaccinated in their policies. The legislation became law Friday without the Republican’s signature, taking effect immediately. The bill requires a letter from a licensed physician or certain lab test results as proof of “acquired immunity.” (4/30)

Florida Lost 70,000 People To Covid. It’s Still Not Prepared For The Next Wave

As Covid infections begin creeping up again across the country, current and former health officials in Florida are warning that the state remains woefully underprepared to handle the next wave of the pandemic. Florida’s 250-plus hospitals are still facing staffing shortages that continue to worsen as the Covid-19 pandemic drags on. The state Legislature budgeted more than $100 million for community colleges and universities to expand medical training programs to boost the number of qualified nurses in the state and injected $10 million to build medical training centers. (Sarkissian, 5/1)

Fox News:
Charlie Crist Says He’s ‘Open’ To Mask Mandate, Setting Up COVID As Key Issue In Race Against DeSantis

A recent statement from a Democratic candidate eyeing the Florida governor’s seat has opened the door for COVID-19 to remain a central issue in the race against sitting Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. A video obtained by Fox News Digital shows former Florida governor and current Congressman Charlie Crist, D-Fla., telling attendees at a campaign event in Wilton Manors, Florida, that if he were elected, he would be open to a statewide mask mandate. An event attendee asked, “Congressman, thank you for coming. You mentioned the pandemic. Hopefully it is behind us. But as Florida’s governor, would you be open to mandating or regulating masks?” (Laco, 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.


Source link

Leave feedback about this

  • Quality
  • Price
  • Service


Add Field


Add Field
Choose Image
Choose Video