Are nonprofit hospitals holding up their end of the tax-free bargain?
Tax exemptions are estimated to save nonprofit hospitals over $24 billion annually. In return, the hospitals are expected to invest these would-be tax dollars into caring for underserved patients (“charity care”) and improving the health of their communities.Source: The Hill
Opinion: The FDA is in desperate need of some soul-searching
Ordinarily, the approval of a new drug for a dreaded disease affecting millions of Americans would be a cause for celebration. But aducanumab, which the Food and Drug Administration approved last week to treat Alzheimer’s disease, is no ordinary drug. It encapsulates everything that ails the regulation of the pharmaceutical industry and is a grim reminder of the soul-searching about the FDA’s integrity that’s desperately needed.Source: The Washington Post
New Alzheimer's drug sets dangerous precedent
Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved aducanumab as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease -- a historic decision not because it addresses the longstanding need for a safe and effective cure of a devastating disease that affects nearly 6 million Americans, but because of the unprecedented irregularities of the agency's actions, undermining its mission to protect public health and ensure the "safety, efficacy, and security" of treatments made available in the United States.Source: CNN
COVID-19 lesson: New FDA chief, when chosen, must crack down on clinical trial transparency
The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in instilling trust in authorized and approved therapies and vaccines. Recent, repeated missteps from AstraZeneca surrounding its characterization of COVID-19 vaccine trial results, as well as possible safety concerns, have led to a clamoring call for increased FDA scrutiny of and transparency around AstraZeneca’s clinical trial data.Source: The Baltimore Sun
Is it time to consider social determinants of health in Medicare payments?
Eta was a 76-year-old woman with a recent heart attack in and out of the hospital over the last several months. Her course had been complicated by social determinants of health, in that she lacked reliable transportation for necessary follow-up, had unstable housing, and her insurance did not cover valuable care from home health agencies. These obstacles made it difficult for her and her doctors to ensure that she recovered. As a geriatrics researcher and emergency physician, I have coordinated care for Medicare patients like Eta, to ensure they get the additional services they need. However, clinicians are often seemingly punished by reduced Medicare reimbursements when caring for these patients, thereby often creating a perverse disincentive to help this population most at need and potentially exacerbating health disparities.Source: KevinMD.com
Does Remdesivir Actually Work Against Covid-19?
When the Food and Drug Administration approves a new treatment or vaccine, as doctors we are assured that rigorous studies have proven it to be safe and effective. But the F.D.A.’s haphazard issuance of emergency use authorizations for Covid-19 treatments like hydroxychloroquine and convalescent plasma, whose potential benefits have not yet been backed up by data, has undermined this trust.Source: The New York Times
During the debate, President Trump said he’s ‘cutting drug prices.’ He’s not.
Amid the chaos of the first presidential debate, President Trump touted his record on a critical issue for many, including my patients — the exorbitant prices of prescription drugs. According to a 2019 national survey, about a quarter of Americans had difficulty affording their medicines. Almost one-third of U.S. adults also reported medication rationing, often skipping doses or taking less because of high prices. COVID-19 has compounded this dire situation, as lost wages and unemployment have forced patients like mine to choose between medicine and groceries.Source: Sun Sentinel
A letter to my wife during COVID
COVID has made a home on my computer’s desktop. Every morning, there is a repetitive chirping with headlines that describe the vaccine trials and testing. My second reminder is more personal – a file titled, “Dear Kimmy …,” locked in the center of my screen.Source: KevinMD
Opinion: Hydroxychloroquine And Azithromycin For COVID-19: Benefits TBD, Risks Clear
In the midst of a pandemic, lots of people have ideas for cures. We are desperate for therapies and the virus can be deadly. The problem is that the presumptive cure can add danger to the disease, rather than mitigate it.Source: Forbes
Frontline healthcare workers need personal protective equipment
A friend and colleague, a fellow physician and pediatrician, called in tears last night. She had just finished a 24-hour shift followed by a day of home-schooling her young child. She was not distraught from exhaustion (she’s used to that) nor from fear for her own personal safety. No, she called to share her deep fears about the safety of her family, her community and her country. At the forefront of her mind was the fear that she was contributing to the exponential rise in cases of the novel coronavirus.Source: CT Mirror
Are White Men Accessing COVID-19 Screening More Than Others?
“COVID-19 is a White man’s disease. It doesn't seem to infect Black people,” said Jane, a community leader in New Haven, Conn., who had come to the U.S. as a refugee from Africa many years ago. Jane addressed my team of health services researchers and members of the local immigrant community to improve communication between medical doctors and refugee patients.Source: The Crisis Magazine
Obtaining health care in the appropriate setting is crucial for older patients
The 3-day rule prevents timely and coordinated care for older adults needing rehabilitation, which often places older patients in the inappropriate setting for the care they need, in order to avoid excess out-of-pocket costs and ensure coverage.Source: The Hill
Hot dogs are cancer logs. It’s time to put a tax on meat.
I’m a cardiologist, and I deeply care about what people eat. I believe diet and exercise are the best medicine and can prevent most diseases. But I don’t have to express faith about these things, considering the significant data that backs up these beliefs. People often tell me about their most recent meal and how “good” it was. Too often, these meals consist of some type of cheese- or bacon-covered red meat. The most common reason I hear for it being a “good” food is that it contains a high protein and low carbohydrate content.Source: Hartford Courant
Shouldn’t people who seek health care be able to communicate with their doctors?
In a physician’s office, there is a brief period of anticipation moments before an interpreter arrives in person or appears on a video screen. Even as the family’s pediatrician, I am powerless to guess what brought their child to the office if I can’t communicate with them. A cough? A cold? Housing concerns? Asthma follow-up? While we wait, we can only offer each other a smile and a kind word in a language we do not understand — gracias, shukraan, mèsi, thank you.Source: Hartford Courant
You Lose a Child, You Lose Your Job
I’m a physician, born in McAllen, Texas. In June 2018, I returned home to demand that immigrant children who had been torn from their families as a result of the Trump Administration’s zero-tolerance policy, be safely and immediately reunited. I demonstrated at a federal detention center in McAllen at the Free the Children Protest. I marched alongside other concerned citizens, and we confronted a bus carrying the children.Source: The Health Care Blog
All children should have health care, including the undocumented
When I embarked on a career as a pediatrician, I had a simple mission: I wanted to provide compassionate care to poor children and families. I was heartbroken when I learned that this goal of being available to care for vulnerable children was not so simple. More than 10,000 Connecticut children did not qualify to walk through the doors of our clinic: undocumented children, none of whom are eligible for state Medicaid.Source: The Hartford Courant
Connecticut needs to offer more treatment for opioid addiction to inmates
Last year, I opened a patient’s chart and was surprised to find a note in it that he had recently died. “The patient’s sister called clinic yesterday to report that he had died," the note read. "According to the person with him, he died right after using drugs. An ambulance was called, but nothing was able to be done.” As a primary care doctor, I have had many patients die, but I couldn’t get his story out of mind. I had met him only once since his release from prison and knew he was struggling with his addiction.Source: Hartford Courant
Implementing a Population Health Program in a Community Health Center
Jack Geiger, a foundational figure in the American community health center movement, made clear from the outset that the health centers he envisioned would unite primary care and population health strategies. “We [will] use the principles of community-oriented primary care and population health,” he recalled being said at a planning meeting in 1964, “to deliver services and, although we didn’t use the words at the time, address the social determinants of health.”Source: Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science