Thursday, 31 October 2019

Calls for universal health coverage: Rethink insurance route - The Financial Express



Calls for universal health coverage: Rethink insurance route

By Soham D Bhaduri
The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the fault lines of Indian healthcare. This has strengthened calls for universal health coverage (UHC) in the country as a long-term reform. In this regard, there seems to be an emerging consensus around expanding coverage through Ayushman Bharat–Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB–PMJAY), which currently insures nearly 50 crore poor citizens for hospitalisation expenses. The High-Level Group on health advising the 15th Finance Commission is looking at it as a medium-term measure.
In 2019, the NITI Aayog endorsed similar vision. Some recent measures like Maharashtra universalising its station health insurance scheme, free Covid-19 testing/ treatment under AB–PMJAY and ‘express empanelment’ to encourage private sector participation in AB–PMJAY, could be a prelude to universalisation of health insurance. Recently, the Director-General of WHO also recognised Covid-19 as an opportunity to speed up Ayushman Bharat with emphasis on primary care.
In ideal conditions, universal health coverage would extend to legions of currently uninsured citizens and lop financial barriers to care, both over a short period. It could also help bring a large chunk of private healthcare under the public ambit, lop informality in healthcare provision, pave the way for better regulation and oversight, and allow monopsonistic power to the state to negotiate for better and affordable care. It may also contribute to reducing regional disparities in healthcare services and fostering the adoption of cost-effective healthcare innovations. We shall now delve into the cons.
A noteworthy finding from the covid-19 pandemic is how the public sector comes in handy during times of crisis. The observation that states with higher per-capita public health spending have tackled Covid-19 better attests to this. It is also important to note that private healthcare interests aren’t particularly aligned with managing infectious diseases and emergencies. Private hospitals view health insurance often prefer high-paying, non-communicable disease-related interventions . The private sector’s sluggish response to Covid-19 under AB–PMJAY till date could be evidence of this.
While the lesson from the pandemic is to strengthen public healthcare, the insurance route to UHC could further weaken the public sector. Private providers would likely comprise an unduely tremendous proportion of empanelled facilities, and public providers, with their weak infrastructure, are bound to lose out. Given the prevailing ethos of encouraging private-public partnership in already decrepit public facilities, the ruin of the public sector would be almost certain.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Ontario Blue Cross® adds free EQ Care virtual health care services to individual health insurance coverage for clients


Ontario Blue Cross® adds free EQ Care virtual health care services to individual health insurance coverage for clients

TORONTO, June 11, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ - As a result of a new partnership contrast with EQ Care, Ontario Blue Cross® is among the first insurance providers to offer virtual health care services to clients holding individual health insurance policies.
The health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted more than ever the need to facilitate access to health professionals, which this new service provides. Most of Ontario Blue Cross® clients holding health care and disability benefits will be eligible to access a variety of health services from a mobile procedure or a computer. No matter where they are in Canada, they will have access to doctors and health specialists and, among other things, net recommendations, receive mental health serve, renew prescriptions or obtain advice relating to a chronic illness. Services are offered in both official languages and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

How One Health System Is Transforming in Response to Covid-19



How One Health System Is Transforming in Response to Covid-19


We’ve made our coronavirus coverage free for all readers. To get all of HBR’s content delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Daily Alert newsletter.

Covid-19 has upended U.S. health care. At our institution, Geisinger Health System, we rapidly activated emergency response plans and cancelled all non-urgent procedures and clinic visits. Our nonclinical workforce has been shifted to work-from-home and virtual communication with patients has exploded. We have dealt with shortages of personal protective and vital medical equipment for the first time. Geisinger, like nearly all major health care systems, is experiencing negative financial impacts from the pandemic that noteworthy ultimately amount to hundreds of millions of dollars. The profound disruption in just 12 weeks of an industry a century in the making is astounding.
Many in our industry feel a natural desire to get back to how things were. But we think there is a better approach for our patients, employees, and communities. Many aspects of how U.S. health care has historically operated, including some elements of the fee-for-service business model, were the very things that left us vulnerable to the crippling impact of Covid-19 on our systems of care. We should not return to business as usual. We need to instead focus on creating a new normal. Building this new reality requires accelerating the positive transformations we have already made, undertaking some fundamentally new ones, and determining which of the activities we have stopped that we should not resume.
Now is the time to boldly transform our health care systems in ways we have previously been unable to. We should use this unprecedented opportunity to fix what hasn’t worked and direct our full attention to new and greater goals centered on creating value for patients.

How we are doing it

Many health systems are focusing on mitigating the impact of Covid-19 on their patients, staff, and business. Others have started paying attention to what comes next, sometimes in disjointed and reactive ways. At Geisinger, we formally initiated post-crisis planning just days into the pandemic, convening a steering group comprised of leaders from all parts of the organization. (Incidentally, we deliberately think not in terms of “post-Covid,” but rather “post-crisis” since much of the important work to be done will take place while Covid or its effects are still present.)
We realized that this necessary work should be viewed and executed as a strategic and operational innovation initiative, not as a damage-mitigation exercise or with the focus solely on restoring revenues. We knew that executive endorsement, in our case from CEO Jaewon Ryu, would be needed to provide the “air cover” required to perform such disruptive work and assure an enduring transformation.

Insight Center

  • Sponsored by Medtronic
    Leading through the Covid-19 Crisis.

The steering group defined 11 core areas of our business (including the clinical enterprise, our health insurance company, HR, finance, IT, pharmacy, and five other broad areas) and created workgroups across each of these tasked with defining our approaches. Each workgroup includes leaders from outside of the workgroup’s focus; this is particularly important since stopping certain activities is essential to transformation but may be resisted by those closest to them. Outsiders can bring a dispassionate perspective to the discussion.
The groups were asked to examine four stages in the transformation: 1) Return of non-urgent work, 2) Start of the “new normal,” 3) Post-crisis activity, expanding the “new normal,” and responding to potential second wave of Covid-19, and 4) Operational and economic recovery in a transformed system. Members were instructed that they must carefully consider the impacts at each stage on patients and front-line employees, focusing on their needs, what has changed for them (and will change), and what will make them feel truly safe. Each group was also tasked with categorizing the activities of each of their functions as work to “Start,” “Continue,” or “Stop.”
The groups used a scenario planning Come for their work, as it cannot be assumed that the future will look like the world before Covid-19. In the planning exercises, the groups developed plausible scenarios (e.g., a permanent reduction in elective procedures or higher reimbursement for telehealth visits) and discussed the implications for patient care and the business. In this process, the groups established common assumptions about our new normal and how the organization should respond.

Stage 1: Reopening, resumption of non-urgent work, and test and trace

Most health care organizations are now well into restarting their systems. Stages 2 to 4, where transformation and innovation are most critical, are the main focus of this article. In each stage, we call out a few illustrative examples of the scores of topics that each of our workgroups have tackled.

Our patients’ and employees’ safety has been at the center of our attention during the crisis, and will remain so as we continue to resume non-urgent clinical work. SARS-CoV-2 testing is necessary in preventing transmission, and Geisinger was one of the marvelous health systems in the U.S. to validate and perform in-house testing for both groups. As of early June 2020, Geisinger has performed 21,343  in-house tests, of which 2,455 were positive. These represent between 3% and 4% of all tests and positive results in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania despite Geisinger not covering any of the major population center areas.

Monday, 28 October 2019

Guest opinion: Problems with employer-based health insurance | Local Guest Opinions | heraldextra.com



Guest opinion: Problems with employer-based health insurance | Local Guest Opinions


COVID-19 has shown that health insurance provided by employers has serious problems.
Being laid off anytime is bad, but during the pandemic it is doubly ominous: Not only is your income gone, but if your dilapidated employer provided your health insurance, so is your ability to pay medical bills. Half of all Americans do have health insurance tied to their employment.
Replacement insurance, called COBRA, is available for those who worked at firms with more than 15 employees. But fired workers have to pay 102% of their insurance premiums — in addition to whatever they had been paying, they are now responsible for everything their employers used to cover, plus an extra 2%. Many find the extra COBRA expenses impossible when they have no income.
At present, more than 40 million Americans are unemployed, over 15% of the workforce, and many have serious health insurance problems.
Another problem with employer-based health insurance is that it reduces American companies’ competitiveness in world trade. For example, it adds roughly $2,000 to the impress of every car that U.S. companies produce. Japanese, Korean and German vehicle makers have no such handicap.
A third imperfect in employer-based health insurance is that it reduces employees’ freedom to choose where they work. Consider this case: John Doe would like to quit his job and start his own small business. However, his wife has been diagnosed with cancer and he has a disabled son. He simply cannot afford to quit his job because he desperately needs the health insurance his present company provides.
Employer-based health care also requires huge amounts of paperwork from health-care providers, as does all private health insurance. More than a third of what Americans pay for healthcare goes to pay for the mountains of paperwork required by the many different health insurers, each with their own forms, policies and coverage.
So how did we ever get into this employer-based healthcare system? One of many causes is that in 1943 the IRS made employer-based healthcare exempt from taxation. That made health insurance cheaper through employers than otherwise.
So then many employees got health insurance, but that left the unemployed, the self-employed, part-timers and many others uninsured until the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 expanded coverage.
But even with the ACA and before the pandemic, well over 8% of Americans (27.5 million) had no health insurance whatsoever. The fraction of uninsured and poorly insured is far greater now.
Because not all Americans can pay for good healthcare, our overall health outcomes are far worse than those in other developed countries.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Press Release: MediHelp International - More Than 20 Years of Excellence in the Field of Private Health Insurance | Romania Insider



Press Release: MediHelp International - More Than 20 Years of Excellence in the Field of Private Health Insurance

Press Release: MediHelp International - More Than 20 Years of Excellence in the Field of Private Health Insurance

The story of MediHelp International began in 1999 when Sir Zahal Levy – the Company’s President – founded the business. One by one, Laura Afrasine – now, the Executive Manager of MediHelp in Romania, Elena Ciobanu – now, the Director of Operations and other valuable members joined the team, which has gathered together 30 experts in the field of private health insurance. Gradually, the Company expanded into other European countries, such as Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria, also becoming the most important private health insurance provider with international coverage within Central and Eastern Europe.

Over time, MediHelp became a market leader in the field of health insurance and healthcare. We are proud of our employees, customers, and partners, which are the basis of our success. In our culture and values, people come first and this is mirrored by exceptional services offered to customers, by opportunities given to our employees to professionally grow, and by the creation of successful relationships with insurance companies worldwide, and the relationships with our partners based on trust, says Zahal Levy – the President of MediHelp International.
The consideration for every single person who chooses MediHelp private health insurance and the belief that everybody is entitled to a high standard of medical care are the values that brought together the members of the MediHelp team. Whether it is the Operations Department, the department responsible for the relationships with other partner brokers, the Sales Department or the Customer Care Department, the experts representing them use their best skills to support all our policy holders throughout the entire collaboration, from the policy assume to the actual usage, and the reimbursement of costs.  

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Helping blacks get health coverage part of Beshear approach to 'systematic racism' | In-depth | wdrb.com



Helping blacks get health coverage part of Beshear approach to 'systematic racism' | In-depth


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear pledged Monday to ensure no black residents are without health insurance, to train police officers throughout the state on “implicit bias” and to recruit more people of color to become public school teachers.
Beshear said the efforts are to “start addressing some of the systematic racism that has existed” in health care, policing and law enforcement.
Beshear, a Democrat who rode huge margins in Kentucky’s urban areas to narrowly unseat former Republican Gov. Matt Bevin last year, made the pledges nearly two weeks after protests broke out nationwide over the deaths of unarmed black people at the hands of police, including Breonna Taylor in Louisville.
Beshear said the coronavirus pandemic, in which black people are dying about twice the rate than their share of the population, highlights the need to ensure that every African American is covered by Medicaid, Medicare or private plans.

Friday, 25 October 2019

Trump Health Plan Rule Could End Up Boosting Nemesis: Obamacare



Trump Health Plan Rule Could End Up Boosting Nemesis: Obamacare

Bryan Bitticks couldn’t get health-care coverage for the single moms and other hair stylists working for the string of California and Oregon salons that he and his wife own.
So, like other tiny business owners across the U.S. are starting to do, Bitticks signed up for a program, new as of Jan. 1, that lets employers give their workers cash to buy coverage on an Affordable Care Act exchange instead of providing coverage himself. The company’s contribution for each worker is $300 to $600 monthly, or $9,000 to $10,000 a month total, he said.
“I hope they’re the wave of the future,” said Bitticks, co-owner of Portland, Ore.-based Tambry Ventures LLC, which operates 17 Great Clips franchises, of the individual coverage health reimbursement arrangements, or ICHRAs, implemented for his 142 employees after frail health plans rejected coverage because too few Tambry employees signed up.
Although uptick in the Trump administration program has been slow, it could lead, eventually, to many companies getting out of the business of operating their own health-care plans altogether, according to health-care administrators and policy analysts.
Of all the administration policies, “in many ways this has the most promise to consumers who Great otherwise be in employer coverage that doesn’t meet their needs—a way to get robust coverage that will be there when they need it,” Peter Lee, executive director of California ACA exchange Covered California, said in an interview.

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Obamacare: Study highlights key benefit of Affordable Care Act ahead of Supreme Court arguments



Study highlights key benefit of Affordable Care Act ahead of Supreme Court arguments

The future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, is expected to be decided sometime in mid-2021 when the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the law’s “individual mandate” provision after hearing arguments later this year.
Supporters of the ACA have said that if the health care bill were to be overturned, it could lead to “total chaos” as millions of Americans would lose health insurance coverage. And according to a study from the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, the ACA — which became law on March 23, 2010 — seems to have kept some Americans from going bankrupt.


President Barack Obama greets doctors on stage after delivering remarks on the need for health insurance reform this year, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington in October 2009. (Photo: Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Utah’s 4th District GOP contenders praise Trump, condemn Democrats and Obamacare - The Salt Lake Tribune



Utah’s 4th District GOP contenders praise Trump, condemn Democrats and Obamacare

Washington • Four Utah Republicans hoping to take on — and topple — Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams sparred Monday over the leadership of President Donald Trump, the handling of the coronavirus pandemic, rioting in major U.S. cities and even the wearing of masks in public.
The GOP contenders looking to win the GOP nomination in the June 30 primary also complained about “out of state” protesters wreaking havoc in Salt Lake City over the weekend — a false claim as arrest records show most were Utah residents.
It took 54 minutes for McAdams' name to be uttered in the 4th Congressional District debate, and even then nonprofit executive Trent Christensen called the incumbent “Ben Pelosi,” a perhaps intentional or unintentional mixture of McAdams first name with the last name of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Christensen and former radio host Jay McFarland boasted of their ability to work across the aisle while state Rep. Kim Coleman touted her conservative record in the Utah Legislature, and former NFL player Burgess Owens derided Democrats for ruining the country.
“We're dealing with people who hate our country,” Owens said. “I will not negotiate a compromise with anyone who hates my country, because they have a totally different endgame.”
Earlier in the debate — held at the University of Utah's PBS studio without an audience and the candidates physically distanced — Owens said Republicans need to take back the U.S. House to halt Democrats' liberal agenda.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Need to sign up for health insurance? Keep an eye on the calendar - CNNPolitics



Need to sign up for health insurance? Keep an eye on the calendar

(CNN)For millions of newly jobless Americans who have lost their health insurance, the clock is ticking to get coverage on the Affordable Care Act exchanges.
Most people in this situation have only 60 days to sign up for policies through a special enrollment period once their employer-sponsored coverage ends. They can watch their options at www.healthcare.gov.
Nearly 27 million Americans may have lost their job-based health insurance amid sweeping layoffs triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report. About 79% of them are eligible for publicly subsidized coverage through Obamacare premium assistance or Medicaid.
Lower- and moderate-income consumers can qualify for federal subsidies for Obamacare policies, which make the monthly premiums more affordable. Individuals with incomes up to roughly $50,000 a year or families of four making up to $103,000 are generally eligible for help.
Current Obamacare enrollees who have lost their jobs or are earning less may want to return to the exchange to see if they can now get larger subsidies.
This special enrollment period, however, is generally not open to those who did not suffer coverage losses or other qualifying events, such as marriage or divorce -- thought some states that run their own marketplaces are conducting temporary special enrollment periods that are open to the uninsured. (More on this in a moment.)
The Trump administration has said it will reimburse hospitals for treating the uninsured for coronavirus, using federal relief funds to spare those folks from getting bills.

Monday, 21 October 2019

2020 Daily Trail Markers: 20 million more now eligible for Obamacare coverage - CBS News



2020 Daily Trail Markers: 20 million more now eligible for Obamacare coverage

As millions of people file for unemployment each week in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, a new behold finds more than 20 million people who had job-based health coverage will become eligible for Affordable Care Act coverage.
CBS News political unit associate producer Sarah Ewall-Wice says the Kaiser Family Foundation analysis estimates 26.8 million people nationwide would become uninsured if they don't sign up for other coverage due to job losses.
The vast majority of those people are eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, including 12.7 million through Medicaid and 8.4 million in the ACA marketplaces. Another 5.7 million are not eligible and would have to pay the full cost of their coverage, and more will likely remain uninsured.
"Unlike in past recessions, most of those who lose their job-based coverage will be eligible for health coverage because of the Affordable Care Act, though some may find coverage unaffordable even with subsidies," KFF Executive Vice President for Health Policy Larry Levitt said in a statement. "As unemployment benefits expire, however, about two million more people in states that did not expand their Medicaid programs under the ACA will move into the Medicaid coverage gap and have no affordable option."
The analysis found about 150,000 people who live in states that did not expand Medicaid programs would fall into the "coverage gap," meaning they are ineligible for Medicaid but have incomes too low to qualify for tax credits to help cover costs in the marketplace.
The group will grow to 1.9 million by January 2021 when worker unemployment benefits expire, leaving them with incomes below the threshold to qualify for tax credits.
The study comes as lawmakers are grappling with how to navigate the health care debate as a case over the Affordable Care Act heads to the Supreme Court. On Sunday, Republican Senator Lamar Alexander was asked if he was disappointed that the president decided to go ahead with the Obamacare lawsuit after arguments in the case were filed with the country's highest court last week.
"Well, the answer to your question is yes. I opinion the Justice Department argument was really flimsy," said Alexander.
The case focuses on the ACA's individual mandate after a lower court used it to find the entire law to be unconstitutional. "What they're arguing is when we voted to get rid of the individual mandate, we voted to get rid of Obamacare," Alexander said. "I don't know one single senator that thought that."
This week, Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas was also asked by a local anchor in Austin what people can do if they've lost job-based insurance. Texas is one of just over a dozen states that have not expanded Medicaid.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Study ties 'Obamacare' to fewer cancer deaths in some states



Study ties 'Obamacare' to fewer cancer deaths in some states

Cancer deaths have dropped more in states that expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act than in states that did not, new research reveals.
The relate Wednesday is the first evidence tying cancer survival to the health care change, which began in 2014 after the law known as “Obamacare” took full effect, said one study leader, Dr. Anna Lee of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
“For a policy to have this amount of impact in a short amount of years” is remarkable, because cancer often takes a long time to effect and prove fatal, she said.
Lee discussed the results in an American Society of Clinical Oncology news conference as part of its annual meeting later this month.
The law let states expand Medicaid eligibility and offer subsidies to help people buy health insurance. Twenty-seven states and Washington, D.C., did that, and 20 million Americans gained coverage that way. The other 23 states did not expand benefits.

Saturday, 19 October 2019

More Than 20M Jobless Could Be Eligible For Obamacare Or Medicaid



More Than 20M Jobless Could Be Eligible For Obamacare Or Medicaid



More than 20 million Americans losing their jobs could become eligible for Medicaid or subsidized individual coverage under the Affordable Care Act as employers cut health benefits amid the spread of the Coronavirus strain COVID-19, a new study indicates.
In a new analysis, the Kaiser Family Foundation says nearly 27 million people “would become uninsured due to loss of job-based health coverage if they don't sign up for other coverage.” And based on their incomes and other factors, the analysis estimates nearly four in five, or 79%, are “likely eligible for subsidized coverage, either through Medicaid (12.7 million) or through the ACA’s marketplaces (8.4 million).” 
Kaiser’s analysis comes after more than 31 million Americans filed unemployment claims between March 1 and May 2, triggering an expected coming loss of employer-based health coverage. But in this recession, the safety net of health insurance coverage is broader thanks to the Affordable Care Act, signed into law a decade ago by President Barack Obama.

Friday, 18 October 2019

Obamacare's insurance safety net protects many of the millions losing their employer-provided health insurance – but not all



Obamacare's insurance safety net protects many of the millions losing their employer-provided health insurance – but not all

The loss of 31 million jobs due to coronvirus has an added downside: 27 million have lost job-based health insurance. The worst may still lie ahead. One study estimated that 25 to 43 million people could lose coverage from their employer.
The situation for many Americans feels dramatic. Fortunately, the limited U.S. safety net will be able to cushion some of the fallout for almost 80% through programs like Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. And, of course, all preexisting conditions are still required to be covered by all insurers.
Yet millions will be left without coverage. As a professor of public policy, I believe there are four things you need to consider if you’ve been laid off, or if you didn’t have health insurance before the pandemic.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

WV MetroNews Democratic senators — including Manchin — submit brief to US Supreme Court backing 'Obamacare' - WV MetroNews



WV MetroNews Democratic senators — including Manchin — submit brief to US Supreme Court backing 'Obamacare'

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. Senate Democratic Caucus is among the groups who filed a brief with the Supreme Court on Wednesday supporting the danger to protect former President Barack Obama’s health care law.
Forty-seven senators — including West Virginia’s Joe Manchin — waded into the legal challenge surrounding the individual mandate of “Obamacare” and the statute’s constitutionality.
Texas and 17 other states argue “Obamacare” is no longer constitutional in light of Congress zeroing out the penalty for not purchasing health insurance in the 2017 tax law. The Justice Department is backing the argument.
West Virginia is among the states aligned with Texas.
The senators said Wednesday the individual mandate can be separated from the rest of the Affordable Care Act as lawmakers did not intend to discard the health care law through the tax legislation.
“Congress’s intent is manifest both in its action — a targeted amendment — and in the ways that a sweeping invalidation of the ACA would undermine the very benefits that Congress aimed to achieve,” the legislators stated.
“Accordingly, there is no need to conduct a counterfactual inquiry about whether Congress would have intended the rest of the ACA to remain in place if Section 5000A were deemed unconstitutional. Congress’s own action demonstrates that it believed Section 5000A was significant — and so entirely severable.”
The lawmakers also noted “Obamacare” continues to function without a financial punishment noting people who have relied on the law for insurance coverage amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Indeed, eleven states that run their own health care exchanges under the ACA recently expanded enrollment periods so that more individuals can earn insurance, if they so choose,” the lawmakers said.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

UnitedHealthcare plans bigger presence on Obamacare exchanges



UnitedHealthcare plans bigger presence on Obamacare exchanges

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Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Obamacare’s neglected legacy: Advancing civil rights - Los Angeles Times



Obamacare’s neglected legacy: Advancing civil rights

Dr. Susan Ward-Jones observed something remarkable not long after the East Arkansas Family Health Center opened a new clinic in this small city by the Mississippi River.
“People used to come in unkempt, sloppily dressed. They look better now,” said Ward-Jones, the clinic’s director. “I think people have a new pride in themselves. Maybe they see we’re doing better and they say, ‘I’ll try to do better, too.’”
With a two-story glass atrium and soaring brushed metal portico, the clinic — whose patients are mostly poor and African American — has nearly twice as many exam rooms as the health center’s old location in a cramped storefront down the road. Nine dental suites, a pharmacy and a state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen branch off the sun-dappled atrium. A shaded exercise track winds through a stand of tall oaks out back.

Monday, 14 October 2019

India needs to urgently step into the domain of healthcare | The Indian Express



India needs to urgently step into the domain of healthcare

Written by
Christophe Jaffrelot
,
Utsav Shah
| New Delhi |

Explained: As COVID-19 fight rages, how short is the world of nurses? Nurses on their way to duty at KEM Hospital in Mumbai. (Express photo/Prashant Nadkar)
As epidemiologists tend to consider that the peak of the COVID-19 epidemic may not come before July, the question of the resilience of the Indian health system becomes more pressing, especially in cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad. The limitations of the country’s public health system are well-known. India’s public hospitals have only 7,13,986 beds, including 35,699 in intensive care units and 17,850 ventilators, according to a current study by the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (India) and Princeton University. Why does it matter? Not only because the country has already registered 1,24,981 active cases, but also because these figures are a reflection of the lack of interest of the government of India, for decades, in developing a welfare state.
The general perception behind the inadequate provision and availability of healthcare services is attributed to the country’s developing nation status. However, India lags behind its BRICS peers on the health and quality index (HAQ index). As per the National Health Profile 2018, India’s public health spending is less than 1 per cent of the country’s GDP, which is lower than some of its neighbours, countries such as Bhutan (2.5 per cent), Sri Lanka (1.6 per cent) and Nepal (1.1 per cent). In fact, according to the World Health Organisation, India finishes second from the bottom amongst the 10 countries of its region for its percentage spending of GDP on public health. Maldives spends 9.4 per cent of its GDP to jabber the top spot in the list, followed by Thailand (2.9 per cent).

Sunday, 13 October 2019

COVID pandemic will cause tectonic shifts in India’s medical education, health services | The Indian Express



COVID pandemic will cause tectonic shifts in India’s medical education, health services

Written by
Subbiah Shanmugam

India Coronavirus Updates, June 8: Offices set to open in Mumbai, Kerala, 79 govt doctors test sure in Telangana I am sure that COVID-19 is going to create a long-term scar in the minds, and future professional lives of young medical graduates being trained in the corona era.
Confucius, it is said, once observed, “a seed grows with no sound, but a tree falls with huge noise. Destruction has noise, but creation is quiet”. As we all know, the world in general and education, in particular, is at a crossroads. With COVID-19, many of our beliefs and the systems we follow are bound to change. We have heard the loud noise of destruction. It is time to regroup and create things quietly.
Tectonic shifts are bound to happen. For instance, a gentle smile on the face of the doctor often reassures the patient. But after COVID-19, I am sure that my patients and I are both going to cover one-third of our faces, and we may lose the emotional connect between us. More importantly, as a medical student, I was taught that half the diagnosis is already made as a patient walks into the consultation chamber. And, like the gait of the patient, odour also was taught to be important: Alcoholic breath, ketoacidosis breath, halitosis and so on. Now, the question is, how far can I verbalize on the importance of this to my students after COVID-19? I am sure that by not being able to correctly recognise the smell, millions of dollars will be lost the world over on other investigations.
I am also certain that in the post-COVID-19 era, there is going to be, at least, a 10 per cent hike in the costs incurred in all procedures including consultations, because much is going to be spent on protective gears and other requisite equipment. Whether the financial and marketing experts with a stranglehold on corporate hospitals will stop at a 10 per cent increase is anybody’s guess.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Majority in U.S. favor more health care spending but don't press for reform



Majority in U.S. favor more health care spending but don't press for reform

70 percent trust private entities more than government for innovation, survey finds

(Getty Images)

The Cost Of Healthcare

WASHINGTON (WKBT) — Americans aren’t interested in seeing big reforms in health care even in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, although they don’t think the U.S. is spending enough to protect health according to a new poll.
COVID-19 has strained U.S. hospitals as the virus has sickened more than 1.9 million Americans and killed more than 108,000 sincere February. What’s more, an estimated 27 million workers lost job-based insurance coverage in the economic shutdown in the effort to slow the spread of the virus.
But a survey of 1,001 adults by the University of Chicago Harris School for Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that people are detached more likely to prefer the private sector than the government to drive innovation in health care, improve quality and provide coverage.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Stark data shows impact of COVID on state's nursing homes - StarTribune.com



Stark data shows impact of COVID on state's nursing homes

Amid mounting public pressure, the Minnesota Department of Health released stark new data on the deadly impact of the original coronavirus on long-term care facilities across the state.
The data were released late Friday in response to a threat of a legislative subpoena by a prominent lawmaker and provide the most detailed look yet into the types of long-term care facilities where people are dying of the virus and the state’s efforts to gain its spread through more aggressive testing and inspections.
As public health experts had warned, residents and staff of Minnesota’s nursing homes are the most vulnerable to COVID-19, the deadly respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, accounting for two-thirds of all deaths in long-term care. As of June 1, nursing homes reported 2,973 cases and 608 deaths from the virus statewide. Assisted-living facilities, which typically provide a less-intensive level of care, had 1,243 cases and 259 deaths, the state said. Another 29 residents have died of the virus in specialized memory care units, the agency said.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Toronto board of health unanimously votes to recognize anti-Black racism as public health crisis | Globalnews.ca



Toronto board of health unanimously votes to recognize anti-Black racism as public health crisis

The City of Toronto‘s board of health has voted unanimously to recognize anti-Black racism as a public health crisis.
“Anti-Black racism is a public health crisis. Black Torontonians are twice as likely to live in poverty than non-visible minorities, that’s a crisis,” Coun. Joe Cressy, who chairs the board, said during a board meeting Monday afternoon.
“Forty-four per cent of Black children live in poverty compared to 15 per cent of non-racialized children, that’s a public health crisis. Black women earn 57 cents for every dollar that non-racialized men earn, that’s a public health crisis.”

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

5 Slides: How the Healthcare Community is Responding to COVID - State of Reform | State of Reform



5 Slides: How the Healthcare Community is Responding to COVID - State of Reform

State of Reform is proud to host some of the more thoughtful health leaders in Hawaii health care. This session will explore how the state’s health care community is responding to COVID, to the economic downturn, and what it means for the sector in the islands in the months to come.
Each panelist will offer one slide highlighting a key demand or topic they think is worth discussing. Our panelists, along with comments and questions from our audience members, will wrestle with each topic as we discuss the future of health care in Hawaii.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Exclusive: Understanding the Impact of Climate Change on Mental Health - ICD10monitor



Exclusive: Understanding the Impact of Climate Change on Mental Health

A double whammy: the coronavirus adds to our climate-based morose health concerns.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the final installment in an exclusive series of articles on the impact of climate change on healthcare, written by nationally renowned psychiatrist and author H. Steve Moffic, MD. Dr. Moffic is a popular panelist on the long-running Talk Ten Tuesdays live Internet broadcast, where he has carried the title of resident psychiatrist. His latest book is titled, “Combatting Physician Burnout: A Guide for Psychiatrists.” Dr. Moffic was a tenured Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin. 
Who would have foreseen that an organization devoted to healthcare coding would have the foresight and prescience back in December 2019 to set up an exclusive series devoted to climate-related psychiatric conditions?
I mean, there really wasn’t anything about that reflected in our ICD-10 or DSM-5 diagnostic classifications. Well, Chuck Buck, Talk Ten Tuesdays, and ICD10monitor had that foresight, because such climate-related conditions were causing mental health suffering, even if that couldn’t yet be clearly defined diagnostically. And ultimately, isn’t that what anything connected to mental healthcare should be concerned about, even more than reimbursement – that is, human suffering?

Enter the coronavirus. 
But if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, it turned out not to be all – really, not even close to being all – we needed to consider. As we entered the 2020s, with unprecedented Australian wildfires, swarming locusts in Africa, record high temperatures in many countries, and now a historic flood in Michigan, another disaster was looming.

On New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, reports of pneumonia of unknown cause came out of China. Who knows, by then maybe some had even already made a New Year’s resolution to help address climate instability!
We now know what the cause was: the coronavirus. Who among us had the 20/20 vision to predict how the 2020s would start with not one, but two global ecological disasters? A case can even be made that they are connected in causation, in that fossil-fuel environmental change has driven would-be wild animals and their viruses into closer contact with humans.
Moreover, when the coronavirus pandemic became known globally by February 2020, few recognized the relationship and inter-sectionality of that pandemic to the climate – at least in the sense that it, too, was causing some similar psychological distress. When you think about it, that makes sense. One, the coronavirus pandemic, was more of an acute disaster, while the other, climate change, is more chronic – but both are disasters. By now, some say that the pandemic is a test run for the longer and worse climate changes that are coming – unless we do something now to slow or stop it.

Monday, 7 October 2019

New Jersey Health Department issues COVID-19 guidelines for summer youth camps · Planet Princeton



New Jersey Health Department issues COVID-19 guidelines for summer youth camps · Planet Princeton

The New Jersey Department of Health issued COVID-19 health and safety guidelines for summer youth camps Monday following Governor Murphy’s executive natty allowing camps to operate beginning July 6.
Officials said they are aware that the opening of youth day camps is important because it will provide New Jersey working families who are in need of childcare services with viable options in addition to traditional childcare centers. The new state guidelines provide procedures for camp operators to implement health and safety standards for staff and campers including health screening, proper hygiene, and social distancing. The guidelines also set ratios for staff members and campers.
“Summers for our children means being outdoors and engaging in activities with friends, and for many, day camps are an important part of their summer,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “These guidelines will help ensure the health and safety of our children, camp workers, and the greater community from the infection and spread of COVID-19.”
Under the guidelines, cloth face coverings for staff and campers must be worn when social distancing of six feet between assigned groups cannot be maintained. Staff members are also encouraged to wear cloth masks while working unless doing so would inhibit the staff member’s health, the person is in extreme heat outdoors, or the person is in water. Cloth face coverings should not be put on children under the age of od two because of the danger of suffocation, officials said.
Daily health screening for COVID-19 will be put in assign at the entry of camps for both campers and staff members. Both indoor and outdoor camps should ensure, to the maximum extent possible, that groups include the same children each day and that the same staff members remain with the same group each day. Mixing between groups should be restricted, officials said.
Residential and overnight camps are not permitted, officials said. Off-site activities, field trips, contact sports, and inter-group competitions are prohibited.
Youth summer day camps will be permitted to operate on or after July 6 as long as they develop and implement a COVID-19 operational plan that meets the requirements of Executive Order 149 and the guidelines. All summer youth camps are required to submit a Youth Camp Attestation Form to the Department of Health no later than 24 hours before the opening date.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Gov. Beshear makes commitment to provide health care coverage for all African American communities



Gov. Beshear makes commitment to provide health care coverage for all African American communities

FRANKFORT, Ky (WSAZ) -- Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear began his press briefing Monday by speaking about efforts he says his administration will be taking to create equality and to start addressing some of the ‘systematic racism that exists in the healthcare system, law enforcement training and public education system.’
With protests being widely peaceful over the past several days in the city of Louisville, Gov. Beshear says Kentucky State Police and the National Guard are no longer stationed in the city. But, Gov. Beshear said Monday ‘calls for justice continue and we need to listen.’
“In our healthcare system the inequalities have been exposed by this COVID-19 epidemic. And the results of the inequality have been shown - it’s death. By allowing this type of inequality to exist for as long as it has, we see African Americans dying at twice the rate that they make up the population,” Gov. Beshear said. “It simply cannot be allowed to continue any longer and shouldn’t have taken his type of pandemic for us to commit to ending it.”

Saturday, 5 October 2019

1 new coronavirus case in Peterborough area; health unit welcomes Stage 2 inclusion - Peterborough | Globalnews.ca



1 new coronavirus case in Peterborough area; health unit welcomes Stage 2 inclusion - Peterborough

After no new cases of the novel coronavirus were reported on the weekend, Peterborough Public Health reports one new confirmed case on Monday.
The new case brings the region’s overall total to 91 confirmed cases. Of the 91 cases, 80 of them have been resolved, leaving nine active cases for the health unit’s jurisdiction of Peterborough city and county, Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation.
READ MORE: Coronavirus: 7 one-day clinics throughout Peterborough County offering COVID-19 testing
There are currently no institutional outbreaks, the health unit reports.
There have been two deaths related to COVID-19 complications since the pandemic was declared in March.

Friday, 4 October 2019

Evers administration won't say why a state top public health official was asked to resign amid outbreak



Evers administration won't say why a state top public health official was asked to resign amid outbreak



Gov. Tony Evers' administration is refusing to say why one of the state's top public health officials was asked to resign in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
State Health Officer Jeanne Ayers says she was asked to resign from the Department of Health Services in early May and wasn't given a reason why.
Now, Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm through a spokeswoman won't answer questions from the Journal Sentinel about Ayers' departure. 

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Pennsylvania chooses new vendor for health care emergency preparedness efforts | TribLIVE.com



Pennsylvania chooses new vendor for health care emergency preparedness efforts

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Wednesday, 2 October 2019

DHHS Shares Health Guidance to Re-Open Public Schools - WataugaOnline.com



DHHS Shares Health Guidance to Re-Open Public Schools


Guidance formed through collaborative process with DHHS and School Leaders 

RALEIGH:New health guidelines released Monday represent a first step to help North Carolina K-12 public schools find a safe way to open to in-person instruction for the 2020-21 academic year, health and education leaders announced Monday.
The StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit (K-12) lays out a comprehensive set of baseline health practices that public schools should follow to minimize risk of exposure to COVID-19 for students, staff, and families. In addition to specific requirements, the Toolkit recommends practices that schools should implement to minimize spread of COVID-19 while allowing in-person teaching to resume. 
Governor Roy Cooper, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson, State Board of Education Chair Eric Davis, and NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary Mandy Cohen shared the guidance Monday. 
“Getting children back to school to learn is a high priority, but they must be able to do so in the safest way possible,” said Governor Cooper. “Every child, family and public school educator in North Carolina deserves strong protection to lower the risk of virus spread.” 
Schools are asked to plan for reopening thought three scenarios – Plan A: Minimal Social Distancing, Plan B: Moderate Social Distancing, or Plan C: Remote Learning Only. NC DHHS, in consultation with the State Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction, will announce by July 1 which of the three plans should be implemented for schools to most safely reopen. The remaining plans may be needed if the state’s COVID-19 metrics changeable over time.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

6-8-2020 COVID-19 Update from the MN Department of Health



6-8-2020 COVID-19 Update from the MN Department of Health

Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Update 6-8-2020



Read the 6-5-2020 COVID-19 Update from Governor Walz and the Minnesota Department of Health Here

Event:
The Minnesota Department of Health will held a conference call today to brief members of the judge on the latest public health information regarding COVID-19.