NYC Nurses’ Deal Is Just a Start — Health Care Advocates Demand Major Reforms

Over 7,000 nurses, represented by the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) and employed by two major hospitals in New York City, ended their strike in the wee hours this week on January 12. Management had returned to the negotiating table to meet the nurses’ primary demands for increased staffing and wage increases. These nurses, from Montefiore Medical Center and Mount Sinai Hospital… Source Source / Read More: NYC Nurses’ Deal Is Just a Start — Health Care Advocates Demand Major Reforms

Hundreds of US Hospitals Sue Patients or Threaten Their Credit

Despite growing evidence of the harm caused by medical debt, hundreds of U.S. hospitals maintain policies to aggressively pursue patients for unpaid bills, using tactics such as lawsuits, selling patient accounts to debt buyers, and reporting patients to credit rating agencies, a KHN investigation shows. The collection practices are commonplace among all types of hospitals in all regions of the… Source Source / Read More: Hundreds of US Hospitals Sue Patients or Threaten Their Credit

Prison COVID Policies Fell Short. Incarcerated Activists Fight for Their Lives.

On October 11, prison organizer Dawn Brooks’s phone began ringing off the hook. Within three days, she received 50 calls. Colitha Bush, a Texas mother who had been released from federal prison under COVID measures in mid-September, was one of the callers. She had spent 14 days at a halfway house before being released to home confinement at her sister’s house. On October 12… Source Source / Read More: Prison COVID Policies Fell Short. Incarcerated Activists Fight for Their Lives.

CDC Finds Huge Racial Disparities in Access to COVID Treatment Paxlovid

New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals deep racial disparities in access to Paxlovid, a drug commonly used to treat COVID-19 infections for higher-risk patients, raising longstanding concerns about racism within the health system as officials fear an explosion of COVID cases over the winter. The CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report” released on Friday includes data showing that Black patients were prescribed Paxlovid for outpatient COVID treatment 36 percent less than white patients from April to July 2022, a period of time when Paxlovid became widely available and use of the drug surged. Compared…

Kentucky Governor Expands Medicaid to Include Dental, Vision and Hearing

On Wednesday, Kentucky’s Democratic governor announced a plan to expand the state’s Medicaid program to include dental, vision and hearing care for adults. Gov. Andy Beshear’s plan to expand the services available under Medicaid in Kentucky will impact around 900,000 adults enrolled in the program. New benefits will go into effect on January 1, 2023. Medicaid is a joint state- and federally-funded program that provides medical coverage to individuals and families with low incomes across the U.S. In Kentucky, a single adult is only eligible for the program if they earn less than $18,075 per year; for families of four,…

Ebola in Uganda. MSF Update.

On 20 September, Uganda declared an outbreak of the Ebola virus. The Ugandan Ministry of Health has since confirmed 64 cases, reporting 25 deaths from the deadly disease as of 19 October. Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is now working with authorities to set up an initial emergency response to help stop the virus from spreading further. The Sudan strainMSF has vital expertise from responding to various Ebola outbreaks over the past decade, including the huge West Africa outbreak from 2014-16 and in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from 2018-20. These epidemics were caused by the…

India: Authorities must end alarming rise of arbitrary travel bans on journalists and activists

Responding to the news that Pulitzer Prize winning Kashmiri photojournalist, Sanna Irshad Mattoo has been stopped again from travelling abroad by immigration authorities at the Delhi airport on Tuesday, Aakar Patel, chair of board of Amnesty International India, said: “Arbitrary travel bans have increasingly become the principal tactic of the Indian authorities to silence independent […] The post India: Authorities must end alarming rise of arbitrary travel bans on journalists and activists appeared first on Amnesty International.

Ron DeSantis’s Ousting of Elected Official Sets a Dangerous Precedent

In an early August press conference, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis delivered a shocking announcement: He was abruptly suspending Andrew Warren, the elected chief prosecutor for Hillsborough County (Tampa) and an outspoken critic of the governor. Warren, who was given no warning, was escorted from his office by an armed deputy. In an accompanying executive order, DeSantis accused Warren of “incompetence and willful defiance of his duties.” Although county prosecutors in Florida are elected and do not answer to the governor, DeSantis pointed to a statute in the Florida State Constitution that allows a governor to suspend elected officials “for reasons…

Capitalism Fuels Disease, Trauma and Addiction. How Can We Heal?

In an extended interview, acclaimed physician and author Dr. Gabor Maté discusses his new book, just out, called “The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture.” “The very values of a society are traumatizing for a lot of people,” says Maté, who argues in his book that “psychological trauma, woundedness, underlies much of what we call disease.” He says healing requires a reconnection between the mind and the body, which can be achieved through cultivating a sense of community, meaning, belonging and purpose. Maté also discusses how the healthcare system has harmfully promoted the “mechanization of…

Value-Based Payment Is the New For-Profit Health Care Industry

Over the last decade, a new industry has emerged that may eventually contribute as much to administrative waste as the insurance industry does today. This industry has no name. Because the participants in the industry all promote a new scheme known as “value-based payment,” and because they all make money off it, we propose to call the new industry the value-based payment (VBP) industry. Like the insurance industry, the VBP industry hovers over doctors and patients and seeks to influence (and in some cases, dictate) doctor-patient decision-making, and in the process diverts resources away from medical care. Unlike the insurance…

Biden Announces Hearing Aids Will Soon Be Able to Be Sold Over the Counter

Millions of Americans who need hearing aids will be able to purchase them over the counter as soon as this fall under a new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule that will likely also lower costs, the Biden administration has announced. The FDA finalized a rule on Tuesday that would create a new over-the-counter category for hearing aids, which the agency says will largely benefit those who experience mild to moderate hearing impairment. As soon as mid-October, those with hearing loss will be able to purchase aids online or in-store without a prescription or an appointment with a medical professional.…

Pharma Claims Drug Price Reform Hurts Innovation. Experts Say That’s “Bullshit.”

For decades, the drug industry has yelled bloody murder each time Congress considered a regulatory measure that threatened its profits. But the hyperbole reached a new pitch in recent weeks as the Senate moved to adopt modest drug pricing negotiation measures in the Inflation Reduction Act. The bill “could propel us light-years back into the dark ages of biomedical research,” Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, president of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, said last month. Venture capitalists and other opponents of the bill said that it “immediately will halt private funding of drug discovery and development.” Steve Ubl, leader of the ubiquitous Pharmaceutical…