Friday, January 21, 2022 – Kaiser Health News

Share Article

Kaiser Health News Original Stories
Biden Administration’s Rapid-Test Rollout Doesn’t Easily Reach Those Who Need It Most
Two rapid-testing initiatives the Biden administration released in the past week are inaccessible to some residents of multifamily housing, people who don’t speak English well, or those without internet access. (Hannah Recht and Victoria Knight, 1/20)
Patient, Beware: Some States Still Pushing Ineffective Covid Antibody Treatments
The top 12 states using antibody therapies produced by Regeneron and Lilly — which research shows don’t work against the omicron variant — include several Southern states with some of the nation’s lowest vaccination rates, but also California, which ranks among the top 20 for fully vaccinated residents. (JoNel Aleccia, 1/21)
State Laws Aim to Regulate 'Troubled Teen Industry,' but Loopholes Remain
Without a federal law governing private, for-profit residential programs for children with behavioral problems, regulation has been left to the states. But even in states that have sought to increase oversight, deaths and controversial tactics such as seclusion still happen. (Cameron Evans, 1/21)
Fast-Tracked Ruling on Abortion Won’t Wait for ‘Hearts and Minds’ to Change
Public opinion remains bitterly divided on the issue as a Supreme Court decision is imminent that could overturn or dramatically undercut Roe v. Wade. (Julie Rovner, 1/21)
KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Roe v. Wade’s (Possibly Last) Anniversary
Jan. 22 marks the 49th — and very likely last — anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark abortion decision, Roe v. Wade. The court’s conservative supermajority seems poised to overturn later this year the ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. Also this week, the Biden administration turns 1, with much of its domestic and health agenda yet unrealized. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Shefali Luthra of the 19th, and Kimberly Leonard of Insider join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, about what a post-Roe world might look like. (1/20)
Here's today's health policy haiku:
Each clinic, smudge room,
labor of the Heart, is a
right better secured
– E. Ren
If you have a health policy haiku to share, please Contact Us and let us know if you want us to include your name. Keep in mind that we give extra points if you link back to a KHN original story.
Women’s Health
Possible Last Anniversary Of Roe V. Wade Already Shaping Courts, Laws
The Supreme Court denied another request to step into the Texas abortion law challenge by providers. And today's 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade has advocates on both sides of the debate preparing for a drastically altered landscape where the law could be reversed by June.
The Texas Tribune: Supreme Court Again Declines To Intervene In Texas Abortion Law Challenge
The U.S. Supreme Court denied on Thursday abortion providers’ latest request to intervene in the ongoing legal challenge against Texas’ restrictive abortion law, cutting off one of their few remaining paths to a speedy victory. The case is currently before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which sent the case to the Texas Supreme Court. That is expected to add months to the legal proceedings. Abortion providers were hoping the U.S. Supreme Court would direct the 5th Circuit to send the case to federal district court, where a judge previously blocked the law. (Klibanoff, 1/20)
NPR: The Supreme Court For A Third Time Allows Texas To Bar Abortions After 6 Weeks
This is the third time the court has ducked dealing with the law, known as SB 8, which is aimed at skirting enforcement of the right to abortion. Last month, the high court, in a fractured ruling, sent the case back to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, with a single tenuous route to challenging the law. The Fifth Circuit, however, sent the case to the state supreme court, in an apparent attempt to delay further while the U.S. Supreme Court determines whether to reverse its 50-year-old abortion precedent, Roe v. Wade. Indeed, at oral argument, Appeals Court Judge Edith Jones openly opined that perhaps the appeals court should "just sit on this until the end of June" when the Supreme Court will have rendered its decision in a case from Mississippi challenging Roe. That prompted abortion rights groups to file an emergency request with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the court to command action by the Fifth Circuit, and to send the case back to the original federal judge who blocked the Texas law from going into effect. (Totenberg, 1/20)
Emotions are running high on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and annual abortion protest in Washington, D.C. —
AP: Nation's Largest Abortion Protest Could Be Last Under Roe
The largest anti-abortion rally in the U.S. returns Friday with thousands of expected protesters in Washington who feel within reach of their goal for the last 49 years: a sweeping rollback of abortion rights. “My hopes have been dashed many times, but I have never felt like this,” said Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life. (Weber and Pettus, 1/21)
NPR: Activists Say The 49th Anniversary Of Roe V. Wade Could Be Its Last
Each year in late January, activists from around the country who want abortion to be illegal come to Washington, D.C., to march, often in bracingly cold temperatures, to the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. Organizers of this year's March for Life hope it will be the final year before the Court reverses itself, and overturns decades of precedent on abortion rights. "This could be the decision of a generation," said activist Kristen Waggoner, who is scheduled to speak at the march on Friday. "My hope is that the United States Supreme Court has the courage to do what it ought." (McMannon, 1/20)
KHN: Fast-Tracked Ruling On Abortion Won’t Wait For ‘Hearts And Minds’ To Change
When he was running for president in 1999, George W. Bush, then governor of Texas, famously fended off the strong anti-abortion wing of his party by suggesting the country ought not consider banning abortion until public opinion shifted further in that direction. “Laws are changed as minds are persuaded,” he said. Bush was no moderate on the abortion issue. As president he signed several pieces of anti-abortion legislation, including the first federal ban on a specific abortion procedure, and used his authority to severely limit federally funded research on embryonic stem cells. (Rovner, 1/21)
KHN: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Roe V. Wade’s (Possibly Last) Anniversary 
Jan. 22 is the 49th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark abortion ruling, Roe v. Wade, and could well be its last. The conservative supermajority on the court seems poised to allow states to severely restrict or even ban the procedure. Also this week, the Biden administration celebrates its anniversary. And while President Joe Biden has accomplished a lot in his first 365 days in office, such as expanding health insurance coverage and implementing a congressional ban on “surprise” medical bills, a big part of his health agenda remains mired in Congress. (1/20)
In updates on abortion rights in Montana —
Billings Gazette: Attorney General Targets Landmark Montana Abortion Ruling In Court Filings
The Montana Supreme Court should overturn its 1999 landmark decision that found the state constitution’s right to privacy protects access to abortion, the Montana Department of Justice argues in new court filings. The justice department has appealed to the high court a Yellowstone County District Court judge’s preliminary injunction halting several new laws restricting abortion from taking effect. On Wednesday, Attorney General Austin Knudsen filed the department’s opening brief, which among its arguments calls for overturning the 1999 case Armstrong v. State and accuses Supreme Court justices at the time of “judicial activism.” (Kuglin, 1/20)
AP: Montana Seeks To Overturn Court Ruling On Abortion Access 
Montana’s attorney general is asking the state Supreme Court to overturn a 1999 opinion that found the state constitution’s right to privacy guarantees a woman’s access to an abortion — the opinion Planned Parenthood is using to challenge three new abortion laws. Attorney General Austin Knudsen’s brief, filed Wednesday, also asks justices to vacate a preliminary injunction that prevented the new abortion laws from taking effect. (Hanson, 1/21)
In other abortion news from Florida, Mississippi and elsewhere —
WUSF Public Media: Florida's Abortion Bill Takes Its First Step Forward With A House Panel Approval
Despite fierce objections from Democrats who argued the proposal is unconstitutional, a Florida House panel on Wednesday approved a controversial bill that would prohibit doctors from performing abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The proposal, approved by the House Professions and Public Health Subcommittee in a 12-6 vote Wednesday, closely resembles a Mississippi abortion law that is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. The court heard arguments in the case last month. (Dailey, 1/20)
Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Teen Pregnancy: Mississippi Has Second-Highest Teen Birth Rate In U.S.
Now, as Mississippi awaits a United States Supreme Court ruling looking at a state law making abortion illegal after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a decision that has the potential to overturn Roe v. Wade, many say a robust discussion about the state of Mississippi’s sex education should be had. If abortion access is further restricted in Mississippi, experts say it will cause unwanted teen pregnancies to rise, leading to young women not finishing their education, continued poverty cycles and more tax dollars spent. Better sex education, they say, is one way to prevent the inevitable domino effect. (Haselhorst, 1/20)
The New York Times: At Sundance, Two Films Look At Abortion And The Jane Collective 
Judith Arcana was 27 and recently separated from her husband when she began driving women surreptitiously for safe — but illegal — abortions. The year was 1970, she was an out-of-work teacher on the South Side of Chicago, and she was spending her days counseling women in need.“I don’t think we were crazy,” said Arcana, now 78. “I don’t think we were stupid. I think that we had found something that was so important, so useful in the lives of women and girls.” “We were radicalized in the arena of women’s bodies,” she said. “We knew that what we were doing was good work in the world. And we knew that it was illegal.” (Sperling, 1/20)
Covid-19 Crisis
Omicron Rages Through Many Nursing Homes, Forcing Shutdowns
Record high covid infections are reported among nursing home residents and staffs, according to CDC data. Deaths have also risen, though not as badly as before vaccines were available. Separately, new research finds that unvaccinated people 65 or older are 49 times more likely to be hospitalized for covid than fully vaccinated and boosted seniors.
NPR: The Nursing Home Staffing Crisis Right Now Is Like Nothing We've Seen Before
The omicron wave is hitting nursing homes hard, with infections among residents and staff reaching record highs in recent weeks. There were more than 40,000 residents who tested positive last week, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost a 10-fold rise since November. Cases for staff hit a record high of more than 67,000 cases the first week of January, but started to decline last week. "What we've learned with the pandemic is that when there are large [numbers] of COVID cases in the general population, COVID finds its way into skilled nursing facilities," says Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of the industry group American Health Care Association. (Chatterjee, 1/20)
The Washington Post: Unvaccinated Seniors Nearly 50 Times More Likely To Be Hospitalized Than Boosted Peers
Unvaccinated adults aged 65 or older who contracted the coronavirus were 49 times more likely to require hospitalization than seniors who had received booster vaccine doses, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unimmunized adults in that age group were also 17 times more likely to be admitted to hospital than those who had received either two shots of a mRNA vaccine or one Johnson & Johnson dose. Meanwhile, unvaccinated people between 50 and 64 years of age were 44 times more likely to need hospitalization compared with their boosted counterparts. (Jeong and Francis, 1/21)
AP: Michigan Nursing Homes Ordered To Offer On-Site Booster Shot 
Michigan’s health director on Thursday ordered nursing homes to offer on-site booster shots to residents who are not up to date on the COVID-19 vaccine in a state that lags others in vaccinating people in long-term care facilities. The facilities must comply within 30 days. Nearly 75% of eligible nursing home residents have received a booster dose. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in December set a goal of getting 95% of eligible nursing home residents a booster by the end of January. (Eggert, 1/20)
More places see evidence that omicron is slowing —
The Wall Street Journal: Some U.S. Hospitals See Covid-19 Patient Counts Decline As Omicron Retreats
Hospitals in early Omicron hot spots like New York and Washington, D.C., say the pressure is starting to ease, with many reporting fewer Covid-19 patients filling beds and smaller numbers of staff sidelined by infections. While these improvements follow declines in new Covid-19 case counts in parts of the U.S., health authorities have warned Omicron has yet to peak nationally, and hospitals around the country remain under significant strain from Covid-19 patient counts still at record levels. (Kamp, 1/20)
Fox News: Omicron Slowing In These States, Officials Say
As the omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to spread, officials in several states across the country have reported the surge is showing signs of slowing. In New York, COVID-19 infection data released Wednesday showed the seven-day average of new hospital admissions down 18.4% from the previous week. The seven-day average of new cases is down 43.6% from the prior seven days and the seven-day average of cases per 100,000 people is "declining in all regions." (Musto, 1/20)
The Boston Globe: COVID-19 Cases Have Peaked In Massachusetts
The latest wave of COVID-19 in Massachusetts has crested, with the number of new cases dropping precipitously since last week, prompting even the most wary prognosticators to see a flicker at the end of the tunnel. The data indicate the state is headed toward a respite, and the United States as a whole also will see cases decline, said Dr. Jacob Lemieux, an infectious disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital. But he cautioned that “every expectation with this virus comes with a caveat because it’s always making us look silly.” Data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health show the seven-day average of new cases is now 30 percent lower than the Jan. 11 peak. But even as the fast-spreading Omicron variant beats a fast retreat, experts are watching an Omicron sibling, dubbed BA.2, that is making inroads in parts of Europe and Israel. (Freyer, Lazar and Finucane, 1/20)
Fox News: COVID-19: Nearly Half Of Virus Hospitalizations In Massachusetts Are For Other Issues
Massachusetts’ Department of Public Health on Thursday—for the first time—made a distinction between COVID-19 patients hospitalized with "primary" and "incidental" cases. Boston 25, citing the newly released data, reported that 49% of the state’s 3,187 patients– hospitalized on Jan. 18–were there because of another matter and diagnosed with the virus once at the hospital. Medical officials in the state made clear that they have no intention of diminishing the "incidental" cases– pointing out that they will still require special care–but they hope the numbers will better reflect the virus' impact on the community. (DeMarche, 1/21)
In related news about the spread of covid —
WMFE: Could Recent Inconsistent COVID Data Indicate Another Peak Is Ahead?
Justin Senior, CEO of the Safety Net Hospital Alliance, says he sees hope in recent conflicting coronavirus data. He says the numbers could indicate the highly contagious omicron variant is peaking and will start to decline. Across Central Florida, the positivity rate among new cases remains about 30%, indicating a high rate of community spread. Senior says the numbers are following a trend set by previous variants in that they rose fast and now are bouncing up and down. (Green, 1/20)
Salt Lake Tribune: Utah Democrat Accuses Republican COVID-Positive Lawmakers Of Ignoring Isolation And Mask Guidelines
A Democratic senator on Thursday blasted lawmakers who test positive for COVID-19 and show up to work at the Capitol without isolating for five days or wearing masks. “Here we are three days into the 2022 legislative session and, frankly, we’re not off to a great start. We’re seeing legislators show up testing positive for COVID-19 and refusing to wear masks to keep the rest of us safe,” said Sen. Derek Kitchen, D-Salt Lake City, outside the Capitol building steps Thursday afternoon during a news conference on Senate and House Democrats’ legislative priorities. (Bojórquez, 1/20)
HHS Funds Target Health Worker Burnout; Hospitals Plead With Public
As some U.S. health care systems edge toward collapse with staff shortages and exhausted medical workers, the Department of Health and Human Services is awarding $103 million to address mental wellness. Meanwhile, hospitals urge the public to take more covid precautions — like vaccines.
Modern Healthcare: HHS Awards Grants To Tackle Health Worker Burnout, Well-Being
The Health and Human Services Department has chosen the grantees for $103 million to address healthcare worker burnout and improve employees' mental health and well-being, the department announced Thursday. The money, made available through the American Rescue Plan Act and distributed by the Health Resources and Services Administration, will be split among 45 grantees. The grants place a specific focus on programs in underserved and rural communities, according to a HRSA news release. The dollars will fund projects including hiring resiliency trainers to support healthcare staff, establishing health system-wide wellness programs and devising initiatives to overcome the stigma associated with healthcare workers seeking mental health treatment. (Goldman, 1/20)
In related news about packed hospitals and stressed-out health workers —
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia Hospitals Plead For Public To Help Lower COVID-19 Spread
Top doctors at six of metro Atlanta’s largest hospital groups made extraordinary pleas on Thursday for Georgians to get vaccinated and take steps to reduce coronavirus infections to ensure emergency rooms and hospitals can care for people most in need. In an hourlong briefing, the hospital leaders spoke of overflowing emergency rooms, dying patients, and devastated ICU nurses spread too thin. They said they are grappling with a combination of factors, including a high volume of patients, staff shortages and difficulty getting COVID-19 therapeutics. It’s all resulting in them having to ration care for only the sickest of patients. (Trubey and Hart, 1/20)
Crain's Chicago Business: Advocate Aurora Workers Plead With Public To Get COVID Vaccines
Oyinkansola is exhausted. The emergency physician at Advocate Aurora Health isn't just overworked because of labor shortages and fellow providers out with COVID-19, she's exhausted by the deaths. "It is exhausting to speak to somebody the same age as myself, who is going to die," says Oyinkansola, identified only by her first name, in the health system's Voices from the Frontlines videos. "And this is all so preventable." (Asplund, 1/20)
Cincinnati Enquirer: COVID Omicron Variant: Ohio National Guard Arrives At Christ Hospital
Twenty Ohio National Guard members have arrived at Christ Hospital Health Network to assist health workers in day-to-day operations amid the region's COVID-19 surge. The guard members arrived in the area this week as it continues to battle rising caseloads of COVID-19, record-setting hospitalizations, and a peak still yet to come. The omicron surge has put growing stress on the region's 40 hospitals, with 4 of every 10 patients now suffering from the novel coronavirus. (Sutherland, 1/20)
Las Vegas Review-Journal: Southern Nevada Public Agencies Hit Hard By Omicron Surge
Southern Nevada’s public agencies have not been immune to the latest variant-fueled surge of COVID-19 cases ripping through the region as employees call out sick in levels some say have been unprecedented. “It hit us just like it hit everybody else — pretty solid,” Clark County Fire Chief John Steinbeck said. The department recently recorded more workers out sick than at any other point in the pandemic. Earlier this month, the Metropolitan Police Department saw more employees test positive for COVID-19 than in any other single week since the public health crisis began. (Johnson and Apgar, 1/20)
Also —
CBS News: A Record 9 Million Americans Are Out Sick As COVID Rates Surge 
As the Omicron variant rips across the U.S., in early January almost 9 million Americans said they were not working because they had COVID-19 or were caring for someone with the virus — triple the number from a month ago. The surge in sick workers is impacting industries ranging from hospitals to airlines, adding to the nation's labor crunch. (Picchi, 1/20)
California Bill Proposed That Would Let Older Kids Get Covid Shot Without Parent
The proposed state legislation would allow adolescents 12 and older to get vaccinated against covid without parental consent. From around the rest of the country, news outlets look at the "special kind of hell" that parents and caregivers of kids under 5 are living in, until their charges are eligible for a covid vaccine.
AP: Preteens May Be Vaxed Without Parents Under California Bill
California would allow children age 12 and up to be vaccinated without their parents’ consent, the youngest age of any state, under a proposal late Thursday by a state senator. Alabama allows such decisions at age 14, Oregon at 15, Rhode Island and South Carolina at 16, according to Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco who is proposing the change. Only Washington, D.C., has a lower limit, at age 11. (Thompson, 1/21)
Los Angeles Times: California Kids 12 And Up Could Get COVID Vaccine Without Parent OK
Ani Chaglasian spent much of last year trying to convince her parents that she should be vaccinated against COVID-19. The 17-year-old said she laid out research showing it would safety protect her from being infected or passing the virus to others. She pleaded. She reasoned. She created a slideshow presentation. But, the teen said, her parents remained hesitant and she remained unvaccinated. Under a bill introduced Thursday by a California lawmaker, Chaglasian and other children in the state would be allowed to make their own vaccination decisions. Senate Bill 866 by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) would permit children 12 and older to be vaccinated, including against COVID-19, without their parents’ consent or knowledge. (Gutierrez, 1/20)
And more news on the vaccine rollout —
USA Today: COVID Vaccine For Kids Under 5: Doctors, Parents Demand Urgent Access
Dr. Rebekah Diamond’s heart broke as she watched another mom sobbing in the intensive care unit. Her 7-year-old son became severely ill with COVID-19 during the delta wave in the fall. The vaccine had just been authorized for children 5 to 11 years old, but the boy came in contact with the virus before he could make it to his scheduled appointment. “I did everything right for so long and then I decided he just has to go back to school this fall and I sent him back,” she told Diamond, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Columbia University and a hospitalist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. “I feel like this is my fault … I did this.” (Rodriguez, 1/20)
NPR: Parents And Caregivers Of Unvaccinated Kids Say They've Hit Rock Bottom
The people who take care of and educate children under 5 years old — both parents and providers — are in a special kind of hell right now. These children are too young to be vaccinated, and it's difficult for them to wear masks consistently. Many child care directors, like Berg, are still following 10- or 14-day quarantines, closing entire classrooms after a single positive test, which has caused nonstop disruptions given the current record numbers of COVID-19 cases. … Meanwhile, caregivers told NPR that they can't get hold of enough rapid tests and that they're struggling to apply the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's safety guidance. Child care directors say they have few substitutes to cover for those out sick, and early childhood educators typically don't have union protection. Providers say they are spending out of pocket on equipment such as masks and gloves. (Kamenetz, 1/20)
Houston Chronicle: Harris County Ranks Near The Bottom In Child Vaccination Rate Among The Largest US Counties
In spite of the spread of the omicron variant, national COVID-19 vaccination rates for children ages 5-11 remain low. The same is true for children in Harris County, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of CDC data. Of Harris County’s children aged 5-11, only 18.2% of them are fully vaccinated; 22.2% have received one dose. Pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced the FDA authorization of their COVID-19 vaccine on October 29, 2021. (An, 1/20)
Also —
Anchorage Daily News: Gov. Dunleavy Says He Stands By Zink As Attacks On Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Escalate
Alaska Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy says the state’s chief medical officer, Dr. Anne Zink, still has his confidence even as she’s become the focus of escalating attacks by the anti-vaccine movement and other critics of the governor’s pandemic response. Wasilla GOP Rep. Christopher Kurka, who’s running for governor as a conservative alternative to Dunleavy, this week launched a “Fire Anne Zink” petition, saying he’s committed to removing her “on Day 1 of my administration.” At a Dunleavy constituent event Saturday in the deeply conservative Mat-Su, audience members applauded calls for Zink’s removal. (Herz, 1/20)
Houston Chronicle: Former Houston Methodist Doctor Accused Of Spreading COVID Misinformation Seeks Financial Records
A River Oaks doctor whom Houston Methodist Hospital suspended in November for spreading COVID-19 misinformation is turning to the legal system to obtain financial records from the medical institution, according to court records. Dr. Mary Talley Bowden, who resigned her privileges to admit patients after the temporary suspension, announced Monday that she would seek legal action against the hospital. A petition — similar to a records request — was later filed on her behalf to obtain documents related to any revenue the hospital has made in connection to its COVID-19 vaccination program and treatment of patients with coronavirus complications. (Hensley, 1/20)
KHN: Patient, Beware: Some States Still Pushing Ineffective Covid Antibody Treatments 
As the omicron variant completes its sweep across the U.S., states with scarce supplies of monoclonal antibody therapies continue to use two treatments that federal health officials warn no longer work against the highly contagious version of the virus that causes covid-19. The antibody treatment now most recommended is sotrovimab from GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology, and it’s in short supply. Use of the newly ineffective treatments produced by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly and Co. is highest in a dozen states. They include several Southern states with some of the nation’s lowest vaccination rates, but also California, which ranks in the nation’s top 20 for fully vaccinated residents, a KHN analysis of federal data shows. Many hospitals and clinics are still infusing the costly treatments — often charging hundreds of dollars a session — that public health officials now say are almost certainly useless. (Aleccia, 1/21)
Bloomberg: Less-Threatening Omicron Lowers Covid Vaccine Sales Estimate
Evidence that omicron causes less-severe disease than earlier Covid-19 variants will likely blunt growth in vaccine sales this year as wealthier countries rein in purchases, according to Airfinity Ltd. Sales of Covid vaccines, excluding those from China and India, will increase to about $85 billion in 2022, down about 28% from an earlier estimate of $118 billion, London-based Airfinity said Friday. The revision was also due to lower prices paid by poorer nations that are finally obtaining shots, the analytics firm said. (Paton, 1/21)
Sputnik Vaccine Might Be Significantly Better Against Omicron Than Pfizer
A small lab study of just 68 people was conducted jointly between Russia and Italy and has not been peer-reviewed. The study found that three to six months after participants received two doses of vaccine, omicron-specific neutralizing antibodies were detected in 74.2% of Sputnik recipients compared with 56.9% of Pfizer recipients, Reuters reported.
Reuters: Sputnik V Shows Higher Omicron-Antibody Levels Than Pfizer In Preliminary Study
Researchers said samples taken three to six months after the second dose of a vaccine have shown that the levels of antibodies in recipients of two doses of Sputnik V were more resistant to Omicron than in those vaccinated with Pfizer. … The study, that will seek certification by peer review, showed that Omicron-specific neutralizing antibodies were detected in the blood serum of 74.2% of the people vaccinated with Sputnik and in 56.9% of those vaccinated with Pfizer/BioNtech. (1/20)
In other covid  and vaccine research —
USA Today: COVID Vaccine Won't Prevent Pregnancy But Infection Might
Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 won't affect a couple's chances of getting pregnant, but contracting the coronavirus could impair male fertility. Those are the main conclusions of a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, refuting a common myth about the vaccine and sending a warning to men who avoid it. Researchers at Boston University studied more than 2,000 couples and found no differences in their chances of conception if either partner was vaccinated compared to unvaccinated couples. But the couples' chances of conceiving decreased slightly if the male partner had contracted the virus 60 days or less before the other partner's menstrual cycle, an indication of diminished male fertility. (Ortiz, Bacon and Stanton, 1/20)
San Francisco Chronicle: UCSF Scientists Detect Anomalies In People With Post-COVID ‘Brain Fog’
Scientists studying the persistent “brain fog” that plagues many people after a bout with COVID-19 are reporting, for the first time, abnormalities in the clear liquid surrounding the brain and spinal cord of several patients. The discovery of elevated protein levels in the cerebrospinal fluid suggests the presence of inflammation, while unexpected antibodies may reveal an abnormally activated immune system, according to small study led by UCSF and published Tuesday in the journal Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. (Asimov, 1/20)
Bloomberg: Denmark Covid Cases: 36% Lower Risk Of Hospitalization From Omicron
The risk of ending up hospitalized after a Covid-19 infection is 36% lower for people who were exposed to the omicron than the delta variant, according to a new study from health authorities in Denmark. The study in the Nordic nation, which has one of the world’s most ambitious programs for testing and variant screening, showed that 0.6% of those infected with the new variant were admitted to hospital, compared with 1.5% of those who tested positive for delta. (Rolander, 1/20)
CNBC: Omicron Could Be The Most Transmissible Covid Variant We Get: Experts
It’s too soon to know if Covid’s omicron variant will hasten the end of the nearly two-year-long Covid-19 pandemic. But some experts say that when it comes to contagiousness, omicron could be the “most transmissible the virus can get.” The reason: Due to “evolutionary constraints” on how many mutations and changes the virus can make, omicron could be “the ultimate version of this virus,” Dr. William Moss, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, tells CNBC Make It. (Scipioni, 1/20)
The Boston Globe: What Happens After Omicron? Some Experts Predict A Lull But Say The Virus Could Have More Tricks Up Its Sleeve
The surge fueled by the Omicron variant will likely fade in the weeks ahead in the United States, experts say, and encouraging case declines have already emerged in Massachusetts and other states in the Northeast. But what comes after that? Some experts are expecting a lull in the pandemic followed by a decline in the severity of future waves. But many also warn that it’s hard to predict where the pandemic will go next — and a new variant could throw everything into doubt. “I want to emphasize that we don’t know what comes after Omicron,” said Dr. Jake Lemieux, an infectious disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital and co-leader of the viral variants program at the Massachusetts Consortium on Pathogen Readiness. (Finucane, 1/20)
Pandemic Policymaking
Strained Health Providers Brace For Looming Vaccine Mandate Deadline
Already short-staffed, hospital and clinic administrators ready their facilities for another potential wave of staffing losses as the federal covid vaccine mandate for health workers starts going into effect in a few weeks.
WUSF Public Media: Some Tampa Area Hospitals Make Plans To Comply With The Federal Vaccine Mandate 
The Supreme Court is the nation's highest tribunal, but its decision last week allowing vaccine mandates in hospitals that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding has created a legal quagmire for Florida hospitals. Some, like Tampa General Hospital, Sarasota Memorial and HCA hospitals, say they plan to comply with the Biden administration’s order to vaccinate all staff members, with some religious and medical exemptions allowed. Many other hospitals are still working out how to proceed, because state law in Florida bans vaccine mandates, and allows for hefty fines to be placed on facilities that enforce them. (Sheridan, 1/20)
The New York Times: U.S. Health Worker Mandate Deadlines Loom As Omicron Overwhelms Hospitals
The requirements come as hospitals across the country are being pushed to their limits by a steep rise in cases and staff shortages. Many health care workers are falling ill with the virus and others who quit under the pressure of the pandemic have not been replaced. Local and regional hospitals, as well as multistate hospital chains, have wrestled with resistance to vaccination among some nurses and other staff. Many of the larger groups, including the Cleveland Clinic and HCA Healthcare, suspended their own vaccination mandates last month while they awaited the Supreme Court’s decision. (Jiménez, 1/21)
In other news about covid mandates —
Chicago Tribune: Chicago’s Top Doctor ‘Hopeful’ Vaccine Mandate For Restaurants And Other Venues Will End By Spring 
Chicago’s vaccination requirement for indoor dining and other public areas will be removed once the city’s COVID-19 spread declines substantially, the city’s top health official said Thursday. The city’s proof-of-vaccination mandate for those 5 and older has been in place since Jan. 3 at restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues and more amid the surge of the highly contagious omicron variant. During a question-and-answer session Thursday, public health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the requirement will be lifted in accordance with a decrease in COVID-19 risk. (Yin and Petrella, 1/20)
The Washington Post: Youngkin Covid Action Plan Rejects Vaccine Mandates 
Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Thursday doubled down on his opposition to vaccine mandates even as he encouraged Virginians to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. In his covid-19 action plan, Youngkin (R) expanded a limited state of emergency and other measures put in place by his physician predecessor, Democrat Ralph Northam, but rejected actions that public policy experts say curb the spread of the virus. (Portnoy, Schneider and Vozzella, 1/20)
AP: Oregon Residents Decry Proposed 'Permanent' Mask Mandate
Hundreds of Oregon residents claimed government overreach on Thursday, as officials at the state’s health authority consider indefinitely extending the current indoor mask requirement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Oregon Health Authority held a public hearing about the proposed “permanent” mask rule for public indoor spaces, regardless of people’s vaccination status. Although the word “permanent” is used, officials say the rule can be rescinded when it is deemed “no longer necessary” by health authority officials. (Cline, 1/21)
AP: Kentucky Congressman Against Mandates Says He Has COVID-19 
A Kentucky congressman who has been critical of pandemic mask and vaccine mandates said he has tested positive for COVID-19. Rep. Thomas Massie, a Republican from northern Kentucky, tweeted Thursday that he is not vaccinated but his symptoms have been mild and he believes he is “over it.” (1/20)
In school news —
The CT Mirror: Community College Faculty And Staff Call For Stricter COVID Safety Guidelines
On the day before the start of the spring semester, community college faculty from around the state called for the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities governing board to implement stricter COVID safety standards as they return to campuses in person. During the Thursday press conference, faculty asked for the CSCU administration to distribute more N95 masks to students and employees at the colleges, ensure social distancing is enforced, improve telework accommodations, allow faculty to move classes fully online for the first two weeks of the semester and require proof of vaccination for all students and faculty. (Watson, 1/20)
Politico: ‘Please, Daddy, No More Zoom School.’: California Leaders Reject Distance Learning
The Omicron surge is depleting California teachers and keeping students home in unprecedented numbers, but political leaders aren't yet willing to broach the most obvious alternative: distance learning. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic leaders who allowed school shutdowns early in the pandemic are holding firm on keeping classrooms open. They've had support from the California Teachers Association despite some educators on the ground saying that working conditions are untenable due to staff shortages. And school districts are going to extreme lengths to keep students in classrooms, pulling retired teachers off the sidelines and recruiting office staff — at times even superintendents — to teach lessons. (Nieves, 1/20)
Scammers Selling Unauthorized Rapid Tests Or Have Zero Inventory
News outlets cover how fraudsters are taking advantage of people searching for at-home tests and even leveraging the launch of the new government site for free tests. In San Francisco, the city has subpoenaed records from an unauthorized covid testing operator suspected of fraud.
CBS News: Scammers Are Selling Bogus Home COVID-19 Tests. Here's How To Avoid Fakes
With home COVID-19 tests at the top of Americans' shopping lists as the Omicron variant continues to spread, scammers are trying to cash by taking advantage of unsuspecting consumers. … The scams can take different forms. Some fraudsters pretending to be genuine merchants are hawking unauthorized rapid tests, while others have no merchandise on hand and just want to take your money and run. (Cerullo, 1/20)
KOAA: Fraudsters Lurking As People Order COVID Tests From New Government Website
You can now order free COVID tests to be sent to your home through the government website, but knowing this is a website that will be accessed by people nationwide the fraudsters are already launching attacks. News5 shares information on the warning for consumers. If you take one thing away from this report, please keep this in mind no one will call, text, or email you from the federal government to ask for your information to help you order free COVID tests. These are the main ways fraudsters will attempt to launch their scam attacks. (Nelson, 1/21)
AP: San Francisco Subpoenas Unauthorized COVID Testing Operator 
San Francisco’s city attorney has issued subpoenas seeking records from an unauthorized COVID-19 test operator and laboratory suspected of trying to scam people out of money or personal information. City Attorney David Chiu announced the legal action Thursday after the companies missed a Monday deadline to provide valid licenses. (1/20)
And more on testing —
The Washington Post: Can I Use An At-Home Test On A Baby? 
With omicron exploding throughout the United States, many of the questions that have bedeviled caregivers for the length of the pandemic are taking on a new urgency. If we want our children to stay healthy, and not infect other friends, families and strangers, what should we be doing right now? What shouldn’t we be doing? Because omicron appears to cause less severe illness, does it even matter if a healthy kid catches covid? (Rogers and Joyce, 1/20)
The Atlantic: Is Sharing A COVID Test A Bad Idea, Or Just A Gross One?
“It started as a joke, actually,” Elena Korngold told me. But late last month, the 40-something radiologist from Portland, Oregon, and her family decided that their unsanctioned scheme couldn’t hurt. Elena began the proceedings by unwrapping the sterile swab from a BinaxNOW rapid test for SARS-CoV-2, part of the family’s dwindling supply. She swirled the swab around the insides of each of her nostrils. Then she passed it to her husband, a cardiologist named Ethan, who swirled it around the insides of each of his nostrils. Then their two children did the same. It was “like some sort of religious ritual,” Elena said. (Gutman, 1/20)
KHN: Biden Administration’s Rapid-Test Rollout Doesn’t Easily Reach Those Who Need It Most 
In the past week, the Biden administration launched two programs that aim to get rapid covid tests into the hands of every American. But the design of both efforts disadvantages people who already face the greatest barriers to testing. From the limit placed on test orders to the languages available on websites, the programs stand to leave out many people who don’t speak English or don’t have internet access, as well as those who live in multifamily households. All these barriers are more common for non-white Americans, who have also been hit hardest by covid. The White House told KHN it will address these problems but did not give specifics. (Recht and Knight, 1/20)
Also —
USA Today: COVID Detector: Yale Researchers Develop A Wearable Clip
Today, we usually only learn about exposure to COVID when we find out someone we've been in contact has tested positive or symptoms of our own arise. Or perhaps you've scrambled to get at-home tests or queued up for a laboratory-processed COVID test. Also, many states have smartphone apps that can alert us to possible exposure, but that requires people to opt in. It's not available for everyone yet, but Yale University researchers have developed an easy-to-use clip-on device that can detect low levels of SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in the air around you, according to research published Jan. 11 in the peer-reviewed online journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters. (Snider, 1/20)
Public Health
Study Says Early Intervention Could Stop Kids' Peanut Allergies
Scientists gave increasing doses of peanut protein powder to toddlers and found that after two and a half years, nearly three quarters could tolerate as much as 16 peanuts without allergic reactions. A pacifier recall, the impact of sugar on kids' development, and more are in the news.
AP: Early Treatment Could Tame Peanut Allergies In Small Kids
Young children might be able to overcome their peanut allergies if treated at an early enough age, according to a study published Thursday. The researchers gave increasing amounts of peanut protein powder to a group of toddlers to build up their tolerance for peanuts. After 2 1/2 years, close to three-quarters could tolerate the equivalent of 16 peanuts without an allergic reaction. Six months after treatment stopped, one-fifth still had the same tolerance. (Choi, 1/20)
ABC News: Peanut Allergy Treatment Effective On Toddlers, Study Finds 
A peanut allergy treatment often used on children 4 years old and up in the U.S. appears to be safe for toddlers too, a new study has found. Around 2% of children in the country suffer from the allergy, some to a debilitating degree, which is why the discovery is "extremely exciting," said Dr. David Stukus, professor of clinical pediatrics and director of the Food Allergy Treatment Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital. (Ford, 1/20)
In other news about pediatric health —
USA Today: Pacifier Recall 2022: Mushie & Co Pacifiers Recalled For Choking Risk
Nearly 334,000 baby pacifiers are being recalled because they could pose a choking risk. According to the recall notice posted on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website, Mushie & Co is recalling its "FRIGG silicone pacifiers" because the "base of the silicone nipple has a fine slit that can cause the nipple to detach from the plastic shield, posing a choking hazard." Two designs of the pacifiers are included in the recall – classic and daisy – and both came in two sizes 0-6 months and 6-18 months. They were sold in more than 40 colors at TJ Maxx, SpearmintLOVE, Lil' Tulips, Olivia & Jade Company stores nationwide and online at and (Tyko, 1/20)
Philadelphia Inquirer: Eating Too Much Sugar Can Harm Kids’ Brain Development, New Research Shows
Parents often stress about their kids’ sugar intake, but it can be hard to know how much is too much — or what to do about it. Glucose — a simple sugar that forms the basis of most carbohydrate-rich food — is the primary source of energy for the brain. Healthy brains require a continuous source of energy and nutrients to fuel growth, learning and development. However, that doesn’t mean extra consumption of sugar is good for the developing brain. In fact, too much sugar can actually be detrimental to the normal growth of the brain. (Begdache, 1/21)
Stat: Study Shows ‘Saliva Sharing’ Shapes Babies’ View Of Close Relationships
Raising a young child can be a bit … messy. There’s the drool to be wiped, the slobbery feeding and sharing of utensils — and plenty of kisses. But it turns out that all that exposure to family members’ spit — what, in academic parlance, is known as “saliva sharing” — plays a crucial role in how we make sense of the world around us, a new study shows. It helps shape our discernment of social relationships, starting from our first months of life. (Joseph, 1/20)
Another Human Xenotransplant Success Achieved, With Pig Kidneys
The organ transplant success saw genetically altered pig kidneys functioning inside a patient, who was already brain dead, for over 70 hours. In other news, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a quarter of U.S. adults are too sedentary to protect their health.
The Washington Post: Researchers Implant Genetically Altered Pig Kidneys Into A Brain-Dead Man 
Surgeons at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have transplanted genetically modified pig kidneys into a brain-dead man, the university announced Thursday. The transplantation of the organs, which functioned for more than 70 hours, was another major step forward in the use of animal organs to replace failing human ones. Earlier this month, doctors at the University of Maryland transplanted a genetically altered pig’s heart into a living man with terminal heart disease. (Sellers, 1/20)
Stat: After A Flurry Of Firsts, Xenotransplantation Is Back In The Spotlight 
In his more than 30 years as a surgeon, Robert Montgomery has transplanted hundreds of kidneys. But at four in the morning September 25, the director of NYU Langone’s Transplant Institute performed one unlike any he’d ever done before. The kidney — six inches long, bean-shaped, and pale pink — was excised overnight from a genetically engineered pig, and flown into New York by private plane and helicopter from hundreds of miles away. The “patient,” lying face-up on the operating table, had died the day before. Machines now kept her body in a state of suspended animation, long enough to undergo the two-hour procedure to attach the organ to blood vessels in the woman’s leg, and to study what happened after. It was the first of a flurry of firsts over the last few months that have suddenly drawn attention to the niche field of xenotransplantation and its potential to solve the shortage of donated human organs. (Molteni, 1/20)
In other public health news —
Bloomberg: A Quarter Of U.S. Adults Are Too Sedentary, CDC Map Shows
Two years into a pandemic that has normalized work-from-home and moved many social gatherings online, new data from the Centers for Disease Control show that many Americans were couch potatoes long before Covid-19. A quarter of U.S. adults aren’t active enough to protect their health, according to a CDC study conducted from 2017-2020. The agency released a map on Thursday showing that Puerto Rico and states in the South had the highest prevalence of inactivity, followed by the Midwest, Northeast and West. Colorado, Utah, Washington and Vermont were the most-active states. (Muller, 1/20)
Stat: Study Casts Doubt On How Combination Cancer Therapies Work In Tandem
Some drugs are thought to be more powerful together: aspirin and coffee, cannabis and alcohol, and the antibiotics ampicillin and gentamicin, to name a few. In the case of cancer drugs, scientists have long thought discovering synergistic drugs, where one agent paves the way for another to target a tumor more aggressively, is the epitome of combination therapy. But a growing line of research is beginning to shatter the idea that “synergy” should be a high priority in cancer treatment. The latest study, published Thursday in Clinical Cancer Research, examined 13 combinations with cancer immunotherapy drugs and found that the benefits of all the pairings seem to come from each drug independently, not how they work together. The finding points to a concession in cancer research: For all the advances made in cancer biology and combination therapy, scientists are still largely in the dark about tumors and the drugs that target them. (Chen, 1/20)
The Washington Post: Former Lawmaker Dies Using Medical Suicide Law He Helped Pass Nearly A Decade Ago
A former Vermont lawmaker died last week using a medical aid-in-dying law that he helped pass nearly nine years earlier, before his terminal diagnosis. Willem Jewett (D), who served two years as House majority leader from 2013 to 2014, died Jan. 12 at his home in Ripton, Vt. He was 58. Jewett’s palliative-care doctor confirmed to the Vermont-based digital news outlet VTDigger that he died using a prescription obtained through Act 39, also known as Vermont’s Patient Choice and Control at End of Life Act. Jewett was diagnosed last year with mucosal melanoma, a rare but aggressive form of cancer, according to his obituary. (Bellware, 1/20)
In mental health news —
CNN: Marijuana Affects Your Brain's Ability To Function At Higher Levels, Study Says 
Remember those classic stoner dudes — Cheech and Chong, anyone? — spending their days in a weed-drenched room (or car), capable of little besides finding that next great high? If you don't, that's not surprising. As more and more states move to legalize marijuana, the stereotypical mind-numbing effects of weed have become passé, often replaced by an acceptance of the drug as an acceptable way to socialize, relax and get better sleep. But while society may have forgotten the impact that weed can have on the brain, science has not. (LaMotte, 1/20)
Chicago Tribune: Chicago Dentists Say COVID-19 Stress Is Hurting Our Teeth As More People Clench And Grind 
Along with everything else, COVID-19 is also creating problems with our teeth. That’s what dentists say after treating patients who are under stress during the pandemic and taking it out on their teeth. According to local providers and the American Dental Association, dentists have seen more stress-related oral health conditions during the pandemic. “People are clenching more, grinding more, cracking more teeth,” said Dr. Rana Stino, dentist and partner at Water Tower Dental Care. “Even their bite guards are fracturing.” (Bowen, 1/20)
CNBC: Relationships During The Pandemic: Covid Has Strained Couples, Families
The Covid-19 pandemic has taken an immense emotional toll on humankind, with people around the world dealing with the tragic loss of loved ones and heightened everyday pressures that have come from living, working and schooling from home. While many families have enjoyed spending more time together during the pandemic, there are some relationships that have failed to thrive during a period of unprecedented upheavals and uncertainties. From arguments over Covid rules and restrictions to disagreements over whether children should be vaccinated — and even disputes between families and friends over the very existence of the virus — have seen relationships pushed to breaking point during the pandemic, according to family law experts and psychologists. (Ellyatt, 1/21)
Bloomberg: Meta, Snap Sued Over Social Media ‘Addicted’ Girl’s Suicide
Meta Platforms Inc. and Snap Inc. are to blame for the suicide of an 11-year-old girl who was addicted to Instagram and Snapchat, the girl’s mother alleged in a lawsuit. The woman claims her daughter Selena Rodriguez struggled for two years with an “extreme addiction” to Meta’s photo-sharing platform and Snap’s messaging app before taking her life last year. Thursday’s complaint in San Francisco federal court isn’t the first lawsuit to blame a youth’s suicide on social media, but it comes at a sensitive time for platforms that engage millions of young people worldwide. (Burnson, 1/21)
Health Industry
Some Health Providers Are Getting Paid To Answer Emails
In other news, Florida's health providers and insurers have been given permission to use their own dispute resolution process instead of the federal No Surprises Act system. Florida's orthopedic surgeons are also in the news for suing HCA, alleging anticompetitive conduct.
Stat: Why One Health System Is Paying Health Providers To Answer Their Emails
It’s not uncommon for primary care doctor Maria Byron to spend hours every single week sifting through emails from patients seeking her medical advice. These messages might contain medication questions or completely new concerns patients didn’t mention during face-to-face visits. And while the University of California, San Francisco, where Byron practices, has seen volumes surge from a few hundred thousand such emails in 2016 to about two million in 2021, she and other clinicians typically haven’t been paid for answering them. “It’s become sort of this extra thing that physicians are spending multiple hours a day doing… that starts to weigh on people,” Byron said. (Ravindranath, 1/21)
In other health care industry developments —
Modern Healthcare: Florida Providers, Insurers Won't Use Federal Surprise Billing Resolution Process
Healthcare providers and insurers in Florida will use the state's own dispute resolution process for out-of-network bills instead of the controversial methodology in the federal No Surprises Act. About 30 states, including Florida, already had their own laws governing balance billing when the new federal balance billing ban was passed. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is now determining whether those state laws can supersede the No Surprises Act when it comes to issues like payment dispute resolution. This week, the agency disclosed its finding that Florida's methodology will determine payment resolution in most situations. That's on top of about a dozen other states found to have so-called "specified state laws," meaning their own laws will supersede at least some aspects of the federal balance billing law. (Bannow, 1/20)
Modern Healthcare: Florida Orthopedic Surgeons Sue HCA Over Surgical Center Deals
A group of orthopedic surgeons sued HCA Healthcare on Wednesday, alleging the health system is engaging in anti-competitive conduct and attempting to dominate the orthopedic surgical services market by eliminating competitors. A dozen doctors who part of the Kennedy White Orthopaedic Center in Sarasota, Florida, allege HCA diminished the "quality, reputation and capability of the surgical practice" by prioritizing its wholly owned hospitals as a landowner and manager, according to the complaint. HCA and the Kennedy White Orthopaedic Center have been in a partnership since 1995, where HCA serves as the General Partner and has a majority ownership of the partnership, according to the complaint. (Devereaux, 1/20)
Modern Healthcare: Humana Grows Private Equity-Backed Primary Care
Humana is continuing its investment in primary care for older adults, with plans to operate up to 260 total health centers across 12 states by the end of 2022. Across Humana's CenterWell and Conviva brands, the insurer's primary-care organization currently operates approximately 200 centers across nine states. The company plans to expand its CenterWell clinics into Arizona, Kentucky and Texas and open 26 new sites this year. It did not specify growth targets for its Conviva arm. But the company's clinic expansion is funded, in part, through a three-year, $600 million deal the company inked with private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe. WCAS is the majority stakeholder in the joint venture. (Tepper, 1/20)
In news about discrimination in health care —
New Orleans Times-Picayune: Tulane Medical School Discrimination Lawsuit Settled A Year After Public Battle
A high-profile court dispute between Tulane University's School of Medicine and a former director of its residency program over allegations of racial discrimination was quietly settled last month. The lawsuit, filed by Dr. Princess Dennar in federal court in New Orleans, alleged discrimination going back a decade, unfair rotations for doctors in training in Dennar's program and unsafe conditions for patients. But court records show it was dismissed Dec. 30. Neither party commented on the specifics of the suit or the terms of the settlement, with Tulane spokesperson Michael Strecker confirming only that the lawsuit and its claims "have been resolved." (Woodruff, 1/21)
Modern Healthcare: How To Identify, Prevent Bias In EHRs
Language norms used by providers in patient medical records have perpetuated racial and economic bias, identifying a need for clinicians to be more intentional at exploring and articulating the root of a person's health problems. Electronic health records carry negative patient descriptors based on race, insurance provider and marital status, according to a report published this week in Health Affairs. That's raising concerns about bias and stigma revealed through electronic health records and its potential to exacerbate healthcare disparities during a pivotal time in healthcare. (Hartnett, 1/20)
State Watch
Florida Workers Pay Among The Most For Health Insurance
A study from the Commonwealth Fund found Florida employees paid more for health insurance than in nearly every other state. A different report sheds light on why Chicago's air quality didn't get as much as a reprieve during the pandemic as other places: It's diesel fuel's fault.
WUSF Public Media: Study Finds Employees In Florida Pay Among The Highest Rates For Health Insurance 
Employees in Florida paid more for their health insurance in 2020 than workers in nearly every other state, a new study from The Commonwealth Fund found. The study compared employee health insurance costs, including insurance premiums and deductibles. The average amount that Florida workers paid for premiums – which come out of their paychecks – and deductibles was $9,284 in 2020, or 16% of the state’s median income. Ten years ago, Florida’s workers paid $5,205 – or 11% of the state’s median income. (Bruner, 1/20)
In environmental news —
Chicago Tribune: Chicago Ranks 3rd In U.S. In Deaths Related To Diesel Pollution
People around the world breathed cleaner air after the economy ground to a halt during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. But Chicago and its suburbs missed out on the temporary reprieve from lung-damaging, life-shortening pollution. A new analysis suggests a key reason why dirty air problems continued here while other cities saw clear skies for the first time in years: Pollution from diesel trucks and locomotives barely changed in the Chicago area, one of the nation’s major freight hubs. (Hawthorne, 1/20)
Health News Florida: A Proposal Getting Bipartisan Support Seeks To Protect Florida Workers From Heat-Related Sickness 
An effort that seeks to reduce heat-related illnesses and deaths in Florida is getting bipartisan support so far. SB 732 targets agriculture and other industries with outdoor workers. “The intent of this bill is to provide consistent standards for employers and employees on how to prevent heat illness, how to recognize the signs of heat illness, and what actions to take,” said Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez, R-Doral. She says she filed the bill to stress the importance of education and training. The bill received support from workers and business owners who addressed the Senate Agriculture Committee Wednesday morning. (Jordan, 1/20)
And more news from across the U.S. —
AP: Judge To Dismiss 11 Murder Counts Against Ohio Doctor
A judge agreed Thursday to dismiss 11 of 25 murder counts against an Ohio doctor charged in multiple hospital patient deaths, after prosecutors requested the charges be dropped. William Husel is accused of ordering excessive painkillers for patients in the Columbus-area Mount Carmel Health System. He was indicted in cases involving at least 500 micrograms of the powerful painkiller fentanyl, and remains scheduled for trial beginning Feb. 14. (1/20)
AP: Maine Considers Bill To Allow Recreational Weed Delivery
Maine is considering a bill that would allow recreational marijuana stores to deliver to residents across the state even if a town prohibits recreational marijuana stores. During a hearing Wednesday, a legislative committee heard from the bill’s supporters and sponsor, Democratic Rep. Joe Perry, The Portland Press Herald reported. (1/20)
AP: Conservative Nebraska Sen. Groene Sponsors Medical Pot Bill
A conservative lawmaker from rural, western Nebraska took a leading role Thursday in the push to allow medical marijuana in the state. Sen. Mike Groene, of North Platte, introduced a legalization bill that would impose tight controls on the drug. (1/20)
North Carolina Health News: WNC's Only Day Center For People With Brain Injuries 
At 9 a.m. the meeting begins. “Would you spend the night in a haunted house?” Liz, a participant in the day program at Hinds’ Feet Farm in Asheville, asks her fellow group members, who sit scattered at round tables throughout the room. She answers her own question first: a firm no. No explanation needed. Jason, Liz’s fiance, answers next. He says he would. Sam, another participant, goes after. He hems and haws for a moment. “Well, I’d have to bring my CPAP so …” he trails off. Someone else echoes the concern: they, too, would need to bring their CPAP into the haunted house. The group bursts into laughter. (DeRoven, 1/19)
KHN: State Laws Aim To Regulate ‘Troubled Teen Industry,’ But Loopholes Remain
Five days after Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed a law meant to provide stronger oversight of the more than 100 residential youth treatment programs operating in the state, a 12-year-old boy arrived at one of them, Provo Canyon School. Before long, he was forced into seclusion, denied communication with his family and given antipsychotic medication without parental permission, according to relatives. Trish Leon, aunt of the 12-year-old, Logan, contacted various state agencies, the Utah governor’s office, elected officials and youth rights nonprofits — but soon discovered the law’s limits. Secluding a student from others is still allowed under the new rules, for example, but program operators must now report to regulators when they do so. Leon’s complaints about what happened to her nephew while he was at Provo Canyon School were dismissed as unsubstantiated or hit dead ends. (Evans, 1/21)
Global Watch
Not So Fast: Lawmakers Criticize CIA's Report On Causes Of Havana Syndrome
Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) revealed that the intelligence community’s expert panel on Havana Syndrome will wrap up its work “in about 10 days,” and he questioned why the CIA would release its assessment ahead of that group’s work, Politico reported.
Politico: Lawmakers Skewer Interim CIA Report On Havana Syndrome 
Top senators are downplaying and criticizing a new interim CIA assessment on the mysterious illness known as Havana Syndrome, the latest salvo in a years-long battle for transparency between Capitol Hill and the intelligence agencies. The interim report, detailed to POLITICO on Wednesday by three intelligence officials, assesses that the health incidents aren’t the result of a sustained global campaign by a U.S. foe to harm hundreds of American diplomats posted overseas. But it did not rule out the possibility that a foreign actor or sophisticated weapon is behind the phenomenon in a smaller number of cases that remain unresolved. (Desiderio, 1/20)
Newsweek: CIA Backtracks On Havana Syndrome After Director Issued Warning To Russian Spies
Advocates for some of the reported Havana Syndrome victims have condemned the agency's interim assessment. "The decision to release the report now and with this particular set of 'findings' seems a breach of faith, and an undermining of the intent of Congress and the president to stand with us and reach a government-wide consensus as to what is behind this," they said in a statement issued to Politico. "This report was neither cleared nor coordinated through the interagency and must stand as the assessment of one agency (CIA) alone." (Dutton, 1/20)
ABC News: CIA Says Foreign Actor May Be Behind Some Havana Syndrome Cases 
The CIA has assessed that the "majority" of reported cases of unexplained medical symptoms known as "Havana syndrome" can be "reasonably explained by medical conditions or environmental and technical factors," a senior CIA official told ABC News. The spy agency has assessed it's "unlikely that a foreign actor, including Russia, is conducting a sustained, worldwide campaign harming U.S. personnel with a weapon or mechanism," they added. But they left the door open to the possibility that some personnel have been attacked by a still-unknown actor or device, saying a foreign actor's role has not been ruled out "in specific cases. We're still looking." (Finnegan and Smith, 1/20)
All US Olympians Are Fully Vaccinated; No One Requested Exemptions
Every one of the 200-plus athletes going to the Beijing Winter Olympics is reported to be fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, the Chinese authorities are limiting the traditional torch relay to just three days. In France, covid restrictions are due to be lifted soon, and Austria mandated shots for adults.
AP: 100%: Chief Medical Officer Says All US Olympians Vaccinated 
The U.S. Olympic team’s top doctor says all of the 200-plus athletes heading to Beijing for the Winter Games next month are fully vaccinated, and not a single one asked for a medical exemption. Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Finnoff told The Associated Press the 21-day quarantine period the IOC is requiring for unvaccinated participants, combined with the education the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee provided, “really resonated with the athletes.” (Pells, 1/21)
AP: China Mandates 3-Day Olympic Torch Relay Amid Virus Concerns 
China is limiting the torch relay for the Winter Olympic Games to just three days amid coronavirus worries, organizers said Friday. The flame will be displayed only in enclosed venues that are deemed “safe and controllable,” according to officials speaking at a news conference. (1/21)
In other covid news from around the world —
Politico: France To Lift COVID-19 Restrictions In February 
French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Thursday that the government will lift most of its COVID-19 restrictions in February, although the need for a vaccine pass and indoor mask-wearing will remain. (Bermingham, 1/20)
Fox News: Austrian Parliament Votes To Make Vaccines Mandatory For All Adults
The lower chamber of the Austrian Parliament approved a measure Thursday to make vaccines mandatory for all adults in the country, enforceable by fines of up to 3,600 euros, or approximately $4,000. The MPs voted 137 to 33 to approve the mandate after seven hours of debate. Austrian residents aged 18 and over are required to be vaccine under the bill, with exceptions carved out for pregnant women, people with medical exemptions, and those who have recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months, according to The Associated Press. About 72% of the 8.9 million people in Austria were considered fully vaccinated as of Thursday. (Brown, 1/20)
North Carolina Health News: What Does Life With An Italian Vaccine Passport Look Like? 
As the Omicron variant spreads throughout the country and the world, some governments have doubled down on vaccination as the best way to combat the coronavirus. U.S. cities such as New York and Washington, D.C. now require some sort of proof of vaccination for public indoor activities, but any kind of vaccine passport in North Carolina seems unlikely — for now… I have spent the majority of the COVID-19 pandemic in North Carolina’s Piedmont region, but this winter, I got to see life with a vaccine passport firsthand in the other Piedmont region (or rather, Piemonte) in northern Italy, visiting my boyfriend’s family in Turin. (Thompson, 1/21)
Bloomberg: Studies Warn New Covid Variant In South Africa After Lions Infected By Staff
Lions and pumas at a private zoo in South Africa got severe Covid-19 from asymptomatic zoo handlers, raising concerns that new variants could emerge from animal reservoirs of the disease, studies carried out by a local university showed. A 2020 study of feces from two pumas that had had diarrhea, nasal discharge and anorexia showed the animals had Covid-19 and made a full recovery after 23 days, the University of Pretoria said in a statement on Tuesday. A year later, in the midst of South Africa’s delta-variant-driven third wave, three lions, one of which had pneumonia, tested positive for the coronavirus. (Sguazzin, 1/18)
Bloomberg: South Africa Bolsters Genomics Capability To Hunt Deadly Disease
South Africa is enhancing its capacity to identify and respond to emerging pathogens and deadly diseases after leading global efforts to identify new strains of the coronavirus. Having alerted the world to both the beta and omicron Covid-19 variants, the country has garnered international support to help it build new laboratories and capabilities, and hire and train more African scientists to respond to future epidemic threats. Capacity is being added across a network of a dozen institutions, which could employ as many as 1,000 additional personnel. (Kew, 1/21)
CNBC: Pacific Islands' Zero-Covid Strategies Unsustainable, Professor Says
Countries all over the world have seen Covid-19 cases surge since the emergence of the highly transmissible omicron variant, with new infections soaring by 20% globally over the past week. In the Pacific Islands, however, it’s been a different story. Many of the small island states nestled in the Pacific Ocean have had no new cases of the virus for months — and some of those countries have remained virtually Covid-free throughout the pandemic… Although many of the islands’ borders are still closed, some have tentatively begun to reopen. Those countries that remain isolated now find themselves in a precarious position as they attempt to balance public health with the recovery of their tourism-reliant economies. (Taylor, 1/21)
In other global news —
The Wall Street Journal: Medical Glassmaker Schott To Increase Spending Amid Boost From Covid-19 Vaccines 
Schott AG’s finance chief plans to increase spending this year as the specialty glass and materials manufacturer sees growing demand for its products, including syringes and vials for Covid-19 vaccines. The Mainz, Germany-based company intends to invest €450 million, equivalent to about $510 million, this fiscal year. That is up from the €340 million it spent during the year ended Sept. 30. (Trentmann, 1/20)
Bloomberg: Indonesia To Propose New Global Health Agency At G20 Summit
Indonesia will propose the creation of a new global health agency when leaders meet at the Group of 20 Summit. The agency would set up standard operating procedures for international travel and health protocols, as well as procure vaccines and ensure access and investment in medical equipment and medicines for developing countries, President Joko Widodo said in a statement at the World Economic Forum event on Thursday. (Aditya, 1/20)
Weekend Reading
Longer Looks: Interesting Reads You Might Have Missed
Each week, KHN finds longer stories for you to enjoy. This week's selections include stories on food poisoning, toxic waste, dementia, exercise, covid and more.
ProPublica: Kidney Failure, Emergency Rooms And Medical Debt. The Unseen Costs Of Food Poisoning
On a cloudy day in November 2019, family and friends gathered in Austin, Texas, to mourn the passing of Lovey Jean Carter. Carter, who had heart trouble and other ailments, had died at 67.After the burial, many of the mourners returned to Rising Star Baptist Church to share a meal. The brisket was home cooked, but everything else — rotisserie chicken, potato salad and fried chicken — was bought ready to eat from local grocery stores. One of Carter’s brothers, James Monroe, had picked up 15 rotisserie chickens ordered from the Sam’s Club on the south end of Austin. It was all simple. And it was all supposed to be safe. (Jameel, 1/19)
ProPublica: How A Powerful Company Convinced Georgia To Let It Bury Toxic Waste In Groundwater 
For the past several years, Georgia Power has gone to great lengths to skirt the federal rule requiring coal-fired power plants to safely dispose of massive amounts of toxic waste they produced. But previously unreported documents obtained by ProPublica show that the company’s efforts were more extensive than publicly known. Thousands of pages of internal government correspondence and corporate filings show how Georgia Power made an elaborate argument as to why it should be allowed to store waste produced before 2020 in a way that wouldn’t fully protect surrounding communities’ water supplies from contamination — and that would save the company potentially billions of dollars in cleanup costs. (Blau, 1/18)
The New York Times: When Dementia Strikes At An Early Age 
Many people aren’t overly concerned when an octogenarian occasionally forgets the best route to a favorite store, can’t remember a friend’s name or dents the car while trying to parallel park on a crowded city street. Even healthy brains work less efficiently with age, and memory, sensory perceptions and physical abilities become less reliable. But what if the person is not in their 80s but in their 30s, 40s or 50s and forgets the way home from their own street corner? That’s far more concerning. (Brody, 1/17)
The New York Times: Menstruation Gets a Gen Z Makeover
When Sapna Palep was younger, she was mortified by conversations about menstruation. “It was like, ‘Let’s not talk about this, I need to leave the room,’” said the 43-year-old mother of two. The mere mention of periods evoked “pure embarrassment and fear.”Ms. Palep’s 9-year-old daughter, Aviana Campello-Palep, in contrast, approaches the topic with zero self-consciousness or hesitation. “When my friends talk about getting their period, they just talk about it,” Aviana said. “It’s just normal in a girl’s life.” (Makhijani, 1/20)
The Washington Post: Zinc Helps Fight Infections, But Many People Are Deficient In This Vital Mineral 
Walk down the cold-remedy aisle of a pharmacy and you’ll see a shelf full of zinc supplements. Clearly, people must be worried that they’re not getting enough zinc, a nutrient often touted for its ability to quash the common cold and other respiratory illnesses. But do many of us really need more zinc? And if so, what good does it do? As researchers learn more about how our bodies use zinc, they’re finding that the element plays a surprisingly key role, particularly within the immune system. (Kwon, 1/16)
The New York Times: Is It Better to Exercise in the Morning or Evening?
Morning exercise has very different effects on metabolism than the same workout later in the day, according to an ambitious new animal study of exercise timing. The study, which involved healthy lab mice jogging on tiny treadmills, mapped hundreds of disparities in the numbers and activities of molecules and genes throughout the rodents’ bodies, depending on whether they ran first thing in the morning or deeper in the evening. (Reynolds, 1/19)
The Washington Post: What An Interventional Radiologist Does In A Workday 
A kyphoplasty, a working lunch and a thankful patient are all part of a typical workday for this vascular and interventional radiologist. (Baheti, 1/18)
In covid news —
The Washington Post: Life, Death And ‘Hugs And Prayers’: A Story Of Covid In Rural Michigan 
The conversation at the card table inside the Lewiston 50 Plus Club turned one recent afternoon to the coronavirus pandemic, as it had so many times the past two years.Just days earlier, the club’s president — and one of its most devoted euchre players, Danny Burtch — died of covid-19 after a weeks-long bout with the virus. Burtch was the 40th person claimed by covid-19 in sparsely populated Montmorency County, in the backwoods of northern Michigan. The grief has hit particularly hard at the 50 Plus Club, knocked down in so many ways during the pandemic. Members falling ill. Shutdowns causing the club to shutter. Staff run ragged keeping the center safe for the vulnerable people who congregate inside its walls. (Ruble, 1/18)
The New York Times: How The MRNA Vaccines Were Made: Halting Progress And Happy Accidents 
Thousands of miles from Dr. Barney Graham’s lab in Bethesda, Md., a frightening new coronavirus had jumped from camels to humans in the Middle East, killing one out of every three people infected. An expert on the world’s most intractable viruses, Dr. Graham had been working for months to develop a vaccine, but had gotten nowhere. Now he was terrified that the virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, had infected one of his lab’s own scientists, who was sick with a fever and a cough in the fall of 2013 after a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. A nose swab came back positive for a coronavirus, seeming to confirm Dr. Graham’s worst fears, only for a second test to deliver relief. It was a mild coronavirus, causing a common cold, not MERS. (Kolata and Mueller, 1/15)
The Atlantic: The Silent, Vaccinated, Impatient Majority
For all of the attention that has been paid to the growing political cleavage between the jabbed and the jabless, getting vaccinated is extremely popular in countries where vaccines are widely available. Countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Spain, and Canada have vaccination rates as high as 94 percent, 81 percent, and 79 percent, respectively, without blanket vaccine mandates. To put this popularity into perspective: More Britons have gotten vaccinated (47 million) than watched the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy (31 million). In the United States, being vaccinated is more common than drinking coffee, owning a television, or even watching the Super Bowl. (Serhan, 1/17)
Editorials And Opinions
Viewpoints: What To Expect From Covid In The Future; Examining The Toll Of Covid On Health Care Workers
Opinion writers break down the future of covid and the effects on our health care work force.
Houston Chronicle: After Omicron, This Pandemic Will Be Different
Omicron is really good at infecting people and doing it fast. So fast, in fact, that by the time you read this, chances are that cases may have already reached a peak in your neighborhood. While some countries are experiencing a rapid plunge in cases, it’s unclear how smooth the descent from the omicron surge will be in others. Some places may continue to experience spikes in cases even after initial peaks or plateaus. (William Hanage, 1/21)
CNBC: There Will Never Be A Post-Covid World
It’s been two years since we first heard of Covid-19. I think many of us are wondering, where are we in the arc of the pandemic, what have we learned and where are we going. While some may feel like we’ve been running in place, I believe that we have in fact come a long way and learned a great deal. We are more resilient than ever. And it is time to allow ourselves to see a future full of possibilities once again, even if that future looks a little bit different. (Michael Dell, 1/20)
Stat: Crisis Standards Of Care Need To Encompass Health Care Workers 
As the Omicron variant of Covid-19 rages across the country, health care workers who are already physically, mentally, and morally exhausted are facing a hidden crisis: having to make decisions at patients’ bedsides about rationing health care. Political leaders and health care system administrators have left them to make life-or-death decisions about how to allocate increasingly scarce resources — not least of all their own time and expertise.Leaders have long known that a prolonged pandemic was likely to produce severe shortages in supplies and staff. In anticipation of such a moment, guidance known as crisis standards of care (CSC) have been developed. These are defined by the Institute of Medicine as a strategy to optimize the allocation of scare medical resources and shift the moral burden of making these decisions away from bedside clinicians to triage officers or others not directly involved in a patient’s care. Although implicit in CSC standards, staff allocation is generally viewed as an operational issue. (Cynda Hylton Rushton, Ian Wolfe and Tener Goodwin Veenema, 1/21)
The Washington Post: Everyone Has Their Limits. We Health-Care Workers Must Reclaim Ours
When I sense that I’m on the verge of tears, I do all I can to hold them back, crying being a bad look for a physician. But earlier this month, when I scanned down to the end of my patient’s progress note, which contained an account of the day’s events and recommendations from the other specialists involved in his care, I found my eyes unexpectedly blurred. (Arjun V.K. Sharma, 1/19)
Los Angeles Times: Anti-Vaccine Patients Vent Anger On Healthcare Workers Like Me. It Takes A Toll On Care 
As a pulmonary and critical care physician in Southern California treating hospitalized patients with COVID-19, I am noticing a rising tension. Beyond just being overwhelmed, we are now part of the collateral damage. I recently asked a security guard to accompany me and an ICU nurse to meet the family of an unvaccinated 42-year-old firefighter who refused to accept that COVID-19 caused his respiratory failure. Adamantly refusing intubation despite worsening over weeks, it was only when his oxygen levels precipitously dropped and he complained of excruciating breathlessness that he accepted a breathing tube. (Venktesh Ramnath, 1/20)
Stat: Getting To 'New Normal' Means Focusing On All Respiratory Viruses 
Much of the response to Covid-19 to date has been reactionary. Travel restrictions were implemented after a new variant had already breached the country. The use of higher-quality masks was recommended months after the emergence of increasingly more infectious variants — Alpha, Delta, then Omicron — and well after shortages had subsided. The need to ramp up the availability of rapid antigen tests was recognized during the sixth wave of Covid and amid the winter holidays. To reach a state of normalcy, leaders must look beyond the latest crisis and proactively prepare for an unknowable future, instituting policies and building programs that will guard against all respiratory viruses that pose threats to public health, society, and the economy. (Celine Gounder, Rick A. Bright and Ezekiel J. Emanuel, 1/20)
Different Takes: Weighing The Benefits Of Doctor-Hospital Integration; Will Roe V. Wade Survive?
Editorial writers tackle these public health issues.
Bloomberg: When Hospitals Buy Doctor Practices, Do Prices Always Rise? 
What happens when physicians are employed by hospitals, rather than working independently? Over the past decade, the share of doctors practicing on their own has declined markedly. Many antitrust advocates are concerned that nothing good will happen as a result, and the Federal Trade Commission is studying the situation. But new research suggests that the shift may bring more benefits than expected, at least for specialist doctors. (Peter R. Orzag, 1/19)
Los Angeles Times: Could Roe V. Wade Be Overturned After 49 Years? 
Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade that guaranteed the right to an abortion. Will it be the last? Since 1973, when the court ruled that there was a right to abortion, derived from the Constitution, up to the point of viability of the fetus outside the womb, the Supreme Court has reaffirmed its decision again and again — and again. Now, that right appears to be under assault from the court that protected it all these years. (Carla Hall, 1/21)
The Baltimore Sun: Roe V. Wade Has Never Been Enough To Ensure Abortion Access 
Last month, the Supreme Court declined to block Texas’ restrictive 6-week abortion ban. And later this year, the same nine justices will decide whether to overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the U.S. exactly 49 years ago as of Jan. 22. While the legal right to an abortion is vital, the truth is Roe has never been enough. We at the Baltimore Abortion Fund (BAF) continue to witness how systemic racism creates unnecessary obstacles to care, especially for people of color and those working to make ends meet. Financial, logistical and social barriers have always prevented marginalized people from actually getting abortion care. This is evident in Texas, in Mississippi and even in states like Maryland — where the right to an abortion is currently protected by state law. (Ann Marie Brokmeier and Carolyn Williams, 1/20)
The New York Times: The Mental Health Toll Of Trump-Era Politics 
According to a recent USA Today/Suffolk University poll, almost nine in 10 registered voters believe there’s a mental health crisis in the United States. The crisis expresses itself in all sorts of ways: in rising rates of youth suicide, record overdoses, random acts of street violence, monthslong waiting lists for children’s therapists, mask meltdowns, QAnon. I’ve long thought that widespread psychological distress — wildly intensified by the pandemic — contributes to the derangement of American politics. But maybe the causality works the other way, too, and the ugliness of American politics is taking a toll on the psyche of the citizenry. (Michelle Goldberg, 1/21)
Modern Healthcare: Health Information Exchange Advancing The Industry Toward Interoperability 
The two-year war against COVID-19 and its variants has highlighted the critical importance of health data. Collected and delivered largely by health information exchanges (HIEs) around the country, health data has helped hospitals, government agencies and other stakeholders track the geography and demographics of the pandemic and vaccination status. (Lisa Bari, Melissa Kotrys and Morgan Honea, 1/20)
Stat: What Genetic Counselors Can Teach The CDC About Communicating Uncertainty
Uncertainty has become an uncomfortable part of our daily lives — perhaps more than most of us, including policymakers, would like to believe. Yet public health communications from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and other authorities all arrive with a note of certainty. At this point in the pandemic, as public health communicators continue trying to educate the public about what is known about Covid-19, they also need to help people make sense of what is not known. (Chenery Lowe, Liesl Broadbridge and Laynie Dratch, 1/21)
The New York Times: How Being Sick Changed My Health Care Views 
Often around the turn of the year I perform an act of pundit accountability, looking back on the previous year's columns to assess the things that I got wrong. For this January's edition, though, I'm going to take a different kind of backward glance, and try to answer one of the frequent questions I received when I wrote, last fall, about my experience with chronic illness: Namely, has being sick altered any of my views on health care policy? It's a good question; the answer, like health policy itself, is complicated. (Ross Douthat, 1/20)
We want to hear from you: Contact Us
Patient, Beware: Some States Still Pushing Ineffective Covid Antibody Treatments
One Year In, How Much of Trump’s Health Agenda Has Biden Undone?
Fast-Tracked Ruling on Abortion Won’t Wait for ‘Hearts and Minds’ to Change
State Laws Aim to Regulate 'Troubled Teen Industry,' but Loopholes Remain
© 2022 Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
Powered by WordPress VIP
Thank you for your interest in supporting Kaiser Health News (KHN), the nation’s leading nonprofit newsroom focused on health and health policy. We distribute our journalism for free and without advertising through media partners of all sizes and in communities large and small. We appreciate all forms of engagement from our readers and listeners, and welcome your support.
KHN is an editorially independent program of KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). You can support KHN by making a contribution to KFF, a non-profit charitable organization that is not associated with Kaiser Permanente.
Click the button below to go to KFF’s donation page which will provide more information and FAQs. Thank you!


You might also like

Surviving 2nd wave of corona

Surviving The 2nd Wave of Corona

‘This too shall pass away’ this famous Persian adage seems to be defeating us again and again in the case of COVID-19. Despite every effort