- KFF Health News Original Stories 2
- As Transgender ‘Refugees’ Flock to New Mexico, Waitlists Grow
- Science Says Teens Need More Sleep. So Why Is It So Hard to Start School Later?
From KFF Health News - Latest Stories:
As many states have moved to restrict or ban gender-affirming care for trans people, a few states, including New Mexico, have codified protections. But those laws don’t always mean accessing care is simple or quick, as a surge in new patients in the state collides with limited doctors and clinics. (Cecilia Nowell, )
Sleep deprivation in adolescents is linked to mental health struggles, worse grades, traffic accidents, and more. That’s why states such as California and Florida have mandated later high school start times. But opposition to later times is less about the science than it is about logistics and costs. (Catherine Sweeney, WPLN, )
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Summaries Of The News:
A new report finds that preventable infections acquired in a hospital — which worryingly rose during the covid pandemic — have decreased. News outlets report on regional ratings.
Hospital Acquired Infections Are Down Post-COVID, But Other Risks Remain For Patients
Hospital-acquired infections, which became substantially more common during the pandemic, have returned to pre-pandemic levels, according to a new report from a patient safety watchdog group. It's key to note, researchers say, that infection rates before March 2020 were nothing to celebrate. On top of that moderately good news, the Leapfrog Group found other metrics that measure patient safety and satisfaction have fallen significantly, likely because of hospital staffing shortages and other pandemic-era challenges. (Weintraub, 11/6)
Hospital Infections Dropped After Pandemic-Era Surge
The pandemic-era data had raised alarm bells about a possible reversal in the hospital industry's yearslong progress against preventable and often dangerous infections acquired during the course of a patient's care. "This new data reassures us that, in fact, it was a blip, and hospitals are very quickly reducing the rate of infection, and very successfully getting it down," Leapfrog CEO Leah Binder told Axios. (Reed, 11/6)
Leapfrog Group Safety Grades Show Improved Infection Control
Utah was the state with the highest percentages of “A” hospitals, with around 52% earning top marks. Vermont, Wyoming, Delaware, North Dakota and Washington, D.C., fared the worst, with no hospitals receiving "A" grades. All states saw significant decreases in patient experience scores between the fall of 2021 and the fall of 2023, with hospitals in New Mexico, New Hampshire and Florida experiencing the most significant declines. Of the 38 hospitals that dropped two letter grades, most went from an "A" to a "C," like Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento, California, and SSM Health St. Clare Hospital in Fenton, Missouri. Only one facility, Memorial Hospital of Gardena, California, went from a "C" to an "F." (Devereaux, 11/4)
The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer:
Cleveland Clinic Head Of The Class, Earning Most A Grades For Patient Safety In Leapfrog Fall Report
The Cleveland Clinic hospital system earned the most “A” grades for patient safety in Greater Cleveland in the Leapfrog Group’s fall 2023 Hospital Safety Grades, the nonprofit announced Monday. The Clinic earned high marks for protecting patients against hospital infections, ensuring effective communication from physicians and nurses, giving clear discharge information and other categories that affect patient safety, according to Leapfrog, a national nonprofit that works to increase patient safety in hospitals. (Washington, 11/6)
An investigation into how some of the largest health plans' formularies provide access to 18 treatments for some serious diseases showed positive results, but did note that transparent coverage info was sometimes lacking. Meanwhile, this year's ACA enrollment, freshly open, has an easier sign-up.
Analysis: Health Plan Formularies Lowered Barriers To Fair Access To Some Drugs
Most of the formularies run by some of the largest health plans in the U.S. generally provide “fair access” to 18 treatments for a handful of serious diseases, although transparent coverage information is often lacking for some medicines, a new analysis has found. (Silverman, 11/3)
More on open enrollment —
This Year’s Affordable Care Act Enrollment Is Different: What You Need To Know
Open enrollment for plans available through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace has officially begun, and this year’s sign-up period will have some new factors that may make it easier for more people to sign up for coverage. Prospective customers now have until Jan. 15 to sign up for ACA insurance plans, though those who want coverage at the start of the calendar year should sign up by Dec. 15. Last year’s enrollment reached record numbers — 15.7 million — and this year’s is expected to exceed that rate. (Choi, 11/5)
Health News Florida:
Jacksonville Launches Program To Help The City's Uninsured Get Coverage
Jacksonville is launching an initiative aimed at helping uninsured people get coverage, just as the season to enroll in health plans opens. About 120,000 residents under age 65 don’t have affordable private health care, the city said Thursday in launching “Get Covered Jax.” The program will help residents navigate the Florida Health Insurance Marketplace at Healthcare.gov to find affordable or even no-cost options, Mayor Donna Deegan said in announcing the plan. (Scanlan, 11/3)
Independence Blue Cross Unveils Three New Health Plans For Small Businesses
Among a rush of new changes in 2024, Independence Blue Cross is introducing new health plans, increased access to virtual care and in-network dental plans. The company said its plans meet the needs of small businesses and are compliant with the Affordable Care Act. (Tong, 11/3)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
What Patients Need To Know About BJC's Deal With Aetna
BJC HealthCare has reached a much-anticipated agreement for a new Affordable Care Act insurance plan under Aetna, beginning Jan. 1. The deal will come as a relief to BJC patients who are signing up for ACA plans as the federal open enrollment period kicks off this week. The previous carrier of individual marketplace plans covering BJC — Cigna, which offered them under the brand “Cigna Connect” — is exiting Missouri’s ACA marketplace in 2024. (Merrilees, 11/3)
The Wall Street Journal:
Should You Buy Disability Insurance Through Work?
Don’t let the complexity of disability insurance keep you from buying it. Disability insurance involves confusing paperwork and more than a little bit of math. It is designed to soften the financial fallout for employees who can’t work for some time as a result of illness, injury or another qualifying condition. For a regular fee, you get income back for a predetermined amount of time. But understanding how it works is only part of the equation. You also have to understand the cost. (Carpenter, 11/5)
In other health care industry news —
Cook County Health Warns Of Data Breach For 1.2 Million Patients
More than 1 million patients of the Cook County hospital system could have had their personal information exposed in a data breach earlier this year. Cook County Health said Perry Johnson & Associates (PJ&A), which once provided medical transportation services for its hospitals and clinics, informed the county of a data breach in July. PJ&A said an unauthorized individual accessed systems where patient data was stored in April, and personal information of Cook County Health patients might have been affected, according to the county. (Feurer, 11/3)
Walmart Health Partners With Health System, Insurer In Florida
Walmart Health is making a move to better coordinate patient care between its health centers in Florida and a major health system. The retail giant announced a partnership with Orlando Health, a private, not-for-profit network of community and specialty hospitals across Florida, that will initially focus on improving referral management, care coordination and patient engagement. (Landi, 11/3)
Minnesota Public Radio:
Fairview Health Services Announces Plans To Cut 250 Jobs
Minneapolis-based Fairview Health Services says it’s cutting 250 jobs across its hospitals and clinics. Fairview says the jobs will be cut before the end of the year, and most of the affected jobs are not full-time positions. In a statement, the organization says health care is facing “tremendous pressures,” including increased labor costs and reimbursement rates that it says are not keeping up with inflation. (Cox, 11/3)
KFF Health News:
Nursing Homes Say They Can’t Afford Higher Staffing. But Their Finances Are Often Opaque.
Perhaps the biggest mystery, as the Biden administration moves to force nursing homes to boost staffing, is this: how much extra money do the nation’s 15,000 homes actually have to hire and retain more nurses and aides? Public comments are due Monday on the most sweeping regulatory changes to hit the industry in decades. The proposal has provoked a fierce lobbying battle between nursing homes and patient advocates, with more than 22,000 comments filed already to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (Rau, 11/3)
The latest tracker data on Medicaid enrollment show that over 10 million people have lost Medicaid coverage since the redetermining of eligibility began in April (notably, this is about 1 in 34 of the population, or around 3%.) Among other news, the cost of the health care minimum wage in California, and more.
10 Million People Disenrolled From Medicaid Over Past Six Months
More than 10 million people were disenrolled from Medicaid over the past six months, according to the latest data published by a KFF tracker. The tracker has collected data on Medicaid enrollment since the first states began redetermining eligibility in April, after the expiration of the federal requirement of continuous coverage during the Covid-19 public health emergency. (Merelli, 11/3)
In other health news from across the U.S. —
Los Angeles Times:
Healthcare Minimum Wage Expected To Cost $4 Billion In First Year As California Budget Deficit Looms
When Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law that set a first-in-the-nation minimum wage for healthcare workers, three words in a bill analysis foretold potential concerns about its cost: “Fiscal impact unknown.” Now, three weeks after Newsom signed SB 525 into law — giving medical employees at least $25 an hour, including support staff such as cleaners and security guards — his administration has an estimated price tag: $4 billion in the 2024-25 fiscal year alone. (Mays, 11/4)
The CT Mirror:
Nursing Home Association Sues State Over New Staffing Mandates
An organization representing 165 Connecticut nursing homes has sued the state Department of Public Health over new staffing regulations that require a certain number of licensed nursing staff and nurse aides per shift. The Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities charged in a lawsuit filed last month that the health department’s new guidelines “represent a significant, overreaching departure from [the] existing regulations regarding staffing ratios for nursing homes.” (Carlesso, 11/3)
Houston Voters Weigh $2.5 Billion Bond Sale For Public Hospitals
Houston’s public hospitals serving the city’s neediest have some needs of their own. Steam and water pipes bursting at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital have burned patients and staff, and sewage has backed up into Ben Taub Hospital’s pharmacy. If denizens of Harris County, home to the nation’s fourth-largest city, approve a $2.5 billion bond referendum on Tuesday, the more-than-30-year-old hospitals will get makeovers, and health-care services for the region’s indigent residents will be expanded. (Coleman-Lochner, 11/3)
The Washington Post:
Family ‘Distraught’ After Man’s Death At Johns Hopkins Was Ruled A Homicide
In January, 63-year-old Paul Bertonazzi was driven to Johns Hopkins Hospital by Baltimore police because, officials said, he was experiencing a mental health episode and needed help. Baltimore police took him to the emergency room. Within hours, according to officials, Bertonazzi’s body had gone limp, paralyzed from the neck down. Five days later, the man was dead. Now Maryland’s chief medical examiner has ruled Bertonazzi’s death a homicide — and determined he died as a result of “trauma to the body,” law enforcement officials said. (Mettler, 11/4)
KFF Health News:
As Transgender ‘Refugees’ Flock To New Mexico, Waitlists Grow
This summer, Sophia Machado packed her bags and left her home in Oregon to move to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where her sister lived and where, Machado had heard, residents were friendlier to their transgender neighbors and gender-affirming health care was easier to get. Machado, 36, is transgender and has good health insurance through her job. Within weeks, she was able to get into a small primary care clinic, where her sister was already a patient and where the doctor was willing to refill her estrogen prescription and refer her to an endocrinologist. She felt fortunate. “I know that a lot of the larger medical institutions here are pretty slammed,” she said. (Nowell, 11/6)
On the opioid crisis —
The Washington Post:
D.C. Mayor Resurrects Old Policy To Target Open-Air Drug Markets
Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) unveiled a proposal to revive “anti-loitering drug-free zones,” a policy that was repealed in 2014 amid constitutional concerns. (Flynn and Brice-Saddler, 11/5)
The Washington Post:
Can Vaccines, Monoclonal Antibodies Help Curb Addiction And Overdoses?
The concept has long tantalized scientists: harnessing the power of antibodies to block the dangerous effects of heroin, cocaine and nicotine, substances that have wrecked or ended millions of American lives. Despite years of efforts that have failed to yield viable vaccines or lab-made antibody treatments, research is accelerating as the nation grapples with an unprecedented drug crisis — more than 100,000 Americans died of overdoses in each of the past two years, fueled chiefly by the synthetic opioid fentanyl. (Ovalle, 11/5)
New Medicare regulations aim to make hospital prices more transparent to patients by improving compliance and transparency with existing requirements and with plans to publicly assess facilities. Other Medicare news relates to home health care, outpatient reimbursements, and more.
Medicare Moves Ahead With More Price Transparency Requirements For Hospitals
The federal government is moving forward with a spate of proposals that will force hospitals to be better about publishing the prices they charge health insurers and patients. Federal law has required hospitals to post their prices since 2021. Compliance has been dismal, although it has improved since the government increased fines a few years ago. But the pricing information is still tough to find and confusing to interpret. (Herman, 11/3)
CMS Rule May Trigger Consolidation For Home Healthcare
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ threat to claw back billions of dollars in overpayments to home health agencies could trigger more industry consolidation and affect patients' access to care in their homes. CMS announced Wednesday that it would raise Medicare reimbursements to home health companies by 0.8% in 2024–a reversal from a 2.2% payment cut proposed in June. (Eastabrook, 11/3)
CMS Rule To Increase Medicare Hospital Outpatient, ASC Payments
Hospital outpatient departments and ambulatory surgical centers will receive 3.1% increases in Medicare reimbursements under a final rule the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services published Thursday. These providers are set for larger pay raises next year than under the proposed rule CMS published in July, which would have hiked fees 2.8%. (Young, 11/3)
Medicare Must Police Algorithms In Medicare Advantage, Dems Say
House Democrats are raising concerns with the Biden administration that Medicare Advantage plans need better oversight, citing recent STAT investigations that found insurance companies are using artificial intelligence and algorithmic software to deny care even when people still need it. (Herman, 11/3)
Johnson Embraces Deficit Fight, Setting Up Battle Over Medicare, Social Security
Democrats and progressive advocacy groups are homing in on Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-La.) past support for steep cuts to entitlements, as the new speaker embraces a deficit commission that could spotlight the issue in the runup to the 2024 election. President Biden called out congressional Republicans during his State of the Union address for wanting to cut the program. While budget experts say Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are unsustainable in their current form, most Republicans acknowledge the political risks of wanting to shrink benefits — but are also opposed to tax increases to bolster the programs. (Weixel, 11/6)
Here’s Why Social Security And Medicare Advocates Fear Mike Johnson’s Speakership
In one of his first moves after being elected House speaker, Mike Johnson promised to form a bipartisan debt commission to tackle what he termed “the greatest threat to our national security.” The announcement sent shivers down the spines of advocates for Social Security and Medicare. That’s because when Johnson chaired the Republican Study Committee a few years ago, the conservative group called for a variety of changes to the entitlement programs that it argued would save them from insolvency. (Luhby, 11/5)
Abortion rights are in the hands of voters in different ways in three states Tuesday. In Ohio, Republicans are accused of using taxpayer funds to promote false anti-abortion claims ahead of the state constitutional amendment vote.
Abortion Debate Has Dominated This Election Year. Here Are Tuesday's Races To Watch
The most-watched races in Tuesday’s off-year general election have all been dominated by the ongoing debate over abortion rights. From a re-election bid for governor in Kentucky to a statewide ballot measure in Ohio to state legislative elections in Virginia, access to abortion has been a frequent topic in campaign debates and advertising, as it has since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in June last year overturning Roe vs. Wade. Here’s a look at three major races and how abortion has shaped each contest. (Yon, 11/6)
The Wall Street Journal:
The Abortion-Rights Movement Is On A Winning Streak. Will Ohio Stop It?
As antiabortion groups work to turn the tide, they have piled millions of dollars into Ohio, spending more than they have on any state ballot initiative since Dobbs. They are still being outspent by more than two to one, campaign finance reports filed at the end of October show. (Bykowicz and Kusisto, 11/6)
Ohio Republicans Use Taxpayer Funds To Boost "Absolutely False" Anti-Abortion Claims Ahead Of Vote
Reproductive rights groups are sounding the alarm over confusing ballot language and rampant anti-abortion misinformation surrounding Ohio's Issue 1 — a proposed amendment that would enshrine the right to an abortion in the Buckeye State's Constitution. Ohio voters will flock to polling places on Tuesday to weigh in on an array of state and local issues, including mayoral and school board races and a ballot question to legalize recreational marijuana. But none of the issues Ohioans will encounter has been more contentious — and more nationally anticipated — than Issue 1. (Tandanpolie, 11/6)
What Virginia's Legislative Elections Could Spell For 2024 On Abortion Rights
Virginia voters are deciding whether to keep divided government at the state level. At stake is the chance to dramatically reshape abortion policy. (Khalil, 11/6)
Democrats Hope Power Of Abortion Issue Keeps Beshear In Office In Kentucky
With abortion a front-and-center issue in Kentucky's gubernatorial election Tuesday, polls show popular Democratic incumbent Gov. Andy Beshear with a significant lead over Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron. The race comes against the backdrop of a significant abortion-related win for the traditionally red state, where voters last year rejected a constitutional amendment aimed at removing any restrictions on abortion. Experts and abortion advocates see this year’s race and Beshear’s potential win as a continuation, at least in part, of a national winning streak for reproductive rights advocates, proving that Kentucky voters, and voters across the board, support abortion rights. (Himmelman, 11/6)
In related news —
The Texas Tribune:
Texas Teen Contraception Case Up On Appeal
For almost a year, Texas teens have been shut out of a federal program that allows minors to access birth control without parental consent. On Monday, a federal appeals court will review the court ruling that upended the longstanding Title X program, and decide whether to restore one of the only ways Texas teens can access confidential contraception. (Klibanoff, 11/6)
The Washington Post:
Abortion Debate Is Affecting Access To Drug Used After Miscarriages
Since losing her first pregnancy four months earlier, 32-year-old Lulu has struggled to return to her body’s old rhythms. Lulu, who asked to be identified only by her first name to protect her privacy, bled for six weeks after her miscarriage and hasn’t had a normal menstrual cycle since. Such disruptions aren’t uncommon after miscarriage, which affects roughly 1 in 10 known pregnancies. But for Lulu, they’ve also served as a persistent reminder that she couldn’t access the drug mifepristone — her preferred method of care — to help her body pass the miscarriage. Instead, her doctor prescribed a drug called misoprostol, which on its own is less effective. (Dewey, 11/5)
The Boston Globe:
Men Hold Antiabortion Rally At Planned Parenthood And On Boston Common
Scores of men who oppose abortion rights marched through part of Boston Saturday amid heckling from counterprotesters. The National Men’s March to Abolish Abortion and Rally for Personhood, which included several young boys, started early Saturday morning with a demonstration outside the Planned Parenthood center on Commonwealth Avenue and continued with a march to the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common for a rally that ended shortly before noon. (Hillard, 11/4)
The two lawmakers allege the FDA is "failing to ensure" important medications remain on pharmacy shelves. In other news, Pfizer cuts 200 jobs in Michigan; details on how the Cleveland Clinic's drone med delivery program will work; the shrinking American cigarette market; and more.
Lawmakers Ask FDA For Information On US Drug Shortages
In response to continuing US drug shortages, two lawmakers have asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide information on the country's continuing drug shortages. "The FDA is failing to ensure vitally important pharmaceuticals remain on pharmacy shelves," House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky) and Subcommittee on Health Care and Financial Services Chairwoman Lisa McClain (R-Mich) wrote in a letter yesterday to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, MD. (Van Beusekom, 11/3)
In other pharmaceutical and medical supply updates —
Pfizer Axes 200 Jobs In Michigan Amid COVID Cost-Cutting Spree
Pfizer’s plunging COVID-19 product demand has spurred a companywide cost-cutting campaign, with nearly 200 jobs now on the chopping block in Michigan. The New York drug giant is cutting roughly 200 positions at its Kalamazoo, Michigan, site following a review of demand for its COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty and antiviral Paxlovid, a spokesperson said Friday. (Kansteiner, 11/3)
The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer:
Exactly How Will The Cleveland Clinic’s Drone Medication Delivery Work? How Is It Safe?
The Cleveland Clinic’s announcement that it plans to begin drone delivery of prescriptions in 2025 has people asking questions about what in the not-too-distant future could become a common method to get packages to the doorsteps of homes in Northeast Ohio. How safe are drones in the air? Can they fly in a snowstorm? Can people who live in apartment buildings get packages this way? (Washington, 11/6)
Fact Check: Do Republican Spending Cuts Threaten Federal HIV Funding?
The claim: “In the United States Congress, extreme MAGA Republicans are trying to undo virtually every bit of progress we’ve made,” Biden said Oct. 14 at the Human Rights Campaign event. “They’re trying to wipe out federal funding to end the HIV epidemic.” PolitiFact ruling: Half true. A subcommittee of House Republicans has proposed cutting some HIV prevention programs anywhere from 53% to 9% in fiscal 2024, depending on the program. (Abels, 11/6)
The Wall Street Journal:
Big Tobacco Can No Longer Name Its Price
The problem for tobacco companies is that the American cigarette market is shrinking faster than anyone expected. Over the three months through September, the number of sticks sold across the industry fell 8% year-over-year, almost double long-term averages. Smoking trends became less predictable during the pandemic and never settled back to normal. Something has happened to underlying demand. Altria thinks illegal disposable vapes are now taking customers from cigarette companies. The market for these vapes is booming, growing 20% so far this year according to Barclays estimates. If Altria is right about the trend, better enforcement by the Food and Drug Administration could help to stabilize cigarette volumes. (Ryan, 11/4)
Some U. S. Makers Of Medical Gloves Say The Industry Needs Government Support
A 85-foot-tall, dark-gray building stands in southern Virginia, surrounded by grassy fields and rolling blue mountains. This brand-new chemical plant was set up during the pandemic to produce a special type of synthetic rubber that's needed to make medical exam gloves, the kind used everyday by doctors and nurses. But so far, this factory has produced nothing. (Greenfieldboyce, 11/3)
The Washington Post calls the study one of "medical history's bleakest chapters." Meanwhile, data show emergency room visits for children injured by firearms doubled during the pandemic. Other research linked daily cannabis use to a higher risk of severe heart disease, similar to smokers.
The Washington Post:
Records From Notorious Tuskegee Syphilis Study Now Available Online
A cache of documents related to the Tuskegee syphilis study — a 40-year experiment that tracked infected Black men without treating them — has now been digitized for public use, the National Library of Medicine announced. The documents concern one of medical history’s bleakest chapters. In 1932, officials from the U.S. Public Health Service recruited 600 impoverished Black men in Macon County, Ala., promising them years of free medical care, burial insurance and treatment for an ailment known as “bad blood.” (Blakemore, 11/5)
In other health and wellness news —
Emergency Room Visits For Firearm Injuries Among Children Doubled During The Pandemic
America’s gun epidemic has become deadlier than ever for children since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and firearm-related injuries are driving children to emergency rooms at significantly higher rates than before. Pediatric emergency department visits for firearm injuries became twice as common during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to research published Monday, in the journal Pediatrics. (McPhillips, 11/6)
Daily Cannabis Use Linked To Higher Risk Of Severe Heart Disease In Studies
Using cannabis every day raises many of the same risks of severe heart disease that affect frequent cigarette smokers, new research shows. Daily use of the recreational drug was linked to a 34% increased risk of developing heart failure in a study that followed more than 150,000 Americans over almost four years. Marijuana use was also linked to life-threatening brain and heart complications in older hospitalized patients with pre-existing cardiac and metabolic problems, a separate study found. (Millson, 11/6)
Tyson Recalls 30,000 Pounds Of Dino-Shaped Chicken Nuggets
About 30,000 pounds of dinosaur-shaped frozen chicken nuggets are being recalled after consumers reported finding metal pieces in the product, U.S. food safety officials said. "A limited number of consumers have reported they found small, pliable metal pieces in the product," Tyson said in a news release about the voluntary recall issued Saturday. (Bowman, 11/5)
Science Of Fainting: New Research Showing Link Between Brain And Heart Offers Clues
New research in mice, published this week in the journal Nature, offers a closer understanding of the underlying mechanisms behind fainting. The researchers theorize that the activation of neurons that link the heart and brain can induce a fainting spell. "This is the first step to show there is much more to fainting than just reduced blood flow," said Vineet Augustine, an assistant professor of neurobiology at the University of California, San Diego, and one of the study's authors. (Bendix, 11/3)
Tai Chi, A Form Of Slow-Moving Martial Arts, Helps Boost Memory, Study Finds
There's plenty of evidence that exercise can help protect our bodies and brains. ... In fact, a new study finds tai chi, a form of slow-moving martial arts, can help slow down cognitive decline and protect against dementia. As part of the study, all the participants took a 10-minute test, called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, to gauge cognitive function. The study found that people who practiced a simplified form of tai chi, called Tai Ji Quan twice a week for about six months improved their score by 1.5 points. (Aubrey, 11/6)
Retro Walking — Or Going Backward — Is Good For You, Experts Say
Head into any gym, and you may find someone walking backward on a treadmill or pedaling in reverse on an elliptical machine. While some may be employing reverse motion as part of a physical therapy regimen, others may be doing so to boost their physical fitness and overall health. (McManus, 11/3)
Sen. Chris Murphy Wants To Solve The Loneliness Epidemic
Sen. Chris Murphy looks at us and doesn’t like what he sees. We don’t get out enough and it’s no wonder considering the amount of time we spend on our phones. We haven’t gotten back to our pre-pandemic social routines and it shows: While 1 in 2 Americans reported being lonely prior to 2020, Covid turbocharged the problem. The Connecticut Democrat calls loneliness “one of the most important political issues of our time” and he’s at the head of an unspoken alliance of policymakers who see it as a key post-pandemic public health issue. The surgeon general, a Republican House member from small-town Nebraska, and the GOP governor of Utah are among those on a mission to help us reconnect. (Schumaker, 11/5)
KFF Health News:
Science Says Teens Need More Sleep. So Why Is It So Hard To Start School Later?
High school classes start so early around this city that some kids get on buses at 5:30 in the morning. Just 10% of public schools nationwide start before 7:30 a.m., according to federal statistics. But in Nashville, classes start at 7:05 — a fact the new mayor, Freddie O’Connell, has been criticizing for years. “It’s not a badge of honor,” he said when he was still a city council member. (Sweeney, 11/6)
Officials and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society say wounded people were being evacuated in a convoy of ambulances. Israel's military claimed the ambulance hit was carrying Hamas militants. Separately, Turkey and Egypt agreed for 1,000 cancer patients and other injured civilians from Gaza to receive treatment in Turkey.
U.N. And Medical Agencies Condemn Israel's Gaza Ambulance Strike
The United Nations Secretary General and aid agencies working in Gaza have condemned Israel's air strike on an ambulance on Friday, which the Israeli military said, without showing evidence, was carrying Hamas militants. The Health Ministry, a hospital director and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in the Hamas-controlled enclave have said the Israeli strike targeted a convoy of ambulances evacuating wounded people from the besieged northern Gaza area. (Al-Mughrabi, 11/4)
Israel Admits Airstrike On Ambulance Near Hospital That Witnesses Say Killed And Wounded Dozens
Israel has claimed responsibility for an attack on an ambulance outside Gaza City’s Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in the enclave, which witnesses say killed and wounded dozens of people. ... Israel said it had targeted the ambulance because it was being used by Hamas, according to a statement from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). (Carey, John and Flower, 11/4)
Turkey Says It Agreed With Egypt To Take Gaza Cancer Patients For Treatment
Turkey and Egypt have agreed for some 1,000 cancer patients and other injured civilians needing urgent care in Gaza to be sent to Turkey for treatment, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Sunday, adding work was underway to plan the move. Koca said on Thursday that Ankara was prepared to bring in cancer patients from the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship hospital in Gaza, the enclave's only cancer treatment hospital, which went out of service after running out of fuel this week. (11/5)
Israel's Fortified Underground Blood Bank Processes Unprecedented Amounts As Troops Move Into Gaza
Hours after Hamas militants attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7, the country’s new fortified, subterranean blood bank kicked into action. Staffers moved equipment into the underground bunker and started saving lives. The Marcus National Blood Services Center in Ramla, near Tel Aviv, had been scheduled to open within days, but with more than 1,400 people in Israel killed since the Hamas raids — most killed during the initial attack — the timeline changed. (Bernstein and Mednick, 11/4)
The New York Times:
As Gaza Hospitals Collapse, Medical Workers Face The Hardest Choices
Every day is a choice between who lives and who dies. Doctors and nurses in Gaza’s teetering hospitals, which are nearing collapse without electricity and basic supplies, say they must now decide which patients get ventilators, who gets resuscitated, or who gets any medical treatment at all. They make snap decisions amid the screams of small children undergoing amputations or brain surgeries without anesthesia or clean water to wash their wounds. (Harouda, Abi-Habib and Bashir, 11/6)
Editorial writers tackle abortion rights, decongestants, insurance, and more.
The New York Times:
Abortion Rights Have Been Winning. Ohio Leaders Are Trying To Change That
By Nov. 7, my fellow Ohioans will cast votes on Issue 1, a ballot initiative that would secure access to reproductive health care, including abortion. It is the only statewide election specifically about reproductive rights in 2023. Whichever way the vote goes, both sides of the debate are likely to draw lessons about abortion-related strategy for next year, when several more ballot initiatives are expected. (David N. Hackney, 11/5)
How Decongestants Like Sudafed And NyQuil Became So Useless
With cold and flu season ramping up, you may soon be heading to the pharmacy in search of relief. When you do, you might remember that Sudafed has long been considered an effective decongestant. So you grab a box of oral decongestant that says Sudafed. You may or may not notice that the brand name is now followed by two letters: PE. (F.D. Flam, 11/4)
Mary Lou Retton Didn't Have Insurance. How Is That Possible?
I felt immense sadness at Ms. Retton’s predicaments — both health and financial. I was relieved to hear that she is better on both fronts, leaving the hospital and reportedly raising over $400,000 for her hospital bill. But, because I’m a health policy wonk, I also thought: How can America’s Sweetheart be uninsured? (Elena Marks, 11/4)
Healthcare Marketing Campaigns That Stand Out From The Crowd
The marketing of healthcare frequently requires a much different strategy and level of gamesmanship. In addition to potentially difficult subject matters, the different audiences of consumer and industry players can make it a challenge to develop the right message and find the best outlet for a campaign. (Mary Ellen Podmolik, 11/6)
Los Angeles Times:
I'm One Of Millions Struggling To Care For Aging Parents. It Shouldn't Be This Hard
My siblings and I are just a few of the estimated 38 million unpaid caregivers in the United States. We are part of a larger American and global cohort affected by the dramatic aging of the population, the inadequate patchwork of public and private services, and modern migration patterns driven by caregiving. (Gemma Bulos, 11/5)
CPR Saved My Life. I Want Every American To Learn It
Fortunately for me, Damar, when I experienced a cardiac arrest on the football field, I immediately received lifesaving CPR from an athletic trainer before being rushed to the hospital. Every day since then − in reality, often several times a day − I recognize and appreciate that I was one of the lucky few. (Damar Hamlin and Nancy Brown, 11/5)
The Supreme Court May Make America’s Gun Violence Problem Even Worse
Last month saw one of the deadliest weeks America has seen in a long time. Eighteen people were gunned down in Lewiston, Maine. The following weekend, 12 more mass shootings left at least 11 people dead and scores more injured. Yet, as our nation grieves the loss of so much life, the US Supreme Court could be poised to make it even easier for troubled people to access guns. On November 7, justices will hear United States v. Rahimi, a case that will decide if governments can continue to prevent those accused of domestic violence from possessing firearms. (Shannon Watts, 11/6)