Journal of General Internal Medicine
By Nirav Shah and Jason Wang
JAMA Network Cardio
By Mark Hlatky
In times of emergency, many legal strictures can flex. For example, to enable hospitals to respond to Covid-19, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently waived a swath of federal regulatory requirements. But though officials’ emergency powers are extensive, the ability to discard antidiscrimination protections is not among them. A hallmark of our legal system is that our commitment to prohibiting invidious discrimination remains steadfast even in times of emergency.
Nearly 120 million children in 37 countries are at risk of missing their measlescontaining vaccine (MCV) shots this year, as preventive and public health campaigns take a back seat to policies put in place to contain coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In March, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued guidelines indicating that mass vaccination campaigns should be put on hold to maintain physical distancing and minimize COVID-19 transmission.
Yet there has been no national-level, comprehensive review of the evidence for public health emergency preparedness and response (PHEPR) practices. Recognizing this deficiency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) went to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine three years ago and asked them to convene a national panel of public health experts to review the evidence for emergency preparedness and response. The committee members included Stanford Health Policy Director Douglas K.
Disease Control, Civil Liberties, and Mass Testing — Calibrating Restrictions during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Urgent responses to the Covid-19 pandemic have halted movement and work and dramatically changed daily routines for much of the world’s population. In the United States, many states and localities have ordered or urged residents to stay home when able and to practice physical distancing when not. Meanwhile, unemployment is surging, schools are closed, and businesses have been shuttered. Resistance to drastic disease-control measures is already evident. Rising infection rates and mortality, coupled with scientific uncertainty about Covid-19, should keep resentment at bay — for a while.
As Covid-19 continues to exact a heavy toll, development of a vaccine appears the most promising means of restoring normalcy to civil life. Perhaps no scientific breakthrough is more eagerly anticipated. But bringing a vaccine to market is only half the challenge; also critical is ensuring a high enough vaccination rate to achieve herd immunity. Concerningly, a recent poll found that only 49% of Americans planned to get vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2.
Millions of Americans have experienced the coronavirus pandemic directly, as they or their loved ones suffered through infection. But for most of us, the experience is defined by weeks and months on end stuck at home. The shut-ins are testing the safety of our home environments.
Research has consistently identified firearm availability as a risk factor for suicide. However, existing studies are relatively small in scale, estimates vary widely, and no study appears to have tracked risks from commencement of firearm ownership.
Digital epidemiology—the use of data generated outside the public health system for disease surveillance—has been in use for more than a quarter century [see supplementary materials (SM)]. But several countries have taken digital epidemiology to the next level in responding to COVID-19. Focusing on core public health functions of case detection, contact tracing, and isolation and quarantine, we explore ethical concerns raised by digital technologies and new data sources in public health surveillance during epidemics.
Covid-19 has exposed major weaknesses in the United States’ federalist system of public health governance, which divides powers among the federal, state, and local governments. SARS-CoV-2 is exactly the type of infectious disease for which federal public health powers and emergencies were conceived: it is highly transmissible, crosses borders efficiently, and threatens our national infrastructure and economy. Its prevalence varies around the country, with states such as Washington, California, and New York hit particularly hard, but cases are mounting nationwide with appalling velocity.
How to Prevent and Manage Hospital-Based Infections During Coronavirus Outbreaks: Five Lessons from Taiwan
During the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003, Taiwan reported 346 confirmed cases and 73 deaths. Of all known infections, 94% were transmitted inside hospitals. Nine major hospitals were fully or partially shut down, and many doctors and nurses quit for fear of becoming infected. The Taipei Municipal Ho-Ping Hospital was most severely affected.
Pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) are important intermediaries in the pharmaceutical supply chain in the US. Under the general umbrella of administering outpatient prescription drug benefits for health plans, PBMs took on a variety of roles, including managing the drug formulary, negotiating with drug manufacturers and retailers, and processing drug claims.
Rallying cries around COVID-19 have shifted from “flatten the curve” to “reopen America.” After weeks of restrictions on movement, commerce, and social connections across most areas of the country, the tantalizing possibility of relaxing current measures in time for summer baseball and beach parties eroded the resolve of many communities in lockdown. At least 30 states have already moved to reopen some businesses or loosen stay-at-home orders against the warnings of health experts.
As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis enters its next phase, attention turns to the widespread testing programs needed to resume and maintain normal life activities. Effective prevention and surveillance require testing for active infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and for antibodies that indicate prior infection and potential immunity. There is an established approach for infected individuals: mild cases self-isolate; and severe cases receive treatment. But what is the appropriate response for people with positive antibody tests?
“We believe health professionals have a moral duty to practice `upstanding’ — intervening as bystanders — in response to sexual harassment and general bias and that this obligation should be described in codes of medical professional ethics and supported within institutional training,” the authors write. While many medical professional societies now mention sexual harassment in their ethical codes, these guidelines fall short in that they do not encourage professionals to respond to the behaviors and intervene when they become aware of discrimination or harassment.
Controversies over diagnostic testing have dominated US headlines about severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the novel coronavirus responsible for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Technical challenges with the first test developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) left the nation with minimal diagnostic capacity during the first few weeks of the epidemic. The CDC also initially limited access to testing to a narrow group of individuals with known exposure.
Taiwan is 81 miles off the coast of mainland China and was expected to have the second highest number of cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) due to its proximity to and number of flights between China. The country has 23 million citizens of which 850 000 reside in and 404 000 work in China. In 2019, 2.71 million visitors from the mainland traveled to Taiwan. As such, Taiwan has been on constant alert and ready to act on epidemics arising from China ever since the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2003.
Patients with heart failure (HF) discharged from the hospital are at high risk for death and rehospitalization. Transitional care service interventions attempt to mitigate these risks.
Results of Base-Case Analysis:
All 3 transitional care interventions examined were more costly and effective than standard care, with NHVs dominating the other 2 interventions. Compared with standard care, NHVs increased QALYs (2.49 vs. 2.25) and costs ($81 327 vs. $76 705), resulting in an ICER of $19 570 per QALY gained.
The 2016 California Policy to Eliminate Nonmedical Vaccine Exemptions and Changes in Vaccine Coverage: An Empirical Policy Analysis
Vaccine hesitancy, the reluctance or refusal to receive vaccination, is a growing public health problem in the United States and globally. State policies that eliminate nonmedical (“personal belief”) exemptions to childhood vaccination requirements are controversial, and their effectiveness to improve vaccination coverage remains unclear given limited rigorous policy analysis. In 2016, a California policy (Senate Bill 277) eliminated nonmedical exemptions from school entry requirements.
The amount of insulin needed to effectively treat type 2 diabetes worldwide is unknown. It also remains unclear how alternative treatment algorithms would affect insulin use and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) averted by insulin use, given that current access to insulin (availability and affordability) in many areas is low. The aim of this study was to compare alternative projections for and consequences of insulin use worldwide under varying treatment algorithms and degrees of insulin access.
The adjusted mortality for care teams with anesthesiologist assistants was 1.6% (95% CI, 1.4 to 1.8) versus 1.7% for care teams with nurse anesthetists (95% CI, 1.7 to 1.7; difference −0.08; 95% CI, −0.3 to 0.1; P = 0.47). Compared to care teams with nurse anesthetists, care teams with anesthesiologist assistants were associated with non–statistically significant decreases in length of stay (−0.009 days; 95% CI, −0.1 to 0.1; P = 0.89) and medical spending (−$56; 95% CI, −334 to 223; P = 0.70).
The standard of care treatment for maximally resected, high risk (≥ 40 years old or sub-totally resected) low grade glioma (LGG) patients was established by RTOG 9802, which showed an overall survival (OS) of 13.3 years for patients treated with radiotherapy (RT) + PCV (procarbazine, lomustine [CCNU], vincristine) chemotherapy compared to 7.8 years for RT alone. In the era of value-based health care, cost-effectiveness analyses (CEA) have the potential to inform coverage decisions and patient care.
Poverty and Community-Acquired Antimicrobial Resistance with Extended-Spectrum β-Lactamase–Producing Organisms, Hyderabad, India
The decreasing effectiveness of antimicrobial agents is a global public health threat, yet risk factors for community-acquired antimicrobial resistance (CA-AMR) in low-income settings have not been clearly elucidated. Our aim was to identify risk factors for CA-AMR with extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)–producing organisms among urban-dwelling women in India. We collected microbiological and survey data in an observational study of primigravidae women in a public hospital in Hyderabad, India.
In this study published in the American Journal of Managed Care, the authors found that premiums for ACA Marketplace plans were higher in rating areas in which physician, hospital, and insurance markets were less competitive.
Poor air quality is thought to be an important mortality risk factor globally, but there is little direct evidence from the developing world on how mortality risk varies with changing exposure to ambient particulate matter. Current global estimates apply exposure-response relationships that have been derived mostly from wealthy, mid-latitude countries to spatial population data, and these estimates remain unvalidated across large portions of the globe.