CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald said US adults and children should receive flu vaccinations amid reports of 30 pediatric flu deaths, nearly 85% of which involved unvaccinated children. Americans should also practice frequent hand-washing, use hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes, and stay away from those who show symptoms to protect themselves, Fitzgerald said.
A short-term spending bill funding the federal government through Feb. 8 was signed into law by President Donald Trump on Monday night, ending a three-day shutdown. The measure, approved by the Senate and House earlier Monday, will also extend funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program for six years, suspend the medical device and health insurance taxes through 2019, and delay the tax on high-cost health plans through 2021.
A regular exercise program helped reduce the rate of metabolic syndrome, a risk factor for heart disease, among breast cancer survivors, researchers reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Researcher Christina Dieli-Conwright said heart disease is the top cause of death among breast cancer survivors, and women in the exercise group lost fat, gained muscle and improved measures of cardiovascular risk, such as blood pressure and cholesterol.
CancerSEEK is a blood test developed by Johns Hopkins University researchers that can screen for eight forms of cancer, including five that currently have no widely used screening test. The assay was able to detect cancers of the ovary, liver, esophagus, pancreas, stomach, colorectal, lung and breast 33% to 98% of the time, depending on the type of malignancy, according to a report in the journal Science.
AHIP criticized a CMS proposal to require Medicare Part D drug plan sponsors to pass a portion of rebates to patients, saying the plan ignores the underlying problem of high drug costs and excessive price hikes and would actually raise costs for most Medicare beneficiaries. "With nearly 90 percent of Part D prescriptions filled by generic drugs and only a portion of branded drug manufacturers offering rebates, CMS's proposal would benefit only a small minority of beneficiaries," wrote AHIP Senior Executive Vice President Matthew Eyles in comments on the proposal.
A proposed rule that would have expedited Medicare coverage of innovative medical devices has been pulled by the CMS from Office of Management and Budget review. The specifics of the withdrawn rule have not been released.
Gahanna, Ohio, opened a near-site health clinic for city employees, and while the first-year cost is $140,000, Mayor Tom Kneeland said first-year savings are expected to be $109,000 due to fewer urgent care and hospital emergency department visits. A near-site clinic opened by the city of Whitehall has led to about $958,000 in savings since 2014, and the city has expanded it to serve school district employees.
Financial wellness programs need to be ongoing and long-term to be successful and provide return-on-investment, writes BrightDime CEO David Stedman. Plans should allow time for employee education and awareness and provide personalized solutions and coaching.
Youths from low-income families who faced various types of housing instability had 41% higher odds of having parent-reported fair to poor health, compared with those whose families had stable housing, researchers reported in Pediatrics. The findings also showed a nearly threefold higher risk of depressive symptoms among mothers in families that were housing insecure.
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