An analysis found more Americans have been dying at home, often their preferred location, since 2017, with home deaths more likely among men, white patients, older people and those with cancer. The findings, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, showed 30.7% of Americans died at home in 2017, while 29.8% died at hospitals and 20.8% died at nursing facilities.
A study in the American Journal of Public Health showed that only about 4% of babies and young children from low-income households who could benefit from diaper bank supplies in 2016 received them. Support was higher in communities with diaper banks, but many areas do not have them, and the analysis found that even in the states with the highest proportion of needs met, only 16% of those who needed help from diaper banks got it.
The latest figures from the CMS show that some 3.9 million people selected Affordable Care Act plans through the federal exchange in the first six weeks of open enrollment, which ends on Dec. 15. The total is down 250,000, or about 6%, from the same period last year.
Prescriptions for postoperative opioids written in Florida have declined by 6% since July 2018, when a state law regulating prescribing of the drugs went into effect, researchers reported in JAMA Surgery. The law requires prescribers to check the state's prescription drug monitoring database before writing prescriptions for opioids, limits opioids prescribed for acute pain to a three- to seven-day supply and does not allow refills.
House legislation meant to reduce youth vaping rates by prohibiting the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, raising the minimum age for buying tobacco to 21 and banning online e-cigarette sales won't get a House vote this year, according to co-sponsor Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla. Shalala said House leaders committed to a floor vote early next year.
Reps. Richard Neal, D-Mass., and Kevin Brady, R-Texas, have proposed a bill meant to protect patients from unexpected out-of-network bills, following news that Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., reached an deal on the issue with the Energy and House Committee. The new legislation from the House Ways and Means Committee would let insurers and health care providers negotiate payment disputes on their own, and arbitration would begin only if they fail to reach an agreement.
Research published in the journal Psychology and Aging suggests today's older Americans might not be any lonelier than their peers from previous generations. The findings, however, suggest that although loneliness decreases between age 50 and the early 70s, it generally increases after age 75, and as boomers reach this age group, more people overall will be affected by loneliness.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has become the first health insurance provider to integrate Amazon's PillPack pharmacy into its member app and website, with the goal of helping commercial plan members better manage their daily medications. "We are giving our members easy access to a simpler, more personalized experience that removes the guesswork from taking multiple prescriptions," BCBS of Massachusetts CEO Andrew Dreyfus said.
Legal aid groups say some dentists in California are refusing to submit Medi-Cal claims, charging inflated prices and pressuring patients to sign up on the spot for credit cards that cover out-of-pocket costs and charge deferred interest rates from 13% to 29%. A state law that becomes effective in July will bar health care providers from signing up patients for deferred interest credit cards, though providers may continue offering and promoting the cards.
Florida Department of Health data from 2016 show that 59.8% of Hispanic adults living in Miami-Dade County had visited a dentist within the prior 12 months, compared with 71.5% of white non-Hispanic adults and 67.8% of black adults. Barriers to care for the region's Hispanic population include a lack of insurance, high dental care costs, long wait times for appointments, transportation difficulties, language barriers, low Medicaid reimbursement rates and dentists' office hours, say public health professor Claudia Serna and Catalyst Miami director Camilo Mejia.
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