Policymakers can take several steps to facilitate continued use of telehealth, which has seen a dramatic increase in demand during the pandemic, according to AHIP. Giving health insurance providers flexibility to design coverage, eliminating regulatory barriers to telehealth access and recognizing telehealth as legitimate care can sustain the growth of telehealth services even after the public health emergency.
The US reported more than 60,500 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, the largest single-day spike seen in any country since the pandemic started, with 41 out of 50 states reporting rising infections over the past two weeks. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci urged hard-hit states such as California, Florida, Texas and Arizona -- which account for half of new cases -- to seriously consider halting their reopening process and analyze "what did not work well and try to mitigate that."
Peter Marks, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, has said the US needs a vaccine that is 70% effective against COVID-19, and at least 70% of the population should receive it to eradicate the novel coronavirus. The FDA is urging vaccine developers to test candidates in a diverse group of people, Marks says, adding that an emergency use authorization could come after interim analysis of a Phase III trial demonstrates safety and efficacy but before full submission is completed.
Health-related absenteeism rates were higher than expected in April for some occupational groups in essential critical infrastructure categories, such as personal care and services, health care support and production occupations, researchers reported in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. "These findings are consistent with those from public health surveillance and field investigations suggesting that certain groups of workers might be at increased risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection because of their work during the pandemic," researchers said.
A study linked taking brief walks during the day to break up sedentary time to about a 5% decrease in blood glucose levels and about a 20% reduction in insulin levels, researchers reported in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Standing was not associated with improvements, and the biggest benefits from walking were seen among women, people of South Asian descent, and people with a BMI above 27.2.
Researchers studied over 1.1 million youths and found that children ages 2 to 5 whose birthdays were in September to December were more likely to receive influenza vaccination and less likely to have influenza, compared with those who were born in earlier months, who had check-ups before that year's seasonal vaccine was available. However, the findings in the New England Journal of Medicine, also showed that even when the vaccine was available at the time of a regular checkup, the vaccination rate was only 41.8% in July babies, compared with 52.7% and 55% and 52.7% in those born in September and October, respectively.
Four Pennsylvania residents were charged in relation to a kickback and fraud scheme through a mail-order pharmacy based in New Jersey. The defendants allegedly submitted false claims to insurance companies for prescription pain and scar creams, migraine drugs and vitamins to figure out which would yield the highest reimbursements in a long-running scheme that resulted to one pharmacy receiving over $34 million.
A nationwide mandate to wear protective face coverings in public would prevent further economic shutdowns and save the US economy about $1 trillion in avoided gross domestic product losses, according to Goldman Sachs. A 5% loss in GDP, which the firm predicts for the US if the coronavirus continues spreading unabated, would cost an average of $3,000 per person.
John Davis, former CEO of Comprehensive Pain Specialists in Gallatin, Tenn., was sentenced to 42 months in prison plus one year of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $770,036 after being convicted of seven counts of violating the Anti-Kickback Statute and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and violate the Anti-Kickback Statute. Court documents showed Davis abused his position and arranged for referrals of Medicare durable medical equipment orders to go to his co-conspirator, receiving more than $770,000 in illegal kickbacks.
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