A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 36% of hospitals in Virginia, mostly nonprofits, sued patients for unpaid medical bills and garnished their wages in 2017, and nonprofit Mary Washington Healthcare files so many lawsuits that the Fredericksburg General District Court sets aside one morning per month to consider the hospital's cases. Researchers found that the average amount garnished totals $2,783.15, and law professor Erin Fuse Brown said pursuing such cases "doesn't seem to be worth the effort, and it's so ruinous to the patient."
An ordinance banning the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes and flavored tobacco products without premarket FDA review, but not e-cigarette use among people ages 21 and older, in San Francisco has been approved by the city's board of supervisors and now awaits the signature of Mayor London Breed. The measure is an effective ban on any sales, since no e-tobacco products have undergone premarket review.
Scientists have successfully transferred a rhinoceros embryo into a female after fertilizing the southern white rhino's eggs in vitro, and they say the success is evidence the technique could work to help save the nearly extinct northern white subspecies. There are just two northern white rhinos left in the world, and both are female, but scientists have sperm from several males that could be used to preserve the species.
Spillover of Ebola from wildlife to humans is rare, but half of these events and small outbreaks go unreported, according to estimates of the true outbreak and spillover distribution in West Africa since 1976. "It is essential to build up public health and primary healthcare infrastructure in the regions where Ebola spillover occurs," researcher Emma Glennon said.
A type of bacteria that is commonly found in elite athletes, especially after they work out, improved the athletic performance of mice after they were exposed to the microbes, according to research reported in Nature Medicine. The findings are interesting to exercise physiologists and others focused on human performance, but the study also provides a model for other microbiome studies focused more directly on medicine, such as neurology and immunology.
Researchers found that patients who used statins to prevent cardiovascular disease had an at least twofold higher risk for type 2 diabetes, especially among those who have used the drug for more than two years, compared with nonusers. Published in Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews, findings indicated that statin users may need special guidance on physical activity and diet for preventing diabetes.
Senate Finance Committee leaders are discussing ideas for reining in Medicare prescription drug spending, including requiring manufacturers to pay back rebates if price increases exceed the rate of inflation and requiring them to give money back to the program if they launch a new product at a high list price.
A study presented at the American Diabetes Association annual meeting showed that patients with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease, with and without cardiovascular disease, who received 100 mg of canagliflozin had reduced risk for CV mortality, stroke and myocardial infarction and a reduction in renal-related adverse events, compared with those on placebo. Findings were based on new subgroup analyses of results from the CREDENCE trial involving 4,401 patients, mean age of 63.
An emergency insulin bill proposed by Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., is getting some support from Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., who says that "the cost of this life supporting biologic has increased astronomically and left many unable to afford it." The proposed bill aims to provide state insulin programs for patients who cannot afford the drug and to shorten the exclusivity period from 12 years to seven years.
A TransUnion Healthcare study found overall out-of-pocket costs climbed 12% across all health care settings in 2018, with inpatient, outpatient and emergency department costs up by over $600, almost $200 and $40, respectively, compared with the previous year. The number of patients who had average out-of-pocket costs between $500 and $1,000 also increased to almost 60% last year from 39% in 2017.
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