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.
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.
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.
Draft recommendations from the US Preventive Services Task Force advise primary care physicians to use interventions such as brief counseling or education aimed at preventing school-aged children and adolescents from starting to use tobacco products, but it found insufficient evidence to recommend for or against primary care-appropriate tools for tobacco use cessation among youths. The draft will remain open for public comment through July 22.
A recent poll found 21.4% of Democratic voters said health care is their top issue -- beating the economy, social security, women's issues and security -- and the issue is likely to take center stage ahead of this week's Democratic debates. Candidates are likely to debate proposals for the expansion of Medicare as well as protection of entitlement programs, but a large field and a reluctance to offer specifics may mean few details on hopefuls' positions will emerge.
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