I received a text from a friend this week with a link to an article about a new drug for COVID-19 that led to “rapid recovery” of “critically ill” patients with COVID-19. “Houston Methodist Hospital is making national headlines after doctors used a new drug to help treat critically ill COVID-19 patients,” the breathless lead began. The last paragraph included this similarly dramatic quote from the drug manufacturer’s CEO in a press release: “No other antiviral agent has demonstrated rapid recovery from viral infection and demonstrated laboratory inhibition of viral replication.”
Along with the article link, my friend had texted, “Reads like a press release.” Continue reading
Court documents are among the best sources for journalists covering the aggressive tactics tht hospitals and health systems use when seeking payment from patients who owe them money.
This advice comes from two Kaiser Health News journalists — senior correspondent Jay Hancock and data editor Elizabeth Lucas — who were Pulitzer Prize finalists this year for their reporting on predatory billing practices. Continue reading
Poor cardiovascular health and a high body mass index during a person’s teens and 20s may be early predictors for developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life, according to research presented last week at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.
The research, presented in a virtual poster session, demonstrates the importance of preventive efforts at a younger age, especially among African Americans disproportionally affected by high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and similar conditions. Continue reading
As school leaders and parents grapple with questions about school reopening this fall, a key measure to consider is the community transmission rate of COVID-19, say two educators and an infectious disease specialist.
When states and cities are reporting that more than 5% of COVID-19 tests are positive, the transmission rate is high enough that schools could become hot spots for community outbreaks, they said. Continue reading
A little-reported side effect of surging COVID-19 cases is the likelihood that there will be an increasing number of people exposed to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
At least 15 percent to 20 percent of people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, develop a secondary bacterial infection, requiring the use of antibiotics. As a result, most hospitals are prescribing antibiotics pre-emptively to hospitalized COVID-19 patients, heightening the likelihood that more bacteria are adapting and developing resistance to these antibiotics. Continue reading
Image courtesy John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur FoundationJeffrey C. Brenner, M.D.
One of the nation’s most innovative physicians is leaving UnitedHealth Group to start a primary care practice in New Jersey. Jeffrey Brenner, M.D, is returning to primary care after more than three years as a senior vice president at the nation’s largest health insurer, where he launched programs in some 14 cities to provide housing and other services for UHC’s neediest members.
Many of us have covered the work Brenner has done in pioneering new models of care for patients known as high utilizers, super users or frequent fliers. They are the 5 percent of patients who account for at least 50 percent or more of all health care spending. Included in this cohort was the top 1 percent of Americans whose health care costs accounted for about 22 percent of total health care spending nationwide. Continue reading