Every day, stories about the U.S. opioid epidemic appear in daily newsfeeds, and rightly so: they are responsible for two out of every three drug overdoses in the country.
But there’s another drug not included in the usual drug overdose stats which kills almost twice as many people a year as opioids — alcohol. And yet, a casual perusal of the daily headlines usually turns up as many fun or fluff stories about alcohol as ones that suggest the risks and harms of drinking. Continue reading
Dental patients can face tough choices when figuring out how to pay for costly services not covered by insurance. In moments of need or pain, they may be offered the option of applying for a medical credit card — right in the dental office.
The credit cards ensure immediate payment to providers, so dentists like them. But patients are not always clear on the terms, which often include deferred-interest provisions. If cardholders misunderstand what they have signed up for and falls behind on payments, they can end up facing inflated bills and crippling debt. Continue reading
The Trump Administration’s proposed $4.8 trillion budget for fiscal 2021 features plenty of reductions to spending for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Naturally, this has Democrats and elder advocates up in arms.
The proposal would slash Medicare by $850 billion, Medicaid by $920 billion and Social Security by $30 billion over the next decade, according to The Washington Post. It also includes cuts to Children’s Health Insurance programs, despite previous statements by the president that entitlements would remain untouched. Continue reading
The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a case that pits two groups on opposite sides of the debate over prescription drug costs: community pharmacists and pharmacy benefit managers.
In the case, Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, the court will consider whether the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974 pre-empts an Arkansas law regulating PBMs’ drug-reimbursement rates.
Hospitalized older adults who take atypical, or second-generation, antipsychotics for delirium were at increased risk of death from cardiopulmonary arrest, according to a recent study by researchers in Boston.
Despite these known risks, antipsychotic drugs frequently are used to treat or prevent delirium. Delirium (sudden confusion or a rapid change in mental state) affects 15% to 26% of hospitalized older adults. It can lead those affected to harm themselves or others, or otherwise interfere with medical care. Continue reading
As the opioid crisis has continued to plague the nation, a less-reported story for journalists to consider is the surging number of bacterial and viral infections threatening to make the crisis worse.
The rise includes an increase in bacterial infections caused by Staphlococcus aureus, a pathogen that is often resistant to antibiotics – and a climb in new HIV, hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases and skin and soft tissue infections.
“A converging public health crisis is emerging because the opioid epidemic is fueling a surge in infectious diseases,” said the Journal of Infectious Diseases in August 2019. Continue reading