Healthcare

Category archives for Healthcare

Re-run from May 27, 2015: For more than a decade, biologist Mariam Barlow has been working on the theory that administering antibiotics on a rotating basis could be a solution to antibiotic resistance. After years of research, Barlow had lots of data, but she needed a more precise way to make sense of it all — something that was so specific it could easily be used to treat patients. So, she joined forces with a team of mathematicians. And the amazing results could help solve an enormous, worldwide problem.

In 2010, Donna Gross, a psychiatric technician at Napa State Hospital for more than a decade, was strangled to death at work by a mentally ill patient. While on-the-job violence in the health care sector was certainly nothing new at the time, the shocking and preventable circumstances surrounding Gross’ death helped ignite a new and coordinated movement for change. Now, just a handful of years later, California is set to become the only state with an enforceable occupational standard aimed at preventing workplace violence against health care workers.

In 2011, a group of researchers embarked on a national study to measure burnout among physicians. They found that 45 percent of U.S. doctors met the criteria for burnout, which manifests as emotional exhaustion, a loss of meaning in one’s work, feelings of ineffectiveness, and a tendency to see people as objects rather than fellow humans. Less than a handful of years later, the problem has gotten significantly worse.

I usually shy away from getting too personal in my work. But in the spirit of Thanksgiving and as a new mom, I was thinking about things for which I’m particularly grateful. One of the first things that came to mind as a public health reporter? Vaccines. So, in that vein, let’s celebrate some new and promising numbers on the worldwide effort to eliminate measles.

Public health insurance programs often get a bad rap, despite a growing positive evidence base on their patient care, quality and outcomes. Earlier this month, another study emerged that found Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program not only outperform private insurance when it comes to children’s preventive care, they can serve as a model of comprehensive children’s coverage.

For the first time since 2006, cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are on the rise, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency reports that while the sexually transmitted diseases continue to impact young people and women most severely, the recent increases were driven by rising disease rates among men.

Occupational Health News Roundup

The Center for Public Integrity investigates occupational illness and the workers’ compensation system; federal officials accuse coal mining operator of worker retaliation; OSHA penalties finally rise to meet inflation; and low-wage workers go on strike across the nation for better wages.

When it comes to immunization rates in the United States, the story is a mixed one. Among children, we’ve absolutely excelled. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the nation’s childhood vaccination rate as one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. But when it comes to American adults — 50,000 of whom die every year from vaccine-preventable diseases — it’s a very different story.

Findings from new and old studies suggest that requiring people to pay more for their healthcare results in less consumption of healthcare — but that’s not necessarily a good thing.

More good news from the Affordable Care Act: Since it became the law of the land, uninsurance disparities between white, black and Hispanic residents have narrowed significantly.