Healthcare

Category archives for Healthcare

Another day, another study on the potentially life-saving impact of vaccines. This time it’s a new study on the vaccine against human papillomavirus, or HPV, a sexually transmitted disease that can lead to cervical cancer. Earlier this week, researchers announced that since the vaccine came on the scene, rates of HPV among young women in the U.S. have plummeted.

For public health workers, it’s no surprise that social, economic and political conditions shape the distribution and burden of disease. They’ve always known that it takes much more than medicine to keep people healthy. Still, when public health scientist Kristina Talbert-Slagle decided to study the impact of social and public health spending on HIV/AIDS, she wasn’t sure what she’d uncover.

Economists have suggested that people with traditional insurance coverage over-consume healthcare because each doctor visit or lab test requires a relatively low co-payment. If we paid more for each service – had “skin in the game” – the thinking goes, we’d be more judicious about the healthcare we consume and shop around for the best value. But evidence is mounting that asking people to pay more for care doesn’t turn them into smarter shoppers.

Each year, the U.S. spends $26.2 billion on costs associated with preterm birth — that’s birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Beyond the costs, babies born too early experience immediate and long-term problems, from developmental disabilities to asthma to hearing loss. For years, scientists have been studying possible environmental contributors, with many finding an association between preterm birth and air pollution. Earlier this week, a new study brought even more depth and clarity to this connection.

These days, there’s a lot of attention on finding new and creative ways to turn around the nation’s opioid abuse and overdose problem. And it’s attention that’s very much needed because the problem is only getting worse.

Who’s paying the cost of lung transplants for work-related lung diseases?

Some disabled coal miners have received lung transplants as a treatment for black lung disease. It’s clearly a work-related illness, but workers’ compensation insurance doesn’t seem to be paying the bill for the $1 million procedure.

Occupational Health News Roundup

ProPublica offers a disturbing look inside the extravagant workers’ comp industry; workers speak up about conditions inside hospital hotels; New York’s governor announces plan to raise minimum wages for state university workers; and a worker is killed at a Ford Motor Company plant in Chicago.

As 2015 drew to a close, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality announced some good news: Fewer US patients are dying from hospital-acquired conditions like pressure ulcers and catheter-associated infections.

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.