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    by Robert Moffit   As negotiations on their tax and spending bill continue, Senate Democrats are working on a legislative proposal to have the government fix the prices of Medicare prescription medications.  Though the details of the 190-page amendment differ in certain respects from earlier versions, the indisputable result would be the same: Reduced patient access to prescription drugs. Like most giant regulatory schemes, the draft proposal is characteristically complex with numerous provisions, including detailed data collection, new mandates, tax penalties on drug manufacturers, free vaccines, and a cap on out-of-pocket costs. But the heart of the bill is the creation of a Drug Price Negotiation Program administered by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Secretary would publish a list of drugs subject to “negotiation,” starting with 10 drugs or therapies in 2026, then 15 in 2027, and 20 in 2029. (You can expect political pressure to expand the number and classes of drugs to make the selection list.) In each year the drugs selected would be ranked for “negotiation” and government price setting according to...
    Just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court enabled states to further restrict or ban abortions by overturning Roe v.Wade, a Ramsey County judge’s ruling made abortions more accessible in Minnesota. Judge Thomas Gilligan, Jr.’s July 11 ruling struck down most of Minnesota’s abortion restrictions, including requirements that clinics give patients what he called “misleading and confusing” information about the risks of abortion at least 24 hours prior to the procedure, that minors inform both parents or get a court waiver before obtaining the procedure and that only doctors — not other licensed and qualified medical professionals — perform abortions. Already, Minnesota abortion providers say they’re starting to feel what could turn out to be sweeping effects of both the federal and the state court’s actions and planning ahead to meet a predicted increase in demand.  “The restrictions that were struck down last week will just really make it easier for everybody. It’ll make it easier for us to provide care and it’ll make it easier for patients from Minnesota and from out of state to be able to seek out...
    Six days after the Supreme Court struck down the right to abortion, lupus patient Becky Schwarz got an unexpected message from her rheumatologist. “This is a notice to let you know that we are pausing all prescriptions and subsequent refills of methotrexate,” the message read. “This decision has been made in response to the reversal of Roe vs. Wade.” Schwarz was stunned. Methotrexate is a cheap, common drug prescribed to millions of Americans. Like her, many have rheumatic illnesses. Others take it to treat inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis or cancer. Yet few are aware that it is used off-label to end ectopic pregnancies, or that it could be restricted by doctors or pharmacists even in states like Virginia that do not ban abortion. The reasons are numerous, and muddy. In Texas, dispensing methotrexate to someone who uses it to induce a miscarriage after 49 days of gestation is a felony; that makes pharmacists hesitant to fill such prescriptions for almost anyone with a uterus. A new total ban on abortion in Tennessee will effectively criminalize any...
    A woman received minor injuries after falling between an MTA train and the platform in Fairfield County. The incident took place in Stamford around 8:10 pm., Tuesday, July 5 at the Springdale Train Station.  Upon realizing what happened, the Metro-North conductor and engineer quickly de-energized and secured the train in order to allow for safe patient access to first arriving first responders, said Tom Gloersen, of the Stamford Fire Department. According to Gloersen, responding crews were able to gain access to the injured woman, place her in a stokes basket, and remove her from underneath the train.  After removal, she was transported to on-scene EMS who treated her and transported her to an area hospital for treatment, Gloersen said. The extent of injuries and condition of the patient is not known at this time, Gloersen added. Firefighters from the Stamford Downtown district responded along with, Springdale Fire Co, as well as Stamford EMS and Metro-North personnel.
    (CNN)The US Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights has released new guidance aimed at patient privacy in the wake of last week's Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, holding that there is no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion.The guidance "addresses the circumstances under which the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule permits disclosure of [protected health information] without an individual's authorization," the agency said in a news release. According to the guidance, providers may share protected health information with law enforcement and without a patient's consent "in narrow circumstances."The HIPAA Privacy Rule allows disclosure of protected health information when expressly required by another law, when the request is made "through such legal processes as a court order or court-ordered warrant" and if the disclosure is necessary to prevent a threat to health or safety, the guidance said.The new guidance on privacy provided examples of situations in which providers may question their responsibility regarding protected health information, including if a provider suspects a patient has induced an abortion, if...
    TUSTIN, Calif. (KABC) -- An at-home acute medical care service has partnered with UCI Health to bring services to patient's homes.All loaded with the medical equipment she needed on Thursday, nurse practitioner Kei Martin and a medical technician were sent to see their first patient of the day.Having medical information on the road and over the phone expedited the entire process.This at-home urgent medical care provided by DispatchHealth is a partnership with UCI Health.Martin, the clinical lead in the Orange County program, said they serve both the insured and uninsured.DispatchHealth was in 43 states and as of last November, it came to Orange County, the first location in California.Viral illness and infection are just some of the acute conditions these teams treat, seven days a week, for patients three months of age to the elderly."We also see high-level illnesses, injuries, diseases that typically people would go to an emergency department for," said Martin. "So the only things that we don't see are anything that are a threat to life or limb, such as a stroke or heart attack."Martin said this...
    (CNN)A leaked draft of a majority opinion says the US Supreme Court is set to overturn Roe v. Wade, the case that established the federal right to an abortion, meaning access to medication abortion may be more important than ever.Some states have restricted the practice, but in December, the US Food and Drug Administration relaxed certain federal regulations on what is now the most commonly used abortion method in the United States.What is medication abortion?Medication abortion, also known as abortion with pills or medical abortion, is a method by which someone ends their pregnancy by taking two pills, rather than having a surgical procedure. The first pill is mifepristone, sold under the brand names Mifeprex or Korlym. It's also known as RU 486. The second pill is called misoprostol.What to know about the stunning disclosure of a draft Supreme Court opinion that could spell the end of national abortion rightsRead MoreHow does it work?Mifepristone blocks a hormone called progesterone, which the body needs for the pregnancy to continue. The hormone helps maintain the inside of the uterus. When the hormone...
    A new bill would, if enacted into law, prohibit a Tennessee licensing board or disciplinary subcommittee from acting against a physician’s license based solely on the physician’s recommendations to a patient regarding treatment for COVID-19. The bill would also prohibit a pharmacy from blocking or attempting to block a patient’s access to COVID-19 treatments in certain circumstances. State Representative Bud Hulsey (R-Kingsport) sponsors the house bill (HB 1870), while State Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) sponsors the house bill, SB 1880. “This bill prohibits a licensing board or disciplinary subcommittee from acting against a physician’s license based solely on the physician’s recommendations to a patient regarding treatment for COVID-19, so long as the physician exercised independent medical judgment and believes that the medical treatment is in the best interest of the patient,” according to the language of the bill. “This bill also prohibits pharmacies from blocking or attempting to block a patient’s access to a drug, biological product, or device solely prescribed as a treatment for COVID-19 on the basis that the United States FDA has not approved the drug, biological product, or...
    Telemedicine, which gained wider popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic and is likely to become a permanent fixture of the health care system, has become especially popular in two patient groups: Black patients and women, according to a new study out of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Given the digital divide, we expected to see differences and the use of virtual care among these populations,” said Dr. Gezzer Ortega of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Center for Surgery and Public Health, who authored the study, of the Black patients in particular. “But it was a pleasant surprise when we noticed that there was over-utilization within these groups.” Ortega’s study broke its data into two phases: March 24, 2020 to June 23, 2020, during the stay-at-home advisory in the state, and the rest of the year. The goal was to compare patient appointments for different groups during that time, and determine the breakdown of in-person, video and audio appointments for new patient consultation within the hospital’s Division of General and Gastrointestinal Surgery. Ortega said the research team chose to focus on surgeries because...
    BLUE CANYON (CBS13) — Cal Fire responded to a remote area medical call in Blue Canyon. Crews hiked through 2 to 3 feet deep snow to reach the patient. Due to the remote location, crews had to use a Cal Fire dozer to clear trees and snow to gain access. Using a tracked vehicle, crews were able to extract the patient and transport them to a local hospital.
    Medicare might restrict patient access to Alzheimer’s treatment priced at $56,000 for a year’s supply to soften the financial blow to the federal insurance program's budget. “Whether or not that drug will be covered by Medicare and Medicaid is is an outstanding question, something that HHS will have to deal with,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra last week. APPROVAL OF CONTROVERSIAL $56,000 ALZHEIMER'S TREATMENT COULD ADD $57 BILLION TO FEDERAL SPENDING Covering the costly IV treatment could cause federal spending to swell by $57 billion in a single year. That's roughly the same amount that Medicare, the government healthcare program for seniors, spent on all outpatient hospital services in 2020. Restricting access to the treatment could limit the financial harm to Medicare’s budget. “With that particular medicine that's now going to be available for the public, we’re going to be making some pretty heady decisions about how it’s treated, if it will be reimbursed, how much, and so forth,” Becerra said. “Stay tuned.” HHS did not return requests for further comment....
    DENVER (CBS4) – On Friday the State of Colorado announced the first of five winners of $1 million in the Colorado Comeback Cash drawing. The state chose the winner from among the 2.9 million Coloradans who have received at least one dose of their COVID-19 vaccines. On Thursday the state health department explained how eligible Coloradans can check their registration. There are two ways. The first is a public website portal. “It’s not a perfect portal,” said Health Roth, Immunization Branch Chief of the Division of Disease Control and Public Health Response. Roth said, “You have to have the data exactly match what the health care provider reported.” And some health care providers do not provide a phone number or email. That information is also needed. “The big thing I want people to understand, is just because they can’t find their record using this public portal does not mean their record does not exist,” said Roth. Go to ciis.state.co.us/public/Application/PublicPortal to check. A second option to contacting the state’s program is simply by emailing the CIIS Help Desk. You can contact the state...
    DENVER (CBS4) – On Friday the State of Colorado will announce the first of five winners of $1 million in the Colorado Comeback Cash drawing. The state chose the winner Wednesday from among the 2.9 million Coloradans who have received at least one dose of their COVID-19 vaccines. On Thursday the state health department explained how eligible Coloradans can check their registration. “It’s not a perfect portal,” said Health Roth, Immunization Branch Chief of the Division of Disease Control and Public Health Response. Roth said, “You have to have the data exactly match what the health care provider reported.” And some health care providers do not provide a phone number or email. That information is also needed. “The big thing I want people to understand, is just because they can’t find their record using this public portal does not mean their record does not exist,” said Roth. If you have questions you can contact the state through the website below with a picture of the front and back of your vaccination card. LINK: ciis.state.co.us/public/Application/PublicPortal Here are some details from the state’s...
    Google has struck a deal with a massive hospital chain to gain access to some 32 million patient records, and hopes to develop new healthcare algorithms that could guide doctors' decisions. HCA Healthcare, the hospital chain based in Nashville, Tennessee, on Wednesday announced the deal to consolidate and store data from its digital health records and medical devices with Google Cloud. The company, which owns and operates 186 hospitals and some 2,000 care sites including clinics, says it will utilize Google's 'planetary-scale database' to analyze data from its 32 million annual records of patient visits. The partnership marks Google's latest foray into the healthcare realm - and it is already raising privacy concerns. Google is partnering with HCA Healthcare, which owns 186 hospitals across the country including Good Samaritan in San Jose, California, in a deal to analyze medical records RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next Tucker Carlson slams big tech for blasting Americans with a... DC attorney general files antitrust suit against Amazon for... Share this article Share Medical records are protected...
    Mayuri Saxena first knew something was off when she began tripping at work and struggling to get out of her seat during her NYC subway commute. In just three months the 32-year-old became wheelchair-bound, but eventually she learned what was wrong: She had ALS. Facing a two- to five-year life expectancy from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a degenerative neuro-muscular disease that largely impacts voluntary muscles including vocal cords, Saxena and her family looked to experimental drug trials as their only chance at treating the disease. One by one she was rejected either because of her wheelchair use, or being too far along in her disease. “That's honestly when our hope started going down the drain,” said Mayak Saxena, Mayuri’s brother. “To know that a treatment like that exists on this planet and on the other hand to see my sister suffering and dying and in pain. It's such a huge injustice that has to be remedied on so many fronts.” A new bill making its way through Congress could soon offer hope for Saxena and others with ALS who have...
    By CARLA K. JOHNSON, AP Medical Writer More U.S. patients will soon have free, electronic access to the notes their doctors write about them under a new federal requirement for transparency. Many health systems are opening up records Monday, the original deadline. At the last minute, federal health officials week gave an extension until April because of the coronavirus pandemic. Britta Bloomquist of Duluth, Minnesota, has been reading her clinical notes for years, first struggling through red tape and more recently clicking into a secure online patient website. “It means information about your care can no longer be hidden from you. And you have a say in your care,” said Bloomquist, 32, who has a rare type of arthritis that took years to diagnose. WHAT'S CHANGING? Patients have long had a right to their medical records, including doctor notes, but obtaining them could mean filling out requests, waiting for a response and paying fees. A 2016 law said delays and barriers must be removed. If you already use a patient portal such as MyChart to email your doctor or schedule...
    More U.S. patients will soon have free, electronic access to the notes their doctors write about them under a new federal requirement for transparency. Many health systems are opening up records Monday, the original deadline. At the last minute, federal health officials week gave an extension until April because of the coronavirus pandemic. Britta Bloomquist of Duluth, Minnesota, has been reading her clinical notes for years, first struggling through red tape and more recently clicking into a secure online patient website. “It means information about your care can no longer be hidden from you. And you have a say in your care,” said Bloomquist, 32, who has a rare type of arthritis that took years to diagnose. WHAT’S CHANGING? Patients have long had a right to their medical records, including doctor notes, but obtaining them could mean filling out requests, waiting for a response and paying fees. A 2016 law said delays and barriers must be removed. If you already use a patient portal such as MyChart to email your doctor or schedule an appointment, you may soon see new...
    More U.S. patients will soon have free, electronic access to the notes their doctors write about them under a new federal requirement for transparency. Many health systems are opening up records Monday, the original deadline. At the last minute, federal health officials week gave an extension until April because of the coronavirus pandemic. Britta Bloomquist of Duluth, Minnesota, has been reading her clinical notes for years, first struggling through red tape and more recently clicking into a secure online patient website. “It means information about your care can no longer be hidden from you. And you have a say in your care,” said Bloomquist, 32, who has a rare type of arthritis that took years to diagnose. WHAT’S CHANGING? Patients have long had a right to their medical records, including doctor notes, but obtaining them could mean filling out requests, waiting for a response and paying fees. A 2016 law said delays and barriers must be removed. If you already use a patient portal such as MyChart to email your doctor or schedule an appointment, you may soon see...
    CLINTON, Md. (AP) — Hospitals in Maryland and Virginia have resolved religious discrimination complaints with federal officials over the hospitals’ decisions to block clergy access to patients during the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday. In response to the complaints, MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center in Clinton, Maryland, and Mary Washington Healthcare in Fredericksburg, Virginia, revised their visitation policies to allow patients to receive religious services as long as clergy members follow infection prevention practices. The complaint against Medstar was filed in July by a patient, while two complaints against Mary Washington were brought by the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. “Compassionate care requires treating the body without sacrificing the soul, and these resolutions show how hospitals can do that safely even during a pandemic,” Roger Severino, director of the federal agency’s Office for Civil Rights, said in a statement. A mother in July filed the complaint against Medstar alleging the facility denied her request to have a Catholic priest baptize her newborn son after she was separated from him because she had tested positive...
    CLINTON, Md. (AP) — Hospitals in Maryland and Virginia have resolved religious discrimination complaints with federal officials over the hospitals' decisions to block clergy access to patients during the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday. In response to the complaints, MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center in Clinton, Maryland, and Mary Washington Healthcare in Fredericksburg, Virginia, revised their visitation policies to allow patients to receive religious services as long as clergy members follow infection prevention practices. The complaint against Medstar was filed in July by a patient, while two complaints against Mary Washington were brought by the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. “Compassionate care requires treating the body without sacrificing the soul, and these resolutions show how hospitals can do that safely even during a pandemic,” Roger Severino, director of the federal agency’s Office for Civil Rights, said in a statement. A mother in July filed the complaint against Medstar alleging the facility denied her request to have a Catholic priest baptize her newborn son after she was separated from him because she had tested positive...
    Colorado's medical marijuana system still has room to improve, according to a report from a national cannabis advocacy group. Americans for Safe Access annually grades every state's medical marijuaan program on an "A" to "F" scale. Although Colorado continues to score low on patient rights and protections, the state still earned a "B-" thanks to high marks for patient access and functionality. The ASA report cards, which began in 2015, assign scores to state policies on patient rights and civil protections, access to medicine, ease of navigation for application and renewal processes, medical marijuana functionality and consumer safety requirements, while a new section graded both medical marijuana accessibility and telemedicine options during the COVID-19 pandemic.Related Stories Marijuana To-Go Windows, Online Ordering Likely Permanent Aurora Slowly Opening Up to Marijuana Delivery COVID-19 Can't Stop Record-Breaking Weed Sales Oregon was the only state to scrape an “A,” with Illinois and Maine close behind in the "B+" group. Colorado, in the middle of the pack, lost points for a lack of civil and patient protections. Colorado's failure to protect patients boils down to...
    The Trump administration took drastic action this week to combat a possible second wave of coronavirus infections across the United States, buying up nearly the entire global supply of a new coronavirus treatment. The Trump administration secured more than 500,000 treatment courses of remdesivir, an antiviral drug manufactured by Gilead Sciences. The Telegraph reported that the massive buy represented the company’s entire production for the month of July and 90% of the company’s production output for August and September. “President Trump has struck an amazing deal to ensure Americans have access to the first authorized therapeutic for COVID-19,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “To the extent possible, we want to ensure that any American patient who needs remdesivir can get it. The Trump Administration is doing everything in our power to learn more about life-saving therapeutics for COVID-19 and secure access to these options for the American people.” As reported by Reuters, remdesivir “is expected to be in high demand as one of the only treatments so far shown to alter the course of COVID-19.” “After the intravenously administered medicine helped shorten...
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