From NPR

Trump Administration Plans Crackdown on Hospitals Failing to Report COVID-19 Data

September 24, 2020

The federal government is preparing to aggressively crack down on hospitals for not reporting complete COVID-19 data daily into a federal data system, according to internal documents obtained by NPR.

The draft guidance, expected to be sent to hospitals this week, also adds new reporting requirements, asking hospitals to provide daily information on influenza cases, along with COVID-19. It’s the latest twist in what hospitals describe as a maddening flurry of changing requirements, as they deal with the strain of caring for patients during a pandemic.

The federal government is preparing to aggressively crack down on hospitals for not reporting complete COVID-19 data daily into a federal data system, according to internal documents obtained by NPR.

The draft guidance, expected to be sent to hospitals this week, also adds new reporting requirements, asking hospitals to provide daily information on influenza cases, along with COVID-19. It’s the latest twist in what hospitals describe as a maddening flurry of changing requirements, as they deal with the strain of caring for patients during a pandemic.

The reporting system drew national attention in July when the Department of Health and Human Services told hospitals to stop reporting information — such as the number of COVID-19 patients and the availability of intensive care beds — to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and instead report it into a new system managed directly by HHS, the CDC’s parent agency. The switch raised concerns from politicians and public health experts about the sidelining of CDC, the nation’s public health agency, in the midst of a pandemic….

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Drug Combination Slows Progression of ALS and Could Mark ‘New Era’ in Treatment

September 3, 2020

A combination of two experimental drugs appears to slow the decline of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an illness often known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

A six-month study of 137 patients with a fast-progressing form of the disease found that those who got daily doses of a two-drug combination called AMX0035 scored several points higher on a standard measure of function, a team reports in the Sept. 3 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

A combination of two experimental drugs appears to slow the decline of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an illness often known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

A six-month study of 137 patients with a fast-progressing form of the disease found that those who got daily doses of a two-drug combination called AMX0035 scored several points higher on a standard measure of function, a team reports in the Sept. 3 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

The difference was modest but meaningful to patients, said Dr. Sabrina Paganoni. She’s the lead author and a researcher at the Sean Healey & AMG Center for ALS at Mass General and Harvard Medical School….

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COVID-19 Is Now Officially A Pandemic, WHO Says

March 11, 2020

The COVID-19 viral disease that has swept into at least 114 countries and killed more than 4,000 people is now officially a pandemic, the World Health Organization announced Wednesday.

“This is the first pandemic caused by coronavirus,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing in Geneva.

It’s the first time the WHO has called an outbreak a pandemic since the H1N1 “swine flu” in 2009.

The COVID-19 viral disease that has swept into at least 114 countries and killed more than 4,000 people is now officially a pandemic, the World Health Organization announced Wednesday.

“This is the first pandemic caused by coronavirus,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing in Geneva.

It’s the first time the WHO has called an outbreak a pandemic since the H1N1 “swine flu” in 2009.

Even as he raised the health emergency to its highest level, Tedros said hope remains that COVID-19 can be curtailed. And he urged countries to take action now to stop the disease….

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It’s the Go-To Drug to Treat Opioid Addiction. Why Won’t More Pharmacies Stock It?

August 13, 2019

Louis Morano knows what he needs, and he knows where to get it.

Morano, 29, has done seven stints in rehab for opioid addiction in the past 15 years. So, he has come to a mobile medical clinic parked on a corner of Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood, in the geographical heart of the city’s overdose crisis. People call the mobile clinic the “bupe bus.”

Louis Morano knows what he needs, and he knows where to get it.

Morano, 29, has done seven stints in rehab for opioid addiction in the past 15 years. So, he has come to a mobile medical clinic parked on a corner of Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood, in the geographical heart of the city’s overdose crisis. People call the mobile clinic the “bupe bus.”

Buprenorphine is a drug that curbs cravings and treats the symptoms of withdrawal from opioid addiction. One of the common brand name drugs that contains it, Suboxone, combines the buprenorphine with naloxone.

Combined with cognitive behavioral therapy, buprenorphine is one of the three FDA-approved medicines considered the gold standard for opioid-addiction treatment….

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Federal Judge Again Blocks States’ Work Requirements for Medicaid

March 27, 2019

For a second time in nine months, the same federal judge has struck down the Trump administration’s plan to force some Medicaid recipients to work to maintain benefits.

The ruling Wednesday by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg blocks Kentucky from implementing the work requirements and Arkansas from continuing its program. More than 18,000 Arkansas enrollees have lost Medicaid coverage since the state began the mandate last summer.

For a second time in nine months, the same federal judge has struck down the Trump administration’s plan to force some Medicaid recipients to work to maintain benefits.

The ruling Wednesday by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg blocks Kentucky from implementing the work requirements and Arkansas from continuing its program. More than 18,000 Arkansas enrollees have lost Medicaid coverage since the state began the mandate last summer.

Boasberg said that the approval of work requirements by the Department of Health and Human Services “is arbitrary and capricious because it did not address … how the project would implicate the ‘core’ objective of Medicaid: the provision of medical coverage to the needy….”

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