Society of Family Planning interim clinical recommendations: Self-managed abortion

“While the medical risks of SMA [self-managed] may be few, the legal risks for people attempting SMA may be significant. Although only three states currently have laws explicitly criminalizing SMA, almost half of U.S. states have at least one law in place that could be used to prosecute people attempting or assisting with SMA. These policies include legislation explicitly banning SMA, criminalizing harm to the fetus, and criminalizing abortion. For those who have been targeted with criminalization for SMA, many came into contact with law enforcement following interactions with healthcare professionals. However, to date, legal experts are unaware of any … Read More

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: A Conversation with Peter Lee on What’s Next for the ACA

“[Kaiser Health News chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner:] So Covered California operates very differently from most of the other state-based marketplaces. And, as a result, it has done a better job covering more people at lower premiums than I think any other state, right? [Executive Director of Covered California, the largest state-run ACA marketplace, Peter Lee:] Absolutely. Well, lower premiums relative to where we start. California’s an expensive state, but our premiums in California in the last seven years went up about 45%. Nationally, they went up about 80%. So we’ve seen premiums increase dramatically. But you’re right, we’ve done … Read More

Don’t Look Up? Medicare Advantage’s Trajectory And the Future of Medicare

“short of comprehensive reform by Congress, CMS may find it challenging to build value in Medicare over this decade if TM’s [traditional Medicare] scaffolding erodes [due to the rise of Medicare Advantage (MA)]. Much can be done under CMS’s existing authorities to promote efficiency and equity, but, under Medicare’s present configuration, that requires preservation of TM. Without substantive legislative reform on the horizon, regulatory policy will thus need to keep the long view in mind, lest several years of inertia set in motion an unalterable course to a lesser outcome. [..] MA has been clearly successful in managing utilization more … Read More

How Did This Many Deaths Become Normal?

“The United States reported more deaths from COVID-19 last Friday than deaths from Hurricane Katrina, more on any two recent weekdays than deaths during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, more last month than deaths from flu in a bad season, and more in two years than deaths from HIV during the four decades of the AIDS epidemic. At least 953,000 Americans have died from COVID, and the true toll is likely even higher because many deaths went uncounted. COVID is now the third leading cause of death in the U.S., after only heart disease and cancer, which are both catchall terms … Read More

The Biden Administration Killed America’s Collective Pandemic Approach

“Coronavirus case numbers are in free fall; vaccines and, to a lesser degree, viral infections have built up a wall of immunity that can blunt the virus’s impact overall. Several experts stressed that certain aspects of the CDC’s new guidelines are genuinely improving on the framework the country was using before. “The timing feels right to make some kind of change,” Whitney Robinson, an epidemiologist at Duke University, told me. But protection against SARS-CoV-2 isn’t spread equally. Millions of kids under 5 are still ineligible for shots. Vaccine effectiveness declines faster in older individuals and is patchy to begin with … Read More

The Bottom of the Health Care Rationing Iceberg

“Since February, like ethicists around the world, I have spent most of my time thinking about the tip of the health care rationing iceberg. As Covid-19 cases exploded across epidemiologic maps, I scrambled to write new guidelines for my health network for the ethical allocation of mechanical ventilators, just in case we ran out. [..] Despite that heady challenge and the urgency of the Covid-19 pandemic, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this effort was all a distraction. Here I was, trying to do a perfect job allocating a handful of mechanical ventilators for an unprecedented viral pandemic, while every … Read More

The Paradox of STEMI Regionalization: Widened Disparities Despite Some Benefits

“In this issue of JAMA Network Open, Hsia et al sought to determine whether efforts to improve access, treatment, and outcomes for patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) by means of cardiac care regionalization were associated with widened or narrowed disparities between minority and nonminority communities at the zip code level across the state of California. Access was defined as admission to a hospital with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) capability; treatment was defined as receiving coronary angiography or PCI (as clinically indicated) the day of admission or at any time during hospitalization; and outcomes were defined as all-cause mortality at … Read More

When Actions Speak Louder Than Words — Racism and Sickle Cell Disease

“SCD [sickle cell disease] is a life-threatening, inherited blood disorder, affecting more than 100,000 Americans. Painful vaso-occlusive crises, the hallmark of SCD, result in substantial suffering and lead to associated stigma. Without adequate treatment, SCD affects all organs and is associated with decreased quality of life and a shortened life span. Among the dozens of conditions that are screened for in state newborn-screening programs, SCD is the most commonly detected condition, regardless of ethnicity. It is thus important to recognize SCD as a common and important medical condition among Americans, and not “just Black Americans.” [..] Although SCD is a … Read More

How ACOs In Rural And Underserved Areas Responded To Medicare’s ACO Investment Model

“To help establish ACOs in more areas of the country, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) developed the ACO Investment Model (AIM) to provide participating ACOs with up-front and ongoing monthly payments over 24 months to fund ACO infrastructure investments and staffing. As part of the Medicare Shared Savings Program (SSP), the payments were to be recouped through any shared savings earned by the ACOs that sufficiently decreased costs relative to a financial benchmark, as specified by SSP regulations. Forty-one new SSP ACOs, primarily located in rural and underserved health care markets, joined AIM in 2016. [..] A … Read More

Comparison of Community-Level and Patient-Level Social Risk Data in a Network of Community Health Centers

“no clear standard has emerged on how to implement social risk screening, nor how clinicians can or should use social risk information to adjust patient care or make referrals to community resources. Moreover, some have questioned the benefit of integrating social risk screening into primary care, raising concerns about the additional burden of adding more required data collection to already busy primary care practices and the limited resources available to address identified social risk factors. [..] relying solely on community-level data to understand the social context of an individual patient and/or to guide patient-level interventions poses a risk of ecological … Read More