Health Policy

UK decision not to buy Covid drug Evusheld disappoints charities

Drug can help prevent infection in people who are immunocompromised but government says data is lacking The UK will not buy the drug Evusheld, which can help prevent Covid infections in people with weakened immune systems, the government has said. The decision, revealed on Friday in an official statement to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, …

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UK decision not to buy Covid drug Evusheld disappoints charities

Drug can help prevent infection in people who are immunocompromised but government says data is lacking The UK will not buy the drug Evusheld, which can help prevent Covid infections in people with weakened immune systems, the government has said. The decision, revealed on Friday in an official statement to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, …

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CNN myocarditis fact check by a Cardiologist (me)

BY ANISH KOKA A recent CNN article discusses approval of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine for people ages 6-17. The CDC director acted after its vaccine advisers on the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted unanimously to support the two dose Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for kids in this age group. The goal per CDC director Walensky was to …

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The Impact of COVID-19 on Shared Priorities for International Cooperation in Active and Healthy Aging

By ELIZABETH BROWN, CATALYST @ HEALTH 2.0 IN THIS MINI-SERIES, WE WILL BE TAKING A LOOK BACK AT THE IDIH WEEK 2022 USA REGIONAL WORKSHOP, TITLED THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON THE SHARED PRIORITIES FOR INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION IN ACTIVE AND HEALTHY AGING, WITH A DIFFERENT BLOG POST DEVOTED TO EACH OF THE THREE COMMON PRIORITIES …

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US Cardiac electrophysiologists meet reimbursement reality and don’t like it.

By ANISH KOKA It’s been a while but Anish Koka, a one time regular writer on THCB and occasional THCB Gang member, is back publishing up a storm on his Substack channel. You may recall that his political and clinical views don’t always mesh with some of the wooly liberals we feature on THCB (cough, …

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At the Core, Tuskegee Has Never Been Resolved

BY MIKE MAGEE July 25, 1972 was fifty years ago this week and it is a day that all AP Science journalists know by heart. As Monday’s AP banner headline read: “On July 25, 1972, Jean Heller, a reporter on The Associated Press investigative team, then called the Special Assignment Team, broke news that rocked the …

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Be Careful What You Wish For

BY KIM BELLARD I read the Stat News investigative piece “Health care’s high rollers,” by Bob Herman and colleagues, with interest but not much surprise.  I mean, is anyone surprised anymore that healthcare CEOs often make a lot of money, and didn’t let a crisis like the pandemic dampen that?  As Kaiser Family Foundation’s CEO …

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Dr. Topol’s comment on LongCOVID and the heart is misleading/lacking context

By ANISH KOKA It’s been a while but Anish Koka, a one time regular writer on THCB and occasional THCB Gang member, is back publishing up a storm on his Substack channel. You may recall that his political and clinical views don’t always mesh with some of the wooly liberals we feature on THCB (cough, …

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M4A as a Swing Issue

BY MIKE MAGEE “There’s common ground there—not the warm belonging of full creedal agreement, perhaps, but a place, even a welcoming place, where we can stand together.”    Ian Marcus Corbin, Research Fellow, Harvard Medical School Most Americans would love to believe this statement. But political reality intervenes. A March, 2022 Pew Research Center analysis found our two …

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Danger Ahead. Good

BY KIM BELLARD I saw a great quote by Alfred North Whitehead the other day: “It is the business of the future to be dangerous.” Now, I was a math major many years ago, so I know who Alfred North Whitehead was: the coauthor (with Bertrand Russell) of the Principia Mathematica, a landmark, three-volume treatise …

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We Hold These Truths

BY KIM BELLARD It’s July 4th – Independence Day for those of you who remember your U.S. history.  There’s already too much talk about loss of rights, political tyranny, militias, even succession, and I don’t want to wade any further into those troubled waters.  But I thought I could at least try to reimagine what …

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Matthew’s health care tidbits: Texas is the present future of abortion care

Each week I’ve been adding a brief tidbits section to the THCB Reader, our weekly newsletter that summarizes the best of THCB that week (Sign up here!). Then I had the brainwave to add them to the blog. They’re short and usually not too sweet! –Matthew Holt In this edition’s tidbits, I have to return …

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Mike Magee’s Advice to the AMA on Reversal of Roe vs. Wade

BY MIKE MAGEE Stable, civic societies are built upon human trust and confidence. If you were forced to rebuild a society, leveled by warfare and devastation, where would you begin? This is the question the U.S. Army faced at the close of WW II, specifically when it came to rebuilding Germany and Japan, hopefully into …

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We Have a Right to Privacy…Right?

BY KIM BELLARD Well, they did it.  We had a warning they were going to do it, from the leaked opinion in May, but it still was a blow to well over half the country when the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in its ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. It …

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Getting Sick and Going Broke – CVS, Credit Cards, and Crippling Medical Debt

BY MIKE MAGEE The Medical-Industrial Complex is swarming with grifters. This is to be expected when you build a purposefully complex system designed to advance profitability for small and large players alike. The $4T operation payrolling 1 in 5 American workers is, in large part, a hidden economy, one built by professional tricksters, designed by …

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Global Warming and Disease

BY MIKE MAGEE A study eight years ago, published in Nature, was titled “Study revives bird origin for 1918 flu pandemic.” The study, which analyzed more than 80,000 gene sequences from flu viruses from humans., birds, horses, pigs, and bats, concluded the 1918 pandemic disaster “probably sprang from North American domestic and wild birds, not …

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Republican Health Policies Disproportionally Harm White Citizens in Their States

BY MIKE MAGEE “As I’ve said before, I believe Dr. Ladapo is an anti-science quack who doesn’t belong anywhere near our state’s Surgeon General office, let alone running it. But now that he’s been confirmed, it’s my sincere hope that he and Governor DeSantis choose to focus on saving lives and preventing unnecessary illness instead …

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Hey, Old Guys!

BY KIM BELLARD OK, how many of you had on your women-in-power bingo cards that, in 2022, Sheryl Sandberg would be out at Facebook but Queen Elizabeth II would still be Queen?  It’s the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, marking seventy years on the throne.  She’s getting a lot of love for that tenure, but it makes …

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British Doctor Suspended for falsely claiming she was “promised” a laptop. WTF!

BY SAURABH JHA If forced to choose Britain’s two biggest contributions to civilizations, I’d pick the Magna Carta and the vaguely instructional “fuck off.” If permitted a third, I’d choose “managerialism.” Brits are good at telling others what to do. Managerialism is how the Brits once ruled India. Buoyed by the colonial experience, British managers …

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Virtual Care Regulatory Round-Up: Telehealth & Digital Care ‘State-of-Play’ by Nathaniel Lacktman

BY JESS DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH Just as HHS extends the Covid-19 public health emergency waivers until July, we kick-off a brand-new monthly interview series about the state-of-play for all things telehealth and digital care policy and reimbursement. Called the WTF Health Virtual Care Regulatory Round-up, we’re partnering with our friends at Wheel to feature health …

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What Do You Mean, “Innovation”?

BY KIM BELLARD One of my favorite movies is The Princess Bride. Among the many great quotes is one from Inigo Montoya, who becomes frustrated when the evil Vizzini keeps using “inconceivable” to describe events that were clearly actually taking place. “You keep using that word,” Inigo finally says. “I do not think it means …

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The Licensing Walls Come Tumbling Down

BY KIM BELLARD Abortion rights continue to be one of the most heated issues in American politics, super-fueled by last week’s leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn 1973’s Roe v. Wade and return the issue to the states to decide.  I’ll leave it to others more qualified than me – women, …

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ONC Explainer: Micky Tripathi Deep-Dive on Info Blocking, API standardization & TEFCA

By JESS DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH Micky Tripathi the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS says this year will be a “transformative” year for Health IT as the decade-long, $40 billion dollar effort to lay an electronic foundation for healthcare delivery heads to the next level. Why is this year THE YEAR when it …

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Dara’s “Hero Quest”: How About Embracing Universal Health Care in America?

By MIKE MAGEE Joseph Campbell, who died in 1987 at the age 83, was a professor of literature and comparative mythology at Sarah Lawrence College. His famous 1949 book, “The Hero With a Thousand Faces” made the case that, despite varying cultures and religions, the hero’s story of departure, initiation, and return, is remarkably consistent …

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We Love Innovation. Don’t We?

BY KIM BELLARD America loves innovation.  We prize creativity.  We honor inventors.  We are the nation of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Jonas Salk, Steve Jobs, and Stephen Spielberg, to name a few luminaries. Silicon Valley is the center of the tech world, Hollywood sets the cultural tone for the world, and Wall Street is preeminent …

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Medical regulator faces questions over board members’ links to drug firms

Concerns over potential conflicts of interest lead to calls for regulator’s policy to be strengthened The UK medicines watchdog has been urged to strengthen its conflict of interest policy after it emerged that six of its board members are receiving payments from the pharmaceutical industry. Board members involved in overseeing the regulator’s “strategic direction” also …

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Ukraine’s Secret Weapon – “Moral Superiority”

BY MIKE MAGEE Two hundred and ten years ago, on September 7, 1812, a Putinesque commander, narrowly won a battle, but lost a war and entered a downward cycle that ended his reign. The battle was the Battle of Borodino, a town on the river Moskva, 70 miles west of Moscow. The commander was Napoleon. …

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MedPAC Got It Wrong (pt 3)

By GEORGE HALVORSON This is the third part of former Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson’s critique of Medpac’s new analysis of Medicare Advantage. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Eventually I’ll be doing a summary article about all the back and forth about what Medicare Advantage really costs!-Matthew Holt Risk status and RAF …

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988 and 911: Justice System Involvement in Mental Health Crises

BY BEN WHEATLEY A woman was walking in the crosswalk of a busy intersection as the rain started to come down. She looked cold, but more than that, she looked off. She had no shoes on her feet and her countenance was in disarray. It seemed to me that she was in the midst of …

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Profits jump for Patel-backed PPE firm after it won £216m contracts

Pharmaceuticals Direct Limited was awarded taxpayer-funded business after support from home secretary Profits at a PPE company that secured support from the home secretary, Priti Patel, as it lobbied ministers for UK government contracts have soared after winning £216m in taxpayer-funded business during the pandemic. Revenues at Pharmaceuticals Direct Limited jumped from £38m to £166m …

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MedPAC Got It Wrong (pt 2)

By GEORGE HALVORSON This is the second part of former Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson’s critique of Medpac’s new analysis of Medicare Advantage.Part 1 is here. The final part will be published on THCB later this week. Eventually I’ll be doing a summary article about all the back and forth about what Medicare Advantage really …

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MedPAC Got It Wrong (pt 1)

By GEORGE HALVORSON This is the first part of former Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson’s critique of Medpac’s new analysis of Medicare Advantage. The rest will be published on THCB later this week. Eventually I’ll be doing a summary article about all the back and forth about what Medicare Advantage really costs!-Matthew Holt MedPac just …

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Matthew’s health care tidbits: #Does Medicare Advantage Save the Taxpayer Money?

Each week I’ve been adding a brief tidbits section to the THCB Reader, our weekly newsletter that summarizes the best of THCB that week (Sign up here!). Then I had the brainwave to add them to the blog. They’re short and usually not too sweet! –Matthew Holt For my health care tidbits this week, the …

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Contemplating Health Data Rights as Civil Rights

BY ERIC PERAKSLIS ON BEHALF OF THE LIGHT COLLECTIVE Recently, despite decades of experience in cybersecurity, privacy, and data science, I got sent back to school.   As a member of the Council of the Wise at the Light Collective, a patient advocacy group with a focus on healthcare technology and privacy, I attended a town …

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Celebrating the 12th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act in a Pandemic: Where Would We Be Without It?

BY ROSEMARIE DAY When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law twelve years ago today, Joe Biden called it “a big f-ing deal.”  Little did he, or anyone else at that time, realize how big of a deal it was. Just ten years later, America was engulfed in a global pandemic, the magnitude …

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ARPHA-H Needs to Think Bigger

BY KIM BELLARD Everyone loves DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency that is credited with such hits as the internet and GPS, but is also responsible for things like the Boston Dynamics back-flipping robots and even Siri.  DARPA’s mission is to make “pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security,” but, as the previous …

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Hospital Systems: A Framework for Maximizing Social Benefit

By JEFF GOLDSMITH and IAN MORRISON Hospital consolidation has risen to the top of the health policy stack. David Dranove and Lawton Burns argued in their recent Big Med:  Megaproviders and the High Cost of Health Care in America (Univ of Chicago Press, 2021) that hospital consolidation has produced neither cost savings from “economies of scale” …

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The (sort of, partial) Father mRNA Vaccines Who Now Spreads Vaccine Misinformation (Part 2)

By DAVID WARMFLASH, MD This is part 2 of David Warmlash’s takedown of Robert W. Malone’s appearance (transcript) on the Rogan podcast. Part 1 is here Menstruation and Fertility Much more than the line about reproductive damage in the Wisconsin News clip that we used to open the story, Malone used the Rogan interview to …

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The (sort of, partial) Father mRNA Vaccines Who Now Spreads Vaccine Misinformation (Part 1)

By DAVID WARMFLASH, MD Robert W. Malone, MD MS, is a physician-scientist who will live in infamy, thanks to the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast boosting his visibility this past December regarding his criticism of COVID-19 vaccines, particularly the mRNA vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech). Subsequently, Malone was banned from Twitter, which further boosted his celebrity status. …

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Where Health Care Value Can Lead

By BRIAN KLEPPER It seems inevitable that, in the near future, an innovative health care organization – Let’s call it The Platform – is going to seize the market opportunity of broader value. It will cobble together the pieces, and demonstrate to organizational purchasers that it consistently delivers better health outcomes at significantly lower cost …

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Reflections From the Ukraine

By MIKE MAGEE The English translator of Tolstoy’s epic Russian novel, “War and Peace”, Richard Pevear, writes in his introduction, “The book is set in the period of the Napoleonic wars (1805-1812) and tells the interweaving historical events of two very different families of the Russian nobility – the severe Bolonskys and the easygoing Rostovs …

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‘It’s a real-life Hunger Games’: a lifesaving drug costs $2m, but not every child can get it

Zolgensma is a revolutionary gene therapy that can stop a deadly childhood condition called SMA in its tracks. It’s also one of the most expensive drugs in the world Elizabeth Wraige remembers the first time she delivered the diagnosis. “Parents feel as if they’ve been hit by a sledgehammer,” she says. Her patient, a baby …

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Medicare Advantage Poses Challenges to Health CareCost Effectiveness and Equity

BY NIRBAN SINGH AND AMY HELBURN Introduction Medicare Advantage (Advantage), originally conceived in 1997 during the Clinton Administration as ‘Medicare + Choice’, has progressively grown and become an established health insurance option for those 65 and older. According to data collected and aggregated by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Advantage has more than doubled in total …

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Get Ready for (Healthcare) Microgrids

BY KIM BELLARD We depend on it.  Indeed, our daily lives are unimaginable without it.  The trouble is, it’s become unreliable.  Lives have been lost because it wasn’t performing when it needed to be.  It’s built around large facilities that are often decades old.  Parts of it don’t communicate/coordinate well with others.  Its workforce is …

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What Would Newt Do? Making Value-Based Care Victorious

By MICHAEL MILLENSON Health care’s much-trumpeted transition “from volume to value” care remains more tepid than transformational, according to a new study. Looking at 22 health systems nationwide, RAND researchers found that compensation continues to be “dominated by volume-based incentives designed to maximize health systems revenue.” Although confusing payment schemes bear part of the blame, …

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What the Pandemic Taught Us About Value-based Care

By RICHARD ISSACS You’ll recall that we ran a long piece (pt 1, pt 2) about Medicare Advantage from former Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson earlier this year. Here’s a somewhat related piece from the current head of the Permanente Medical Group about what actually happened there and elsewhere during the pandemic–Matthew Holt The COVID-19 …

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Aledade: Mandy Cohen joins, Farzad speaks

Aledade is the “build an ACO out of small independent primary care practices” company. It was founded by former ONC Director Farzad Mostashari and has been growing fast and profitably in the last few years, having raised just shy of $300m. Farzad recently both tweeted out the latest and put up a slide deck about …

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Imaging a Different Future

By KIM BELLARD Two articles have me thinking this week.  One sets up the problem healthcare has (although healthcare is not explicitly mentioned), while the other illustrates it.  They share being about how we view the future.   The two articles are Ezra Klein’s Can Democrats See What’s Coming? in The New York Times Opinion …

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Will Microbes Finally Force Modernization of the American Health Care System?

Mike Magee MD Science has a way of punishing humans for their arrogance. In 1996, Dr. Michael Osterholm found himself rather lonely and isolated in medical research circles. This was the adrenaline-infused decade of blockbuster pharmaceuticals focused squarely on chronic debilitating diseases of aging. And yet, there was Osterholm, in Congressional testimony delivering this message: …

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Take a Tip from Domino’s

By KIM BELLARD If you’re already thinking ahead to next Sunday’s Super Bowl, you might be thinking about Domino’s, because, as everyone knows, pizza and football go together like mom and apple pie.  I’m thinking about Domino’s too, but not because I’m planning my order.  It’s about their new program to reward customers who do …

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Spotify, Joe Rogan, and Health Care

By KIM BELLARD Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d have to write: the most interesting discussion in healthcare in the past week has been about Neil Young versus Spotify.   For those of you who have not been following the controversy, Neil Young gave Spotify an ultimatum: it could have his music or Joe …

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Matthew’s health care tidbits: #What is insurance again?

Each week I’ve been adding a brief tidbits section to the THCB Reader, our weekly newsletter that summarizes the best of THCB that week (Sign up here!). Then I had the brainwave to add them to the blog. They’re short and usually not too sweet! –Matthew Holt For my health care tidbits this week, I …

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The Social Science of Covid

By MIKE MAGEE As we enter the third year of the Covid pandemic, with perhaps a partial end in sight, the weight of the debate shows signs of shifting away from genetically engineered therapies, and toward a social science search for historic context. Renowned historian, Charles E. Rosenberg, envisioned a similar transition for the AIDS …

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The Covid Vaccine’s PR Crisis: Health Innovation vs the Take-Down Power of Disinformation

By JESSICA DaMASSA Misinformation and disinformation (intentionally wrong information) have plagued the storyline of the Covid19 vaccine since the early days of its development, creating a healthcare communications crisis that has not only stalled U.S. vaccination rates, but has also raised questions about how medical and scientific experts will ever again win trust across audiences …

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The Intersection of 911 and 988: Decriminalizing Mental Health Crises

By BEN WHEATLEY Effective July 2022, a new three-digit telephone number (988) will become the number to call in the case of mental health emergencies. Currently, 911 serves as the default number for people to call, placing the acutely mentally ill on a direct track toward police involvement. The new system is meant to ensure …

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DAOs May Rescue Healthcare

By KIM BELLARD You may have seen the news that Kaiser Permanente has signed on to be an organizing member of Graphite Health, joining SSM Health, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, and Intermountain Healthcare.  Graphite Health, in case you missed its October launch announcement, is “a member-led company intent on transforming digital health care to improve patient …

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Medicare Advantage Is a Superior Program (Part two)

By GEORGE HALVORSON Former Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson has written on THCB on and off over the years, most notably with his proposal for Medicare Advantage for All post-COVID. He wrote a piece in Health Affairs last week arguing with the stance of Medicare Advantage of Don Berwick and Rick Gilfillan (Here’s their piece pt1, pt2). Here’s …

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Medicare Advantage Is a Superior Program (Part one)

By GEORGE HALVORSON Former Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson has written on THCB on and off over the years, most notably with his proposal for Medicare Advantage for All post-COVID. He wrote a piece in Health Affairs last week arguing with the stance of Medicare Advantage of Don Berwick and Rick Gilfillan (Here’s their piece pt1, pt2). Here’s …

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UK Covid test distributor shut for Christmas after receiving 2.5m kits

Alliance Healthcare took delivery on 24 December and then closed for four days, amid nationwide shortage Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The sole distributor of Covid lateral flow tests (LFTs) to pharmacies closed for four days over the Christmas period just as it received a delivery of 2.5m devices, it has …

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UK medicines regulator approves Pfizer’s ‘life-saving’ Covid pill

Paxlovid found to be ‘safe and effective’ at reducing hospitalisation and death among vulnerable adults Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage UK regulators have approved Pfizer’s “life-saving” antiviral drug Paxlovid, which boasts nearly 90% success in preventing severe illness among vulnerable adults if taken soon after becoming infected with Covid-19. The Medicines …

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My 22 Oldest Jokes and Why they Still Matter in 2022

By IAN MORRISON I have been studying American healthcare for more than 40 years and I have assembled a large number of one-liners over the years. As we enter 2022, I thought I’d share my 22 oldest jokes and why they still matter.  Coming to America  I grew up in Glasgow, Scotland.  In Glasgow, healthcare is a right, carrying a machine gun is a privilege. …

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NHS drug pledge broken for asthma sufferers and smokers, report reveals

Exclusive: charities critical of failure to meet health plan for England, despite 2019 agreement A promise to ensure that people with severe asthma and smokers who want to quit can get the drugs they need has been broken by ministers and the NHS, a health service report reveals. Health charities criticised the persistent lack of …

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“Playing Doctor” – A Cautionary Tale From Health IT Pioneers.

By MIKE MAGEE Warner Vincent Slack, MD, a pioneer of medical informatics, was a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School in the Division of Clinical Informatics. When he died in 2018 at age 85, his memoriam read: “For over 50 years, Dr. Slack conducted pioneering research on the use of computers in the medical …

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The Eisenhower Principle

By KIM BELLARD I’ve finally come to understand why the U.S. healthcare system continues to be such a mess, and I have President Dwight Eisenhower to thank. I’ve been paying close attention to our healthcare system for, I hate to admit, over forty years now. It has been a source of constant frustration and amazement …

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UK ministers secure 114m more Covid vaccines for next two years

Extra Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna jabs for 2022 and 2023 ordered to ‘future proof’ vaccine programme Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Ministers in the UK have secured new contracts to buy 114m more Covid-19 vaccines for the next two years. The deals, for 2022 and 2023, were accelerated after the emergence of …

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Matthew’s health care tidbits: Drug prices

Each week I’ve been adding a brief tidbits section to the THCB Reader, our weekly newsletter that summarizes the best of THCB that week (Sign up here!). Then I had the brainwave to add them to the blog. They’re short and usually not too sweet! –Matthew Holt For my health care tidbits this week, I …

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The Kids Aren’t Alright

By KIM BELLARD America, like most cultures, claims to love and value children, but, gosh, the reality sure seems very different. Three recent reports help illustrate this: The Pew Research Center’s report on the expectation of having children, Claire Suddath’s searing look at the childcare industry on Bloomberg, and a UNICEF survey about how young …

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988: A New Lifeline for Mental Health Emergencies

By BEN WHEATLEY Miles Hall, a 23-year-old Black man experiencing a psychotic episode, was shot and killed by police after 911 received calls of a disturbance in his Walnut Creek, California neighborhood. His mother Taun Hall had taken steps to warn the local police that her son had been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and that …

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Healthcare Not a Part of the US Inflation Surge: Who Knew?

By JEFF GOLDSMITH When I first appeared in The Health Care Blog fourteen long years ago, it was to decry the policy community’s obsessive search for bad news about the health system: https://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2007/10/03/the-perpetual-health-care-crisis-by-jeff-goldsmith/. So while we struggled with the COVID pandemic, we continued hearing regularly about pharmaceutical price gouging, anti-competitive hospital mergers, bad labor relations, …

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Climate Change: The Future of the Quality Movement

By MARIE DUNN A little more than 20 years ago, the IOM report To Err is Human catalyzed the profession around the realization that our health care system was killing around 98,000 people a year from medical error. I am part of a generation of professionals that learned to adopt systems thinking; to measure, monitor, …

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Can Democracy Survive In The Absence of Health Care Security?

By MIKE MAGEE In my course this fall at the President’s College at the University of Hartford, we began by exploring the word “right” at the intersection of health care services and the U.S. Constitution.  But where we have ended up is at the crossroads of American history, considering conflicting federal and state law, and …

Can Democracy Survive In The Absence of Health Care Security? Read More »

What is the “Right” to Health Care Worth? It Depends

By MIKE MAGEE In my course this Fall at the University of Hartford, titled “The Right to Health Care and the U.S. Constitution”, we have concentrated on the power of words, of precedents, and the range of interests with which health has been encumbered over several hundred years. The topic has been an eye-opener on …

What is the “Right” to Health Care Worth? It Depends Read More »

Godwin’s Law and the Rise of Hyperbole on MedTwitter 🙄

By @roguerad I first clashed with authority when I was eight. Every Saturday bunch of brown kids, children of Indian immigrants to Britain with an identity crisis who longed for the culture they left behind, attended a class in the temple about “our culture” taught by a joyless scholar of Hinduism – a pundit – …

Godwin’s Law and the Rise of Hyperbole on MedTwitter 🙄 Read More »

State-Based Marketplaces 2.0 Part 2: Engines of Innovation, Competition, and Consumerism

By ROSEMARIE DAY and DAVID W. JOHNSON Within the current political reality, how can America implement policies that increase access to health insurance while also reducing premium costs and enhancing responsiveness to consumer priorities and needs?  Large-scale healthcare reform appears off-the-table for the Biden Administration. Yet, given the impact of the COVID pandemic on people …

State-Based Marketplaces 2.0 Part 2: Engines of Innovation, Competition, and Consumerism Read More »

In “Riding” Abortion, Is Greg Abbott Driving Texas Toward Divestiture?

By MIKE MAGEE Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been on a tear lately, and his central theme appears to be “revanchism.” Faced with declining demographics, he is retaliating against enemies and newcomers alike, aligning himself with slippery politicians and vigilantes. As they say in Texas, “He’s on a first-name basis with the bottom of the …

In “Riding” Abortion, Is Greg Abbott Driving Texas Toward Divestiture? Read More »

State-Based Marketplaces 2.0 – Part 1: The Coming Expansion in Access, Affordability, and Value

By ROSEMARIE DAY and DAVID W. JOHNSON, The Affordable Care Act (ACA) survived its third challenge at the Supreme Court on June 18, 2021, by a 7-2 vote, signaling that Obamacare is here to stay. With a divided Congress and a Biden administration challenged by multiple urgencies, there is little hope for national legislation to …

State-Based Marketplaces 2.0 – Part 1: The Coming Expansion in Access, Affordability, and Value Read More »

The Vaccine Brawl – A Legal Battle in Process

By MIKE MAGEE The power to mandate vaccines was litigated and resolved over a century ago. Justice John Marshall Harlin, a favorite of current Chief Justice Roberts, penned the 7 to 2 majority opinion in 1905’s Jacobson v. Massachusetts. Its impact was epic. In 1905, Massachusetts was one of 11 states that required compulsory vaccinations. …

The Vaccine Brawl – A Legal Battle in Process Read More »

Policies, Techies, VCS: Musings From a Futurist

By IAN MORRISON I should’ve been in Paris last week on vacation with my wife, instead I listened in to the Policies Techies VCS:  What’s Next For Healthcare conference (I’ll explain why later).  Matthew Holt and Jessica DaMassa did a magnificent job of assembling the Who’s Who of digital health tech to wax lyrical about …

Policies, Techies, VCS: Musings From a Futurist Read More »

Selfish Much?

By KIM BELLARD In a week where we’ve seen the bungled Afghan withdrawal, had Texas show us its contempt for all sorts of rights, watched wildfires ravage the west and Ida wreak havoc on a third of the country, and, of course, witnessed COVID-19 continue its resurgence, I managed to find an article that depressed …

Selfish Much? Read More »

Does Our Healthcare System Work for the Most Vulnerable Americans?

By DEBORAH AFEZOLLI, CARL-PHILIPPE ROUSSEAU, HELEN FERNANDEZ, ELIZABETH LINDENBERGER “Why did you choose this field?” Most physicians are asked this question at some point in their early careers. We are geriatrics and palliative medicine physicians, so when that question is posed to us, it is invariably followed by another: “Isn’t your job depressing?” No, our …

Does Our Healthcare System Work for the Most Vulnerable Americans? Read More »

Health Care, Meet Gall’s Law

By KIM BELLARD I can’t believe I’ve gone this long without knowing about Gall’s Law (thanks to @niquola for tweeting it!).  For those of you similarly unaware, John Gall was a pediatrician who, seemingly in his spare time, wrote Systemantics: How Systems Work and Especially How They Fail in 1975.  His “law,” contained therein, is: …

Health Care, Meet Gall’s Law Read More »

Sleepless Nights For Evolutionary Biologists: A Greek Tragedy in The Making

By MIKE MAGEE In my Jesuit high school, we were offered only one science course – chemistry. I took it in my Senior year and did pretty well. In contrast, I took four years of Latin, and three years of Greek, as part of the school’s Greek Honors tract. Little did I know that Covid …

Sleepless Nights For Evolutionary Biologists: A Greek Tragedy in The Making Read More »

The FDA’s Culture: Should Safety Dominate All Practices?

By STEVEN ZECOLA An organization’s culture is an internal set of shared values, attitudes and practices. The cohesiveness of the organizational culture will affect whether the entity will meet its vision, purpose, and goals. One type of organizational culture is hierarchical in nature.   Unlike a risk-taking culture, this structure features policy, process and precision. It is …

The FDA’s Culture: Should Safety Dominate All Practices? Read More »

Delta Double-Down: A Universal Health Plan Is Long Overdue.

By MIKE MAGEE On March 25, 1966, during the Poor People’s March that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” This week, my niece in Orlando, Florida, sent her 8-year old son, masked, back to public school. He has …

Delta Double-Down: A Universal Health Plan Is Long Overdue. Read More »

It takes a pandemic: Mental Health parity may finally have its day!

By EMILY EVANS Emily Evans is the health policy guru at equity research company HedgeEye. She sends out these reports in emails to her clients regularly but (since I asked nicely) she allowed me to publish this one from late last week on THCB. You can catch Emily in person on the “How Much Are These …

It takes a pandemic: Mental Health parity may finally have its day! Read More »

Breast cancer drug approved for NHS after maker agrees discount

Reversal of earlier rejection by Nice of abemaciclib – known as Verzenios – is welcomed by campaigners A breast cancer drug that was rejected for routine NHS use in England earlier this year has now been recommended by health officials after a discount was agreed with the manufacturer. The decision has been described as “fantastic …

Breast cancer drug approved for NHS after maker agrees discount Read More »

UK orders extra Covid vaccines for autumn 2022 booster campaign

Pfizer reportedly asked to supply 35m more doses, with final go-ahead for this year’s programme still awaited Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Ministers have started ordering vaccines for a booster campaign in autumn 2022, with Pfizer reportedly being asked to supply the UK with a further 35m doses. The government has …

UK orders extra Covid vaccines for autumn 2022 booster campaign Read More »

Health Care Needs A Hero

By MIKE MAGEE Health care needs its heroes. I came to that conclusion this week through a roundabout route. First I read Maureen Dowd’s interview entitled “Dara Khosrowshahi, Dad of Silicon Valley”, in which she, with some affection, gives the reader a look behind the scenes at the personal life of the current Uber CEO. …

Health Care Needs A Hero Read More »

Biden Should Extend a “Public Option” as a Message to “Health Care Royalists”

By MIKE MAGEE In this world of political theatrics, with Democratic legislators from Texas forced into exodus to preserve voters’ rights, and Tucker Carlson rantings about Rep. Eric Swalwell riding shirtless on a camel in Qatar streaming relentlessly, Americans can be excused if they missed a substantive and historic news event last week. On Friday, …

Biden Should Extend a “Public Option” as a Message to “Health Care Royalists” Read More »

Matthew’s health care tidbits

Each week I’ve been adding a brief tidbits section to the THCB Reader, our weekly newsletter that summarizes the best of THCB that week (Sign up here!). Then I had the brainwave to add them to the blog. They’re short and usually not too sweet! –Matthew Holt In this week’s health care tidbits, Shannon Brownlee …

Matthew’s health care tidbits Read More »

A Hamiltonian View of Post-Pandemic America

By MIKE MAGEE “In countries where there is great private wealth much may be effected by the voluntary contributions of patriotic individuals, but in a community situated like that of the United States, the public purse must supply the deficiency of private resource. In what can it be so useful as in prompting and improving …

A Hamiltonian View of Post-Pandemic America Read More »

Million Pfizer jabs face being dumped after Israel-UK swap deal fails

Israel says technical issues have scuppered deal to give UK Covid vaccines expiring on 30 July Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage More than a million Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doses held in Israel that are due to expire at the end of July may be thrown away after attempts to broker a swap …

Million Pfizer jabs face being dumped after Israel-UK swap deal fails Read More »

Drug firms giving MPs ‘hidden’ funding, research shows

Pharmaceutical industry has “hidden web of policy influence” over dozens of all-party parliamentary groups Drug companies are giving groups of MPs and peers that campaign on health issues hundreds of thousands of pounds a year in “hidden” funding that could hand them “undue influence”, research has found. The pharmaceutical industry has built up a “hidden …

Drug firms giving MPs ‘hidden’ funding, research shows Read More »

Community Health Plans Are Serious: Support Major Federal Action to Reduce Rx Drug Costs

By CECI CONNOLLY Equal treatment under the law. A foundational pillar of American life. Except when it comes to drug makers who benefit from favorable treatment by the federal government. For far too long, prescription drug companies have profited immensely under a system that affords them monopolistic powers to set prices devoid of government or …

Community Health Plans Are Serious: Support Major Federal Action to Reduce Rx Drug Costs Read More »

Matthew’s health care tidbits

Each week I’ve been adding a brief tidbits section to the THCB Reader, our weekly newsletter that summarizes the best of THCB that week (Sign up here!). Then I had the brainwave to add them to the blog. They’re short and usually not too sweet! (And yes, this week’s is a tad late!) –Matthew Holt …

Matthew’s health care tidbits Read More »

U.S. Science Embrace of Wuhan “Gain-Of-Function” Viral Research Proved A Slippery Slope

By MIKE MAGEE The truth hurts. Eighteen months into a disaster that has claimed 3.5 million lives around the globe, the truth is seeping out. Human error likely caused the Covid pandemic, and America’s Medical-Industrial Complex was right in the middle of it. Signs of a “great awakening” have emerged from various corners in the …

U.S. Science Embrace of Wuhan “Gain-Of-Function” Viral Research Proved A Slippery Slope Read More »

Bias, Before First Breath

How structural racism and implicit bias impact America’s babies, even prior to birth By ELLIE STANG Becoming a new mother in America is more dangerous for some mothers than it should be. Each year, 700 women die in childbirth or from pregnancy-related causes in the United States, the highest number of any developed nation.  Health …

Bias, Before First Breath Read More »

Make Some Microbe Friends

By KIM BELLARD It’s the coolest story I’ve seen in the past few days: The New York Times reported how an Italian  museum cleaned its priceless Michelangelo sculptures with an army of bacteria.  As Jason Horowitz wrote, “restorers and scientists quietly unleashed microbes with good taste and an enormous appetite on the marbles, intentionally turning …

Make Some Microbe Friends Read More »

MPs tell Johnson: you have a duty to help vaccinate the world

Exclusive: group urges prime minister to tackle ‘desperate shortage’ in developing nations Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Boris Johnson has a “moral duty” to immediately start matching each vaccine administered at home with a donated dose to poorer countries across the world, a cross-party group of MPs and peers has said. …

MPs tell Johnson: you have a duty to help vaccinate the world Read More »

Public Health Nurses Once Again Asking, “What Are They Thinking?”

Whitney Thurman Karen Johnson By KAREN JOHNSON and WHITNEY THURMAN One recent Friday night, we huddled with our colleagues in the pouring rain at a movie theater parking lot– our cars packed with supplies for our mobile vaccine clinic— trying to find someone who wanted an extra dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine before it expired. …

Public Health Nurses Once Again Asking, “What Are They Thinking?” Read More »

Secular Stagnation – An Economic Argument for Universal Health Care Now

By MIKE MAGEE John Maynard Keynes, the famous British economist, was born and raised in Cambridge, England, and taught at King’s College.  He died in 1946. He is widely recognized today as the father of Keynesian economics that promoted a predominantly private sector driven, market economy, with an activist government sector hanging in the wings …

Secular Stagnation – An Economic Argument for Universal Health Care Now Read More »

10 Design Considerations for Vaccine Credentials

By ADRIAN GROPPER As COVID-19 vaccines become widely, if not fairly, available in different regions, both the public and private sector are working to develop vaccine credentials and associated surveillance systems. Information technology applied to vaccination can be effective, but it can also be oppressive, discriminatory, and counter-productive. But these systems can be tuned to reflect and …

10 Design Considerations for Vaccine Credentials Read More »

This Mother’s Day, Let’s Get Mothers the Health Care Coverage They Need

Mothers deserve more than a day of recognition this year—they deserve the whole month, and more. The pandemic has been particularly hard on women, especially poor women and women of color.  To demonstrate the appreciation mothers deserve this Mother’s Day, we should get them something they really need: health care. To improve maternal health, we should look …

This Mother’s Day, Let’s Get Mothers the Health Care Coverage They Need Read More »

“Necessitous Men Are Not Free Men” – Words to Remember

By MIKE MAGEE In the second half of the 19th century, Emily Dickinson wrote a short poem that could easily have been a forward looking tribute to two American Presidents – one from the 20th, the other the 21st century. Dickinson’s poem “A WORD is dead” is hardly longer than its title. “A WORD is …

“Necessitous Men Are Not Free Men” – Words to Remember Read More »

The Market Forces Behind Vaccine Passports

By SAURABH JHA Unlike medical meetings, rendering Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony isn’t easy on Zoom, so the local orchestra has been furloughed and their members work for Uber.  The opera house wants to reopen, preferably before we reach the elusive herd immunity threshold. They mandate vaccinations for their artists, not least because the performers can keep …

The Market Forces Behind Vaccine Passports Read More »

UK orders 60m more doses of Pfizer Covid vaccine for booster jabs

Health secretary says greater supplies of vaccine will help safeguard progress in tackling coronavirus Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The UK has ordered a further 60m doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine in an effort to ensure that booster jabs can be given from this autumn, the government has announced. The …

UK orders 60m more doses of Pfizer Covid vaccine for booster jabs Read More »

Healthcare’s Million Dollar Blocks

By KIM BELLARD Since I first heard about them, I have been fascinated, and dismayed, by the concept of “million dollar blocks.”  For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it doesn’t refer to, say, Beverly Hills,  Chicago’s Gold Coast, or Manhattan’s Hudson Yards — areas where the wealthy congregate.  No, it refers to city …

Healthcare’s Million Dollar Blocks Read More »

UK strategy of backing several Covid vaccines seems to be paying off

Analysis: buying new and existing technologies ensured alternatives if a vaccine failed or had supply issues Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The government has said the decision by Johnson & Johnson to delay the supply of its Covid vaccine to Europe, while the US investigates reports of six cases of unusual …

UK strategy of backing several Covid vaccines seems to be paying off Read More »

Coronavirus: UK expert urges people in 20s to keep getting vaccine

Prof David Spiegelhalter says advantages of vaccinating young people far outweigh risks Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage People in their 20s should continue to get vaccinated against Covid despite the very rare cases of blood clotting linked to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine because of the wider benefit to their families, friends and …

Coronavirus: UK expert urges people in 20s to keep getting vaccine Read More »

UK ministers silent on AstraZeneca vaccine shipment to Australia

Downing Street will not confirm or deny report that more than 700,000 Covid jabs were sent after EU blocked export Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage British ministers and officials did not deny that more than 700,000 shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine were secretly dispatched from the UK to Australia a few …

UK ministers silent on AstraZeneca vaccine shipment to Australia Read More »

A prized UK biotech firm looks to Wall Street, much to Rishi Sunak’s dismay

Vaccitech, the Oxford-based firm behind the AstraZeneca vaccine, is a high-profile float that slipped away A glowing, Deliveroo-style tribute from Rishi Sunak will not be required for this flotation. Vaccitech, the Oxford-based firm that owns some of the key biotechnology behind the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine, is off to New York for a public listing. One …

A prized UK biotech firm looks to Wall Street, much to Rishi Sunak’s dismay Read More »

Time to Reboot “Medicare-For-All”

By MIKE MAGEE In the fog of the Covid pandemic, many are wondering what ever happened to prior vocal support for universal coverage and Medicare-for-All. Expect those issues to regain prominence in the coming months. A bit of recent history helps explain why. The January 6th insurrection, followed by the past weeks two mass shootings, …

Time to Reboot “Medicare-For-All” Read More »

UK to make up to 60m doses of Novavax Covid vaccine under GSK deal

Deal is intended to boost domestic supply amid fears potential export bans could hit vaccine shipments Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The UK will produce up to 60m doses of a Covid-19 vaccine under a new deal struck to boost domestic supply, amid fears over potential export bans hitting shipments of …

UK to make up to 60m doses of Novavax Covid vaccine under GSK deal Read More »

Boris Johnson: vaccine cooperation vital to help combat third Covid wave

PM stresses need to work with EU and says surge in infections is likely to ‘wash up on our shores’ Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Boris Johnson has urged international cooperation over vaccines, saying a third wave of coronavirus elsewhere in Europe would inevitably affect the UK. The prime minister’s remarks …

Boris Johnson: vaccine cooperation vital to help combat third Covid wave Read More »

Benefits of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh any risk, says EMA

European agency seeks to allay blood clot fears as Germany, France and Italy temporarily suspend use Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Europe’s medicines regulator has moved to stifle spiralling concern about the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, saying the shot’s benefits outweigh the risks after four major EU countries announced they were suspending its …

Benefits of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh any risk, says EMA Read More »

Pandemic Accelerants: Life Under the “New-Normal.”

By MIKE MAGEE Confrontation is good. Governor Abbott’s “We are getting out of the business of telling people what they can and cannot do” was “Neanderthal thinking” as President Biden said. Insurrectionist Richard Bennett, whose feet sat on Speaker Pelosi’s desk two month’s ago, does need to cool his jets in jail awaiting trial. And …

Pandemic Accelerants: Life Under the “New-Normal.” Read More »

Democrats vs. Republicans: Health Policy Battle Royale

Conventional wisdom holds that the U.S. has become more and more partisan and the views of both Democrats and Republicans have become less moderate over time. Is that the case with respect to views on health policy? A paper in JAMA last week by Blendon et al. (2021) conducted probability-based national surveys on four topics …

Democrats vs. Republicans: Health Policy Battle Royale Read More »

Moderna’s “Secret Sauce”

By MIKE MAGEE This week J&J gained FDA approval for their 1-shot COVID vaccine, leading optimists like Pfizer Board member, Scott Gottlieb, to predict that we will have 100 million shots out there by the end of April, and on-demand offerings for the general public. In the race toward herd immunity, we could easily ignore …

Moderna’s “Secret Sauce” Read More »

Wiping the Sleep From Our Eyes: The Pandemic Plan Trump Ignored

By MIKE MAGEE When awakening from a long sleep, there is a transition period, when the brain struggles momentarily to become oriented, to “think straight.” When the sleep has extended four years, as with the Trump reign, it takes longer to clear the sleepy lies from your eyes. We are emerging, but it will take …

Wiping the Sleep From Our Eyes: The Pandemic Plan Trump Ignored Read More »

Post Pandemic Re-Entry

By ALICIA MORTON FARLESE Not in our lifetimes has humanity experienced such a pervasive, profound, and prolonged retreat from “normal lives.” This. Will. Not. Be. Easy.  While the conversation about the serious negative impact on our behavioral health has started, we also suffer from a scarcity of behavioral health professionals, and equitable access to these …

Post Pandemic Re-Entry Read More »

Number of UK Covid vaccinations falls by a third as vaccine supply dips

Factors at play include high uptake plus stockpiling for second doses, but Matt Hancock promises ‘bumper weeks in March’ Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The number of Covid vaccines administered in the UK has fallen by over a third in the last week as ministers warned of a short-term dip in …

Number of UK Covid vaccinations falls by a third as vaccine supply dips Read More »

Saints, Sinners, & the Spirituality of the SPAC Church | Politics, Policy, Power

By EMILY EVANS Takeaway: Policy changes have overtaken many health care SPACs but that won’t stop a lot of telegenic advocates; something is sure to go wrong. Politics. Something is sure to go wrong. Over 400 SPACs have formed and about 100 business combinations announced. At least as far as health care goes, excluding biotech …

Saints, Sinners, & the Spirituality of the SPAC Church | Politics, Policy, Power Read More »

‘It shows what we’re capable of’: the NHS’s vaccine triumph

A huge effort has helped the UK provide 14m first doses of Covid vaccines in about two months Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage In St Albans, GPs took over a former nightclub to provide Covid vaccinations every 20 seconds; in Carnforth, Lancashire, delivering jabs was helped by volunteers from the local …

‘It shows what we’re capable of’: the NHS’s vaccine triumph Read More »

Oxford Covid vaccine 10% effective against South African variant, study suggests

Small-scale trial of vaccine’s efficacy shows it offers very little protection against mild to moderate infection Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine offers as little as 10% protection against the Covid variant first seen in South Africa, researchers have suggested. Scientists who conducted a small-scale trial of the vaccine’s …

Oxford Covid vaccine 10% effective against South African variant, study suggests Read More »

UK orders 50m doses of Covid vaccines in fight against variants

Government to work with German firm CureVac on tackling potential mutations Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The UK government has signed a deal for at least 50m doses of vaccines that could combat new variants of coronavirus, and is to work with the German manufacturer to help develop them. The Department …

UK orders 50m doses of Covid vaccines in fight against variants Read More »

UK vaccine strategy ‘paying off’ as latest trials boost stockpiles

Pre-ordering of Janssen and Novavax means Britain has procured 247m successfully trialled jabs Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Britain has cemented its status as one of the world’s leading buyers of effective Covid vaccines after two more pharmaceutical companies reported positive trial results – potentially growing the UK stockpile by 90m …

UK vaccine strategy ‘paying off’ as latest trials boost stockpiles Read More »

EU means business over Covid vaccine exports, says Von der Leyen

Commission president says firms must deliver on orders after AstraZeneca warns of shortfall Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The EU “means business”, Ursula von der Leyen has said, as the bloc doubled down on plans for tighter monitoring of vaccine exports to countries outside of the union, such as the UK. …

EU means business over Covid vaccine exports, says Von der Leyen Read More »

Moderna Covid vaccine approved for use by UK medicines regulator

Britain’s third jab to receive clearance for public use will not be available until the spring Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The Moderna coronavirus vaccine has been approved for use in the UK. The jab is the third to be given the green light by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory …

Moderna Covid vaccine approved for use by UK medicines regulator Read More »

Third Covid vaccine set for UK approval next week but arrival delayed by Brexit

Moderna jab won’t be available in Britain until April but fourth vaccine may soon come online Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage A third Covid vaccine is likely to be approved for use in Britain next week but it will not be available until April because the UK is no longer part …

Third Covid vaccine set for UK approval next week but arrival delayed by Brexit Read More »

What difference will Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine make in UK?

We look at how the introduction of a new vaccine in the fight against Covid will work Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is central to the government’s plans for ending social distancing in the UK and returning to some sort of normality. It has invested in seven different …

What difference will Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine make in UK? Read More »

Evaluating President-Elect Biden’s Healthcare Plan | Part 2

By TAYLOR J. CHRISTENSEN In Part 1 of this series, I reviewed the relevant context of our post-ACA healthcare system to show why President-Elect Joe Biden’s healthcare plan is perfectly reasonable. In this part, I will critically evaluate that plan to show what he got right and what he got wrong or missed altogether. Joe …

Evaluating President-Elect Biden’s Healthcare Plan | Part 2 Read More »

Evaluating President-Elect Biden’s Healthcare Plan | Part 1

By TAYLOR J. CHRISTENSEN Without the full support of congress behind him, President-Elect Joe Biden will probably not have an opportunity to sign any major system-altering healthcare legislation. But, if Democrats can gain a majority in the senate–either this election cycle or next—healthcare reform will be high on the agenda. Let’s take a critical look …

Evaluating President-Elect Biden’s Healthcare Plan | Part 1 Read More »

No Names, Please

By KIM BELLARD Feeling good about your holiday spending?  You’ve made it through most of this mostly horrible 2020, maybe lost a job or even a loved one, but still probably found a way to buy presents for your loved ones and maybe even to give some money to charity.  Indeed, charitable giving was up …

No Names, Please Read More »

Tensions mount over handling of UK Covid vaccine rollout

With overall costs for vaccinating the UK population at £12bn, the public accounts committee flags ‘highly unusual’ arrangements Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Vaccinating the population against Covid-19 will cost up to £12bn, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has disclosed, amid details of tensions between health bodies over the rollout. The National Audit …

Tensions mount over handling of UK Covid vaccine rollout Read More »

The “Right” to Health Care in America

By MIKE MAGEE I’ve been working on a Spring lecture for President’s College at the University of Hartford titled, “The Constitution and Your ‘Right to Health Care’ in America.”  My description reads, “This lecture explores the recent political history and legal controversy surrounding attempts to establish universal health coverage in America. “Is health care a right?” …

The “Right” to Health Care in America Read More »

Here’s how to tackle the Covid-19 anti-vaxxers | Will Hanmer-Lloyd

Do not demonise. To optimise the vaccine rollout, all of us must show respect to those who are unsure about inoculations Will Hanmer-Lloyd is a behavioural strategist The Covid-19 vaccines, which are up to 95% effective, have the potential to save millions of lives in the UK and many more around the world. Yet creating …

Here’s how to tackle the Covid-19 anti-vaxxers | Will Hanmer-Lloyd Read More »

What, Us Worry

By KIM BELLARD 2020 has been an awful year.  Hurricanes, wildfires, murder hornets, unjustified shootings, a divisive Presidential election, and, of course, a pandemic.  Most of us are spending unprecedented amounts of time sheltering in place, millions have lost their jobs, the economy is sputtering, and over a quarter million of us didn’t survive to …

What, Us Worry Read More »

Vaccine results bring us a step closer to ending Covid, says Oxford scientist

Latest breakthrough comes as PM says he hopes most at-risk could be immunised by Easter Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The world is moving a step closer to ending the coronavirus pandemic, the scientist behind Britain’s first vaccine has declared, as Boris Johnson said he hoped the majority of those most …

Vaccine results bring us a step closer to ending Covid, says Oxford scientist Read More »

Can the Government Mandate a Covid-19 Vaccine? Will It Have To?

By PHILLIP MEYLAN With the emergence of two vaccines with high levels of effectiveness, there’s a strong prospect of having powerful new tools to combat Covid-19 in the months ahead. But the road between a vaccine and society returning to normal is far from certain. Millions of doses will need to be produced and intelligently distributed, and critically, …

Can the Government Mandate a Covid-19 Vaccine? Will It Have To? Read More »

‘It’s a great day’: Oxford coronavirus vaccine volunteers on trial data

Trial participants react to news that Oxford AstraZeneca Covid vaccine has up to 90% efficacy Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Dan McAteer describes his reaction more as a sense of relief than elation when his phone pinged on Monday morning with a push alert reporting that the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine has …

‘It’s a great day’: Oxford coronavirus vaccine volunteers on trial data Read More »

Trials to begin in UK for Covid antibody cocktail drug treatment

Scientists say jab could be used to protect those who cannot be given vaccines Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Major trials will begin this weekend of an antibody cocktail that scientists hope will protect people against Covid-19 and could be swiftly used in care homes or on cruise ships in the …

Trials to begin in UK for Covid antibody cocktail drug treatment Read More »

Women Leaders Increasingly Visible In The Fight Against Covid-19

By MIKE MAGEE, MD As we struggle to control a second wave of Covid-19, we are reminded once again of the nurses and doctors who place themselves at risk willingly and consistently.  They are struggling uphill with a deeply segmented health care system that chronically rewards the have’s over the have-not’s, and a President clearly …

Women Leaders Increasingly Visible In The Fight Against Covid-19 Read More »

Social Workers are the Healthcare Heroes We Need

By ALIZA NORWOOD I’m a primary care doctor at a clinic providing care to uninsured and under-insured patients in central Texas. As COVID-19 cases rise around the country, one thing has become crystal clear: social workers are more critical to our work than ever, and we don’t have enough of them.   I’m reminded of this one day with a …

Social Workers are the Healthcare Heroes We Need Read More »

UK in ‘advanced discussions’ to buy Moderna Covid vaccine

Britain decided not to buy US vaccine and earliest it could be supplied to UK is spring 2021 Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The UK has not acquired the Moderna vaccine but is in “advanced discussions” to ensure British access, officials have said, while cautioning that no one in the UK …

UK in ‘advanced discussions’ to buy Moderna Covid vaccine Read More »

In Praise of Unsung Heroes

By KIM BELLARD Even in this extraordinary year, this has been an extraordinary week.  Last Tuesday we had what many believe to have been the most important Presidential election in recent times, maybe ever.  The week also found the coronavirus pandemic reaching new heights.  That was the week that was. What struck me, though, is …

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RWJF Emergency Response Innovation Challenges: Virtual Pitch Event on 11/19!

By ELIZABETH BROWN As COVID-19 brought to light the lack of emergency response preparedness in the health care system, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and Catalyst @ Health 2.0 saw an opportunity to highlight digital health’s potential to support health care stakeholders and the general public. RWJF and Catalyst partnered to launch two Innovation …

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What Will Shape Joe Biden’s Health Care Agenda?

I’m thrilled to have health futurist Jeff Goldsmith back on THCB, and given Biden was only confirmed as President-elect this morning, his article on what to expect is extremely timely!–Matthew Holt By  JEFF GOLDSMITH The Trump administration’s health care journey began with a trillion dollar near miss–the failed Repeal and Replacement of ObamaCare- and ended …

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We Need a Digital Identity Framework to Guide the Challenging Transition to Remote Healthcare

By GUS MALEZIS We don’t often see two Republicans and two Democrats come together to offer solutions to problems. But even at this difficult time in America, I can see bipartisanship in a truly meaningful way. The intensely-challenging issue of digital identity is bringing members of Congress of both parties together. Most American adults rely …

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A Cure at Any Cost? Time to Shine a Light on Drug Pricing

By CECI CONNOLLY and BOBBY CLARK We are all are anxiously awaiting the approval and delivery of a cure to the novel coronavirus – or better yet, a vaccine. Amid the race to develop a safe and effective vaccine, some may be inclined to give drug companies a pass on their well-established bad behavior related …

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Election Issue Spotlight: “Junk” Insurance Makes a Pandemic Even Worse

By ROSEMARIE DAY and NIKO LEHMAN-WHITE One of the most important responsibilities of the American government is to protect its citizens from harmful industry practices, from lead poisoning to dangerous pharmaceuticals to financial meltdowns. Its record is far from perfect, but government regulators usually act in good faith and in turn earn the trust of …

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Viruses on Motorcycles

By ANISH KOKA The most recent fiction dressed up as science about COVID comes to us courtesy of a viral Washington Post article.  “How the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally may have spread coronavirus across the Upper Midwest” screams the headline.   The charge made is that “within weeks” of the gathering that drew nearly half a million …

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Careful What You Wish For: How Republican Attorneys General’s Attack on the ACA Could Trigger Medicare for All

By MIKE MAGEE Cautionary tales are timeless. Take for example Aesop’s Fables, from 620 BC, which included the advisory, “Be careful what you wish for lest it come true.” Trump and the Republicans who oppose the ACA take heed. You may be inadvertently taking the entire collusive Medical-Industrial Complex down a rabbit hole. In the …

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Will Trump, Congressional Infections Boost Innovations For Covid-19 Survivors?

By MICHAEL MILLENSON When powerful politicians confront a life-threatening diagnosis, it can change policy priorities.  In addition to President Trump and a slew of top aides, five U.S. senators and 15 members of the House of Representatives have now tested positive or been presumed positive in tests for Covid-19 as of Oct. 5, according to …

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Value-based care – no progress since 1997?

By MATTHEW HOLT Humana is out with a report saying that its Medicare Advantage members who are covered by value-based care (VBC) arrangements do better and cost less than either their Medicare Advantage members who aren’t or people in regular Medicare FFS. To us wonks this is motherhood, apple pie, etc, particularly as proportionately Humana …

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Value-based care – no progress since 1997?

By MATTHEW HOLT Humana is out with a report saying that its Medicare Advantage members who are covered by value-based care (VBC) arrangements do better and cost less than either their Medicare Advantage members who aren’t or people in regular Medicare FFS. To us wonks this is motherhood, apple pie, etc, particularly as proportionately Humana …

Value-based care – no progress since 1997? Read More »

NHS coronavirus tests threatened by Roche supply chain glitch

Pharmaceutical firm reports ‘significant drop in processing capacity’ of reagents, kits and swabs Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Concerns have been raised over the supply of vital testing materials for a range of conditions, including Covid-19, following a supply chain problem with the pharmaceutical company Roche. On Tuesday, Roche said it …

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New Technologies Drive Cost Growth Over Time

By KEN TERRY (This is the eighth and final installment in a series of excerpts from Terry’s new book, Physician-Led Healthcare Reform: a New Approach to Medicare for All, published by the American Association for Physician Leadership.) Medical technologies include drugs, devices, tests, and procedures. Considered as a whole, these technologies are the key driver …

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Obstacles to Value-Based Care Can Be Overcome

By KEN TERRY (This is the seventh in a series of excerpts from Terry’s new book, Physician-Led Healthcare Reform: a New Approach to Medicare for All, published by the American Association for Physician Leadership.) Even in a healthcare system dedicated to value-based care, there would be a few major barriers to the kinds of waste …

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UK doing more than most to help poor get Covid vaccine, study finds

Campaign scoring countries for global access efforts calls for more British transparency Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The UK is doing more than most countries to support access to Covid vaccines for the poorest populations in the world, but it is not transparent enough about the deals it is doing at …

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Biden’s Nov 9th speech: “Don’t you force me to pass Medicare 4 All”

By MATTHEW HOLT The new Supreme Court, in all likelihood including just nominated Justice Amy Coney Barrett, will be hearing the California v Texas suit against the ACA on November 10th, seven days after the election. The lower courts have already ruled the ACA unconstitutional. Some hopeful moderates among my Democratic friends seem to believe …

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Measuring the Effectiveness of Cost-of-Care Conversations

By NELLY GANESAN, JOSH SEIDMAN, MORENIKE AYOVAUGHAN, and RINA BARDIN With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Avalere assesses opportunities to normalize cost-of-care conversations through measurement. Cost continues to pose a barrier to accessing healthcare for millions of Americans. Research has shown that conversations addressing costs among patients, caregivers, and the clinical team can …

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Slow Walking to Value Based Care: Why Fee for Service Still Rules

By KEN TERRY (This is the second in a series of excerpts from Terry’s new book, Physician-Led Healthcare Reform: a New Approach to Medicare for All, published by the American Association for Physician Leadership.) In January 2015, then Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced lofty goals for the government’s value-based payment program. By …

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Thriving in COVID Times

By KIM BELLARD These are, no question, hard times, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In the U.S., we’re closing in on 180,000 deaths in the U.S.  Some 40 million workers lost their jobs, and over 30 million are still receiving unemployment benefits.  Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of small businesses are believed to have …

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Physicians Should Lead on Healthcare Reform

By KEN TERRY (This is the first in a series of excerpts from Terry’s new book, Physician-Led Healthcare Reform: a New Approach to Medicare for All, published by the American Association for Physician Leadership.) Even before COVID-19, healthcare reform seemed to be stuck between a rock and a hard place, but there is a rational …

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THCB’s Bookclub, August 2020 – UnHealthcare: A Manifesto for Health Assurance

By JESSICA DAMASSA & MATTHEW HOLT The THCB Book Club is a discussion with leading health care authors, which will be released on the third Wednesday of every month. And this is the first one! We kicked off with the new book from Hemant Teneja (VC at General Catalyst who has been writing many big checks lately) …

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Health Insurers Ride High for Now, But Watch What’s Coming Next

By KEN TERRY In the strangest healthcare business story of 2020, the major health insurance companies are thriving despite—or because of—the pandemic. As the second quarter reports of United, Anthem, Cigna and other insurers reveal, their COVID-19-related costs were outweighed by the sharp drop in claims for other healthcare services. As a result, the second …

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Healthcare Sings The Non-Profit Blues

By MICHAEL TURPIN Powers once assumed are never relinquished, just as bureaucracies, once created, never die. Charley Reese As we ponder the 100 day count down to the Presidential Elections, the rhetoric and ranting swirling around the best solution for our nation’s healthcare crisis, is hitting decibel levels not heard since the passage of the …

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UK agrees deals for 90m doses of two potential coronavirus vaccines

Government secures early access to those being developed by Novavax and Janssen Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The UK government has reached agreements it says will give British citizens early access to 90m doses of two more potential Covid-19 vaccines. The vaccines are being developed by the US biotech company Novavax …

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The Story of an American Mask Distributor

By SAURABH JHA Seven weeks before President Trump declared COVID-19 a federal emergency heralding the economic lockdown, Jesse’s customers began cutting their orders. Jesse sells garments and cotton, imported predominantly from India, to wholesalers and retailers, big and small, in malls across the North East corridor.  His business had a good January. December was like …

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The Need for Measuring Clinician-Patient Cost-of-Care Conversations

By MORENIKE AYOVAUGHAN, NELLY GANESAN, EMMY GANOS, and JOSH SEIDMAN It is no surprise that beyond COVID-19 health risks, the pandemic has also caused significant disruption to the lives of everyone in America. It has caused exacerbating financial pressures and ongoing job losses. An estimated 42 million people have lost their job since March 2020, …

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How to Pandemic-Proof Our Healthcare Payment System

By AISHA PITTMAN, MPH and SETH EDWARDS, MHA The pandemic has focused many policymakers’ attention  on strategies to make the healthcare system better. The obvious answer is one that we know is efficacious, if perhaps not the sexiest: value-based care. The current healthcare payment system – built around the fee-for-service (FFS) model in which healthcare …

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Up to 750,000 UK Covid test kits recalled due to safety concerns

Products made by diagnostics firm Randox removed from care homes and individuals Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage the Up to 750,000 unused coronavirus testing kits manufactured by diagnostics company Randox have been recalled from care homes and individuals due to concerns about safety standards. At the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, …

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Redefining Values in American Health Care

By RICHARD HOEN, MD Experts claim we could have been better prepared when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in early 2020. With an annual budget of $400-700 million, the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) is designed to respond to chemical, biological, and other disasters. Its $8 billion inventory included 13,000 ventilators and a limited supply of personal …

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COVID herd immunity: At hand or forever elusive?

By MICHEL ACCAD, MD With cases of COVID-19 either disappeared or rapidly diminishing from places like Wuhan, Italy, New York, and Sweden, many voices are speculating that herd immunity may have been reached in those areas and that it may be at hand in the remaining parts of the world that are still struggling with the …

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Stop Rolling Back Expanded Practice Licenses for Nurse Practitioners

Dallas Ducar Katie Wolf By DALLAS M. DUCAR, MSN, PMHNP-BC, RN, CNL and KATIE WOLF, MBA We’re not in Kansas anymore. Kansas has rescinded an executive order that dramatically empowered and expanded its healthcare workforce as COVID-19 cases soared.  In the best interest of patients now and in the future, other states must not follow …

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Collective State Action Is Needed to Fight This Pandemic Right Now

By KEN TERRY As COVID-19 cases soar across the country, the federal government has lost control of the situation. Amid the Trump Administration’s happy talk and outright dismissal of the crisis, the U.S. is experiencing a forest fire of contagion and hospitalizations, and an upsurge in COVID-related deaths has already begun. Other countries like Taiwan, …

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Healthcare Should Get Into Some #GoodTrouble

By KIM BELLARD As hopefully most of you know, Rep. John Lewis, civil right icon and longtime member of Congress, died this past Friday.  Rep. Lewis was often described the “conscience of Congress”  – perhaps a low bar in today’s Congress but important nonetheless — for his unwavering commitment to social justice.  I have always been …

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Repurposing a Universally Installed EHR App Into an Effective COVID-19 Early Detection System

By SCOTT WEINGARTEN, MD COVID-19 exposed our country’s lack of centralized coordination when it comes to managing and preventing disease spread. Today, our public health system relies on flawed data and obsolete technology that fails to accurately track current and suspected cases, risk stratify patients, monitor disease progression or predict future spread. Not only do …

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UK government orders halt to Randox Covid-19 tests over safety issues

Care homes and members of public told to immediately stop using firm’s kits Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The UK government has instructed care homes and members of the public to immediately stop using coronavirus testing kits produced by a healthcare firm after safety problems were discovered. Randox was awarded a …

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The Trump COVID Legacy: Bad Timing. Lots of Questions. Few Answers.

By MIKE MAGEE, MD What a strange irony. Trump decides, full-bravado, to challenge China to a trade war just months before China unwittingly hatches a virulent pandemic that collapses our deeply segmented health care system and our economy simultaneously. And rather than cry “Uncle”, our President then fires the WHO just as their experts are …

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Doctors and Democracy: Why Vote-By-Mail is Good Public Health

Rob Palmer Josh Hyman Isaac Freedman By ROB PALMER, ISAAC FREEDMAN, and JOSH HYMAN Suppose tomorrow you were informed that patients could no longer have medications delivered to their homes. Thus, in the midst of the worst pandemic in recent history, your patients would have to go to pharmacies to get essential medications. Undoubtedly, you’d …

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A Conversation with John Ioannidis

By SAURABH JHA, MD The COVID-19 pandemic has been a testing time for the already testy academic discourse. Decisions have had to be made with partial information. Information has come in drizzles, showers and downpours. The velocity with which new information has arrived has outstripped our ability to make sense of it. On top of …

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Telehealth’s Missing Link: In the Rush to Implement Virtual Care, What Did CMS Leave Out?

By RAY COSTANTINI, MD Imagine three months from now when the predicted ‘second wave’ of COVID-19 is expected to resurge and we’re still without a vaccine. Telehealth has become the entry-point to care, widely adopted by patients both young and old. Now, when an elderly diabetic patient wakes up in the middle of the night …

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‘The wondrous map’: how unlocking human DNA changed the course of science

Thanks to the success of the Human Genome Project, 20 years ago this week, scientists can track biology and disease at a molecular level Twenty years ago this week, an international group of scientists announced it had put together the first genetic blueprint of a human being. After 10 years of effort, the team – …

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The Lancet’s editor: ‘The UK’s response to coronavirus is the greatest science policy failure for a generation’

Richard Horton does not hold back in his criticism of the UK’s response to the pandemic and the medical establishment’s part in backing fatal government decisions Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage There is a school of thought that says now is not the time to criticise the government and its scientific …

The Lancet’s editor: ‘The UK’s response to coronavirus is the greatest science policy failure for a generation’

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