What’s new in health care, July 17



health-medicalEnjoying your summer break? Here’s some health care updates for this weekend…

What’s new?

New Data Say Uninsured Account for Nearly One-fifth of Emergency Room Visits
Recent statistics show that about one-fifth of 120 million emergency room visits in hospitals in 2006 involved patients without health insurance coverage. This suggests that the current unreformed health care system has been forcing the uninsured to use emergency services as a last recourse for their health problems. This means that this sector of the population does not have access to preventive, maintainance and prophylactic medicine. The data come from the Nationwide Emergency Department Samples. It is reportedly largest, all-payer emergency department database in the US and is designed to help public health experts, policymakers, health care administrators, researchers, journalists and others find the data they need to answer questions about care that occurs in U.S. hospital emergency departments.

FDA Issues Draft Guidance for Industry on Drug Anticounterfeiting
To counteract tthe widespread sales and use of counterfeit drugs, the US FDA has issued this week a draft guidance advising manufacturers on the use inks, pigments, flavors, and other physical-chemical identifiers (PCIDs) that would make drugs difficult o counterfeit as well as make counterfeit products easy to spot. The document is entitled “Draft Guidance for Industry: Incorporation of Physical-Chemical Identifiers into Solid Oral Dosage Form Drug Products for Anticounterfeiting” and is available online for public viewing and comment.

Who’s new?

Noted Food Safety Expert Michael R. Taylor Named Advisor to FDA Commissioner
The food safety expert Michael R. Taylor will rejoin the US FDA as senior adviser to the regulatory agency commissioner Margaret Hamburg. Taylor is a research professor at George Washington University’s School of Public Health and Health Services.

Francis Collins named as NIH chief
President Barack Obama has nominated prominent geneticist Francis Collins to be the next National Institutes of Health (NIH) head. Collins co-discovered the gene for cystic fibrosis and directed the Human Genome Project.

What’s good?

Secretary Sebelius Releases Inaugural Health Care “Success Story” Report
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), led by Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius launched a series of reports that document innovative programs and initiatives that can serve as models for a reformed American health care system. The first of these health care “success story” reports was released last July 13. The so-called inaugural report features the Michigan Keystone ICU Project. The project is a joint partnership between the Michigan Health & Hospital Association and the Johns Hopkins University. It helped dramatically reduce the number of health care associated infections in Michigan, saving over 1,500 lives and $200 million.

What’s bad?

Hospitalization of the Poor Much Higher for Asthma, Diabetes, Other Preventable Diseases
Americans from the low-income group are more likely to be hospitalized fro chronic diseases than higher earners. This is especially true fro asthma and diabetes, where low-income patients have 75% and almost 90% higher rates of hospitalization, respectively, compared to high-income patients. This is again related to the poor’s lack of access to preventive medicine. Conditions such as asthma and diabetes are preventable and manageable. Experts are of the opinion that some of these hospitalizations can be prevented through higher-quality outpatient care.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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