Health care updates, September 25

September 25, 2009 by  
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world_stetSome health care updates for you this weekend.

News from the Institute of Medicine

IOM Provides Guidance on Standards of Health Care for Disaster Situations
Disaster situations usually come unexpectedly. They can be natural disasters (hurricanes, forest fires, epidemics) or man-made disasters (acts of terrorism, industrial accidents). The question we have to answer is this: can the health care facilities and local health agencies able to handle the situation? The Institute of Medicine has recently send a letter report to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding guidance on standards of health care during disaster situations.
According to committee chair Lawrence O. Gostin, associate dean and the Linda and Timothy O’Neill Professor of Global Health Law, Georgetown University.

Health care workers pride themselves on giving optimal treatment to all their patients, and are obliged by law and professional ethics to use a high standard of care. However, in a public health emergency, dedicated professionals simply will not have the capacity to deliver this same high level of care.  The health care system will collapse without a rational plan that includes ethical allocation of limited resources and that is seen by the public as transparent and fair.  Perhaps most importantly, states must offer dedicated professionals protection against legal liability when they conscientiously make clinical decisions that are necessary to save lives and preserve the public’s health.”

According to the report, crisis standards of care policies and protocols are necessary to guide health professionals on how to react to crisis situations. The protocols would guidance on conserving, substituting, adapting, and doing without resources without sacrificing ethical precepts.

News from the AHRQ

Young and Uninsured – Five Million Young Americans Choose Not To Buy, Even When Available
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports that millions of Americans choose not to purchase health insurance even if it is available, even if they can afford it. And most of these are young and employed. AHRQ data shows that about 5 million Americans aged 19 to 23 do not have health insurance even though almost 50% have full time jobs and some have part-time employment. Men arre twice as likely than women to forego health insurance. Their reason: it isn’t worth the cost. I suppose it is natural for the young to feel invincible. But sickness and accidents do happen even among the young.

News from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

H1N1 pediatric trials bring good news, national institute says
The H1N1 flu vaccine for adults has been approved but the drug is still being tested in children. The preliminary results are very promising, e.g. the vaccine seems to be effective in children as well. “Preliminary data show that children 10 to 17 seem to be protected from H1N1 with one 15-microgram dose of the vaccine, but younger children, ages 6 months to 9 years, may have to have two doses depending on their health history.”

News from the US FDA

FDA Approves New Drug to Treat Psoriasis
Ustekinumab, a new drug to treat moderate to severe psoriasis has been just approved by the US FDA. About 6 million Americans suffer from this immune system disorder that affects the skin. Ustekinumab (brand name Stelara) is is manufactured by Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

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