Log in








INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE OF CHICAGO

  • 13 Dec 2021 2:58 PM | Anonymous

    The vast majority of the nation’s 54 million adults ages 65 and over participate in Social Security (86%) and Medicare (93%) — social insurance programs designed to provide nearly-universal coverage of the older population.

    But what happens when these social insurance benefits, along with retirement payments and savings, are not enough? What about those not eligible for Social Security or Medicare?

    They rely on needs-based assistance that support people with limited resources.

    Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 1 in 6 older adults participated in a wide range of needs-based assistance programs, according to an analysis of recently released data from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).

    These numbers reveal the importance of the social safety net for economically vulnerable older adults, a need that may be amplified by the economic fallout of the pandemic.

    These findings provide context about the experiences of adults ages 65 and over prior to the pandemic and will serve as a baseline for comparisons as additional data become available.

    Read more> 

    ###


  • 10 Dec 2021 2:44 PM | Anonymous

    As the winter approaches, U.S. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise, and with the emergence of the new omicron variant, the state of the pandemic could rapidly evolve. 

    Health officials have warned for months about the potential of a winter surge, with the current uptick largely driven by the delta variant, which remains the dominant strain in the U.S. It's not yet clear whether omicron will outpace delta or how it could change the pandemic's course. 

    The seven-day average for new daily cases nationwide on Dec. 9 was 119,788, a 30 percent jump over the last two weeks, according to data from The New York Times. Hospitalizations have also risen about 21 percent across the last 14 days, with a daily average of 62,971 on Dec. 9. 

    The omicron variant had been detected in at least 22 states as of Dec. 9, and while nearly everything health officials know about its transmissibility, illness severity, and vaccines' and treatments' efficacy against it is preliminary, more concrete data is expected to emerge soon. 

    As the healthcare industry awaits more definite information, Becker's compiled five updates about early omicron findings and the nation's response: 

    1. President Joe Biden unveiled Dec. 2 a new federal strategy to combat the pandemic, aiming to protect against both omicron and delta variants during the winter months. Efforts include encouraging booster shots and expanding free at-home testing for Americans. 

    2. As part of the new federal strategy, the CDC tightened COVID-19 testing protocols for air travelers. As of Dec. 6, air travelers entering the U.S. must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of their flight to help prevent the omicron variant's spread. The rule applies to all air travelers, regardless of vaccination status or citizenship.  

    3. New data from South Africa suggests the omicron variant may cause less severe infections than delta, though more research is needed to confirm this finding. In a Dec. 4 report, the South African Medical Research Council outlined the early experience of 42 COVID-19 patients treated at several hospitals and found 70 percent of patients didn't need supplemental oxygen, and few developed COVID-19 pneumonia. Four patients required a high level of care, and one patient was placed in intensive care. Overall, the average length of stay was 2.8 days compared to the 8.5-day average seen in COVID-19 patients in the last 18 months. 

    4. The omicron variant appears to spread more than twice as quickly as delta, according to preliminary findings released by Scientists with the South African COVID-19 Modelling Consortium on Dec. 3. The researchers believe omicron's ability to rapidly spread results from both its contagiousness and ability to dodge the body's immune defenses, though it's unclear how large of a role each factor plays. The findings have yet to be peer reviewed. 

    5. Pfizer's COVID-19 booster provided significant protection against the omicron variant during a lab study, the drugmaker said Dec. 8. On average, blood samples from people who received only two doses of Pfizer's vaccine saw a 25-fold drop in antibodies against the variant. Blood samples from people who received three doses saw similar neutralization against the omicron variant as the two-dose series provided against the original coronavirus strain. Following the announcement, the FDA authorized the vaccine booster for emergency use for teens ages 16 and 17, a move the CDC endorsed Dec. 9. 

    ###


  • 9 Dec 2021 8:35 PM | Anonymous

    A bipartisan group of lawmakers grilled state officials Wednesday for not doing more to address the rise in mental health issues among Illinois children. [Health News Illinois 12.9..2021]

     

    Speaking during a joint legislative hearing on the issue, Rep. Deb Conroy, a Villa Park Democrat and chair of the House’s Mental Health and Addiction Committee, said the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the long-simmering issue of behavioral healthcare for children.

    “I would consider this to be a crisis, and a crisis that we needed to act on yesterday,” she said.

    Dr. Frank Belmonte, chief medical officer at Advocate Children's Hospital, echoed Conroy’s concern. He said some are calling the situation the “fourth wave of the pandemic,” marked by record incidents of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts in children and families.

    “Unfortunately, this crisis rests upon an already under-resourced behavioral health infrastructure that is simply unable to handle the massive tsunami of children and adolescents who need help now,” Belmonte said. “The inadequacy of resources is felt at every level of the care continuum, including outpatient partial hospitalization, inpatient, acute psychiatry and residential treatment.”

    Dr. David Gomel, CEO of Rosecrance Health Network, told lawmakers that many children either wait in emergency rooms or have to be sent out of their communities - and sometimes out of state - to receive mental health services.

    “Alternatively, in far too many cases, kids simply don't receive the care they need,” Gomel said. “When kids don't get treatment, they cycle through hospitalizations and crisis services, their behaviors escalate, they lose time in school or they become involved with the legal system. All these options are bad for kids and their families, are clinically inappropriate and are expensive for the state.”

    He added the crisis has disproportionately impacted minorities.

    Lawmakers questioned representatives of the Department of Healthcare and Family Services on concerns raised by advocates, while also calling on the agency to do more now to help families in crisis.

    Kristine Herman, chief of HFS' Bureau of Behavioral Health, told lawmakers they have worked on interim relief for parents to access psychiatric residential treatment facilities services for their children. Additionally, the agency continues the planning of its behavioral health model, known as the Pathways to Success Program.

    “HFS’ Pathways to Success Program focuses on the importance of building community-based services first, and introducing residential treatment services at a time in a way that's going to ensure quality and appropriate oversight,” Herman said.

    She said they are still working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to gain federal approval for the program, with the hope it can be implemented in the coming months.

    Conroy said that was not enough.

    “In the meantime, families are falling apart and children are dying,” she said. “So we need to put a crisis plan in place until a few months from now.”

    Herman shared concerns raised by lawmakers about the workforce necessary to implement the program, though she said many providers have submitted their applications to become care coordination and support organizations to support staffing.

    Lawmakers also called on Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration to take the mental health crisis as seriously as it has taken the COVID-19 pandemic. Conroy said Wednesday’s meeting reinforced the need for Pritzker to appoint a mental health czar in Illinois to help address the issue. 

    She filed legislation earlier this year to establish a mental health and substance use disorder oversight officer within the Department of Human Services to make policy recommendations and encourage, promote, suggest and report best practices for treating mental health and substance use disorders in Illinois.

    “I just want to take this moment yet again, and it will not be a surprise to anyone, to beg our governor to please - we have a marijuana czar - we need a mental health czar,” Conroy said.

    Pritzker's office did not return a request for comment.

    Laura Fine, a Democrat from Glenview and chair of the Senate’s Behavioral and Mental Health Committee, said she hoped the passions shown during the roughly three-and-a-half-hour meeting would help lead to change down the road.

     “Let's use that anger and frustration to drive us forward and get this issue solved,” she said. “It's been going on too long, and lives are hanging in the balance. We need to get it done."

    ###


  • 8 Dec 2021 11:44 AM | Anonymous

    COVID-19 dropped out of the top five telehealth diagnoses nationally in September 2021, according to FAIR Health's Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker. In August, COVID-19 had been among the top five telehealth diagnoses nationally and in every US census region except the Northeast. In September, the only region in which COVID-19 ranked in the top five was the Midwest. The data represent the privately insured population, including Medicare Advantage and excluding Medicare Fee-for-Service and Medicaid. 

    For the second straight month, national telehealth utilization, measured as a percentage of all medical claim lines,1 grew by about two percent. Telehealth utilization rose nationally in September by 2.3 percent, increasing from 4.3 percent of medical claim lines in August to 4.4 percent in September, following a national rise of 2.4 percent in August. Telehealth utilization also grew in September in the Midwest and West, though there was no change in the South and a decrease in the Northeast.

    From August to September 2021, mental health conditions, which remained the top-ranking telehealth diagnosis nationally and in every region, increased in percentage share of all telehealth claim lines nationally and in every region. This was a change from July to August 2021, when this diagnosis declined in percentage share of all telehealth claim lines nationally and in every region.

    From August to September 2021, substance use disorders joined the top five telehealth diagnoses nationally, while rising from the fourth to third most common telehealth diagnosis in the Northeast. From August to September 2021, developmental disorders rose from fourth to third place in the top five telehealth diagnoses nationally. Similarly, this diagnosis rose in the rankings in every region except the South, where it was not among the top five in either August or September.

    CPT®2 90833, psychotherapy performed with evaluation and management visit, 30 minutes, joined the top five telehealth procedure codes by utilization nationally in September 2021. Ranking at number five, it displaced CPT 99441, physician telephone patient service, five to ten minutes of medical discussion. This was a reversal of August 2021, when CPT 99441 displaced CPT 90833 in the rankings.

    About the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker
    Launched in May 2020 as a free service, the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker uses FAIR Health data to track how telehealth is evolving from month to month. An interactive map of the four US census regions allows the user to view an infographic on telehealth in a specific month in the nation as a whole or in individual regions. Each infographic shows month-to-month changes in volume of telehealth claim lines, top five telehealth procedure codes and top five telehealth diagnoses (or diagnostic categories), along with that month's top five granular diagnoses within the most common diagnostic category.

    FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd stated: "As the COVID-19 pandemic and telehealth utilization continue to evolve, FAIR Health's Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker serves as a window into that evolution. This is one of the many ways we pursue our healthcare transparency mission."

    For the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker, click here.

    ###


  • 7 Dec 2021 10:07 AM | Anonymous

    As part of the Call to Action, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) releases new report estimating that 720,000 more people would gain Medicaid postpartum coverage if states act; the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposes establishment of “Birthing-Friendly” hospital designation and issues guidance to states on how to provide Medicaid coverage for a full year postpartum

    ...Today marks the first-ever White House Maternal Health Day of Action. In addition to substantial investments proposed in the Build Back Better Act, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new commitments to support safe pregnancies and childbirth, and reduce complications and mortality in the year following birth.

    Today's program here.

    Fact Sheet and more details here>

    ###

  • 6 Dec 2021 3:00 PM | Anonymous

    Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Illinois have hit their highest level since last winter’s surge.

    There were 2,582 individuals in Illinois hospitals with COVID-19 on Thursday, up 45 from Wednesday and an increase of 595 from the prior week. It’s the highest number of hospitalizations since 2,600 were reported on Jan. 29. [Health News Illinois 12.26.2021]

    Of those patients in the hospital with COVID-19, 534 patients were in the ICU, up 153 from the prior week, and 221 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators, up 54 from the prior week.

    The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 42,559 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 over last week. The seven-day average for new daily cases on Friday was 6,080, up 1,987 from the prior week.

    There have now been 1,835,076 cases in the state.

    Illinois has yet to report any cases of the omicron variant. Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during a Sunday morning press conference she expected the first omicron case to be reported "within a number of days."

    "There are multiple examples of case investigation going on right now where we know that there are people who have been exposed to the omicron variant that we are doing aggressive case investigation, testing and contact tracing on," Arwady said.

    The death toll reached 26,535 after 182 COVID-related deaths were reported last week.

    The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test is 4.7 percent. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity is 5.6 percent.

    Approximately 69 percent of Illinoisans have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 61 percent are fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thirty-six percent of eligible Illinoisans have received a booster dose.

    A total of 17,508,319 vaccines have been administered as of Thursday night. The seven-day average for doses administered is 54,387 doses.

    ###


  • 3 Dec 2021 10:44 AM | Anonymous

    HHS is appealing a federal court's decision to temporarily block the start of its vaccination mandate for healthcare workers, according to Bloomberg Law.  [Beckers Hospital Review 12.2.2021] 

    U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty in Louisiana granted a preliminary injunction Nov. 30 halting the vaccination rule for healthcare workers until legal challenges are resolved. 

    "There is no question that mandating a vaccine to 10.3 million health care workers is something that should be done by Congress, not a government agency," Mr. Doughty, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, wrote. "It is not clear that even an act of Congress mandating a vaccine would be constitutional."

    HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and other defendants filed an appeal Dec. 1. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit will hear the appeal. 

    The preliminary injunction at issue effectively expanded a separate order issued Nov. 29 by a federal court in Missouri that temporarily halted the vaccine rules for healthcare workers in 10 states. The mandate requires hospital and nursing home workers to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4. The regulation allows exemptions based on religious beliefs or recognized medical conditions.

    ###


  • 2 Dec 2021 8:48 AM | Anonymous

    Let's focus on reaching the unvaccinated at home and abroad as we await more data on Omicron

    by Amesh Adalja, MD December 2, 2021

    In the wake of the discovery of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the CDC modified its guidance on booster vaccines. [MedPage Today]

    The agency now says that all adults should get a booster vaccine dose if at least 6 months have passed since their initial mRNA vaccine series (or 2 months for Johnson & Johnson recipients). For some time, there have been differing opinions over the benefit of universal boosting, especially for healthy younger individuals. Now it is important to consider whether Omicron changes the calculus.

    A booster dose has clearly been demonstrated to be beneficial for certain populations. However, the net benefit of rushing to boost the average healthy person is less clear, especially in the context of the potential need for an Omicron-specific vaccine in the near-term and considering the global fight against COVID-19, which depends on first and second doses.

    Studies have established, unsurprisingly, that a booster dose increases antibody levels and is, at least temporarily, likely to stave off a breakthrough infection. But with a destined-to-be endemic coronavirus, a breakthrough infection (symptomatic or asymptomatic), especially with our current vaccines, is likely for most people. For those at heightened risk for severe COVID-19, preventing a breakthrough infection from becoming severe is very important. Anyone over 65 or who has underlying conditions should be boosted as soon as possible. But for most people who are not at high-risk for severe COVID-19, any breakthrough infection will be unlikely to cause severe illness, hospitalization, or death. Therefore, for the young, healthy population, the value of boosting with the vaccine currently available to transiently prevent what would likely be non-severe illness is, to me, of marginal value. The likelihood of non-severe COVID-19 in young, healthy people is almost certain to be as true for Omicron as it has been for Delta, and we will learn more in the coming days and weeks.

    Full article here>

    ###

  • 1 Dec 2021 2:07 PM | Anonymous

    Since 1988, World AIDS Day has been an annual call to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic as we remember the many who lost their lives to the disease. Considerable progress has been made since the first World AIDS Day; however, far too many people continue to acquire HIV and die from its related illnesses. In 2020, an estimated 680,000 people globally died from HIV-related causes, and roughly 1.5 million people became newly infected with HIV, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). (NIH 12.1.2021]

    Remarkable scientific progress achieved over the past four decades has led to highly effective HIV treatment and prevention strategies. Unfortunately, these life-saving tools are not reaching all the people who most need them. The theme for World AIDS Day 2021 is Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice. Equity must be a goal for every researcher, public health official, healthcare worker, and advocate working to address HIV/AIDS. Here in the United States, HIV remains a major healthcare challenge that disproportionately affects marginalized groups, such as members of the Black/African-American and Latinx communities, women, people who use drugs, men who have sex with men, and transgender women. A part of U.S. government efforts to end the epidemic in the United States, NIH research plays a key role in the HIV National Strategic Plan: A Roadmap to End the Epidemic(link is external), and its goal of reducing new HIV cases by at least  90% in 2030.

    Download the HIV National Strategic Plan here. 

    Download the One-Page Highlighted Brief here

    For the full announcement, visit this page. 


    The National HIV/AIDS Strategy and the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. Initiative

    The Strategy and the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) initiative are closely aligned and complementary. They have the common goal of reducing new HIV transmissions in the United States by 75% by 2025 and by 90% by 2030. The Strategy is the broader, overarching national plan that extends across many federal departments and encompasses the entire nation. The EHE initiative will be a leading component of the work by the Department of Health and Human Services – in collaboration with state, tribal, territorial, and local partners – to implement the Strategy.

    More details here> 

    ### 


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software