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INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE OF CHICAGO

  • 25 Aug 2021 11:07 AM | Anonymous

    A top official at the World Health Organization said misinformation surrounding COVID-19 vaccines has gotten worse in recent weeks. Meanwhile, hospitals navigate vaccine hesitancy and attempt to halt the spread of incorrect medical information, according to an Aug. 24 CNBC report.

    (Becker's Health IT 8.25.2021)

    Six things to know:

      1. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, declared COVID-19 misinformation a "serious public health threat" in July. Many public health leaders blame conspiracy theorists for enforcing so much distrust in the vaccines.

      2. Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, infectious disease epidemiologist and technical lead on COVID-19 at the WHO, said Aug. 23 that misinformation has gotten worse in the last four weeks. "The amount of misinformation that is out there seems to be getting worse, and I think that's really confusing for the general public," she said

      3. A small number of medical professionals have enforced some vaccine misinformation on social media outlets, such as TikTok and Doximity.

      4. Doximity is a social media platform used by 80 percent of U.S. physicians and has 1.8 million users. CNBC reported that the platform is riddled with misinformation, though Doximity's CEO, Jeff Tangney, told CNBC that less than 0.1 percent of its members have posted medical misinformation. The CEO did say there was an uptick in comments that had to be removed because they violated community guidelines.

      5. The Federation of State Medical Boards warned July 29 that physicians and other healthcare professionals could be at risk of losing their medical licenses if they spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation on social media, online and in the media.

      6. Several hospital employees have gone viral over TikToks they have posted spreading inaccurate medical data. A surgical technologist at Marietta, Ga.-based Wellstar Healthcare System is "no longer employed" with the health system after comparing vaccine mandates to the Holocaust, WSB-TV reported Aug. 22.

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  • 24 Aug 2021 1:25 PM | Anonymous

    Gov JB Pritzker took action last Friday(8.20.2021) on over two dozen healthcare-related bills. (Health News Illinois (8.24.2021)

    Among the plans signed into law include:

    ·    Requiring requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to establish anaphylaxis policies and procedures for school districts and daycare settings.

    ·    Requiring public high schools and institutions of higher education to add contact information for suicide prevention on school IDs.

    ·    Allowing, effective Jan. 1, 2022, allows for the discretionary early release of those medically incapacitated or terminally ill and serving time in an Illinois Department of Corrections facility.

    ·    Expanding the maximum number of birth center alternative healthcare models in Illinois to no more than 17.

    ·    Requiring that a written aftercare plan be provided to patients upon discharge from a Department of Human Service’s facility.

    ·    Requiring group health plans to cover colonoscopies that are determined to be medically necessary based on an initial screening.

    ·    Allowing nurses, physicians assistants and advanced practice nurses with active licenses to apply to serve as volunteer EMTs in rural communities.

    ·    Allowing temporary disability parking decals for expecting mothers in their third trimester.

    ·    Removing a provision that required the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to post the contracted claims report required by HealthChoice Illinois on its website every three months.

    ·    Establishing new caps on the total incentive for wellness coverage and new mandates for certified application counselors.

    ·    Adding e-cigarettes and other vapor devices as one of the educational areas in the state’s Comprehensive Health Education Program.

    ·    Adding one member representing local health departments, who is a non-voting member, to the Long-Term Care Facility Advisory Board, and making several changes to IDPH’s annual review and report concerning the complaint process.

    ·    Allowing individuals to bring civil actions against those who make false 911 calls.

    ·    Increasing the membership of the State Board of Pharmacy to 11 and modifying membership requirements.

    ·    Requiring IDPH to collect additional health and social determinants of health data for its annual survey.

    ·    Requiring IDPH to ensure medical examiner offices are included as part of medical facilities for the purposes of complying with and implementing associated sections of the federal Immigration and Nationality Act.

    ·    Requiring that any opioid prescription for a substance classified in Schedule II, III, IV or V of the Illinois Controlled Substance Act be sent electronically, in accordance with requirements of the Prescription Monitoring Program.

    ·    Expanding healthcare worker background checks to include Department of Corrections employees or third-party vendors.

    ·    Requiring hospitals to offer information on charity care options available to uninsured patients, regardless of their immigration status or residency.

    ·    Requiring HFS to designate one or more entities to be certified for telementoring services.

    ·    Allowing the issuance of healthcare worker decals by IDPH, with a portion of the revenue deposited into an Illinois Health Care Workers Benefit Fund.

    ·    Making birthing centers a permanent, licensed option for birth delivery.

    ·    Altering the Prescription Monitoring Program's alert system to be consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

    ·    Directing the University of Illinois Hospital to adopt policies to protect healthcare workers and patients from hazardous surgical smoke plume and to ensure the elimination of surgical smoke.

    ·    Requiring HFS to apply for all available federal funding to promote inclusion and integration for persons with disabilities.

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  • 23 Aug 2021 4:52 PM | Anonymous

    Many children's hospitals in the South and Midwest have reported an uptick in pediatric cases over the past six weeks as the delta variant rapidly spread among unvaccinated people. Facilities in these regions are preparing for a potential spike in cases linked to school reopenings by hiring more nurses, updating discharge protocols and improving room cleaning efficiency, among other efforts. 

    COVID-19 hospitalizations among children are at the highest level since HHS started tracking them last year, and some children's hospitals are preparing for surges to worsen as schools reopen, The Wall Street Journal reported Aug. 22.


    Children's Hospital New Orleans has had up to 20 kids hospitalized with COVID-19 over the past three weeks, about half of whom didn't have underlying conditions, according to the hospital's Physician-in-Chief Mark Kline, MD. Last year, the hospital never saw more than seven pediatric hospitalizations at a time, and most involved kids with underlying health issues, Dr. Kline said. 

    In preparation for a school-related surge, the hospital has hired about 150 new nurses to start over the next few weeks, converted more hospital beds to intensive care unit beds and expanded its emergency department to hold more patients who can't immediately be admitted, Dr. Kline said.

    Full article here


  • 20 Aug 2021 1:31 PM | Anonymous

    U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, unveiled new legislation this week to educate healthcare providers on evidence-based youth suicide prevention initiatives. 

    From 2007 to 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that suicide rates among young Americans increased 56 percent.  

    The Child Suicide Prevention and Lethal Means Safety Act (Download HB 5035) would invest in educating health care providers in evidence-based youth suicide prevention initiatives 

    Suicide is currently the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10-24, and the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to accelerate these tragic trends. From 2007 to 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that suicide rates among young Americans increased 56 percent.  

    Health care providers play a critical role in identifying young people who might be at risk for self-harm or suicide. However, many health care professionals do not receive the training and resources they need to identify and respond to warning signs for suicide among their patients. The Child Suicide Prevention and Lethal Means Safety Act would address this by providing evidence-based training on youth suicide prevention to current and future health care professionals.  Additionally, the bill creates a centralized database for that at-risk youth and their family members, medical and nursing schools, and health care professionals can turn to for best practices in lethal means safety and suicide prevention. 

    In a new video, Underwood shares the story of Bill and Patti Hartmann from McHenry, IL who lost their son in 2008 to suicide. 

    Click here to watch the video.  

    “Since the start of the pandemic, I have met with students and families across the 14th District of Illinois, and I’ve heard so many tragic stories of young people struggling with new or worsening mental health challenges—even suicidal thoughts. And no matter who I’m talking to—whether it’s a farmer, parent, or a teacher —they have all told me about the need for action to keep our kids safe. That’s why I’m proud to introduce the Child Suicide Prevention and Lethal Means Safety Act,” said Rep. Underwood. “My legislation will expand access to evidence-based suicide prevention initiatives in communities like ours so that we can save lives and prevent these tragedies.” 


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  • 19 Aug 2021 7:50 PM | Anonymous

    Climate Change Report- The United Nations this month released a major climate change report, the first of its kind in eight years. The report outlines what scientists know about global warming and informs policy makers how to slow the planet’s rising temperatures. All of the world’s 195 countries participated in the report’s development, with hundreds of scientists assessing studies from around the world.

    The report’s main conclusions — that humans are causing climate change, that temperatures will rise if we don’t cut emissions, and that weather is getting more extreme — didn’t surprise community health specialist Elena Grossman, MPH. Grossman is principal investigator at BRACE-Illinois, a CDC-funded project based at the University of Illinois Chicago that since 2012 has guided the state’s public health system in responding to climate change.

    Full article here>

    Download Regional Fact Sheet here> 

    Download Slides here>

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  • 18 Aug 2021 8:51 AM | Anonymous

    Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday (8.16.2021) signed into law a legislative package aimed at addressing the cost of prescription drugs. 

    One law establishes a prescription drug repository program, which will allow unexpired and unopened prescription and over-the-counter medications to be returned to pharmacies and reused for eligible populations.

    "(The program) opens up another avenue for Illinois healthcare to be able to help those who are underinsured or unemployed and not able to afford their medication,” Garth Reynolds, executive director of the Illinois Pharmacists Association, said in a statement.

    Pritzker also signed a proposal that requires pharmacies to provide customers with the retail price of a prescription drug, in writing and electronically, prior to purchase and make it clear if a customer's cost-sharing price for a prescription exceeds the current pharmacy retail price.

    "(The bill) establishes truth and transparency for the pharmaceutical industry," said Senate sponsor Scott M. Bennett, D-Champaign.

    Both laws take effect Jan. 1, 2022.

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  • 17 Aug 2021 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    Illinois is the first state to require regular Alzheimer’s disease training for licensed healthcare professionals, after Gov. JB Pritzker greenlit the proposal Monday at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.

    The law, effective Jan. 1, 2023, requires providers with direct patient interaction with adults older than 25 to complete at least a one-hour course in diagnosis, treatment and care of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

    "Early detection is key to treatment,” House sponsor Rep. Kathleen Willis. D-Northlake, said in a statement. She said 230,000 Illinois residents are living with Alzheimer’s.

    And he approved a measure, effective immediately, requiring that long-term care facilities and hospitals, upon request, facilitate at least one daily phone or video call between a resident or patient and their family member during a public health emergency.

    Delia Jervier, executive director of the Illinois chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, said the laws will help address disparities in care, as Black and Latinx residents are more likely to develop Alzheimer's than their white counterparts.

    “Illinois is leading the nation as we seek to be a dementia-capable state until a cure or prevention is found,” Jervier said.

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  • 16 Aug 2021 1:05 PM | Anonymous

    Scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have developed a new sample preparation method to detect SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The method bypasses extraction of the virus' genetic RNA material, simplifying sample purification and potentially reducing test time and cost. The method is the result of a collaboration among researchers at the National Eye Institute (NEI), the NIH Clinical Center (CC), and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NID CR).

    Diagnostic testing remains a crucial tool in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Standard tests for detection of SARS -CoV-2 involve amplifying viral RNA to detectable levels using a technique called quantitative reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR). But first, the RNA must be extracted from the sample . Manufacturers of RNA extraction kits have had difficulty keeping up with demand during the COVID-19 pandemic , hindering testing capacity worldwide. With new virus variants emerging, the need for better, faster tests is greater than ever.

    A team led by Robert B. Hufnagel, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the NEI Medical Genetics and Ophthalmic Genomic Unit, and Bin Guan, Ph.D., a fellow at the Ophthalmic Genomics Laboratory at NEI, used a chelating agent made by the lab supply company Bio-Rad called Chelex 100 resin to preserve SARS-CoV-2 RNA in samples for detection by RT-qPCR.

    "We used nasopharyngeal and saliva samples with various virion concentrations to evaluate whether they could be used for direct RNA detection ," said Guan , the lead author of a report on the technique, which published this week in iScience. "The answer was yes, with markedly high sensitivity. Also, this preparation inactivated the virus, making it safer for lab personnel to handle positive samples."

    See full article here. 

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  • 13 Aug 2021 11:34 AM | Anonymous

    The COVID-19 pandemic has swept the nation, killing more than  186,000 residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. The AARP Public Policy Institute, in collaboration with the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University  in Ohio, created the AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard to provide four-week snapshots of the virus’ infiltration into nursing homes and impact on nursing home residents and staff, with the goal of identifying specific areas of concern at the national and state levels in a timely manner. 

    This dashboard has tracked five categories of impact since summer 2020 as well as vaccination rates of nursing home residents and health care staff for the last two months and is updated every month to track trends over time.

    Read more here>

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  • 12 Aug 2021 4:42 PM | Anonymous

    Racial and ethnic disparities in maternal mortality — deaths related to pregnancy or childbirth — in the United States may be larger than previously reported, suggests a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. By re-examining information on death certificates from 2016 and 2017, researchers found that the maternal mortality rate among non-Hispanic Black women was 3.5 times higher than among non-Hispanic white women. Previously, standard analyses had indicated a 2.5-times-higher death rate for Black women.

    The new analysis also revealed that these disparities were concentrated among a few causes of death. Postpartum cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle) and the blood pressure disorders preeclampsia and eclampsia were leading causes of maternal death for Black women, with mortality rates five times higher than those for white women. Pregnant and postpartum Black women were two to three times more likely than white women to die of hemorrhage (severe bleeding) or embolisms (blood vessel blockages).

    For full article> 

    To download a PDF copy of the article, click here.

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