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  • 1 Feb 2023 5:57 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    A recent systematic review of studies found that people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and have had a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, known as having hybrid immunity, have better protection against the Omicron variant than those with only a previous infection. [JAMA Network]

    The effectiveness of hybrid immunity against hospital admission or severe disease was 97% at 12 months compared with 75% after infection alone. Effectiveness against reinfection was 42% for hybrid immunity and 25% for previous infection at 12 months.

    The findings, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, suggest that people with hybrid immunity may not need COVID-19 vaccine booster doses as soon as people who are vaccinated but have never been infected, the authors noted. “Producing estimates of protection for vaccines targeting new variants will be crucial for COVID-19 vaccination policy and decision-making bodies,” the authors wrote.



  • 31 Jan 2023 2:34 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to help authors improve the preparation and quality of their manuscripts and published articles are rapidly increasing in number and sophistication. These include tools to assist with writing, grammar, language, references, statistical analysis, and reporting standards. Editors and publishers also use AI-assisted tools for myriad purposes, including to screen submissions for problems (eg, plagiarism, image manipulation, ethical issues), triage submissions, validate references, edit, and code content for publication in different media and to facilitate postpublication search and discoverability.1

    In November 2022, OpenAI released a new open source, natural language processing tool called ChatGPT.2,3 ChatGPT is an evolution of a chatbot that is designed to simulate human conversation in response to prompts or questions (GPT stands for “generative pretrained transformer”). The release has prompted immediate excitement about its many potential uses4 but also trepidation about potential misuse, such as concerns about using the language model to cheat on homework assignments, write student essays, and take examinations, including medical licensing examinations.5 In January 2023, Nature reported on 2 preprints and 2 articles published in the science and health fields that included ChatGPT as a bylined author.6

    Full article here

    Download PDF here 


  • 30 Jan 2023 6:29 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Evidence of the efficacy and safety of messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccines in children aged 5 to 11 years has been emerging. The collected data will inform clinicians, families, and policy makers. [JAMA Network] 

    Download full paper here> 

    Objective  To evaluate the efficacy and safety of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in children aged 5 to 11 years in a systematic review and meta-analysis.

    Data Sources  PubMed and Embase databases were searched on September 29, 2022, without language restrictions.

    Study Selection  Randomized clinical trials and observational studies comparing vaccinated vs unvaccinated children aged 5 to 11 years and reporting efficacy or safety outcomes were included. Studies reporting safety outcomes in vaccinated children only (ie, no control group) were also included.



  • 27 Jan 2023 2:51 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI-6) in introducing legislation to expand access to home and community-based services for older adults, people with disabilities and injured workers, while increasing pay and improving benefits for the caregivers who provide this life-sustaining care. The Better Care Better Jobs Act would enhance Medicaid funding for home care, helping many of the over 650,000 people on waiting lists nationally finally receive care in the setting of their choice, allowing them to stay active in their communities and live independently. This legislation would also strengthen the caregiving workforce, improve quality of life for families and boost the economy by creating good-paying jobs to make it possible for families and workers alike to thrive economically. [RiverBend.com] 

    Full article here>


  • 26 Jan 2023 6:01 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Previously vaccinated adults in the U.S. who have not received the bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine were often unaware they were eligible, didn't know it was available, or thought they already had immunity, according to survey data from the CDC. [MedPage Today]

    Of more than 1,100 respondents who had received at least two prior doses and responded to an initial survey in early November 2022, 62.1% had not received the bivalent booster. When asked why they did not get it, 23.2% said they were unaware they were eligible, 19.3% said they didn't know where or that it was available, and 18.9% said they thought they already had immunity against infection, reported Alyssa H. Sinclair, MA, of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and colleagues.

    Survey shows lack of awareness on eligibility, availability, and some just think they are immune

    After being provided with eligibility and availability information, 67.8% of respondents who had not received the bivalent booster said they would, Sinclair and team noted in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reportopens in a new tab or window.

    "To help increase bivalent booster coverage, healthcare professionals and public health practitioners should use evidence-based strategies to convey information about booster vaccination recommendations and waning immunity, in addition to increasing convenient access to vaccination," they wrote.

    When the researchers followed up with these individuals 1 month later, 28.6% reported that they had received the booster. Of the remaining individuals who had not yet gotten it but had said they would, 82.6% still intended to do so. Those who had not received the booster most commonly reported being too busy, forgetting, or worrying about side effects.



  • 25 Jan 2023 5:24 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Gov. Pritzker signed off Tuesday on a supplement to the current fiscal year budget that allocates millions of dollars to healthcare providers and agency leaders.

    The plan increases the annual salary of state agency leaders, including those at the Department of Healthcare and Family Services and the Department of Public Health. [Health News Illinois] 

    Other allocations include nearly $43.5 million to 15 specific hospitals. The supplement will provide $16.5 million from the state’s coronavirus emergency fund for HFS to safety-net hospitals and $30 million in Medicaid funding to community mental health providers, including those providing crisis care.

    An amendment to the spending plan will provide $12.5 million in new supplemental funding to address workforce shortages for community-based providers serving children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and serious mental illnesses.

    Advocates like the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities had sought $56 million. 

    The proposal also includes $20 million for the city of Chicago to support asylum seekers, intended to address “basic health and first aid” and address social determinants of health like housing, transportation and food.

    And it allocates millions from the state’s COVID-19 remediation emergency fund to various organizations, including those promoting and advertising Illinois tourism.

     Wednesday’s signing comes after Pritzker approved a budget implementation plan earlier this month that includes $460 million in “hospital pandemic recovery stabilization payments.” Funds will be allocated to hospitals based on their class and what they received last year, with added considerations for safety-net hospitals.


  • 24 Jan 2023 10:36 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Several leaders of the Illinois agencies that oversee healthcare services will remain in place, Gov. JB Pritzker announced Monday.

    That includes Dr. Sameer Vohra, who will continue to serve as director of the Department of Public Health. He has overseen the agency since last year, taking over for Dr. Ngozi Ezike, who initially led the agency under Pritzker’s administration. [Health News Illinois]

    Other officials who are staying include Grace Hou, who will continue to serve as secretary of the Department of Human Services, a role she has held since 2019.

    Paula Basta, who has led the Department of Aging as its director since 2019, will continue in that role. ​​Terry Prince will continue to serve as director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, a position he has held since 2021.

    Several state agencies were not included in Pritzker’s announcement, including the Department of Healthcare and Family Services and the Department of Insurance.


  • 24 Jan 2023 8:42 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Five Illinois groups are set to receive just over $5.7 million from the U.S. Department of Education to support wrap-around services in academics, mental health programming and nutrition for students. [Health News Illinois] 

    Frida Kahlo Community Organization will receive nearly $2.8 million, while Cook County School District 104 will receive $1.4 million. Three other groups will receive $500,00 each.

    Illinois’ two senators praised the funding.

     “When we work to ensure kids in school have access to nutritious food, mental health resources and academic support, we are helping set them up for success,” said Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.

    See list of recipients here> 


  • 23 Jan 2023 6:34 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    First-of-its-kind policy statement says adolescent needs differ from younger inpatients

    Hospitalized adolescents have "unique and essential needs" that differ from those of younger pediatric inpatients, and it is critical that care teams have "knowledge, experience, and compassion" when it comes to addressing these specific needs, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said in a new policy statement. [ MedPage Today}

    This statement marks the first of its kind published in the U.S., noted Cora Breuner, MD, MPH, of the University of Washington and Seattle Children's Hospital, and colleagues in Pediatricsopens in a new tab or window. Overall, knowledge and understanding of adolescent growth and development, as well as the legal and ethical issues that affect this population, are essential to delivering comprehensive care to hospitalized teens. Download document here>



  • 20 Jan 2023 1:22 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Nursing homes play a unique dual role in the long-term care continuum, serving as a place where people receive needed health care and a place they call home. Ineffective responses to the complex challenges of nursing home care have resulted in a system that often fails to ensure the well-being and safety of nursing home residents. The devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on nursing home residents and staff has renewed attention to the long-standing weaknesses that impede the provision of high-quality nursing home care.


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