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  • 14 Jul 2022 5:36 PM | Anonymous

    Members of the FDA's Patient Engagement Advisory Committee shared their concerns about augmented reality and virtual reality health care devices at the second day of a PEAC meeting on the topic held Wednesday (July 13), asking how reliable information about the technologies would reach patients and caregivers and what role FDA might play.[Inside Telehealth 7.14.2022]

    Sign up and receive this full article here> https://insidehealthpolicy.com/inside-telehealth-daily-news/fda-advisers-how-do-patients-get-virtual-reality-device-risk-efficacy. 


  • 13 Jul 2022 1:43 PM | Anonymous

    As the highly transmissible COVID-19 omicron subvariant BA.5 now accounts for 65 percent of cases in the U.S., concerns are rising over the potential for a new surge. However, experts predict it will not be as devastating as past surges.

    "BA.5 is doing what omicron does but with a marginally more effective immune evasion," Meaghan Kall, an epidemiologist at the U.K. Health Security Agency Kall, told The Atlantic on July 12. "I don’t believe that it represents a massive paradigm shift."

    COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. have risen 18 percent over the past two weeks, with a daily average of 38,517 people hospitalized as of July 12, according to HHS data tracked by The New York Times. Cases have also increased by 19 percent, with 129,858 new cases as of July 12, Times data shows.

    "People shouldn’t be surprised if they get infected, and they shouldn’t be surprised if it’s pretty unpleasant," Stephen Goldstein, PhD, a virologist at the University of Utah, told The Atlantic.

    Richard Besser, a former acting director of the CDC, told The Hill on July 13 the "sheer volume" of infections would likely lead to a rise in hospitalizations but that he did not think it would be "anywhere near the numbers we saw with the previous omicron surges."  

    Dr. Goldstein also told The Atlantic he takes "some level of comfort" in the fact that other countries have used vaccines to keep the severity of BA.5 waves low.


  • 12 Jul 2022 12:05 PM | Anonymous

    To curb the COVID-19 devastation on communities of color, vaccine plans must prioritize equity | Do we need to revisit this? 

    To curb the COVID-19 devastation on communities of color, vaccine plans must prioritize equity The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color with rates of illness and death that far exceed their representation in the population. The pandemic also has exposed and worsened pre-existing inequities in access and opportunities, which unfortunately includes access to COVID-19 testing, treatments and, now, vaccinations. Since the initial rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the United States in December 2020, more adults have become eligible for the vaccine over time. By May 1, 2021, all adults 18 years of age and older were eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. However, vaccination disparities have continued to increase despite the expansion of eligibility. 

    Full document- download here> 


  • 11 Jul 2022 6:09 PM | Anonymous

    Now through July 15, CCH will be offering a $100 Visa gift card to anyone age 6 months and older who gets a vaccine or booster shot at a participating Cook County Health hospital or health center. Appointments are required. Gift cards are available while supplies last.

    Make an appointment at vaccine.cookcountyil.gov.

    You can also make an appointment by calling the CCH COVID Hotline at 833-308-1988 between the hours of 7:00am and 6:00pm Monday through Friday.

    Provident Hospital’s Sengstacke Health Center has vaccine for adults and children. Appointments for that location must be made by calling the hotline at 833-308-1988.

    The time is now to make sure your whole family is up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines!

    The FDA and CDC recently approved the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for children 6 months through 4 years. Vaccines for young children are available at all CCH health centers.

    Booster shots are now also recommended for all people age 5 and older.

    Getting vaccinated helps to protect your child against serious illness, and to prevent your child from spreading COVID-19 to more vulnerable family or friends.

    Data show that the vaccines are safe and effective for young children. In fact, they often have fewer side effects from the vaccine than adults.

    Families are encouraged to talk to their pediatrician about vaccination and to get vaccinated at their doctor’s office.

    Children under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to get vaccinated.

    Beginning on July 16, People who are not currently CCH patients will be able to visit one of five community COVID-19 vaccine and testing sites: Stroger Hospital, Provident Hospital, Arlington Heights Health Center, North Riverside Health Center or Blue Island Health Center. Current CCH patients will still be able to get COVID-19 tests, vaccines and booster shots at their doctor’s office.


  • 8 Jul 2022 9:31 AM | Anonymous

    Immunocompromised individuals made up 12.2% of all COVID-related hospitalizations, despite accounting for only about 3% of the U.S. population, a CDC report showed. [MedPage Today 7.8.2022]

    — Once hospitalized, no mortality difference between vaxxed and unvaxxed immunocompromised patients

    And once hospitalized, there was no difference in the risk for death between vaccinated and unvaccinated immunocompromised patients, reported Jason Robert Singson, MPH, of the California Emerging Infections Program in Oakland, and colleagues in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

    Among vaccinated adults, those who were immunocompromised had higher odds of intensive care unit (ICU) admission (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.40, 95% CI 1.01-1.92) and in-hospital death (aOR 1.87, 95% CI 1.28-2.75) compared with non-immunocompromised patients.

    Full article here> 


  • 7 Jul 2022 3:21 PM | Anonymous

    The FBI today issued a “white” joint cybersecurity advisory warning of ransomware threats against the U.S. health care and public sectors. The bureau said the threat stems from the North Korean state-sponsored “Maui” ransomware platform, which has been in use by cyber actors since at least May 2021. The FBI, jointly with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Department of the Treasury, released resources, tactics, techniques and procedures, along with indicators of compromised systems, with the recommendation that organizations apply mitigation strategies and not pay ransom demands. [American Hospital Association 7.6.2022] 

    Download full notice here> 


  • 6 Jul 2022 3:03 PM | Anonymous

    New Prescribing Authority Could Improve Access for Some Patients at High Risk for Severe COVID-19 

    FDA US Food & Drug Administration

    New Prescribing Authority Could Improve Access for Some Patients at High Risk for Severe COVID-19

    Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration revised the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir and ritonavir), to authorize state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid to eligible patients, with certain limitations to ensure appropriate patient assessment and prescribing of Paxlovid. 

    "The FDA recognizes the important role pharmacists have played and continue to play in combatting this pandemic," said Patrizia Cavazzoni, M.D., director for the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "Since Paxlovid must be taken within five days after symptoms begin, authorizing state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid could expand access to timely treatment for some patients who are eligible to receive this drug for the treatment of COVID-19." 

    When testing positive for COVID-19, patients should first consider seeking care from their regular health care provider or locating a Test-to-Treat site in their area. While this action allows state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid with certain limitations as described below, community pharmacies not already participating as a Test-to-Treat site can decide if or how they will offer this service to patients.  

    Patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are seeking to determine their eligibility for receiving Paxlovid at locations where prescribing by state-licensed pharmacists is available should bring the following information to ensure that the state-licensed pharmacist has sufficient information to determine their eligibility to receive Paxlovid:

    • Electronic or printed health records less than 12 months old, including the most recent reports of laboratory blood work for the state-licensed pharmacist to review for kidney or liver problems. State-licensed pharmacists could also receive this information through a consult with the patient's health care provider.
    • A list of all medications they are taking, including over-the-counter medications so the state-licensed pharmacist can screen for drugs with potentially serious interactions with Paxlovid. 

    Under the limitations outlined in the authorization, the state-licensed pharmacist should refer patients for clinical evaluation with a physician, advanced practice registered nurse, or physician assistant licensed or authorized under state law to prescribe drugs, if any of the following apply:

    • Sufficient information is not available to assess renal and hepatic function.
    • Sufficient information is not available to assess for a potential drug interaction.
    • Modification of other medications is needed due to a potential drug interaction.
    • Paxlovid is not an appropriate therapeutic option based on the current Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers or due to potential drug interactions for which recommended monitoring would not be feasible.  

    Paxlovid is authorized for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients (12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kilograms or about 88 pounds) with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing, who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death. Patients in the authorized population who report a positive home test result from a rapid antigen diagnostic test, or a positive PCR test, to their provider are eligible for Paxlovid under the EUA. Confirmation of a positive home rapid antigen diagnostic test with additional direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing, such as a PCR, is not required. Antibody tests are not considered to be direct SARS-CoV-2 viral tests.


  • 5 Jul 2022 12:49 PM | Anonymous

    July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness  Month. We will share information throughout the month on the mental health status of minority groups to shed light on the important issue and its correlation to achieving health equity for all. 

    Mental and Behavioral Health Among Hispanics 

    [US Dept of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health] 

    • The death rate from suicide for Hispanic men was four times the rate for Hispanic women, in 2018.
    • However, the suicide rate for Hispanics is less than half that of the non-Hispanic white population.
    • In 2019, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Hispanics, ages 15 to 34.1
    • Suicide attempts for Hispanic girls, grades 9-12, were 30 percent higher than for non-Hispanic white girls in the same age group, in 2019.
    • In 2018, Hispanics were 50 percent less likely to have received mental health treatment as compared to non-Hispanic whites.
    • Poverty level affects mental health status. Hispanics living below the poverty level, as compared to Hispanics over twice the poverty level, are twice as likely to report serious psychological distress.


    Serious psychological distress in the past year among adults 18 years of age and over, percentage, 2019


    Non-Hispanic White

    Hispanic / Non-Hispanic White Ratio




    SAMHSA, 2020. Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Detailed Tables. Table 10.43B

    Serious psychological distress in the past 30 days among adults 18 years of age and over, percentage of poverty level, 2015-2016*



    Non-Hispanic White

    Hispanic / Non-Hispanic White Ratio

    Below 100%




    100% - less than 200%




    200% - less than 400%




    Source: CDC, 2018. Health United States, 2019. Table 46.
    https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus17.pdf [PDF | 10.22MB]

    For more information click here>


  • 23 Jun 2022 11:06 AM | Anonymous

     Meaningful progress in addressing health inequities will be difficult without a restructuring in how healthcare is paid for, Rush University Medical Center CEO Dr. Omar Lateef said Wednesday, joining other panelists in citing inadequate funding as a main barrier to increasing access to care. [Health News Illinois 6.23.2022]

    “The more you do to decrease inequity, the more money you actually lose as a healthcare institution,” Lateef said during a panel hosted by Health News Illinois in Chicago. “If you go into the neighborhoods that need healthcare the most, you're creating programs that will lose your institution money.”

    There’s a growing recognition that long-standing health inequities are something that should be addressed, Lateef said. But, the resources aren’t there yet for sustainable change.

    “The reason our society has not accepted it is today it's more lucrative for us as a healthcare system to open clinics in the bougie neighborhoods around Chicago than it is in West Garfield Park, where people need real access to care, 24-hour care, urgent care without turning a card in before you get seen,” he said.

    Rep. LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis, said lawmakers have had numerous conversations with the state on where healthcare funding is directed and plan to keep those up. 

    “We’re making small strides in the right direction,” she said. “But, we need to do more and I think everyone will recognize that.”

    Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Theresa Eagleson said it’s time to look “outside the box” to address access gaps that persist across the state, including maybe paying more for services in areas where it’s harder to recruit providers. 

    “Things have to change dramatically, and who gets what money has to change, potentially, dramatically to really change those results,” Eagleson said.


  • 22 Jun 2022 1:03 PM | Anonymous

    CHICAGO—The Institute of Medicine of Chicago  (IOMC) named  four recipients for its 2022 Healthcare Awards. They are Ms. Donna Thompson, RN, MS, Dr. Lisa Green, DO, MPH, Ukraine Medical Association – State of Illinois, and University of Illinois- Department of Emergency Medicine. The awardees were selected for their work, solutions, and impact. Each recipient was innovative in advancing health equity the mission of IOMC. The awards will be presented at the 2022 Annual Meeting on June 30, 2022, at VenueSix 10 in Chicago, Illinois.  Dr. Helene Gayle, MD, MPH, CEO of the Chicago Community Trust will be guest speaker of the evening. For more details, visit this page.   

    Full news release here> 


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