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INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE OF CHICAGO

  • 17 Feb 2022 6:00 PM | Anonymous

    New daily COVID-19 hospitalization rates in the U.S. have decreased 41% over the last two weeks, with 51 states seeing hospitalization rates trend downward and 0 states still seeing hospitalization rates trend upward, according to according to data tracked by The New York Times.

    Data is taken from HHS and was last updated Feb. 23, 2022. States are listed in order of hospitalization rate percent increase over the last two weeks. 

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  • 16 Feb 2022 8:47 AM | Anonymous

    Only 28% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated and received a booster dose, according to a CNN analysis, and new vaccinations have hit an all-time low. (CNN)

    Rumblings suggest the CDC may relax its indoor masking guidelines for states as early as next week, basing the recommendations on a new formula that includes severe cases. (NBC News) [MedPage 2.16.2022] 

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  • 15 Feb 2022 8:50 AM | Anonymous

    Poverty in early childhood correlates with lower school achievement and reduced earnings as an adult. It is also associated with differences in brain structure and electrical brain activity. Brain activity exhibits repetitive patterns at various frequencies. More low-frequency activity has been associated with behavioral, attention, and learning problems. Higher-frequency activity has been associated with better language, cognitive, and social-emotional scores. [NIH Research Matters 2.15.2022]

    Some evidence suggests that children from lower-income families tend to have more low-frequency activity and less high-frequency activity than those from higher-income families. But it’s not clear whether poverty causes these changes in brain activity or is merely associated with other factors that cause them.

    To find out, researchers created the Baby’s First Years study, a randomized controlled trial of poverty reduction in early childhood. In this study, 1,000 low-income mothers of newborns received a cash gift for the first several years of their children’s lives. The size of the gift was randomly chosen to be either $333 or $20 per month. The mothers could spend the money in ways that made the most sense to them, with no strings attached. 

    The ongoing trial is led by Drs. Kimberly Noble of Teachers College, Columbia University, Katherine Magnuson of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Greg Duncan of the University of California, Irvine. It is supported in part by NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The first results from the trial appeared in the February 1, 2022, issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    Full article here> 

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  • 14 Feb 2022 7:29 PM | Anonymous

    Currently, no federal entity specifically approves respiratory protective devices intended for the public, the report notes. It recommends HHS designate a laboratory to oversee standards development, assessment, and approval of respiratory protective devices for the public. The laboratory should research factors that affect the design and appropriate use of devices, including facial characteristics, fit, and breathability. It should consider the unique needs of children, older adults, and people with certain health conditions. [THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS]

    Full article here> 

    Full report here>

    The report also recommends that Congress revise the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970 to give OSHA the authority to ensure respiratory protection for workplaces that are currently outside its jurisdiction. Pending revisions to the 1970 legislation, OSHA should adopt the broadest permissible interpretation of “employees” and “employers” to expand coverage of its respiratory protection requirements. The categories of workers who could be covered under expanded definitions include gig economy workers, unpaid volunteers, domestic workers in residential settings, and some independent contractors. 

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  • 11 Feb 2022 9:49 AM | Anonymous

    Education on how to access mental health services will be provided in Illinois schools under a plan approved Wednesday by a Senate committee. [Health News Illinois 2.10.2021]

    The proposal, sponsored by Sen. Mike Simmons, D-Chicago, requires elementary and secondary schools to educate students on how and where to find mental health resources.

    “Our youth have been so resilient during these past few years, but many of the broader issues amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic have put a severe strain on the mental health of our young people,” Simmon said in a statement after the plan was unanimously approved by the Senate’s Education Committee. “It’s imperative that we prioritize the mental health and well-being of our young people and center the experiences they are voicing and actually living through.” 

    The plan now heads to the full Senate.

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  • 10 Feb 2022 6:42 PM | Anonymous

    A House committee on Wednesday approved a plan to create a uniform statewide drug take-back program that would be funded and operated by drug manufacturers. [Health News Illinois 2.10.2022]

    The plan would require licensed manufacturers to create programs, independently or jointly with other manufacturers, by July 2023. Every program must include promotion, education and public outreach about the proper collection and management of covered drugs.

    House sponsor Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, D-Glenview, told members of the House’s Prescription Drug Affordability & Accessibility Committee that the proposal builds on an existing take-back program in Illinois by shifting the cost onto manufacturers - as well as ensuring the program exists in more rural communities.

    Alec Laird, vice president of government relations for the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, said the proposal includes collection take-back in rural areas that did not previously have access, as well as more collection points for retail, solid waste agencies, sheriff and police departments.

    Gong-Gershowitz said the plan has been amended since first introduced in 2019, with changes bringing on board retail merchants, the Illinois Environmental Council and the broader environmental community.

    PhRMA, which opposed the initial plan, filed as "no position" under the amended plan.

    Rep. Deanne Mazzochi, R-Elmhurst, questioned why the plan does not go after distributors or the pharmacy benefit managers, rather than manufacturers. She also raised questions about the overall effectiveness of such programs.

    “I'm not necessarily convinced that these take-back programs are accomplishing much of anything once you get beyond opioids and certain types of drugs that are scheduled drugs where you may actually be concerned about them getting into the wrong hands because they have addictive capabilities or have particular toxic activity or something along those,” she said.

    Others raised concerns on how the plan will affect generic drugs. Ashlie Van Meter, senior director of state government affairs for the Association for Accessible Medicines, said they oppose the plan as written. The funding mechanism should be based upon a “reasonable market share” based on revenue within the state, Van Meter said.

    “If it's the generics paying for most of this, it's going to increase the cost of drugs in Illinois,” Van Meter said. “It's going to potentially lead to lower availability to patients for medicines that they need at affordable prices.”

    Gong-Gershowitz said a provision in the proposal states manufacturers may not charge an increase in the cost of covered drugs to recoup the costs of a drug take-back program, though Van Meter countered that such clauses have been overturned in other states as a violation of the Dormant Commerce Clause

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  • 9 Feb 2022 5:13 PM | Anonymous

    In honor of Black History Month. Black Healthcare Leaders: Theodore K. Lawless, MD

    Theodore K. Lawless, MD: born 1892, was an internationally regarded dermatologist and the first African-American to hold a faculty post at what’s now Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. After his post-graduate studies, which led him from Columbia University to Harvard Medical School to Europe, Dr. Lawless began clinical research at Northwestern University in 1924. He was the Elizabeth J. Ward Fellow in Dermatology from 1928 to 1936, and then he served as a member of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine faculty until 1940. 

    Today, roughly 6 percent of physicians in the United States are African American.  

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  • 8 Feb 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    The 2022 Annual Healthcare Leadership Awards are open for nominations. Check out the awards and deadlines here

    Need help in determining who to submit for these stellar awards? Check out the 2021 Annual Healthcare Leadership Award winners here. 

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  • 7 Feb 2022 2:21 PM | Anonymous

    A majority of nurses are unhappy in their current roles, and about 4 in 10 would need to see changes in order to stay, according to a survey from Nurse.org. [Beckers Hospital Review 2.7.2022]

    Download a PDF of the survey report here. 

    The organization surveyed nearly 1,500 U.S. nurses in more than a dozen specialties between September and November 2021. 

    Five survey findings: 

    1. Overall, 12 percent of respondents said they are happy in their current role.

    2. Nurses practicing in clinical settings were least satisfied with their jobs. Forty percent said changes would be needed for them to stay in the current role.

    3. Eighty-seven percent of nurses reported feeling burned out in the past year, 84 percent said they were frustrated with administrators and 77 percent said they felt unsupported at work.

    4. Fifty-six percent of nurses said they felt unsafe at work in the past year.

    5. Eighty percent of respondents said their units are adequately staffed, and 53 percent said they feel like they cannot turn down extra shifts.

    View the full survey here.

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  • 4 Feb 2022 4:23 PM | Anonymous

    Demand for N95s, KN95s and KF94s has skyrocketed, and, unfortunately, so have counterfeit masks. 

    In 2020, ECRI reported 60 to 70 percent of KN95s it tested didn't properly filter 95 percent of particles as they claimed, according to The New York Times. In the same year, U.S. agencies seized 21.2 million fake N95s, a problem that carried over into 2021 and now 2022. [Becker's Health Review Gabrielle Mason ]

    The best way to find legitimate masks is to buy from reputable manufacturers and trusted retailers, reports the Times. However it can be challenging to discern expertly copied masks from real ones. Below are tips for spotting fake masks, from both the CDC and the Times.  

    Eight+ tips for spotting fake N95, KN95 or KF94 masks:  

    The packaging

    1. It's a warning sign if packing isn't tamper-proof. Legitimate masks are normally sealed to make it clear no one besides the manufacturer has handled the masks. 

    2. Company or location information about where the masks were manufactured should be provided, along with a real website or physical address to contact the manufacturer.

    3. There should be an expiration date, because the particle-repelling electrostatic charge on respirator masks degrades over time. 

    4. It's a red flag if packaging states a mask is "FDA approved." N95s are approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, not the FDA, though a surgical N95 must also be cleared by the FDA. Neither agency provides "certificates of approval."

    5. Packaging that states "genuine," "legitimate," "authentic," or "reputable" should be viewed with skepticism. Established, trusted companies don't need to claim themselves as such. 

    6. Typos or grammatical errors are also a red flag. 

    The mask

    7. The name of the company or logo should be right on the mask.

    8. Masks shouldn't have any quality issues that affect fit and consistency, such as a crooked nose-bridge wire or elastics that lose stretch or detach easily.

    Tips for N95s

    • The NIOSH mark should be in block letters and easily detectable.

    • There should be an approval number on the mask or the bands starting with "TC-84A" and followed by four more numbers.  

    • Legitimate N95s never have ear loops, but instead elastic bands that go around the back of the head. 

    • There aren't N95 masks for children. Only adult-size masks undergo NIOSH approval.

    Tips for KN95s, KF94s

    • KN95 masks made after July 1, 2021, must be stamped with GB2626-2019. A mask with a GB number ending in 2006 was made according to the previous standard and is still legitimate if not past the expiration date.

    • Packaging may state that KN95s or KF94s are FDA-registered or -listed, but this just means the manufacturer has filed paperwork to notify the FDA of its existence. 

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