One of every six dollars spent in the U.S. goes to health care, but the country is not seeing a commensurate return on its investment.
In this video, David Squires and Cathy Schoen of The Commonwealth Fund consider ways the U.S. health system could manage costs while making room for other priorities such as infrastructure and education.
In 1864, the year before the Civil War ended, a massive study was launched to quantify the bodies of Union soldiers. One key finding in what would become a 613-page report was that soldiers classified as “White” had a higher lung capacity than those labeled “Full Blacks” or “Mulattoes.” The study relied on the spirometer—a medical instrument that measures lung capacity.
Your Home Is Covered In Bacteria | TIME – “If you think your home is a refuge from the gross bacteria of the world, a new study published in Science will burst your antibacterial bubble. Every room in your house teems with bacteria so unique to you and your family that a swab of any room reveals your microbial signature.”
White House orders U.S. labs to take inventory of infectious agents | Reuters – “The order follows a trio of high-profile mishaps at federal labs in recent months, including the mishandling of anthrax and bird flu by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and the discovery of decades-old samples of smallpox in a U.S. Food and Drug Administration lab on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.”
U.S. startups get OK for smartphone-based heart tracking | Reuters – ” For a growing U.S. aging population, tracking heart health via a smartphone can mean the difference between life and death. This week, two Silicon Valley startups received a green-light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for mobile applications that monitor patients from home, a step forward for a nascent digital health industry that has pressed for more clarity from the agency on regulations.”
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board today certified 10 health insurance carriers at to offer 82 Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) for individuals and families through the state’s health insurance exchange, the Washington Healthplanfinder.
Last year, eight health insurers were approved to sell 46 plans through Washington Healthplanfinder.i
The small business market, Washington Healthplanfinder Business, will be available statewide for the first time this year with 23 different health plans.
Additionally, five insurance carriers will offer six pediatric Qualified Dental Plans (QDPs).
The open enrollment period, which runs from Nov. 15, 2014 to Feb. 15, 2015, will provider coverage starting Jan. 1, 2015.
“We’re thrilled to see the number of available health plan options has doubled in one short year,” said Richard Onizuka, Chief Executive Officer for Washington Healthplanfinder.
“Not only will these additional coverage options increase consumer choice, they will also foster competition among our participating health insurance companies,” Onizuka said.Continue reading →
Medicare tips from Oraida Roman, president of Senior Products for Humana’s Intermountain Region
Approximately 11,000 adults become eligible for Medicare every day, reflecting a dramatically increasing senior population, and that number is only going to grow.
The U.S. Census Bureau predicts there will be nearly 47 million seniors age 65 and up in 2015 and about 72.1 million seniors – nearly 20 percent of the population – by 2030.,
Here in Washington, the 65 and older population is expected to increase from 13.9 percent of the overall population in 2015 to 18.1 percent of the overall population by 2030.
Health concerns are a major issue for seniors, with nine of 10 older adults living with at least one chronic condition, such as diabetes, arthritis, hypertension or lung disease, according to the National Council on Aging.
Making matters worse, these conditions place a significant financial burden on seniors and, sometimes, their caregivers. As a result, there’s a clear need for access to affordable health care that meets the needs of individuals as they age.
As Seattle residents approach their 65th birthday, it is important for them to know their Medicare options, including when they can enroll and the types of health plans available.Continue reading →
Initial human testing of an investigational vaccine to prevent Ebola virus disease will begin next week by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.
The early-stage trial will begin initial human testing of a vaccine co-developed by NIAID and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and will evaluate the experimental vaccine’s safety and ability to generate an immune system response in healthy adults.
The pace of human safety testing for experimental Ebola vaccines has been expedited in response to the ongoing Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.
Testing will take place at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
The study is the first of several Phase 1 clinical trials that will examine the investigational NIAID/GSK Ebola vaccine and an experimental Ebola vaccine developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and licensed to NewLink Genetics Corp.
The others are to launch in the fall. These trials are conducted in healthy adults who are not infected with Ebola virus to determine if the vaccine is safe and induces an adequate immune response.Continue reading →
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Hoping to keep more people with mental illness out of jails and emergency rooms, county health officials opened a mental health urgent care center Wednesday in South Los Angeles.
The goal of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Mental Health Urgent Care Center is to stabilize and treat people in immediate crisis while connecting them to ongoing care.
Run by Exodus Recovery, it will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can serve up to 16 adults and six adolescents.
During their stay of up to one day, patients will undergo a psychiatric evaluation, receive on-the-spot care such as counseling and medication and be referred for longer-term treatment.Continue reading →
Researchers are tripping seniors on purpose, and it’s not some kind of warped practical joke.
The experiment is among techniques being studied to prevent falls, the leading cause of injury in older adults. Falls in the elderly cost $30 billion yearly to treat and can send them spiraling into poor health and disability
Concussion Lawsuit Seeks to Force Rule Changes in Soccer – NYTimes.com – “The suit seeks an injunction that would change the way soccer is played at all levels. Children under 17 would be limited in how many times they could head the ball. The suit also seeks to require professional and other advanced leagues, which are currently limited to three substitutions a game, to allow temporary substitutions while a player is examined for a head injury. Medical testing would also be available for soccer players who competed as long ago as 2002 and are now coping with the effects of concussions.”
Self management may reduce blood pressure: study | Reuters – “Researchers found that patients who closely monitored their own blood pressure and medications, using detailed instructions from their doctors, lowered their readings more than patients who relied on their healthcare providers to take periodic readings and make medication changes.”
Fishery mislabeling could mean more mercury than buyers bargain for | Reuters – “In the current study, published in the journal PLOS One, researchers used sea bass tissue samples from retailers in 10 U.S. states. They measured the total amount of mercury in 25 of the MSC-certified and 13 of the uncertified Chilean sea bass samples. They found that fish labeled as certified had less than half the mercury (0.35 ppm) of uncertified fish (0.89 ppm).”