Politics Beyond the pandemic, another major health threat to older Americans looms
Why contact tracing was a missed opportunity to save lives in the US
It was supposed to have both prevented the worst ravages of the pandemic and given people in lockdown something to do. © John Minchillo/AP In this Aug. 6. 2020, file photo, Joseph Ortiz, a contact tracer with New York City's Health + Hospitals battling the coronavirus pandemic, uses his tablet to gather information as he heads to a potential patient's home, in New York. Coronavirus contact tracing programs across the U.S. scaled back their ambitions as cases surged in winter, but New York City has leaned into its $600 million tracing initiative.
In the United States, 54 million people age 50 and over either have or are . Approximately one in two women and up to one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone in her or his remaining lifetime. These injuries can cripple and even kill older Americans, as almost one in three hip-fracture patients and about 20 percent of all fracture patients die within a year. Despite these sobering facts, fewer than 12 percent of all eligible women on Medicare today receive the exam that can detect and help diagnose this debilitating condition.3 In recent years, misaligned payment policy has increasingly restricted access to this essential screening, posing serious health risks to older Americans.
five years after the assassination of Father Hamel, the French relativize the terrorist threat
© E. Paolini / Le Figaro The Church where Father Hamel was murdered in 2016. Exclusive poll - in a study performed for the FIGARO, the IFOP measures the evaluation of the terrorist threat by the French. Only 18% of respondents consider the threat to "very high", as much as before the 2015-2016 attack wave. On July 26, 2016, Father Hamel died murdered by terrorists affiliated with Islamic state .
A brief, inexpensive test, known as central dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), has long been the gold standard for diagnostic testing, allowing health care providers to detect and effectively treat osteoporosis. However, Medicare's reimbursement rates for DXA scans , from approximately $140 to just over $40 currently, making this specific screening modality no longer economically feasible for many clinicians to offer. Due to decreasing reimbursement rates from 2008 to 2019, over 10,000 health care providers nationwide found it was no longer financially viable to continue to offer DXA testing, representing a 44 percent decrease overall.
This ongoing decline in DXA testing availability has significantly threatened patient access to bone health screening and subsequent care. Further compounding the years of exaggerating problems, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted osteoporosis screening across the country, like many other health care operations. According to a global survey commissioned by organizations including the National Osteoporosis Foundation, . These delays may only further increase the proportion of undiagnosed bone health issues due to diminishing screening access, potentially translating to higher fracture incidence and more hospitalizations.
Overnight Health Care: New round of vaccine mandates | Health groups call for mandates for all health workers | Rising case count reignites debate over restrictions
Welcome to Monday's Overnight Health Care. A snow leopard at the San Diego Zoo has COVID-19, but appears to be doing ok! If you have any tips, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow us on Twitter at @NateWeixel, @PeterSullivan4, and @JustineColeman8. Today: Vaccine mandates are gaining traction, including with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Dozens of health care groups requested vaccine mandates for health care workers, and the Biden administration released guidance saying long COVID-19 could count as a disability.
The consequences of undetected bone health issues are costly on both a human and economic level. Osteoporosis-related problems don't end with hospital visitations, as 50 percent of hip fracture patients are unable to walk without assistance after surgery and 40 percent of those who survive a fracture never return to pre-fracture functional status, often needing long-term nursing home care. Financially, providing care for osteoporotic fractures among Medicare beneficiaries in 2018 cost an estimated $57 billion, with an .
Diminishing reimbursement for DXA testing affects all older Americans and could potentially widen existing health care disparities. Minority communities typically undergo scans less frequently than other groups, putting these populations at higher risk of having osteoporotic issues go undiagnosed and untreated. In fact, 29 percent fewer Black women are tested for osteoporosis when compared to white women. Furthermore, a recent analysis of osteoporotic issues among Medicare beneficiaries found Black individuals had higher hospitalization rates and higher death rates following fractures compared to national averages. While the disease is 50% more prevalent in Hispanic Americans, specifically Mexican Americans, than in white patients, these individuals are less likely to receive a DXA scan before a fracture and .
Covid relief programs are starting to expire for millions of Americans
Sixteen months after the coronavirus pandemic upended the economy and left millions of Americans out of work, the historic relief programs Congress put in place are set to start expiring. © Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images A woman holds a placard to stop evictions at a rally for housing reform. Lawmakers rushed in March 2020 to cushion the financial blow wrought by the virus by approving a wide array of financial relief measures. Congress, as well as the Trump and Biden administrations, then extended the protections several times as the pandemic continued to plague the nation.
Health experts and professional medical societies have been trying to address this widening care gap through legislation for years, yet little progress has been made on Capitol Hill toward a long-term solution. Originally brought forth in 2018 and now recently reintroduced in Congress in May, the Increasing Access to Osteoporosis Testing for Medicare Beneficiaries Act ( / ) would restore the minimum Medicare reimbursement for DXA testing to 70 percent of the original level. Although the legislation has previously stalled, Congress now has the opportunity to enact this crucial bipartisan bill, enabling providers to maintain the necessary testing equipment and helping to ensure patient access to these essential exams.
Osteoporosis-related bone breaks will continue to occur and will only worsen as the nation ages. I encourage representatives to make sure this issue is a priority and I implore our elected leaders in Congress to reconsider H.R. 3517 / S. 1943 this year. Ensuring appropriate access to potentially life-saving osteoporosis screening is a bipartisan matter and has had strong support from both sides of the aisle in the past. This is a growing problem with long-lasting consequences that has been compounded by the pandemic, and any further cuts to screening could prove fatal for many older Americans.
Dr. Andrea Singer is Chief of the Division of Women's Primary Care and Director of Bone Densitometry and the Fracture Liaison Service at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.
They Watch Tucker Carlson. They Still Got the Vaccine. .
I asked vaccinated Tucker Carlson fans what it will take to get more Republicans to get their shots.Carlson’s Facebook followers commented eagerly on the video clip, spreading unfounded fears about vaccination among themselves. “Completely disappointed in our government, don’t believe a word they speak! Will not get the shot!” one person wrote. Together, Carlson and his viewers are a placenta and embryo, gestating dangerous ideas and keeping the pandemic alive.