Weekly Reader - October 17, 2022

Welcome to Finestra’s Weekly Reader, wherein we recount intriguing, important, or infamous health care-related stories you may have missed over the past week.

Weekly Reader - October 17, 2022
Photo by Fallon Michael / Unsplash

Welcome to Finestra’s Weekly Reader, wherein we recount intriguing, important, or infamous health care-related stories you may have missed over the past week.

  • Embedded Bias: How Medical Records Sow Discrimination. (Kaiser Health News) "Researchers are increasingly finding that doctors can transmit prejudice under the guise of objective descriptions. Clinicians who later read those purportedly objective descriptions can be misled and deliver substandard care."
  • For decades, fear and failure in the hunt for an RSV vaccine. Now, success. (The Washington Post) “In the mid-1960s, researchers at D.C.’s top pediatric hospital set out to vanquish a diabolical virus that filled wards with wheezing infants each winter. Their weapon: a vaccine designed to target respiratory syncytial virus, known as RSV.”
  • $2,700 Ambulance Bill Pulled Back From Collections. (Kaiser Health News) "The initial $3,600 charge for Dula’s ambulance ride was significantly higher than the charges received by her two siblings, who were riding in her car at the time and were transported to the same hospital."
  • After Giving Up on Cancer Vaccines, Doctors Start to Find Hope. (New York Times) “Encouraging data from preliminary studies are making some doctors feel optimistic about developing immunizations against pancreatic, colon and breast cancers.”
  • Few Places Have More Medical Debt Than Dallas-Fort Worth, but Hospitals There Are Thriving. (Kaiser Health News) "Of the nation’s 20 most populous counties, none has a higher concentration of medical debt than Tarrant County, home to Fort Worth. Second is Dallas County, credit bureau data shows."
  • Smartwatches can help guide COVID-19 testing. (Medical Press) “Researchers at Duke University have developed a way to use data collected from wearable devices like smartwatches to identify people with possible COVID-19 infections.”
  • Turned Away From Urgent Care — And Toward a Big ER Bill. (Kaiser Health News) "The problem didn’t seem to be that the clinic lacked the medical expertise to evaluate Frankie. Rather, the Cooks seemed to be confronting a reimbursement policy that is often used by urgent care centers to avoid waiting for payments from car insurance settlements."
  • Influential task force recommends screening kids 8 and older for anxiety. (CNN) “For the first time, the US Preventive Services Task Force has recommended screening for anxiety in children 8 and older.”
  • Pharma-Funded FDA Gets Drugs Out Faster, But Some Work Only ‘Marginally’ and Most Are Pricey. (Kaiser Health News) "The FDA’s accelerated approval is usually based on a “surrogate marker” of effectiveness — evidence of lower viral loads for HIV, for example, or shrinking tumors for cancer. Debate rages over the validity of some of these stand-ins, and some of the drugs."
  • America’s STI crisis is actually a maternal care crisis. (Vox) “Across the board, sexually transmitted infections are on a “shocking” upward trajectory, according to public health experts. Preliminary data from 2021 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released in September shows upticks in cases of gonorrhea and chlamydia — but outpacing them is a disease that the US at one point nearly succeeded in eliminating: syphilis.”
  • Mental Health Crisis Teams Aren’t Just for Cities Anymore. (Kaiser Health News) "For years, many cities have sent social workers, medics, trained outreach workers, or mental health professionals to calls that previously were handled by police officers. And the approach gained traction amid concerns about police brutality cases."