August 22, 2009
Health Care: Debating an Effective Public Option
Using San Fransisco as a model, NYT columnists debate a public health care option.
TWO burning questions are at the center of America’s health care debate. First, should employers be required to pay for their employees’ health insurance? And second, should there be a “public option” that competes with private insurance?
Answers might be found in San Francisco, where ambitious health care legislation went into effect early last year. San Francisco and Massachusetts now offer the only near-universal health care programs in the United States.
Read more about the results here.
D.C. and VA Schools Requesting Sixth Grade Girls Receive HPV Vaccination
Schools in both D.C. and Virginia are requesting sixth grade girls receive Gardasil, the vaccine that was approved by the FDA in 2006 that protects against genital warts and cervical cancer. The vaccine is most effective if it is administered before girls become sexually active. Though both D.C. and Virginia have provided for opting-out of the requirement, proponents are hopeful that this legislation will protect million girls from cervical cancer. However, opponents voice concerns that the drug has not been tested enough. Such apprehension is what has prevented other states, such as Maryland, from making the vaccination mandatory.
August 20, 2009
Seniors - Driving and Staying informed of Potential Safety Risks?
Many elderly drivers are unaware that prescription drugs may affect their ability to drive safely, reported the Wall Street Journal.
Moms in D.C. Apprehensive about Flu Vaccine
Some mothers-to-be in D.C. are concerned that a new swine flu vaccine has not been tested enough to be administered to pregnant women. Debate stems from the recent recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that pregnant women receive the swine flu vaccination as a preventative health measure. A recent study in the Lancet medical journal study indicated that pregnant women are more likely to be affected by swine flu than other groups. Read here.
August 18, 2009
End of Life Care
When only about one third of Americans leave living wills or specify end of life protocol, physicians and hospitals are left to consider the costs and benefits of end of life care themselves. Some issues that remain include:
Or should the patient receive just comfort care — treatment for pain, nausea, anxiety, depression and other debilitating symptoms — and be allowed to die a natural death?
Dr Charles A. Bush, the medical director of Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital at the Ohio State University, believes this adversely impacts the health care system through higher costs and debilitating procedures for patients.
Conflicts of Interest? Doctors and Pharmaceutical Ties
Washington Post discuss a sensitive question many patients find themselves wondering but perhaps not directly asking their doctors - what companies their doctors have relationships with and how deep those ties run. One market research company estimated that pharmaceutical sales spends $20 billion a year marketing directly to doctors.
As a response in 2003, D.C. enacted legislation to improve transparency among drug manufacturers. A national effort was initiated this year:
But then again, complete skepticism of doctor-pharmaceutical sales relationships may not always be fair, as Chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic points out:
Good Sam in California
California may be suffering from a terrible financial crisis but Governor Schwartzenner has found time to sign legislation that raises the standard for lawsuits against non-professional medical individuals who aid others in emergency situations. Law.com reports
"The bar has been set higher," she said. "People who do something and unintentionally cause additional harm aren't going to be faced with having to be potentially sued. It's really more for someone who is aware of the fact that what they're doing is not right and they're going to potentially cause harm and go ahead and do it anyway." . . . .
August 17, 2009
Conference Announcements: LatCrit XIV and LatCrit/SALT New Faculty Workshop
LatCrit XIV promises to be a rich and memorable conference. Over 145 panel and work-in-porogress proposals were submitted. We hope that many of you will be able to join us. Please note that September 14th is the deadline both for conference early bird registration (at a discounted rate) as well as for the early bird LatCrit hotel rate of $189, but that Labor Day, September 7th, is the deadline for an even lower "earlier bird" room rates of $169 for Friday and Saturday and $179 for other nights -- significantly less than the hotel's standard room rate. Our room block is selling very swiftly, and the hotel may sell out before these deadlines, so please do not delay in making your reservations. Washington is hosting a number of large conferences around the LatCrit XIV weekend and hotel rooms outside of our block may be scarce and expensive.
The full preliminary conference program schedule for LatCrit XIV and the LatCrit/SALT New Faculty Development Workshop, hosted by American University Washington College of Law Oct. 1-4, has been released. It is here:
Hotel and conference registration materials are here:
And the conference theme narrative and initial call for papers/panels are here, although the submission deadline has long past and, absent cancellations, there will be no more panel and work-in-progress slots available (with the exception of commentators for works-in-progress colloquia):
Diane Rehm Health Care Townhall
In case you are interested in a slightly more friendly town hall discussion of health care issues, you may want to tune into the Diane Rehm show today to hear some of your fellow citizens ask questions about some of the potential issues the health reform bills hope to address and how.
10:00A Radio Town-Hall Forum on the Health Care Debate
Angry debates over changing the nation's health care system break out at public forums across the country. Now it’s your turn to participate in a radio town hall. Your questions and concerns on health care overhaul.
Ceci Connolly, reporter, The Washington Post.
Mary Agnes Carey, senior correspondent with Kaiser Health News. She most recently served as associate editor for CQ HealthBeat, a daily report on health care policy. She has also served as Capitol Hill Bureau Chief for CQ.
Carrie Budoff Brown, Health Care reporter for Politico.