FORBES - A new study shows that the combination of opioids with benzodiazepines is especially risky in the first 90 days of concurrent use. "These findings demonstrate that fragmented care plays a role in the inappropriate use of opioids, and having multiple prescribers who are not in communication increases the risk for overdose," HPM's YUTING ZHANG told Forbes about a study also featuring INMACULADA HERNANDEZ (HPM '16) as first author.
One Pitt Public Health student has been selected as a 2018-19 Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellow. JOHN CORDIER (HPM '18) aims to address health and education gaps faced by youth in urban schools by working with high-school students during after-school programs. He leads health clubs to address health issues and empower the students to be leaders in addressing community health issues.
In this talk, JULIE DONOHUE discusses five key factors about the Affordable Care Act. She touches on medicaid expansion, which increased insurance coverage in the U.S. for over 20 million people, and she talks about the uninsured rate. "[The ACA] has led to the biggest reduction in the uninsured in history and we have the lowest level of uninsured that we’ve ever recorded at about 10%."
WIKITRIBUNE - The White House released a rough plan to rein in drug prices that included price transparency. The argument is that drug companies might shy away from raising prices if they knew the public was watching. "Just notifying us whether there’s a price increase, that’s not really going to have any effect,” says HPM's WALID GELLAD. “Many of these state laws also have very low fines if they don’t report this data.”
THE HOSPITALIST - In October 2015, CMS implemented its first meaningful policy to attempt for addressing sepsis, however, not everyone has embraced it thus far. “Sepsis is indeed a critical public health problem, and it’s appropriate and valuable that Medicare and other policy makers are focusing on sepsis,” said HPM's JEREMY KAHN. "But at 85-pages long, it really is an enormous effort for hospitals to adhere to this measure."
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - Suicides in Allegheny County have increased 66 percent over just eight years from 2010 to 2017. The increase is far higher than the 25 percent national increase, or the 30 percent increase in Pennsylvania over 18 years between 1999 and 2016. “This is really upsetting to me because for so long our [suicide] rates were going down,” said HUGEN's LISA PAN.
US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT - Tens of thousands of people (if not more) who inject heroin, fentanyl and other opioids are at risk of contracting HIV or hepatitis C from a contaminated syringe. Research shows that programs in which people who inject drugs turn in their used needles in exchange for clean ones are effective in preventing the spread of HIV and hepatitis C, says HPM chair MARK ROBERTS.
WESA-FM - Two major proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, could cause 70,000 Pennsylvania households to lose eligibility. “I think there’s concern that with this new policy, we might be erring more on the side of being punitive and too restrictive,” says HPM’s ERIC ROBERTS. “And I think that might come at a cost of helping people who deserve it and benefit from these programs.”
THE BALTIMORE SUN - The federal government has approved a plan Maryland has been testing for the past four years to control health costs by shifting more care out of hospitals and better coordinating care with doctors, nursing homes and community groups. HPM's ERIC T. ROBERTS, was among those to analyze the system.
U.S. NEWS - Doctors who accept perks from companies that make opioid painkillers are more likely to prescribe the drugs for their patients, new research suggests. HPM's JULIE DONOHUE, agreed that the study doesn't prove perks caused doctors to prescribe more opioids. But in the context of an opioid epidemic, "we have good reason to believe that industry promotion influences prescribing behavior," she said.
NPR - President Trump announced a plan that lists dozens of "potential" steps his team may take to lower drug prices. "On the positive side, I will say that HHS does seem to be paying close attention to this issue," says HPM's WALID GELLAD. "On the negative side, it's a bunch of questions, not a specific plan for how to proceed."
For the past nineteen years, public recognition has been given to a faculty member who has made outstanding contributions to the University through service in the University Senate. Members of the Senate Executive Committee were unanimous in their selection of HPM's WES ROHRER for the 2018 award for his service as Budget Policies chair. Congratulations, Dr. Rohrer!
WESA-FM - Cultivating Health for Success is a program geared towards people that are homeless, suffering from chronic conditions, and have a history of unplanned care. “People who face housing instability often come to our health care system with high costs and high needs for care,” said ERIC ROBERTS, HPM professor. Patients in the program get housing vouchers and one-on-one help from case managers and nurses.
UPMC - “Public health emergencies are issues that every community faces,” said HPM's TINA BATRA HERSHEY. “To address these threats... We created the Tribal Legal Preparedness Project to assist tribal nations interested in expanding their legal preparedness capacity.” The project will provide free training modules and a resource library.
CNBC - New gene therapies that aim to cure hemophilia are on the horizon. Leerink analysts said the treatments could cost $1.5 million or more. Treating hemophilia can incur between $580,000 and $800,000 per year. For that reason, a potential one-time $1.5 million cost is perceived by many to be a bargain compared with a lifetime of chronic therapy. Others, like HPM's WALID GELLAD, see it as excessive.