The Department of Health and Human Services wants to expand funding for “ natural family planning” and “ fertility awareness” which are largely ineffective methods of timing based birth control. In other words, DHHS want Medicaid to begin covering visits where patients are told this is a viable method of contraception. In other words, the DHHS wants to spend your tax dollars on an ineffective, scientifically invalid method of birth control. Meanwhile the rest of the administration is working on dismantling the Contraceptive Mandate, the part of current insurance law which states that insurers must cover, without copay, real effective birth control. Additionally, the DHHS has announced it is moving away from “ comprehensive sexual education” which is evidence based, and instead will be using your tax dollars to teach “ abstinence only” which has been proven not to work. It is beginning to seem like the administration wants women to have more babies. Maybe they see this as stimulating the economy through having more consumers, I don’t know.
California Judge Haywood Gilliam has stood up to the Feds determined to weaken the contraceptive mandate. He has blocked changes to the ACA in California, saying that he will not allow these changes “ transform contraceptive coverage from an entitlement to a benefit subject to employer discretion.”
Utah is writing law which will require radiologists to specifically notify women of dense breast tissue. In this warning they are to explain that screening is less effective, and that they may be eligible for other screening modalities.
New Jersey has replaced Republican Governor Chris Christie with Democrat Phil Murphy. Governor Murphy has reversed 8 years of policy by restoring funding to Planned Parenthood and other women’s health organizations. He has also signed a bill expanding coverage for Medicaid coverage of family planning, prenatal care and cancer screening.
DHHS is working on various plans to reduce the price of prescription drugs to consumers. Sounds good right ? However one of the cost control measures is capping the amount of prescription drug benefit that Medicare Recipients can receive. The other strategies include enabling as many as 5 states to collectively bargain with suppliers over prices.
The administration is at it again, proposing bargain basement plans for people. In the words of Admiral Akbar, “It’s a trap !”.
These plans are cheap, and some fear that consumers might not realize their limitations on coverage or pre-existing conditions. These plans which do not comply with the protections and coverage of the ACA ( Affordable Care Act) are a recipe for future disaster. They contribute little to the collective pot and cover little for their purchasers.
In the important and alarming department, we have cleaning sprays. New research published in the American Journal or Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine has shown that the “regular use of cleaning sprays can have as much impact on health as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day." In this 6000 person study, “ cleaning even once per week was associated with an accelerated lung decline risk”. I will try to find out more about the types of cleaning agents used.
HPV vaccine is still underused. Fewer than a third get their first dose by age 13, and fewer than half of all children are up to date on all their doses
In other vaccine news, a recent inventory of 400,000 births confirms that both influenza and TDaP vaccines are safe in pregnancy, and confer protection to both mom and baby.
When we think of a heart attack, we think of an older man with check pain. However, women suffer heart attacks almost as much as men. However in women, particularly women under 55, symptoms may not be recognized since they are different than mens. These patients are more likely to have what is described as indigestion, shortness of breath, palpitations, or jaw pain.
In related news, women’s heart attacks may have a different mechanism, coronary vasoconstriction, rather than the blockage from plaques that male patients often have. A new study confirms that among women with chest pain, and clean arteries, nearly 8% have scarred areas on the heart confirming that a heart attack occurred.
About half of all breast cancer patient facing radiation heard “ frightening stories” about it. However after the therapy, only 2% agreed that the stories were true.
Illinois has targeted maternal morbidity, specifically maternal morbidity due to severe maternal hypertension. A “quality initiative” specifying a “suite of interventions” was implemented. Participants qualified for the study by having BP at or greater than 160/110 (yikes!). Interventions included prompt pharmacologic treatment of maternal hypertension, specifically designed discharge education, and short postpartum follow up intervals. Severe maternal morbidity such as stroke as already decreased by 41%.
Stay tuned for more exciting news from the world of Obstetrics and Gynecology right here, next week, on Medical Monday.