Showing: 157 - 162 of 170 RESULTS

Years of research laid groundwork for speedy COVID-19 shots

How could scientists race out COVID-19 vaccines so fast without cutting corners? A head start helped — over a decade of behind-the-scenes research that had new vaccine technology poised for a challenge just as the coronavirus erupted.

“The speed is a reflection of years of work that went before,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, told The Associated Press. “That’s what the public has to understand.”

Creating vaccines and having results from rigorous studies less than a year after the world discovered a never-before-seen disease is incredible, cutting years off normal development. But the two U.S. frontrunners are made in a way that promises speedier development may become the norm — especially if they prove to work long-term as well as early testing suggests.

“Abject giddiness,” is how Dr. C. Buddy Creech, a Vanderbilt University vaccine expert, described scientists’ reactions when separate studies showed the two candidates

Read More

Biden picks Xavier Becerra for HHS secretary, Rochelle Walensky for CDC head

President-elect Joe Biden has chosen California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as his nominee for HHS secretary. Becerra has led the Democratic states’ court fight to protect the Affordable Care Act. Biden also picked Rochelle Walensky to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sources familiar with the matter told Politico on Sunday.

As California’s attorney general, Becerra has led the coalition of Democratic states defending “Obamacare” from the Trump administration’s latest effort to overturn it, a legal case awaiting a Supreme Court decision next year.

Becerra also led a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case involving 21 state attorneys general challenging the Trump administration’s criteria for handing out Title X funding. He also appealed a challenge to California’s right-to-die law.

In 2020, Becerra filed an antitrust case against Sutter Health, alleging that the not-for-profit healthcare giant was using its market dominance in Northern California to

Read More

Doylestown Hospital’s COVID battle documented in videos

A two-part documentary series chronicles how 239-bed Doylestown (Pa.) Hospital confronted the pandemic and changed its operations to best battle COVID.

Produced by the Doylestown Health Foundation, partly for a fundraising initiative for the stand-alone hospital, the videos tell a story that is unique to Doylestown, while echoing the experiences of many other systems. 

A patient featured in the first 30-minute installment of the series, “Leading Through a Crisis,” is Howard Brown, one of the first COVID patients treated at Doylestown. There for weeks, on and off a ventilator, Brown describes finally leaving. “I remember being wheeled down the hallway and the corridor was lined with doctors, nurses, technicians, administrative staff, and they were playing ‘Here Comes the Sun.’ There were tears in people’s eyes.” 

In all 375 COVID inpatients have been treated there so far, with 70 dying; 128 staffers tested positive, with no deaths. 

Several department heads

Read More

Pressure builds on Congress to act as COVID-19 spikes again

Congress has floundered for months trying to pass another major COVID-19 stimulus bill, but healthcare executives overwhelmingly want lawmakers to move forward with more relief. The last major COVID-19 bill passed in April.

Out of all the priorities healthcare providers have asked Congress to address, the Power Panel’s top four issues were funding for COVID-19 testing and tracing; money for vaccine development and distribution; liability protections for healthcare providers; and an extended suspension of the Medicare sequester.

COVID-19 cases across the country are spiking again, and executives said healthcare workforces are burned out. They are hoping that an investment in public health priorities can mitigate the pandemic and demands on their workforce.

Cathy Jacobson, CEO of Milwaukee-based Froedtert Health, said Wisconsin’s coronavirus spike has decimated staff numbers while simultaneously increasing the need to man community testing sites. Froedtert had more than 200 COVID-19 inpatients as of mid-November, and Jacobson said

Read More

Providers scramble for staff to care for pandemic’s sick

As COVID-19 cases surge across the country, the competition for healthcare staff is becoming high stakes.

Hospitals and nursing homes are facing similar dilemmas. In Wisconsin, nursing homes are struggling to accept patients from overrun hospitals, according to John Sauer, president and CEO of LeadingAge Wisconsin, which represents aging service providers.

“We will not admit individuals for whom we don’t have staff,” Sauer said. “Right now, we’re pulling out all the stops. We’re looking at bringing in workers from out of state to provide help on a temporary basis.”

But those workers come at a cost, one that nursing homes, which have already been burdened with the costs of personal protective equipment, COVID-19 testing and infection control measures, will struggle to cover, Sauer said.

“We’re going to pay the piper for those higher costs,” Sauer said. Without federal assistance, he predicts, “We’re going to see many facilities fail in 2021.”

Read More

Vaccinating long-term care residents, staff for COVID-19 comes with challenges

Although healthcare workers and nursing home residents are at the top of the list for COVID-19 vaccinations, there are still many steps needed to guarantee a smooth rollout.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice recommended that the two groups should be in the first phase of COVID-19 vaccination, but the decision will lie with state officials.

“I wish it were as simple as saying we’re going to vaccinate residents and staff,” said David Grabowski, a professor of healthcare policy at Harvard Medical School. Instead, he predicts some challenges on adoption and education.

Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, which represents more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the U.S, said the industry is calling on governors from every state to prioritize long-term staff and residents in vaccine distribution “to save

Read More