Healthcare – Oversight of pathogen research is unclear

💡 If you are afraid of the dark, this might be the perfect place for you. One high school in Massachusetts wasn’t able to Turn out its lights for more than a year.

Today in health, for-profit nursing homes have experienced extremely high rates of COVID-19 infections.

But first, a watchdog said HHS needed stronger oversight of so-called job searches, saying the requirements were too vague.

Hill Healthcare ReportWhere we keep up with the latest moves related to politics and news affecting your health. they were Nathaniel Wicksell And Joseph Choi. Someone refer you this newsletter?

The GAO says HHS policy for virus research is not clear

A congressional watchdog has determined that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)’s oversight of research involving highly contagious viruses such as MERS-CoV lacks clarity and is recommending that the administration develop new criteria for risk assessment.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted its own study looking at federal oversight of job acquisition research. This inquiry was made through a provision that included the CARES Act that mandated the agency to consider ongoing efforts to prepare for, respond to, and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gain-of-function research, which has been under close scrutiny from Congress throughout the pandemic, is a process in which pathogens are altered in a way that improves their ability to cause disease. This type of research is often done to assess potential risks for infectious diseases and can be used to inform public health preparedness.

HHS instituted a framework in 2017 for gain-of-function research, requiring agencies to submit to additional review when they identify research proposals including “potential pandemic pathogens” that are being considered for federal funding.

The Government Accountability Office said in its report that oversight under the 2017 framework “does not fully meet the key elements of effective oversight.”

According to the censors, the framework fell short in terms of transparency and performance reviews.

Read more here.

The USDA tightens rules for organic food labels

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) updated its regulations for foods labeled “organic” Thursday, as part of an effort to close loopholes and increase confidence in the agency’s organic seal.

The USDA promoted the new rule, which aims to increase oversight and enforcement of products labeled organic, as the “largest update to organic regulations” since 1990.

  • The new rule requires that more companies in the supply chain be certified organic and requires all organic products entering the United States to obtain an import certificate from the USDA’s National Organic Program.
  • It also requires that non-retail containers used to ship and store organic products be labeled as such to “reduce mishandling of organic products” and “support traceability” and advocates the use of standardized certification, training and standardized qualifications for certifying agents.

“This success is further evidence that the USDA stands fully behind the organic brand,” Jenny Lester Moffitt, Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, said in a statement.

In the news: Two Minnesota farmers were charged last week Conspiracy to defraud buyers More than $46 million by misclassifying grain as organic, several individuals from Turkey and two Dubai entities were charged earlier this month for shipping non-organic soybeans and corn from Eastern Europe to the United States classified as organic.

Read more here.

Survey: Less than half rate American health care as excellent and good

Less than half of respondents in a new Gallup poll have favorable views of the US healthcare system, with the majority saying it is fair or poor.

It The first time since 2001When the survey giant began recording feedback about health care in the United States, less than half (48 percent) of respondents said the system was excellent or good. The pollsters pointed out that the continuation of the worrying trend is the decline in confidence in health care in the country.

Downward path: Views of health care in the United States have deteriorated since their peak in 2012, when 62 percent of respondents praised the system. Since then, those positive opinions have hovered around 55 percent, dropping to 50 percent last year and falling below the threshold of half of respondents this year.

  • The new poll finds that one of the main reasons attitudes toward health care have trended downward is that Republican trust in the system has deteriorated since former President Trump left office.
  • In 2019, 75 percent of Republicans had a positive view of healthcare — now only 56 percent share the view. Democrats have always had a lower level of satisfaction overall, currently at 44 percent.

Read more here.

Most LGBT people say that some state laws affect mental health

More than 70 percent of LGBTQ youth said their mental health has been harmed by state laws that restrict the rights of LGBTQ youth.

In 2022 alone, more than 200 bills considered by state and federal legislators sought to restrict the rights of LGBTQ Americans—especially transgender youth.

  • Almost 86 percent of transgender people between the ages of 13 and 24 in New Trevor Project survey They said these efforts harmed their mental health, with 55 percent reporting that their mental health had been affected “very negatively”.
  • More than 80 percent of transgender and non-binary youth say recent discussions about state bills to restrict gender-affirming healthcare, ban transgender athletes from sports and limit how LGBTQ identities are talked about in schools have negatively affected their mental health.

“We must consider the negative toll of these ugly public debates about young people’s mental health and well-being,” Casey Suffredini, vice president of advocacy and government affairs at The Trevor Project, said in a statement Thursday.

LGBTQ youth are watching, and internalizing the anti-gay messages they see in the media and from elected officials. So are those who may harm our society.”

Read more here.

More than 1,300 nursing homes have had high rates of COVID

More than 1,300 nursing homes in the United States, most of them for-profit facilities, experienced extremely high rates of coronavirus infection in 2020, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Health and Human Rights. services.

For the OIG study, the agency took Medicare claims data to find nursing homes with beneficiaries who tested positive for COVID-19. The study looked at 15,086 nursing homes across the country.

Nursing homes saw an increase in COVID-19 cases during the spring of 2020 and an even greater increase during the fall, long after they were known to be at risk. More than 1,300 nursing homes had very high infection rates — 75 percent or more of Medicare beneficiaries — during these surges,” the inspector general’s office said.

The report noted demographic differences between the observed increases. During the first increase in cases, nursing homes in urban areas were more likely to have a high number of cases, while nursing homes in rural areas were more likely to have a high rate of cases in the second increase.

In both increases analyzed by OIG, for-profit nursing homes accounted for a “disproportionate” number of sites with severe infection rates.

Read more here.

what we read

  • “Shall we carry on?” On Rowe’s 50th anniversary, abortion opponents reach a crossroads (The New York Times)
  • In a post-Dobbs world, pathologists who study pregnancy loss walk a fine line between medicine and law (stat)
  • NIH Misses Top Leadership in Beginning of a Divided Congress (Roll Call)

State by state

  • Massachusetts discovers a new and disturbing strain of gonorrhea (Boston Globe)
  • Bill will expand mental health screenings for Montana students (Montana Public Radio)
  • Countries that ban abortion, the report says, also ‘disempower people economically’ (The nineteenth news)


We have tools to protect the immunocompromised from COVID-19 – it’s time to use them

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Health care page For the latest news and coverage. see you tomorrow.

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