MRCS Weekly Recap 14 (5.1.2022 - 5.7.2022)

1. COVID

Covid is becoming more like the flu but still remains a long way from being ordinary. While it is becoming more genetically predictable, covid-19 can still cause mass death and disabilities. In fact, the WHO estimates that Covid caused nearly 15 million deaths in the pandemic's first two years. The global health agency believes that the US has just under 1 million total covid deaths. The US reported a double-digit increase in covid-19 cases and hospitalizations last week. As of April 27, the seven-day case average was over 53,000, a 25% increase from the previous week. While cases and hospitalizations are both up, the seven-day death average is at 334, down 5% from the last week. As of April 27, over 257 million people (77.5% of the US population) have received at least one dose of the covid vaccine. We see a decline with the booster as about half of the people eligible for the booster has not yet gotten one. In a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 18% of parents with children under 5 said that they would seek a shot for their child as soon as one was available. 38% claimed they would wait and see, while 27% said they would definitely not get their child vaccinated.

2. Telehealth

Virtual care and telemedicine increased during the pandemic. Despite recent reports, a study from Johns Hopkins shows increased use for all socioeconomic statuses and ethnic groups. The one disparity was the overall decline in telemedicine use in older adults. This trend becomes stronger with age. Technological advancements make ordering items online more accessible than ever. Especially for Adderall prescriptions due to the rise in telehealth. It is easier than ever to be diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed ADHD drugs, including Adderall.

3. Policy Updates

With the leaked draft to the Supreme Court to repeal Roe Vs. Wade, telemedicine abortion could significantly surge in states that allow it. Most US abortions are now induced with medication rather than done surgically. As more conditions are expected to restrict and criminalize abortions, telehealth services, and abortion providers will need to figure out the best way to ease the surge in demand where abortion is legal. The OIG found that some Private Medicare Advantage plans have wrongly denied members who needed care. After reviewing a sample of denials, it was found that 13% of prior authorization and 18% of payment denials should have been approved and were wrongfully denied.

4. Practice Management

Often times people do not receive care or delay it because of the financial costs associated with health care. In a recent NIH report, 45% of people wait or avoid care because of cost. While cost has been a significant problem in the past, patients are learning how to navigate different tools and their insurances to find ways to pay the least of their medical bills.

5. Key Trends

About 10 people were in contact with the man who tested positive for the H5 bird flu in Colorado. These 10 people will be monitored. The man who tested positive will undergo additional tests to ensure he was correctly diagnosed.

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