U.S. appeals court strikes down Florida law in ‘Docs vs. Glocks’ case

Reuters, 16 February 2017
Author: Brendan Pierson
“A U.S. appeals court on Thursday struck down a Florida law that barred doctors from asking patients about gun ownership, ruling that the law violated doctors’ right to free speech. The decision, from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, reverses an earlier decision in the so-called “Docs v. Glocks” case by a three-judge panel of that court upholding the law.”
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Mistakes at U.S. lab force hundreds of Zika tests to be repeated

Reuters, 17 February 2017
Author: Julie Steenhuysen
“Officials in Washington, D.C.’s public health laboratory had to repeat Zika tests for nearly 300 pregnant women, including two women who were mistakenly told they tested negative for the mosquito-borne virus that has been shown to cause birth defects.”
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UnitedHealth sued by U.S. government over Medicare charges

Reuters, 17 February 2017
Author: Akankshita Mukhopadhyay, Laharee Chatterjee
“The U.S. Justice Department has joined a whistleblower lawsuit against UnitedHealth Group Inc that claims the country’s largest health insurer and its units and affiliates overcharged Medicare hundreds of millions of dollars, a law firm representing the whistleblower said on Thursday.”
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Sen. Grassley Launches Inquiry Into Orphan Drug Law’s Effect On Prices

NPR, 10 February 2017
Author: Sarah Jane Tribble
“Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has opened an inquiry into potential abuses of the Orphan Drug Act that may have contributed to high prices on commonly used drugs.”
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Clinical ethics issues in HIV care in Canada: an institutional ethnographic study

BMC Medical Ethics 2017 18:9
Authors: Chris Kaposy, Nicole R. Greenspan, Zack Marshall, Jill Allison, Shelley Marshall, Cynthia Kitson
“We found that health care providers and clinic clients have developed work processes for managing ethical issues of various types: conflicts between client-autonomy and public health priorities (“treatment as prevention”), difficulties associated with the criminalization of nondisclosure of HIV positive status, challenges with non-adherence to HIV treatment, the protection of confidentiality, barriers to treatment access, and negative social determinants of health and well-being.”
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The Use of Public Health Evidence in Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt

JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(2):155-156.
Author: Daniel Grossman
“Enacted in 2013, Texas’s House Bill 2 (HB 2) was one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. The law had 4 provisions: (1) physicians providing abortion had to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, (2) medication abortion had to be provided according to the protocol described in the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved labeling of mifepristone, (3) most abortions at 20 weeks postfertilization or later were banned, and (4) facilities providing abortion had to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers. The first 3 provisions went into effect by November 2013; the fourth provision, meeting the standards of ambulatory surgical centers, was enforced only briefly in October 2014 before the US Supreme Court issued a stay.”
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A New Day For Oversight Of Human Subjects Research

Health Affairs Blog, 6 February 2017
Author: Holly Fernandez Lynch
“On January 19, 2017—President Obama’s last day in office—the Federal Register published a Final Rule to amend the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects, the set of regulations applicable to most human subjects research conducted or supported with federal funds, and more typically referred to as the “Common Rule.” This rule change had been a long time coming, with an Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM) published in July 2011 and a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) published in September 2015. The seriousness of its impact on the research community, patients, and the public is evidenced by the more than 3,300 public comments submitted during the rulemaking process. So what changed?”
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Grading Obamacare: Successes, Failures and ‘Incompletes’

NYT Health, 5 February 2017
Author: Margot Sanger-Katz
“Ever since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, it has been so contentious that it can be difficult to see beyond the partisan debate. But by looking at the many ways the law has changed health care, it’s possible to hazard some judgments.”
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Travel ban threatens medical research and access to care in the US, medical groups warn

BMJ 2017; 356:j545
Author: Michael McCarthy
“President Donald Trump’s executive order banning nationals from seven Muslim majority nations, as well as all refugees, from entering the county threatens to damage the quality of medical research and healthcare in the US, medical groups and academic centers have warned.”
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Legal Dispute Continues Over Medicare Coverage Of Physical Therapy

NPR, 30 January 2017
Author: Susan Jaffe
“Four years after Medicare officials agreed in a landmark court settlement that seniors can’t be denied coverage for physical therapy and other skilled care simply because their condition isn’t improving, patients are still being turned away. As a result, federal officials and Medicare advocates have renewed their federal court battle, acknowledging that they cannot agree on a way to fix the problem. Earlier this month, each submitted ideas to the judge, who will decide — possibly within the next few months — what measures should be taken.”
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