Weekend Update

Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

From Washington, DC

  • NPR Shots lets us know,
    • “Medicare, the federal government’s health insurance program for people 65 and over, is launching an eight-year pilot project this summer with a groundbreaking plan. * * *
    • “Medicare’s pilot, called Guiding an Improved Dementia Experience – or GUIDE – is modeled on a handful of promising, smaller programs linked to academic institutions, including UCLA, UC-San Francisco, and Emory and Indiana universities.
    • “In Medicare’s version, each family will get a care coordinator — a sort of coach trained in dementia care, who knows the patient and the caregiver and can offer guidance and troubleshoot problems before they escalate. The coach or other member of the care team will be on call, 24/7. They will also help coordinate doctors’ visits and identify some adult day care or in-home care for the patient for up to a few hours a week, to lighten the caregiver’s load. * * *
    • “Medicare has yet to reveal exactly which health systems will be included in its pilot project, or how many families will be eligible; the agency promises more details in early July. In the meantime, Medicare has spelled out some eligibility criteria for patients:
      • “The patient must have a dementia diagnosis.”
      • “They must have traditional Medicare insurance — that’s only about half of people over 65. Seniors on a Medicare Advantage plan aren’t eligible.
      • “The patient must be living in their own home, in a family member’s home, or in an assisted care facility — but not in a nursing home. 
  • HR Dive offers updates on the status of three pending federal court lawsuits challenging the Fair Labor Standards Act changes that took effect last Monday.

From the public health and medical research front

  • The FEHBlog ran across this WasteWaterSCAN website which provides wastewater reporting on eleven infectious diseases including Covid.
    • We monitor infectious diseases through municipal wastewater systems to inform public health responses at a local, regional, and national level. Our goal is to show that a national wastewater monitoring system is a valuable part of our public health infrastructure, can inform public health responses, and will help us prepare for future pandemics.
    • WastewaterSCAN is based at Stanford University, in partnership with Emory University, and funded through philanthropy. We are committed to transparency, scientific rigor, and open science. We make our methods public and publish our research in scholarly journals to subject them to peer review.
  • Fortune Well points out that “July has the highest number of drowning deaths. Here’s how to keep kids safe around water.”
  • The New York Times discusses brain donation for medical research. The article focuses on an 82-year-old woman whose father recently passed away at age 110.
    • “[As] he was nearing death, enrolled in home hospice care, “In the middle of the night, I thought, ‘Dad’s brain is so great,’” said Ms. Hansen, 82, a retired librarian in Seattle. “I went online and looked up ‘brain donation.’”
    • “Her search led to a National Institutes of Health web page explaining that its NeuroBioBank, established in 2013, collected post-mortem human brain tissue to advance neurological research.
    • “Through the site, Ms. Hansen contacted the nonprofit Brain Donor Project. It promotes and simplifies donations through a network of university brain banks, which distribute preserved tissue to research teams.
    • “Tish Hevel, the founder of the project, responded quickly, putting Ms. Hansen and her brother in touch with the brain bank at the University of California, Los Angeles. Brain donors may have neurological and other diseases, or they may possess healthy brains, like Mr. Markoff’s.
    • “We’re going to learn so much from him,” Ms. Hevel said. “What is it about these super-agers that allows them to function at such a high level for so long?”
  • Medscape notes,
    • “Lenacapavir, a twice-yearly injectable HIV-1 capsid inhibitor, has shown 100% efficacy in preventing HIV in women at a high risk for infection, according to an interim analysis of the phase 3 PURPOSE 1 trial.
    • “The results were so promising that the independent data monitoring committee recommended that Gilead Sciences stop the blinded phase of the trial and offer open-label lenacapavir to all participants.
    • “The results were both unexpected and exciting. “I’ve been in the HIV field for a really long time, and there’s no other phase 3 PrEP trial that found zero infections,” said Moupali Das, MD, PhD, executive director of clinical development at Gilead Sciences, Foster City, California.

From the U.S. healthcare business front,

  • Healthcare Dive reports,
    • “Cano Health has emerged from bankruptcy as a private company, months after the primary care chain said it would restructure and delist from the New York Stock Exchange. 
    • “The company said Friday it converted more than $1 billion of funded debt into common stock and warrants as part of bankruptcy proceedings. The chain’s existing investors also committed to provide more than $200 million to support Cano’s business plan going forward. 
    • “Cano will take a “disciplined and strategic approach” to growth over the next few years, focusing on improving services at their 80 clinics in Florida, CEO Mark Kent said in a statement. The company had 172 medical centers at the end of 2022, according to a securities filing.”