As the Pandemic Goes On, Vaccines Are Shown to Protect Against Serious Illness with Delta

As the Pandemic Goes On, Vaccines Are Shown to Protect Against Serious Illness with Delta

COVID-19 vaccines are proving to not only diminish the risk of patients becoming infected with the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and its variants, but also to protect against serious illness in patients who do become infected—including those infected with the Delta variant. A study published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report revealed that vaccinated patients diagnosed with the Delta variant of COVID-19 are less likely to require hospitalization or visits to the emergency room or urgent …

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How Bad Is the COVID-19 Surge? Hospitals Are Suggesting Patients Visit Urgent Care Instead of the ED

How Bad Is the COVID-19 Surge? Hospitals Are Suggesting Patients Visit Urgent Care Instead of the ED

With hospitalizations for COVID-19 at their highest point since January of this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID data tracker, some hospital systems are putting out the word that urgent care centers may be the best option for nonemergent complaints. WVU Medicine in West Virginia, for one, went to the local media to announce that patients with complaints like ear or throat pain, abdominal complaints and other similar issues should …

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Let the Walgreens Incident Be a Reminder: Cybersecurity Always Has to Be Top of Mind

Let the Walgreens Incident Be a Reminder: Cybersecurity Always Has to Be Top of Mind

Walgreens inadvertently left the data of millions of its customers unprotected thanks to an apparent oversight in the creation of an app used for COVID-19 test registrations. As reported by Recode, information—including names, contact information, and even the results of COVID-19 tests—on anyone who was tested at a Walgreens location within the last year could have been exposed on the open web. While this breach was not the work of hackers or other cybercriminals, the …

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Pediatric COVID-19 Cases Are at Their Peak—and the Data Haven’t Caught Up with School Openings Yet

Pediatric COVID-19 Cases Are at Their Peak—and the Data Haven’t Caught Up with School Openings Yet

Cases of COVID-19 in children grew 62% between August 5 and September 9 of this year (from 93,824 to 243,373), according to data collected from state departments of health by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association. Hospitalizations are up among infected children, too, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The scary part is, these data were collected before schools even opened up in many big …

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Now It’s Been Proven: COVID-19 Vaccines Reduce Hospitalizations (and Even Trips to Urgent Care)

Now It’s Been Proven: COVID-19 Vaccines Reduce Hospitalizations (and Even Trips to Urgent Care)

Data on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, thus far, have focused on how well vaccination protects patients from infection. We know that the vaccines, overall, are approximately 95% effective against infection, though that figure may be as low as 66% against the Delta variant. We also know, however, that breakthrough cases occur more often than we might have anticipated. An article just published in the New England Journal of Medicine appears to be the first …

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Let Vaccine-Hesitant Patients Know Their Risk of Dying with COVID-19 Is 11 Times Higher

Let Vaccine-Hesitant Patients Know Their Risk of Dying with COVID-19 Is 11 Times Higher

Data showing that vaccination lowers the risk of becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2, and that vaccination reduces the severity of disease on breakthrough cases, have been available for some time. That wasn’t enough to convince the entire population that getting a COVID-19 shot is a good idea, somehow. Maybe the three studies published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week will be more convincing. The most striking reveals that risk of death in …

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As the Pandemic Flourishes, Be Sure You’re Up to Speed on the AAP’s New Flu Shot Recommendations

As the Pandemic Flourishes, Be Sure You’re Up to Speed on the AAP’s New Flu Shot Recommendations

The COVID-19 pandemic was already on the upswing as schools started opening up across the country this year. Given that many children are too young to be vaccinated even if their parents would be so inclined, and many schools have declined to impose mask mandates, it’s reasonable to be concerned that we could see even more cases among younger patients as the next few weeks progress. So, this year more than most others, it would …

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Be Aware: Some Providers Are Getting Shortchanged on COVID-19 Vaccine Reimbursements

Be Aware: Some Providers Are Getting Shortchanged on COVID-19 Vaccine Reimbursements

First the urgent care industry saw itself cut out of the distribution chain for COVID-19 testing supplies. Next, it saw vaccines go preferentially to go health systems, public health organizations, and chain drugstores and big box stores. Now, as it continues to come back from those oversights, there are reports that UnitedHealth Group is undercutting the reimbursement rate set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for immunizing patients against SARS-CoV-2. They’re not legally …

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Think Your State Requires COVID-19 Vaccination for Your Team? You Might Need to Think Again

Think Your State Requires COVID-19 Vaccination for Your Team? You Might Need to Think Again

Controversial as the move might be, more states are requiring healthcare workers (HCWs) to get vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2. Often, the deadline gives those workers at least weeks to comply, while some rules offer the option of submitting to regular COVID-19 tests instead. At least one state, though, appears to have a mandate that leaves a gaping hole in the effort. As reported in the Portland Press Herald, many HCWs whose employer is not affiliated with …

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Watch Your Language; The Words You Choose Can Actually Diminish the Quality of Care You Provide

Watch Your Language; The Words You Choose Can Actually Diminish the Quality of Care You Provide

Shakespeare may have opined that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” but a new report from JAMA Network Open reveals that the words you choose when speaking with patients matter a great deal—to the extent that they can actually affect healthcare quality and patients’ opinions of you as a provider. Researchers who looked at 600 patient encounters involving 138 physicians discovered six ways that physicians express “positive” feelings (eg, compliments, approval, …

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