Best Reads Of The Week From Brianna Labuskes


Happy Friday! If you’re like me, you’re totally hooked on the The Golden State Killer case, where investigators used a genealogy web site to search for their suspect. (And if you’re also any adverse health wonk like me, you’ll wish to check out this story on what privacy concerns the investigators’ strategy sparked.)

On towards the remaining best from a few days.

Dr. Ronny Jackson’s alleged misconduct (like how he was called “the candy man” and oversaw a hostile workplace) has dominated the headlines. But behind the theatrics from the failed nomination process lies a crucial but leaderless agency – the Department of Veterans Affairs – that’s caught in the middle of a fierce battle over privatization. There's been a current legacy of turmoil and scandal in the VA, and veterans’ health care is at stake. “This is finished and total chaos after many years of complete and total chaos,” said Paul Rieckhoff, with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of the usa.

o The Washington Post: 'What Causes it to be Stop?' Veterans Lament the continuing Turmoil Surrounding Trump's Pick for VA Secretary

Do drug companies see rare-disease patients as human jackpots? A deep dive into the money flow for charities which are, theoretically, established to help those patients pay for expensive drugs reveals that pharma might not be donating to the organizations from the goodness of the hearts. (Go ahead, feign surprise.)

o The Washington Post: Why Drug Companies See Rare-Disease Patients As Human Jackpots

o USA Today: Drug copay groups: Critical patient charities or fronts for drug makers?

Short-term plans are back in news reports since the comment period for the proposed extension was Monday. Many individuals in the industry spoke out against them for obvious reasons – they know healthy and young consumers are likely to jump ship to those enticingly cheap plans leaving the populace buying individual coverage sicker and older, on the whole. Also, they warn, those young and healthy consumers might find that the plans don't offer good coverage if they get sick.

o The Washington Post: Trump Proposal Could Mean Healthy People Save on Insurance While some Get Priced Out

In the brand new trend of transparency as a treatment for high health prices, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services really wants to require hospitals to publish the prices online within an easily accessible format for patients. But professionals state that as the idea sounds good in theory, it’s not actually going to help most consumers because list prices aren’t what individuals end up paying. And there’s the big question: Does CMS genuinely have the legal authority to make them do that?

o Modern Healthcare: CMS Proposal for Hospitals to Publish Prices Raises Tricky Issues

o Politico Pro: Legal Barriers Await Medicare's Price Transparency Work

There would be a lot of movement in women’s health this week: The administration is favoring abstinence-focused programs with its teen pregnancy prevention funds; a judge has blocked cuts to Planned Parenthood grants; as well as an executive order banning Title X funding for Planned Parenthood is apparently within the pipeline for next month.

o The New York Times: Trump Administration Pushes Abstinence in Teen Pregnancy Programs

o The Associated Press: Judge Prevents Trump From Cutting Planned Parenthood Grants

o Modern Healthcare: Trump Could Ban Title X Funding for Planned Parenthood

The research on needle exchanges is crystal-clear. They cut deaths, curb spending and lower disease without increasing drug abuse. However in the midst of the raging opioid epidemic, public health leaders just can’t quite convince the general public that they’re a good idea.

o The New York Times: Why a town at the Center of the Opioid Crisis Gave Up something to battle It

And a medication distributor absolves itself of responsibility within the opioid crisis – but, uh, it doesn’t actually work this way.

o Bloomberg: McKesson’s Board Clears Itself of Fault on Opioid Oversight

In the miscellaneous file: In Oregon, the criminally insane improve mental health services than individuals who don’t commit a crime; oncologists ponder whether the slimmest possibility of a therapy working justifies offering the treatment to terminal patients or maybe it’s easier to keep their mouths shut; and a reporter offers a heartbreaking take a look at West Virginia’s long good reputation for broken promises over black lung disease.

o Stateline: What Care for the Criminally Insane Can educate Us About Mental Health Treatment

o The New York Times: 'Desperation Oncology': When Patients Are Dying, Some Cancer Doctors Turn to Immunotherapy

o ProPublica: Covering West Virginia's Long Good reputation for Broken Promises

Have an excellent weekend! And tell me what you believe of the doctor who's pushing the thought of “regifting” kidneys as a way to solve the country’s organ shortage.