HIGH RATES OF DEPRESSION AND PTSD FOUND IN FLINT 5 YEARS AFTER WATER CRISIS

BY DUKE TODAY STAFF: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Very high rates of depression and PTSD linked to water contamination.

Data from the largest mental health survey of the Flint, Michigan community indicate that one in five adults, or roughly 13,600 people, were estimated to have clinical depression, and one in four, or 15,000 people, were estimated to have PTSD five years after the water crisis began.

“The mental health burden of America’s largest public-works environmental disaster clearly continues for many adults in Flint,” said Aaron Reuben, a postdoctoral scholar at Duke University who led the research, which appears Sept. 20 in JAMA Network Open.

Final Public Charge Rule Adds Critical Protections for Immigrant Families

By Katherine Villeda, Colin Reusch: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Late last week following guidance from the Biden administration, the Department of Homeland Security released the final Public Charge Rule, taking an important step forward to undo the harm caused by the previous administration’s rule which significantly threatened access to critical services for immigrants and their families. This final rule adds critical protections and affirms that immigrants and their families can safely access health, housing and nutritional programs to which they are entitled to without fear of consequences to their immigration status.     

Here is what advocates need to know:  

  • The final rule goes into effect Dec. 22, 2022. Between now and then, the field guidance from the 1999 rule will continue to be followed.  
  • Immigrants and their families, including citizen children, can safely access non-cash health, nutritional and housing programs they qualify for, such as Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and Section 8 housing assistance. Benefits received from these programs will not count towards the public charge test. 
  • Applying for benefits, being approved for benefits, assisting someone else to apply for benefits, or being in the same household as someone who receives benefits will not be counted towards the applicant’s immigration application.  
  • The only programs that can be considered in a public charge determination are Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance, state and locally funded cash assistance for income maintenance, and long-term institutional care paid for by Medicaid (this excludes short term or rehabilitative care and home and community-based services). However, getting these benefits does not automatically make someone a public charge. Other factors such as when benefits were received, length of receipt of benefits, education, skills, income and affidavit of support will be taken into account before making a public charge determination. If a public charge determination is made, immigration officers must now state their reasons as to why someone is a public charge.  

A further analysis of the final rule can be found here.   

Family Caregiver Services by State

From The Family Caregiver Alliance: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Our Family Caregiver Services by State tool helps you locate public and nonprofit programs and services nearby, no matter where you live in the United States. Resources include government health and disability programs, legal, in-home, out-of-home care, and more. Caregiving is challenging, but there are resources to help. Choose a state in the dropdown menu, or click on a state in the map for state-specific resources, then filter by topic to help you find what resources are available to help with your situation.

Select a state…

Medicare Assistance Programs Go Unused Despite Need

By Julie Carter: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Older adults and people with disabilities may face barriers to programs that could help them pay for Medicare and other basic needs, like food, housing, and utilities. These challenges range from confusing or restrictive application and eligibility rules to simply not knowing about a program’s existence. As costs continue to rise, it is increasingly important to ensure that people who need help get it.

For example, Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) pay Medicare premiums for eligible enrollees and, in some cases, cover cost-sharing like copayments and coinsurance. But MSP enrollment is consistently low, despite widespread efforts to increase use and outreach. This is likely from a combination of people not knowing about or understanding the program and administrative inefficiencies like complex enrollment or asset documentation processes. Medicare Rights continues to suggest ways states could address these problems and increase MSP uptake, like making better use of existing technology and data, implementing automatic renewals, increasing income eligibility thresholds, and removing asset limits.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is another critical but under-enrolled program. Food insecurity is widespread among older adults with an estimated 9.5 million people 50 or older and 5 million people 60 or older facing limited or uncertain access to adequate food. Despite this need, SNAP participation rates for the older adult population are low, with an estimated 29% of those eligible participating. In a series of reports earlier this year, AARP explored the reasons for this and identified several policy changes that could bolster older adult participation: higher eligibility limits, outreach to eligible people, streamlined application processes, and increased minimum benefits.

Other benefit programs are also underused by older adults, leaving many struggling to afford basic needs. Medicare Rights recommends contacting your local Area Agency on Aging and State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), as well as using online tools like Benefits Checkup, to see if you or a loved one are eligible for assistance programs in your area. Eligibility rules and access vary by state and community, so we advise people to check even if they feel certain they do not qualify.

Up to 4 million people may be out of work due to long Covid, new research suggests

By Aria Bendix: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Up to 4 million people may be out of work because of long Covid in the U.S, according to a report published this week by the Brookings Institution.

In lost wages, that could add up to at least $170 billion per year, the report suggests.

the Brookings report determined that 2 million to 4 million people in the U.S. are working less or not at all because of their illness.

“This is a shocking number,” said Katie Bach, the report’s author and a nonresident senior fellow at Brookings.

“If this looks like other post-viral illnesses, some people will recover, but there will be this big stock of people who don’t, and it will just continue to grow over time,” she said.

COVID-19 Mortality Burden and Comorbidity Patterns Among Decedents with and without Intellectual and Developmental Disability in the US

By Scott D.Landes, Julia M.Finan, Margaret A.Turk: For Complete Post, Click Here…

COVID-19 was the leading cause of death among decedents with IDD in 2020, compared to the 3rd leading cause among decedents without IDD. The proportion of deaths from COVID-19 was also higher for decedents with compared to without IDD. Comorbidities resulting from COVID-19 were similar among decedents with and without IDD, but there were some differences among reported pre-existing conditions, notably higher rates of hypothyroidism and seizures among decedents with IDD.

The COVID-19 mortality burden was greater for people with than without IDD during the first year of the pandemic. The continued practice of postmortem diagnostic overshadowing prevents analyzing whether this difference continues through today. Action is needed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to mitigate this data inequity. Out of an abundance of caution, medical providers should carefully monitor symptoms among COVID-19 patients with IDD diagnosed with hypothyroidism and/or seizures.

Out-of-Pocket Cost of Naloxone May Keep Many Uninsured from Using Lifesaving Treatment

By Evan D. Peet: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The cost of buying the opioid antidote naloxone is out of reach for many uninsured Americans, a hurdle that may keep the treatment from saving more people who overdose on opioids, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

While laws making it easier to prescribe and obtain naloxone have increased use of the medication, the out-of-pocket cost of the drug for the uninsured has risen sharply even while falling for many who are insured.

The study found that the average out-of-pocket cost per naloxone prescription among those who have health insurance declined by 26 percent from 2014 to 2018, while out-of-pocket costs increased by more than 500 percent for people who are uninsured. Uninsured Americans are a vulnerable population that represent about 20 percent of adults with an opioid-use disorder and nearly one-third of opioid overdose deaths.

The fight to keep little-known bacteria out of powdered baby formula

By Laura Reiley and Jacob Bogage: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Parents aren’t adequately warned about the risks of cronobacter, say food safety experts. ‘I fed my daughter like I was supposed to,’ said Megan Surber, whose child is now disabled.

Jeanine Kunkel had been the healthy twin, the one who came home from the hospital that day in 2008 while her brother James stayed a few nights in intensive care. But within days of arriving, she spiked a fever that sent her back to the hospital.

The newborn had developed an infection — caused, her doctors said, by ingesting formula tainted with the bacteria Cronobacter sakazakii. The infection led to a severe case of meningitisthat caused irreparable brain damage. Jeanine’s family sued the formula maker, Abbott Laboratories, arguing the company was responsible for her illness, but a jury found the company not liable. The company’s lawyers dredged up incidents from the family’s past and argued that the bacteria could have come from anywhere, including the family kitchen.

Jeanine’s situation is rare, but not isolated. 

Long COVID’s link to suicide: scientists warn of hidden crisis

By Julie Steenhuysen and Jennifer Rigby: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The 56-year-old, who caught the disease in spring 2020, still had not recovered about 18 months later when he killed himself at his home near Dallas, having lost his health, memory and money.

“No one cares. No one wants to take the time to listen,” Taylor wrote in a final text to a friend, speaking of the plight of millions of sufferers of long COVID, a disabling condition that can last for months and years after the initial infection.

Use of Telehealth During the Pandemic Tied to Fewer Opioid Overdoses

by Shannon Firth: For Complete Post, Click Here…

“Protective effect” for Medicare patients with OUD who used telehealth services, says researcher.

Medicare enrollees with opioid use disorder (OUD) who took advantage of the expanded telehealth access during the pandemic had lower odds of needing treatment for an overdose and were also more likely to stay on medication for OUD, a longitudinal cohort study found.

And the receipt of OUD-related telehealth services also increased the odds of OUD-medication retention among enrollees (aOR 1.27, 95% CI 1.14-1.41), demonstrating a “protective effect” for this population, Jones told MedPage Today.