Researchers looking for long COVID symptoms find only 7

By Frank Diamond: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s tally of 19 possible long COVID symptoms comes with the caveat that it’s “not a comprehensive list.”

Yale Medicine counts 22 symptoms, while the Mayo Clinic lists 10. And Great Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) puts the number at 16.

These lists can be made even longer. For instance, the NHS has “high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat and changes to sense of smell or taste” as one symptom. Mayo lists “difficulty thinking or concentrating, headache, sleep problems, dizziness when you stand, pins-and-needles feeling, loss of smell or taste and depression or anxiety” as one symptom.

Narrowing down exactly what symptoms point to long COVID would be a start, and researchers at the University of Missouri (MU) think they’ve done just that by slimming the field of long COVID symptoms down to just seven: fast-beating heart, hair loss, fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath, joint pain and obesity.

Their study in Open Forum Infectious Diseases said that “understanding the population and subgroup risks for long COVID associated with outcomes, including lingering and chronic never-before-experienced symptoms and new medical diagnoses such as those reported here, is important for clinicians and researchers so that clinical guidelines for treatments and symptom management can be more appropriately developed for the growing number of adults affected by COVID-19.”

Opinion: People With Disabilities Deserve Better Health Care. We All Do.

BY TARA LAGU: For Complete Post, Click Here…

IWAS A RESIDENT working in an underresourced health clinic when, one afternoon, my triage paper indicated that my next patient needed a Pap smear. I walked into the room and found a woman sitting in a wheelchair.

Although I smiled and tried help her feel welcome, I felt nothing but panic.

During medical school, I had not been trained to care for people with disabilities. Now a resident, I didn’t even know to ask whether the clinic had access to a height-adjustable exam table. What I did know was that, because of my lack of experience and prior training, there was no chance I could perform a Pap smear for this person today. I apologized for the inconvenience and arranged an appointment for the patient at a women’s hospital on a different day and with a different doctor.

When I became a researcher, this experience, and others like it, led me to explore the disparities in care that patients with disabilities face. Through those studies, I have come to strongly believe that these disparities aren’t just a problem for patients who need sign language interpreters or accessible tables – they’re simply some of the most egregious cases of what all patients face in the United States health care system.

In 2013, my research team and I called a random sample of doctors from four U.S. cities, each time posing as a doctor making an appointment for a patient who used a wheelchair. Of the subspecialists we called, 20 percent said they could not accommodate such a patient. Some lacked adequate training or staff or equipment; a few said that their building was simply inaccessible, even though access to health care settings is a requirement of the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA.

More recently, we conducted focus groups with physicians to better understand the barriers that exist to caring for people with disabilities. Physicians in our recent study spoke with surprising candor, revealing in some cases profound biases toward people with disabilities. Undark reported on that study in November, which described doctors who reported using excuses in order to avoid treating people with disabilities. Some told prospective patients their caseload was full, or that they didn’t accept their insurance. Others were more straightforward, and simply told patients, “I am not the doctor for you.”

The attitudes and behaviors expressed by doctors in our recent study are inexcusable, unethical, and possibly illegal under the ADA. They also highlight why many patients with disabilities struggle to find doctors who will care for them, and suggest an urgent need to address disparities in health care access and quality.

But these dramatic examples not only provide a window into the U.S. health care system’s failures towards people with disabilities — they also reveal just how broken the system is for all patients.

Resources for Conservatorship and Guardianship Abuse Awareness Day

From NCLER: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Resources:

More Antipsychotics Given for Dementia During Pandemic

By Kate Kneisel: For Complete Post, Click Here…

ngd-Maybe the use of them has absolutely nothing to do with any need of the resident, but the desire of staff to knock the residents out and make their jobs easier…

Rates remained high into 2021, despite lifting of pandemic restrictions.

Antipsychotic drug prescribing rates among people with dementia increased markedly during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, a multinational database study showed.

Notably, those rates did not return to prepandemic levels after the acute phase of the pandemic had ended, Kenneth K.C. Man, PhD, of University College London School of Pharmacy, and colleagues reported in JAMA Psychiatryopens in a new tab or window.

In U.S. Medicare data, the likelihood of dementia patients getting prescribed antipsychotics after the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions rose 43% (95% CI 1.20-1.71) compared with the same period in 2019.

While new diagnoses returned to normal in most of the databases, incidence in the latter months of 2021 remained below the prior 3-year mean in the U.S. data.

The researchers suggested that disruptions in dementia diagnosis services and increased mortality among those who were or would have been diagnosed with dementia were likely behind the changes.

Savings Accounts for Disabled People Are Opened to More of Them

By Ann Carrns: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Only those who became disabled by age 26 have been eligible for ABLE accounts. But Congress raised the age to 46, so more military veterans and others can qualify as of 2026.

Disabled Americans recently scored a victory when Congress approved an expansion of state-based accounts that let them work and save money without risking the loss of public benefits like Medicaid.

The change means an estimated six million more people, including about one million military veterans, will eventually qualify for the tax-favored accounts, advocates for disabled people say. The accounts, known as ABLE accounts, are named after the 2014 law that created them, the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act.

Forty-six states and Washington, D.C., offer ABLE accounts, which first became available in 2016 and are loosely modeled on 529 college savings accounts. But saving in ABLE accounts has been somewhat slow to catch on, partly because they have been limited to people who became disabled before the age of 26.

Now, the ABLE Age Adjustment Act, included in the omnibus spending bill passed in December, has raised the threshold for the onset of a qualifying disability to age 46. That means people can be eligible if their disability occurred after their mid-20s, in a car accident, say, or from a neurological disease they developed, like multiple sclerosis. It may also help people dealing with the lingering effects of Covid-19, said Thomas Foley, executive director of the National Disability Institute.

The accounts let people with disabilities save and invest for current expenses and future needs, including housing, education, transportation and legal costs, without the funds disqualifying them from need-based federal help like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. In general, a disabled person can’t have more than $2,000 in savings or other assets to qualify for those programs. But money in an ABLE account doesn’t count toward that total.

“It’s a safe place to save money,” Mr. Foley said.

The age expansion was crucial for the ABLE program overall, supporters say. A 2019 report from the National Association of State Treasurers warned that participation was too low to maintain affordable fees for ABLE accounts and sustain the programs over the long term. The association’s charitable arm, the NAST Foundation, has started several initiatives to promote awareness of the accounts.

Direct Care Worker and Behavioral Health Workforce Employee Discussion Group Survey

From MDHHS: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has engaged Public Sector Consultants (PSC), a nonpartisan public policy firm based in Lansing, to conduct an analysis of Michigan’s behavioral health and direct care workforces.

PSC is conducting small-group discussions with behavioral health or direct care professionals as well as leadership at places that employ these professionals, such as hospitals, health centers, nursing homes, aging service providers, and more. Please complete this brief questionnaire and, if you qualify, you will be invited to join a 90-minute group discussion. If you are selected, you will be invited via email to participate. If you participate in one of these focus groups, you may qualify for a stipend.

MDHHS outlines improvements in protecting children in state’s care

From MDHHS: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) today shared an update on the transformation it has made to the child welfare system that has resulted in improved safety for children and families since the inception of a federal lawsuit.

MDHHS appeared virtually in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan for the latest update, which has been tracking progress since a 2008 settlement agreement following a 2006 lawsuit. “I am delighted with the progress that has been made since we adopted the (corrective action plan) last April,” said Judge Nancy G. Edmunds. “I think the state has taken huge steps under (MDHHS) Director (Elizabeth) Hertel. Congratulations are in order for sure,” Judge Edmunds said, adding that more work needs to be done to address issues mentioned by federal monitors.

Specifically, the department emphasized in court how child safety has improved through the increased monitoring of and investment in congregate care facilities where foster and juvenile justice youth are placed. The update came nine months after MDHHS and federal court monitors unveiled new strategies to target 14 areas in the child welfare and juvenile justice system as part of a corrective action plan. “We maintain our steadfast focus on ensuring the safety of all youth receiving treatment in congregate care facilities through intensive improvements in oversight of the facilities where our children are placed,” Hertel said. “I am proud of the work we do and the improvements we have made as we continue to work toward excellence in our child welfare system.” Recent MDHHS actions that are producing results include:

Youth lead anti-corruption talks on disability

From EDYN: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The 1st episode of the Youth Lead Anti-corruption Talks series named “Inclusion and leadership of youth with disabilities to contribute to the achievement of SDG16″ took place virtually, on December the 9th 2022, and was dedicated to the Human Rights Week and the International Day of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities celebrated on December the 3rd. These talks are being organized by the Youth Lead Board of the UNODC’s GRACE initiative. Each of these talks is dedicated to a certain UN observance day and thus focuses on a given topic. For instance, the first edition was focused on disability inclusion and was prepared by Esma Gumberidze and Sylvain Obedi from the Youth Lead Board.

‘Widow’s Tax’ on Survivors Will Be Completely Gone as of Feb. 1 Benefit Checks

By Amanda Miller: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Feb. 1 benefits checks won’t have the so-called “widow’s tax” reducing income for the surviving spouses of military retirees who participate in two programs.

Until 2020, survivors couldn’t receive the full amount of two survivor benefits at the same time. Under the rule known as the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) “offset,” the government reduced payments that were part of that program by the amount of Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) that beneficiaries received from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

DIC is generally for the families of veterans who died in the line of duty or as the result of a service-connected injury or illness. With the Defense Department’s SBP, by contrast, veterans elect whether to pay premiums that will guarantee their spouses or other beneficiaries a percentage of their retirement pay after they die. That choice is typically made upon retirement.

The monthly DIC payment for a veteran who died on or after Jan. 1, 1993, is $1,562.74 for 2023. Without the change in law, the government would have reduced SBP beneficiaries’ payments by that much.

The decision to eliminate the “widow’s tax” was a “huge win” and “the right thing to do,” Mark Belinsky, director of currently serving/retired affairs for the Military Officers Association of America and an Army retiree, said in a phone interview. The SBP is a “very good plan,” he added.

Healthcare-Related Injury Found in Nearly One-Fourth of Hospitalizations

by Crystal Phend: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Study suggests “disturbing” rate of potentially preventable errors.

Nearly a quarter of hospital stays involve adverse events from healthcare errors, and nearly one in 10 cause serious harm, according to a study replicating the landmark 1991 Harvard Medical Practice Studyopens in a new tab or window (HMPS).

In a random sample of 2,809 admissions at 11 Massachusetts hospitals, 23.6% had at least one adverse event, 32.3% of which required substantial intervention or prolonged recovery, David W. Bates, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues reported in the New England Journal of Medicineopens in a new tab or window.