Calls for federal action to contain Ebola point out the complexities of public policy and the dangers of sweeping declarations about whether various matters should be left only to the states or to Washington.
Pushing to confront Ebola at its West African source, President Barack Obama said Wednesday the United States was not immune to the disease but cautioned against discouraging American health care workers with restrictive measures that confine them upon their return from the afflicted region. "We can't hermetically seal ourselves off," he declared.
The Spanish flu pandemic a century ago prompted the last large-scale quarantines in this country. Now the Ebola outbreak is raising new questions about whether ordering quarantines is an effective way to fight deadly disease in the U.S.
A lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in response to complaints from two Minnesota employees sets up a potential court case over how far employers can go to shift health costs and influence worker behavior. Honeywell is a major employer in the Kansas City area.
The gulf between politicians and scientists over Ebola widened on Sunday as the nation's top infectious-disease expert warned that the mandatory, 21-day quarantining of medical workers returning from West Africa is unnecessary and could discourage volunteers from traveling to the danger zone.
The nurse who was quarantined at a New Jersey hospital because she had contact with Ebola patients in West Africa criticized the way her case has been handled, raising concerns from humanitarian and human rights groups over unclear policies for the newly launched quarantine program.
Figuring out a way to help loved ones facing Ebola has been on the minds of many Kansas Citians from West Africa. With the support of Jewish Vocational Services, Kansas City’s West African communities, which are normally independent from one another, have united to form the Committee Against the Spread of Ebola, or CASE.
The scare, which turned out to be more of an infectious disease practice event, gave the hospital a clear window into the cost of best-practice care for the infectious and often fatal disease. By using equipment and procedures that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has since said are the right things to do, KU Hospital had an expensive 48-hour experience.
Experts who study psychology say the release of 48 people from the Ebola watchlist back into society, and the expected onslaught of news coverage about them shopping at local grocery stores and returning to schools could fuel another wave of irrational fears.
Three months ago, Craig Hoffman of Lansing couldn’t do much of anything without wincing in pain. His lower back hurt too much. Nothing worked. But in August surgeons implanted a spinal cord stimulator that relieved almost all of his pain and let the 49-year-old Army veteran feel like himself again.
A ban on travel from West Africa might seem like a simple and smart response to the frightening Ebola outbreak there. It's become a central demand of Republicans on Capitol Hill and some Democrats, and is popular with the public. But health experts are nearly unanimous in saying it's a bad idea that could backfire.
The man will remain in a hospital isolation unit until results of confirmatory tests by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention become available in the next day or two. Hospital officials are hopeful. “It’s pretty certain that he doesn’t have Ebola,” said Lee Norman, chief medical officer at KU Hospital.
The University of Kansas Hospital said it was testing a possible Ebola patient, one day after the Ebola infection of a Dallas nurse has ramped up concern among some U.S. nurses who might have to care for a patient in which there is no margin of error. Acute care hospitals generally say they’re prepared.
U.S. doctors and teaching hospitals were paid $3.5 billion by drug and device makers over five months in 2013, according to the first comprehensive disclosure of the companies’ financial ties to the medical professionals that prescribe and use their products. The disclosures cover 4.4 million payments to about 550,000 doctors and 1,360 teaching hospitals from August to December 2013. The companies had to provide the information as part of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
The concession is part of a proposed settlement valued at $478,000 to dispose of a lawsuit against the hospital. Truman Medical Center allegedly didn’t file health insurance claims for some patients injured in auto accidents, which allowed it to avoid the deep discounts typically required by health insurers. It could then seek more money for its medical services, mainly from auto insurance settlements.
The 21-member nonpartisan committee, appointed by the Institute of Medicine, the independent research arm of the National Academy of Sciences, calls for sweeping change. The 507-page report, “Dying in America,” says its recommendations would improve the quality of care and better satisfy more patients and families. It also says the changes would produce significant cost savings that would help make health care more affordable.
Hospitals across the country are rethinking their financial assistance policies now that the Affordable Care Act is making insurance available to more people. In Kansas City, both Truman and St. Luke’s have raised income limits for charity care.