Nothing To Sneeze At: The $2,659 Bill To Pluck Doll’s Shoe From Child’s Nostril

November 26, 2019, Kaiser Health News, Markian Hawryluk - It was supposed to be a fun evening out for Katy and Michael Branson. But their 3-year-old daughter, Lucy, apparently had other ideas. For reasons she couldn’t quite explain, Lucy had shoved a matching pair of pink Polly Pocket doll shoes up her nose - one in each nostril. The hospital billed the Bransons $1,143 for the emergency room visit and $589 for removing the shoe. The entire $1,732 hospital bill was applied against their deductible.

46,000 kicked off Louisiana Medicaid rolls for ineligibility

November 26, 2019, Modern Healthcare - More than 46,000 people lost their Medicaid coverage this month, because they didn’t respond to letters warning they didn’t appear eligible for the government-financed insurance. The removals came as the state health department resumed a process that automatically kicks people off Medicaid if they don’t respond to annual renewal information requests. Enrollees had until Oct. 31 to maintain coverage if they could prove eligibility. The agency said in October that an estimated 82,000 letters would be sent to Medicaid patients. But the health department said 52,000 letters actually went out, after duplicates were removed from the count. Department spokesman Robert Johannessen says during the same four-month period in 2018, more than 71,000 people lost Medicaid coverage for not providing renewal information. The department exempted children from automatic removal this time.

Mississippi has the highest flu-like activity in the United States, according to the CDC

November 26, 2019, WLBT, Summer Tadlock - Well it’s that time of year again to bring out the tissues and hand sanitize because flu season is in full swing. And this year, doctors say their clinics are already packed from people booking their appointments. “We are already at really high levels nationwide and especially in the South,” said Dr. Darren Scoggin with the Children’s Medical Group.The flu is spread by direct contact, making it easier than ever to come face-to-face with the virus - especially during the busy holiday season.“People are in close corners on the plane and in vehicles together, so it’s a big time for things like this to spread,” Dr. Scoggin explained. According to its most recent flu occurrence data, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed Mississippi as having the highest flu-like activity in the country. Last year nationwide there were 116 pediatric flu deaths, with one being in Mississippi.

Vaping-related illnesses rise to 11 in Mississippi

November 26, 2019, WLBT, Alex Love - The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) has confirmed one additional case of a vaping-related lung illness in Mississippi, bringing the state total to 11 with one death. Most of the identified cases have been in individuals between 18 and 34 years of age, with two being in adults 35 years of age or older. Symptoms of severe vaping-related lung illness include cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, fever and fatigue. Symptoms develop anywhere from over a few days of use to weeks of using e-cigarettes.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified vitamin E acetate as a chemical of concern among those who have reported lung illness from vaping. This chemical can be used as an additive in vaping or e-cigarette products that contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, other substances and product sources are also still under investigation as there may be more than one cause of this outbreak.

Health Bites: MSDH seeks community input

November 25, 2019, Daily Journal, Michaela Gibson Morris - The Mississippi State Department of Health is seeking community input to improve the health of the state. Through Saturday, Mississippians are asked to take a five-minute survey about the strengths and weaknesses of health in their communities, especially where there are limited resources or poor access to the essentials of a healthy life. Survey results will be used to help evaluate health disparities in the state as part of the Mississippi State Health Assessment.

A ‘Rare Case Where Racial Biases’ Protected African-Americans

November 25, 2019, The New York Times, Austin Frakt and Toni Monkovic - When the opioid crisis began to escalate some 20 years ago, many African-Americans had a layer of protection against it. But that protection didn’t come from the effectiveness of the American medical system. Instead, researchers believe, it came from racial stereotypes embedded within that system. As unlikely as it may seem, these negative stereotypes appear to have shielded many African-Americans from fatal prescription opioid overdoses. This is not a new finding. But for the first time an analysis has put a number behind it, projecting that around 14,000 black Americans would have died had their mortality rates related to prescription opioids been equivalent to that of white Americans.