Dr. Dobbs, who leads Mississippi through deadly COVID pandemic, will resign this summer

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs will resign at the end of July, the Mississippi State Department of Health announced Tuesday. Dobbs has led the state through the COVID-19 pandemic and has been a vocal advocate for vaccines. “I feel like the time is right for me to return to the clinical side of medicine particularly the communicable disease treatment of patients,” Dobbs said in the press announcement. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at MSDH, particularly working with this dedicated health staff and advancing the field of health equity in Mississippi.”
SunHerald, Read More.

From Alabama to Utah, Efforts to Vaccinate Medicaid Enrollees Against Covid Run Into Obstacles

Medicaid enrollees continue to get vaccinated against covid at far lower rates than the general population despite vigorous outreach efforts by government officials and private organizations to get low-income people inoculated, according to data from several states.That leaves many Medicaid enrollees — who tend to be sicker than those with private insurance — at higher risk for severe illness, hospitalization, or death from the virus.
KHN, Read More.

Mississippi ambulance providers fear a system collapse is near

Mississippi’s ambulance system is falling apart, pushing more and more workers from a job that was a hard sell even before the pandemic.
Several of the state’s emergency services leaders told Mississippi Today that while paramedic providers have been troubled for years by an incomplete reimbursement system, low wages and staffing shortages, problems have hit a critical point exacerbated by ongoing hurdles from COVID-19. They’re not sure how much longer the system can last before swaths of rural Mississippiare left with limited or no access to paramedics’ life-saving care and transportation to hospitals.
Mississippi Today, Read More.

If We Want to Defeat Covid, We Need to Boost Medicaid

Of all the tools the government has to combat Covid-19, Medicaid is arguably one of the most important. Medicaid provides health insurance for millions of Americans in low-paid service jobs, the essential workers who are among those most vulnerable to contracting and spreading the virus. Medicaid also pays the bills for millions of nursing home residents, whose lives are most at risk, and provides a critical link to primary care physicians for millions more families who will need to be vaccinated in coming months.Politico, Read More.

Surprise medical bill prevention included in year-end legislative package

The measure uses a process known as arbitration to determine how much the insurer will pay the doctor, a shift from earlier versions that would have set the payment rate based on the median rate in that geographic area. The latest version moves even further towards doctors and hospitals by banning the arbiter from considering the lower payment rates paid by the Medicare and Medicaid programs.The Hill, Read More.

Highlights of $900 billion COVID-19 relief, wrapup bills

Congressional leaders have hashed out a massive, year-end catchall bill that combines $900 billion in COVID-19 aid with a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill and reams of other unfinished legislation on taxes, energy, education and health care. The huge, still-unreleased bill is slated for votes on Monday — with lawmakers having only a few hours to read it before casting their votes. Associated Press, Read More.

Health experts want to prioritize people of color for a Covid-19 vaccine. But how should it be done?

November 9, 2020, STAT, Nicholas St. Fleur – “An equity lens has to make sure even within those categories that we’re focused on the types of workers that oftentimes are neglected and fall through the cracks in our system,” said Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who was a reviewer for the report. “Those workers are disproportionately low-wage workers. They’re disproportionately workers from communities of color.” Bibbins-Domingo said taking an equitable approach to that first phase would mean making sure it’s not just doctors who receive the vaccine. “It’s the health care worker, the public health aide, the home health aide who’s going to come in to take care of my mother and then go work in a nursing home and then go work somewhere else who I worry about won’t get prioritized for the vaccination and absolutely should be,” she said. The report said 27.8% of nursing home workers are Black, while among home health aides, 29.7% are Black and 17.5% are Latino. View Story.

© 2016 Mississippi Health Advocacy Program