From a JAMA Network Open online release (February 21, 2020):
Across the 6 studies of 8699 participants, mean age ranged between 70 and 74 years and mean gait speed ranged between 1.05 and 1.26 m/s. Incident dementia ranged from 5 to 21 per 1000 person-years. Compared with usual agers, participants with only memory decline had 2.2 to 4.6 times higher risk for developing dementia…
Those with only gait decline had 2.1 to 3.6 times higher risk. Those with dual decline had 5.2 to 11.7 times the risk…
Impaired mobility, such as slow gait, is associated with an increased risk of dementia, but the effect size of this association is generally modest.1–6 Identifying persons who experience both mobility decline and memory decline, a main symptom in the early stage of dementia, may have a greater prognostic value in assessing risk of dementia because the combination could identify a group in whom gait speed decline is at least in part caused by neurodegenerative pathologic conditions of the central nervous system rather than local musculoskeletal problems, such as sarcopenia or osteoarthritis.7–9 A recent study of 154 participants with mild cognitive impairment reported that those who declined in both cognition and gait speed had the highest risk of dementia.
Although coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) dominates the news in early 2020, it affects few people in the US. In contrast, at the same time the US is experiencing a severe influenza epidemic, which has caused an estimated 250 000 hospitalizations and 14 000 deaths.
Timothy Uyeki, MD, lead for the CDC’s 2019 novel coronavirus response team and Chief Medical Officer of CDC’s influenza division, discusses influenza in the US, how it compares to coronavirus, and what both patients and clinicians should know about this year’s flu season.
From a JAMA Network online study (February 11, 2020):
In this analysis of commercially insured patients who had undergone elective surgery with an in-network surgeon at an in-network facility, approximately 1 in 5 received an out-of-network bill, with a mean potential balance bill of $2011.
In this retrospective analysis of 347 356 surgical episodes among commercially insured patients who had undergone elective surgery with in-network primary surgeons and facilities, 20% of episodes involved out-of-network charges.
The patterns of out-of-network bills varied with the clinical scenario. Simpler ambulatory procedures that tend to involve 1 surgeon (arthroscopic meniscal repair, breast lumpectomy) had fewer out-of-network bills (13%-15% of cases), whereas inpatient procedures (hysterectomy, knee replacement, colectomy, CABG surgery) had more frequent out-of-network bills (24%-33% of cases). These more complex procedures were also associated with larger potential balance bills, in the range of $2000 to $4000.
From a JAMA Network online article (February 4, 2020):
High medical prices and billing practices may reduce public trust in the medical profession and can result in the avoidance of care. In a survey of 1000 patients, 64% reported that they delayed or neglected seeking medical care in the past year because of concern about high medical bills. The field of quality science in health care has developed measures of medical complications; however, there are no standardized metrics of billing quality.
A recent study found that only 53 of 101 hospitals were able to provide a price for standard coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Notably, among the hospitals that provided a price, the price ranged from approximately $44 000 and $448 000 and was not associated with quality of care as measured by risk-adjusted outcomes and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons composite quality score.
In the same way that there is wide variation in pricing, aggressive collection tactics also can be highly variable by institution. In a recent analysis, 36% (48/135) of hospitals in Virginia garnished wages of patients with unpaid medical bills, and 5 hospitals accounted for 4690 garnishment cases in 2017, representing 51% of all cases.7 In total, 20 054 lawsuits were filed in Virginia against patients for unpaid debt. For many hospitals that sue patients, legal action follows multiple attempts to contact patients through letters and calls, and some hospitals may offer to set up payment plans or even negotiate charges.
From a JAMA Network Open online release (Jan 31, 2020):
Steep incidence increases between 49 and 50 years of age are consistent with previously undetected colorectal cancers diagnosed via screening uptake at 50 years. These cancers are not reflected in observed rates of colorectal cancer in the SEER registries among individuals younger than 50 years. Hence, using observed incidence rates from 45 to 49 years of age alone to assess potential outcomes of earlier screening may underestimate cancer prevention benefits.
Early-onset colorectal cancer (EOCRC) incidence rates are increasing, and controversy exists regarding whether average-risk screening should begin at 45 or 50 years of age.1 In 2018, the American Cancer Society recommended that average-risk screening start at 45 years of age.2 Others recommend screening at 50 years of age, although the US Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer recommends screening African American individuals at age 45 years of age owing to higher incidence, mortality, and earlier-onset disease.3–6 The American Cancer Society decision incorporated modeling studies that used updated incidence and mortality data encompassing time periods of increasing EOCRC incidence rates; modeling compared life-years gained by initiating screening at 45 vs 50 years.