MorningRX: September 8, 2023


CDC survey finds Interventions are needed to facilitate the implementation of updated pneumococcal vaccine recommendations, HHS proposes a new rule the seeks to prohibit discrimination based on disabilities, and a new report says there is a need for improved access to pediatric subspecialty care.

Implementation Challenges in Pneumococcal Vaccine Recommendations

Interventions are needed to close knowledge gaps and facilitate the implementation of updated pneumococcal vaccine recommendations, according to a new survey by the CDC. Pneumococcal disease causes 100000 hospitalizations in the United States every year, despite the fact there is wide availability of effective vaccines. The CDC conducted a survey to provide knowledge and attitudes about the current Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ recommendations framework. The survey concluded that there is “a need to increase provider awareness and implementation of pneumococcal vaccination recommendations and to provide tools to assist with patient-specific vaccination guidance.” The CDC said that there are many resources that could help, including the PneumoRecs VaxAdvisor mobile app, CDC summary documents, and overviews of vaccination schedules.

HHS Proposes Rule to Increase Protections for People with Disabilities

The Department of Health and Human Services has proposed a new rule the seeks to prohibit discrimination based on disabilities, according to a press release from the agency. Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance rule updates provisions that help people with disabilities access health and human services. Some of the updated proposals include that medical treatment decisions are not based on biases or stereotypes, and prohibiting the use of value assessment methods that place a lower value on life-extension for individuals with disabilities.

“While we have made significant progress since Section 504 was signed into law nearly 50 years ago, there is more work for us all to live up its promise to the American people,” HHS Office for Civil Rights Director Melanie Fontes Rainer said in a release. “Today’s rule is long overdue and a major step forward in the fight to ensure that people with disabilities are not excluded from or discriminated against in health care and social services across the United States.”

Access to Pediatric Subspecialty Care Needs Improvement

There is a significant need for improved access to pediatric subspecialty care, according to a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Pediatric subspecialty care includes oncologists, cardiologists, and adolescent medicine subspecialists. Approximately 10% to 20% of children in the US visit a pediatric subspecialist each year, but there are a number of barriers to access, such as cost, a lack of physicians, and unnecessary referrals. Among recommendations from the report, the authors included more federal funds to increase Medicaid payments, adequate reimbursement from health insurance payers, and the implementation of more flexible training pathways.

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