July 30, 2021
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Top Story
An internal CDC slide presentation outlined unpublished data suggesting that vaccinated people with the Delta variant of COVID-19 can harbor the virus in their noses and spread it as quickly as people who are not vaccinated. And a report in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that three-fourths of those with COVID-19 in a Massachusetts outbreak had been vaccinated. The findings underscore the importance of getting more people vaccinated to prevent serious illness, experts said.
Full Story: The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (7/29),  The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (7/30) 
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Health Care Leadership & Innovation
Dozens of hospitals and health systems across the US have announced COVID-19 vaccine mandates for their employees. A number of hospital associations have signed consensus statements supporting vaccine requirements, and national groups like the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association signed a joint statement calling for health care facilities to implement vaccine mandates.
Full Story: The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (7/26),  Becker's Hospital Review (7/29) 
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Formal training and standards are needed to support clinicians to meet the needs of non-English-speaking patients, and qualified bilingual clinicians should be recognized and supported, write Pilar Ortega and Tiffany Shin. "Medical language education represents a largely untapped opportunity to improve health equity, but lack of clarity in health policies leads to confusion in the qualifications, training, and assessment of bilingual providers," they write.
Full Story: Health Affairs Blog (7/30) 
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Legislation, Policy & Regulation
President Joe Biden said Thursday that all federal workers and contractors must show proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status, and those who fail to do so or are unvaccinated will face travel restrictions, mask requirements and regular testing. To boost vaccination rates and mitigate the spread of the Delta variant, Biden also encouraged state and local governments to use American Rescue Plan funding to give $100 in cash incentives to anyone who will get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Full Story: Reuters (7/29),  CNBC (7/29) 
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The CMS expects average monthly premiums for Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage to rise to $33 in 2022 from $31.47 this year. The announcement comes as the CMS and Congress explore options to address drug prices.
Full Story: FierceHealthcare (7/29) 
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US lawmakers reintroduced legislation to allow Medicare beneficiaries greater access to chronic care management, including care plans and medication provisions. "It's unfortunate so few seniors access this benefit, and I believe dropping the cost-sharing requirements will change that," said Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., a lead sponsor of the Seniors' Chronic Care Management Improvement Act.
Full Story: FierceHealthcare (7/29) 
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Trends & Technology
CDC guidance reignites mask sales
(Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)
Mask sales began to wane earlier this year, but they're on the rise again and expected to grow in the wake of the CDC's latest recommendation that vaccinated people start wearing masks in certain settings. Mask sales grew 24% in the seven-day period ending Tuesday from the previous week, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index.
Full Story: The Associated Press (7/29) 
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Ultrasound patch monitors cardiovascular health
(Pixabay)
Researchers at the University of California at San Diego developed an ultrasound patch designed to detect heart function and related measures such as blood flow. "This type of wearable device can give you a more comprehensive, more accurate picture of what's going on in deep tissues and critical organs like the heart and the brain, all from the surface of the skin," said lead researcher Sheng Xu in Nature Biomedical Engineering.
Full Story: The Engineer (UK) (7/26) 
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It is a time in which we will redefine what it means to be human, for this is not just the start of a revolution, it is the start of an evolution.
David A. Sinclair,
biologist, professor of genetics
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