Nurses at Backus Hospital in Norwich plan to strike Tuesday in protest over contract talks

Nurses at Backus Hospital in Norwich are set to strike Tuesday and Wednesday to protest what they say is the company’s refusal to negotiate a contract.

The hospital and Backus Federation of Nurses, part of AFT Connecticut that represents more than 400 nurses have been in contract talks since June. The two sides differ on compensation, improved distribution of personal protective equipment and recruiting and keeping new nurses, according to the union.

A spokeswoman for parent company Hartford HealthCare did not immediately respond to questions about staffing at Backus Hospital during the walkout. Donna Handley, president of the hospital, said earlier this month Backus will remain open during a strike and will work to reach an agreement.

Union President Sherri Dayton said recent negotiations led to progress on improved protective gear policies, expanded access for breastfeeding by new mothers and accountability for safe patient limits.

But the company has not yielded on calls by the union to improve recruitment and retention of nurses, the union said.

The union has organized a rally Tuesday at the hospital and will be joined by U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and other labor leaders and elected officials.

Nurses at the not-for-profit hospital are seeking higher pay and more staff to relieve nurses who often work hours after the end of their shifts, the union said. They also say they are forced to reuse personal protective equipment kept in paper bags until it’s compromised or soiled and are demanding Hartford Healthcare keep a three-month supply of N95 masks.

Hartford HealthCare insists personal protective equipment is always available to patients and staff.

Stephen Singer can be reached at [email protected]

———

©2020 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

Visit The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.) at www.courant.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Source Article

4 Levittown High-Schoolers Contract Coronavirus: Records

LEVITTOWN, NY — After escaping September with no coronavirus cases, four on-site students at Gen. Douglas MacArthur High School have since tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to officials and state records.

An alert posted on the website for Levittown Public Schools said the district was notified Tuesday afternoon that two more people at the high school tested positive for the disease. One of them was in the building that day.

“Since the Department of Health needs time to conduct thorough contact tracing with respect to the people involved and out of an abundance of caution, MacArthur HS will be operating on a remote schedule tomorrow, Wednesday, October 7,” the district said at the time.

The state Department of Health’s Covid-19 Report Card for schools showed four students in all tested positive for the disease. Three were documented Tuesday and a fourth was logged Wednesday.

People who contracted the coronavirus cannot return to the building until they provide a negative test.

The cases come after the district said it learned Sept. 29 that a student at East Broadway School tested positive for the disease. In that case, the student was not in school that day and symptoms did not emerge until the previous Sunday, the alert said. Back to School Night at the school was postponed so the building could be cleaned and disinfected.

School districts across Long Island have seen coronavirus cases in the opening days and weeks of the new school year, including Mineola, Seaford, Syosset, Oyster Bay, New Hyde Park, Great Neck, Plainview and Hicksville.

This article originally appeared on the Levittown Patch

Source Article

New Analysis Shows Contract Pharmacies Financially Gain From 340B Program With No Clear Benefit to Patients

New Analysis Shows Contract Pharmacies Financially Gain From 340B Program With No Clear Benefit to Patients

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2020

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the Berkeley Research Group (BRG) published an analysis of historical trends in 340B contract pharmacy arrangements. The findings conclude that the growth in the number of these arrangements is fueling explosive growth in the program at large and driving the 340B program farther and farther away from its original intended goal of providing discounted medicines to safety-net entities treating uninsured and vulnerable patients. 

New Analysis Shows Contract Pharmacies Financially Gain From 340B Program With No Clear Benefit to Patients
New Analysis Shows Contract Pharmacies Financially Gain From 340B Program With No Clear Benefit to Patients

Congress created the 340B program to help safety-net providers, including certain qualifying hospitals and federally-funded clinics, access discounts on prescription medicines for low-income or uninsured patients. In 2010, a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) policy opened the door to allow all 340B entities to contract with an unlimited number of for-profit retail pharmacies (e.g., CVS, Walgreens) to dispense 340B medicines. While this policy may have been intended to improve patient access to needed medications, it had the misguided effect of creating an opening that allowed for-profit vendors, pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers to exploit the program and make a profit on 340B sales – sales intended to benefit low-income and vulnerable patients.

“It is clear that contract pharmacies have leveraged market power to drive unprecedented program growth and siphon money out of the program and away from vulnerable patients,” said Stephen J. Ubl, president and chief executive officer of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). “I urge lawmakers to consider the results of this analysis and pursue policies that ensure the 340B program benefits vulnerable patients rather than just line the pockets of for-profit corporations.”

Key findings from the analysis show that many retail pharmacies and other third parties have taken advantage of and financially benefited from the 340B program’s contract pharmacy arrangements:

  • 340B covered entities and their contract pharmacies generated an estimated $13 billion in gross profits on 340B purchased medicines in 2018, which represents more than 25% of pharmacies’ and providers’ total profits from dispensing or administering brand medicines.

  • Following HRSA’s expansion of the contract pharmacy program in March 2010, contract pharmacy participation grew a staggering 4,228% between April 2010 and April 2020.

  • While over 27,000 distinct pharmacies participate in the 340B program today, over half of the 340B profits retained by contract pharmacies are concentrated in just four pharmacy chains – Walgreens, Walmart, CVS Health and Cigna’s Accredo specialty pharmacy.

Analysis after analysis shows there is explosive growth in the program, but there is little to no clear evidence that this growth has benefited low-income and vulnerable patients. Even the New England Journal of Medicine found no evidence that expansion of the 340B program has resulted in improved care or lower mortality among low-income patients.

These new findings build upon a mounting body of evidence from the Government Accountability Office

Contract Tracing, Key to Reining in the Virus, Falls Flat in the West

LONDON — As the coronavirus stampeded across Europe and the United States this spring, governments made their depleted citizens a tantalizing promise: Soon, legions of disease detectives would hunt down anyone exposed to the virus, confining them to their homes and letting everyone else get on with their lives.

Nearly eight months on, as a web of new infections spreads across Europe and the United States, that promise has nearly evaporated.

Despite repeated vows by Western nations to develop “world-beating” testing and tracing operations, those systems have been undone by a failure of governments to support citizens through onerous quarantines or to draw out intimate details of their whereabouts. That has shattered the hope of pinpoint measures replacing lockdowns and undermined flagging confidence in governments.

Beholden to privacy rules, Western officials largely trusted people to hand over names to contact tracers. But that trust was not repaid, in large part because governments neglected services that were crucial to winning people’s cooperation: a fast and accurate testing system, and guarantees that people would be housed, fed and paid while they isolated.

“Public health leaders fell in love with the idea of contact tracing as an important tactic — and it is — but that’d be like if you’re going into war and were just talking about the tanks,” said Brian Castrucci, president of the de Beaumont Foundation, a public health charity in Maryland.

Just as important, officials overlooked the impact of raging mistrust in government and a thicket of conspiracy theories about the virus’s spread. Fearful of plunging themselves or their friends into a painful period off work, infected patients have handed over a paltry number of contacts and often flouted self-isolation rules. Contact tracers are struggling to reach people who test positive, and being rebuffed once they do.

In theory, countries were to build mass testing programs that would provide quick diagnoses. Then a group of tracers would find others who had crossed paths with the infected person and tell them to stay home.

Elected officials presented the system as a critical bridge between lockdown and a vaccine, allowing them to contain small outbreaks without shutting down large parts of society. But construction of that bridge has been rocky, at best.

The West’s public health systems have not matched the success in parts of East Asia where the fear of epidemics became more ingrained after SARS and MERS.

Following those outbreaks, places like Taiwan and South Korea built robust tracing systems and legal frameworks for limiting civil liberties during an epidemic. Some contact tracers have used cellphone and credit card data to identify people who were potentially exposed.

But in Europe and the United States, which have largely relied on the public to provide information and follow quarantine rules voluntarily. The response has been spotty

The West also ran up against the blunt fact that contact tracing, while useful in containing limited cases, has become overwhelmed by a new explosion of infections. In the past week, Europe has averaged about

Children 17 and under contract and spread COVID-19 like adults, large new study finds

A study of 85,000 people with COVID-19 in two southern Indian states and 575,000 people they came in contact with found that children 17 and under contract and transmit the new coronavirus at rates similar to the rest of the population. Children age 5 to 17 passed the virus on to 18 percent of close contacts their same age, a team of U.S. and Indian researchers reported Wednesday in the journal Science.

These findings are particularly important given “previous reports suggesting a minor role of children in the pandemic,” Antonio Salas, a Spanish researcher who was not involved in the Indian study, told the Los Angeles Times. “National policies on how to proceed with children in schools and other social activities could change dramatically if the scientific evidence underpins the idea that children can infect as efficiently as adults, and even more, they could also behave as super-spreaders.”

The two Indian states studied, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, have robust contract tracing and other public health programs. The other major finding from the study involved super-spreaders. While 71 percent of people infected with COVID-19 did not appear to pass the virus on to anybody else, just 8 percent of infected people accounted for 60 percent of the new infections, said lead author Ramanan Laxminarayan of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics, and Policy in New Delhi.

“Super-spreading events are the rule rather than the exception,” Laxminarayan said. “It has lots of implications for modeling COVID, for how to keep places safe.”

While children 17 and under were found to be more efficient disease transmitters than previously understood, they had the lowest death rate of any age cohort. Overall, deaths increased with age up to 65, then appeared to drop off. New York Times science reporter Apoorva Mandavilli said that might be because people who make it past India’s life expectancy of 69 years told tend to be wealthy, with good heath care.

More stories from theweek.com
After being laid off, Tampa father invents a safe sanitizer for shopping carts
Undecided voters describe Trump as a ‘crackhead,’ ‘arrogant’ in post-debate focus group
Marvel casts newcomer in the role of its 1st Muslim superhero, Ms. Marvel

Source Article