Health Care - HHS Enables People Living With Hepatitis B, HIV To Join Public Service

Health Care – HHS Enables People Living With Hepatitis B, HIV To Join Public Service

Do you have a “cloak and dagger attitude”? A “general aura of badassery”? Then you might just be the right person to be NYC’s new “Rat Czar.”

Today in health, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) marked World AIDS Day by changing its eligibility policy to include people with Hepatitis B and HIV .

Welcome to night health care, where we follow the latest developments in policies and news concerning your health. For The Hill, we are Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Subscribe here or in the box below.

US Public Health Service Expands Applicant Eligibility

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Thursday that it will expand eligibility for the US Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps to include people with chronic hepatitis B and HIV.

  • People with these conditions have already been disqualified. The agency cited medical advances that have made chronic hepatitis B and HIV manageable conditions comparable to hypertension.
  • This modification of the application standards comes into effect on December 1st.

“The U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps, a uniformed service of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), today publicly announced that it is changing its medical standards to accept prospective applicants living with chronic hepatitis B and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV),” HHS said in a statement.

The change was announced on World AIDS Day.

“As we recognize World AIDS Day and the progress made, I’m honored to be part of a change far bigger than our service,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine. “By changing our medical adherence standards to reflect the latest evidence, we are showing the world that we put science first.”

The USPHS Commissioned Corps is a branch of more than 6,000 uniformed service members who specialize in public health and national security. USPHS mandated officers include physicians, nurses, dentists, dietitians, and therapists.

Under USPHS policy, potential service members must be ready for deployment and meet medical standards. Applicants are deemed ineligible if they have a medical condition that “prevents them from being deployed in an austere and/or stressful environment, or if the condition prevents the officer from engaging in the physical activities associated with deployments in an austere and/or stressful environment”. environments.”

Learn more here.

Democratic senator tests positive for COVID-19

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday as lawmakers head into the home stretch of the current Congress.

“Argh. …I tested positive. I’m asymptomatic and feeling totally fine. Downside: I’ll follow CDC rules and self-isolate. Upside down: Maybe now I can finally finish covering the backyard shed,” Murphy wrote on Twitter.

Diplomatically detected: The senator said he took the COVID-19 test under protocol for a State Department lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron during his state visit.

The positive test takes the senator off Capitol Hill for at least part of this year’s lame session, past the midterms but before the next Congress convenes in 2023.

Democrats are working in overdrive to push the legislation forward before Republicans take control of the House in January, as President Biden will face a tougher battle without his party holding a majority in both chambers.

Senators voted on Thursday to advance legislation to avert a railroad strike after Biden pressed Congress to intervene.

They are also negotiating a bipartisan deal to fund the federal government for the next fiscal year before hitting the Dec. 16 shutdown deadline.

Learn more here.


A coalition of leading physician groups has urged a federal judge in Texas to preserve ObamaCare’s preventive services coverage, arguing that gutting the requirements would be disastrous for patient care.

In a friendly-to-court brief led by the American Medical Association, the groups called on Judge Reed O’Connor to exercise discretion and refrain from issuing a nationwide injunction that would invalidate all significant recommendations from the US Preventive Services. Task Force (USPSTF).

  • “If the Court were to overturn and/or prohibit the task force’s recommendations and any efforts to implement them nationwide, preventive care would be in serious jeopardy for tens of millions of Americans,” the groups wrote. .
  • They urged O’Connor to limit the application of the provision to only one employer challenging the mandate.

Rollback: O’Connor ruled in September that ObamaCare’s process for determining what types of preventive care should be fully covered by private health insurance is unconstitutional.

O’Connor – who previously struck down the entire ObamaCare Act before it was upheld by the Supreme Court – said the USPSTF violated the Constitution because its members are not presidential appointees or confirmed by the Senate, but its recommendations are binding.

Learn more here.


Up to 15,000 Minnesota nurses are expected to strike Dec. 11 if no agreement is reached with hospital leaders on a fair labor contract, the Nurses Association of Minnesota said Thursday.

“At the same time, hospital CEOs tell nurses and patients there is no money to retain staff and prioritize care, leaders agree to million-dollar raises and pursue expansions corporate actions that endanger the community’s access to affordable care,” the nurses’ first vice president said. “, union Chris Rubesch said in a statement.

The Minnesota Nurses Association announced Thursday that it had voted “overwhelmingly” to authorize the strike to set the deadline for what would be the second mass exit this year, affecting 16 hospitals in Minneapolis-St. Paul and throughout the state.

The nurses’ union says the workers have been negotiating with hospital officials for eight months and have been working without a contract since the summer.

Hospital executives are seeing their own salaries raised but have offered nurses small pay rises, the union says, and issues of understaffing and poor retention of nurses are exacerbating working conditions.

Learn more here.

Deaths from drugs and alcohol on the rise among seniors

Drug overdoses and alcohol-related deaths are on the rise among Americans ages 65 and older, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics.

Drug overdose death rates among this age group more than tripled between 2000 and 2020, and alcohol-induced death rates increased by 18% between 2019 and 2020 alone, the data shows.

Among older Americans, non-Hispanic blacks are experiencing the highest drug overdose death rates — with rising use of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.

  • American Indians or Alaska Natives experience the highest alcohol-related death rates among people aged 65 and over, increasing by 46.5% between 2019 and 2020.
  • The CDC notes that alcohol-induced death rates are generally higher among men in this age bracket than among women, with men seeing four times higher numbers when the age group is reduced to 75. years and older.

Research indicates that alcohol-related deaths have also increased during the pandemic and are becoming one of the leading causes of preventable death.

Earlier this year, the Biden administration announced $1.5 billion to help states, territories and tribal lands address opioid overdoses and combat the nation’s growing opioid epidemic. .

Learn more here.


  • FDA approves first fecal microbiome drug, paving way for others (Stat)
  • Millions of families are facing fertility issues. A bipartisan House caucus aims to expand access to treatment. (News of 19)
  • Georgia Senate run-off tests abortion’s resilience in US election (NBC)


  • New York Mayor Adams faces backlash for deciding to involuntarily hospitalize homeless people (NPR)
  • Michigan to start testing sewage for polio (Detroit Free Press)
  • Addiction treatment advocates urge rural clinicians to intervene by prescribing drugs (Kaiser Health News)


That’s all for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s healthcare page for the latest news and coverage. Until tomorrow.

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