May 17, 2020

Trump Is Looking To Halt Insurer Payments To Force Democrats Into Negotiations On Healthcare

Donald Trump
politics
healthcare
Insurance
Georgia Allen
1 min
Trump Is Looking To Halt Insurer Payments to insurers
In an interview with the Wall Street Journey on Wednesday, U.S President Donald Trump said that he is considering withholding billions of dollars of Oba...

In an interview with the Wall Street Journey on Wednesday, U.S President Donald Trump said that he is considering withholding billions of dollars of Obamacare payments to health insurers; forcing Democrats into negotiations over the future of healthcare in the country.

Not funding the payments, which help cover out-of-pocket medical expenses for low-income Americans, could have a serious effect on the individual insurance markets. Insurers and medical groups penned a letter to Mr Trump urging him to remain funding the subsidies, which amount to around $7 billion a year and are paid directly to insurers. 7 million Americans are covered by the payments which help cover medical expenses, deductibles and premiums.

House of Representatives Republicans and the Obama administration are in a pending legal case in the U.S. Court of appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, after a federal judge ruled in favour of the republicans in May 2016. The Republicans sued the Obama administration for funding the subsidies, which they argued have to be approved by Congress.

Many consumers may be forced to pick a health insurance plan as major insures, including Humana Inc and Aetna have announced their intention to leave the Obamacare exchanges after citing multi-million-dollar losses and patient populations higher than expected.

 

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Jul 28, 2021

NHS staff face severe impact on mental health due to COVID

covid19
mentalhealth
NHS
healthcare
3 min
NHS staff face severe impact on mental health due to COVID
Dr James Gilleen of the Covida Project says the mental health of NHS staff is at risk and not enough is being done to prevent burnout 

The decision to drop COVID-19 restrictions in England this month alarmed doctors in the National Health Service (NHS) while hospitalisations are on the rise. At the same time, hospitals have started cancelling operations again adding to the existing backlog of operations, which estimates say could take a year to clear. 

Dr James Gilleen of the University of Roehampton and his Covida Project team are warning of the ongoing risks to the mental health of NHS staff, many of whom are traumatised from the first wave of infections. “As the UK continues to see COVID-19 infection numbers rise at a similarly alarming rate as those seen during the country’s second wave, it’s combined with a renewed strain on the NHS and its staff" he said. 

The Covida Project is a digital tool created to assess the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on frontline workers including NHS staff, the police and carers. 

“Healthcare workers are already exhausted and burnt-out; they are traumatised from their experiences of working during the pandemic. During the first wave in May 2020, a study from the Covida Project found an unprecedented quadrupling of the number of NHS staff with high levels of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) compared to before Covid-19" Gilleen said. 

"Having the most severe levels of these symptoms was statistically linked to four key factors - insufficient access or pressure to reuse Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), insufficient workplace preparation, insufficient training and communications, and a higher workload. Staff aren’t just anxious, depressed and traumatised from being over-worked – it is from feeling unsafe and at risk." 

The Covida Project found that almost a third of healthcare workers reported moderate to severe levels of anxiety and depression. The number reporting very high symptoms was four times higher than before the pandemic.  

Gilleen adds, “With COVID-19 restrictions now fully removed in England, NHS staff face the daunting triple-threat of rising Covid-19 hospitalisations, huge backlogs of medical operations to clear, and the added expectation of large increases in winter flu, which is already being seen even now in summer. 

"These difficulties are present at a time when the NHS is already under-resourced, impacted by sickness and/or staff being ‘pinged’ to self-isolate through the government’s track and trace app, and staff continuing to fear the daily risk of infecting family and friends. 

"Together these are considerable psychological burdens and create a perfect storm for the mental health and well-being of NHS staff."

Gilleen says there may be worse to come, especially if new, more transmissible variants develop. "Previous research after other pandemics such as SARS has shown that residual mental health symptoms like PTSD can continue for years, so the impact of repeated waves over the long-term will be potentially catastrophic for the mental health of NHS staff.

He has some clear recommendations to protect the wellbeing of frontline healthcare workers. “To protect the mental health of NHS staff they must feel they are less at risk or in danger, have access to the required level of PPE, not be continuously over-worked, with better staffing, more opportunities for rest and space to share their stress. 

"Despite this and similar findings from other studies, still not enough is being done to protect NHS staff mental health and wellbeing and we fear it will continue to suffer in the months to come. With this comes the real risk that large numbers of staff will burn out or even quit the NHS.”

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