Health Highlights: Aug.17, 201108/17/11
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
New Insurance Form Offers Clear Policy Details: Federal
The new proposed standard summary form for health insurance will
clearly spell out the details of each policy, U.S. officials
"Now, every consumer will have clear, easy-to-read, and concise information that tells them what they need to know," said Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Erin Shields, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The proposed form, which is scheduled to be made public
Wednesday and is part of the health reform law, will provide facts
ranging from deductibles to the likely cost of having a baby.
Currently, there are wide variations in state laws about what
insurers must disclose to consumers, the
The proposed new form is expected to be quite similar to a draft
version developed by a National Association of Insurance
Commissioners' committee. Following a public comment period, the
form is expected to be finalized by Health and Human Services.
Plant Tied to Salmonella Outbreak Resumes Making Ground
Ground turkey production has resumed at an Arkansas plant linked
to a salmonella outbreak.
Limited production began after additional anti-bacterial safety
measures at the Springdale plant were approved by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, said Cargill Inc. spokesman Mike Martin,
Associated Press reported.
As of Aug. 11, the salmonella outbreak had sickened 107 people
in 31 states, according to federal officials.
The first illness was reported five months before federal
officials asked on Aug. 3 that Minnesota-based Cargill recall about
36 million pounds of ground turkey, the
Big Tobacco Challenges New Cigarette Warning Labels
Four major U.S. tobacco companies launched legal action Tuesday
to stop new graphic warnings on cigarette packages.
The warnings violate their free speech rights, the companies
said in a lawsuit against the federal government filed in federal
court in Washington, the
Associated Press reported.
The warning labels, which include photos of diseased lungs and
the sewn-up corpse of a smoker, will cost millions and unfairly
advise adults to avoid their lawful products, according to the
The new labels were announced in June by Health and Human
Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who called them frank and
honest warnings about the dangers of smoking, the
Second Death From "Brain-Eating Amoeba"
Reports suggest that a "brain-eating" amoeba has claimed the
life of another child in the United States.
Christian Alexander Strickland, 9, of Henrico County, Va. became
infected after he went to a fishing camp and died from meningitis
on Aug. 5, according to the
The suspected cause of the illness was
Naegleria fowleri, sometimes called "brain-eating amoeba," the boy's aunt Bonnie Strickland told the newspaper.
Times-Dispatch said state health officials couldn't comment
on a specific case but did confirm a case of
Naegleria fowleri infection and meningitis,
Naegleria fowleri enters the body through the nose and almost
always causes meningitis. It's usually found warm, stagnant water
in freshwater lakes, ponds and rivers, and can also be found in
wells, according to the newspaper.
Earlier this month, 16-year-old Courtney Nash of Florida died
Naegleria fowleri infection she developed after swimming in
the St. John's River, according to
Early Elective Deliveries Banned at Some Oregon Hospitals
As part of what proponents hope will become a growing trend
across the United States, some hospitals in Oregon will no longer
offer elective early delivery to pregnant women.
All nine birthing hospitals in the Portland area and eight other
hospitals in the state will refuse to do elective, non-medically
necessary inductions and cesarean sections before 39 weeks of
pregnancy, as of Sept. 1,
The agreement between the March of Dimes Oregon chapter and the
hospitals covers about half of the deliveries in the state.
The objective of this "hard stop" on the elective procedures is
to give babies more time for important development in the womb and
to reduce complications after birth,
Bans on early elective deliveries have been adopted by six or
seven hospitals in California, Illinois, New York and Texas,
according to the March of Dimes. And the policy has been in effect
for the last decade at Intermountain Healthcare, which has 23
hospitals in Idaho and Utah.
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