Top news stories from AMA Morning Rounds®: Week of March 25, 2024


Read AMA Morning Rounds®’ most popular stories in medicine and public health from the week of March 25, 2024–March 29, 2024.

The AP (3/28, Stobbe) says, “The number of U.S. tuberculosis cases in 2023 were the highest in a decade, according to a new government report.” Last year, “forty states reported an increase in TB, and rates were up among all age groups, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.” In total, over “9,600 cases were reported, a 16% increase from 2022 and the highest since 2013. Cases declined sharply at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but have been rising since.”

The Hill (3/28, Choi) reports, “The last time annual TB cases in the U.S. were higher than 9,500 was in 2012, when 9,906 were detected. As the report noted, TB cases had declined for 27 years, reaching a record low of 7,171 in 2020 before creeping back up.”

The Washington Post (3/27, Amenabar) reports, “Diabetes, air pollution and alcohol consumption could be the biggest risk factors for dementia, a study has found.” Investigators came to this conclusion after comparing “modifiable risk factors for dementia...and” studying “how these factors appear to affect certain brain regions that are already particularly vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.” This “research, based on brain scans of nearly 40,000 adults, between ages 44 and 82, in Britain was Nature Communications.”

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Healio (3/26, Monostra) reports, “Adults with diabetes who are forced to switch to a high-deductible health insurance plan have higher risk for diabetes-related complications than those who remain on a regular health plan, according to study data” published in JAMA Network Open. The study found “each year that participants were enrolled in a high-deductible health plan increased the odds for MI, stroke, hospitalization for heart failure, end-stage kidney disease, a lower-extremity complication, proliferative retinopathy, blindness and retinopathy treatment.”

RevCycle Intelligence reports, “It may take some time to get paid for medical services, suggests a new survey of hospitals, health systems and post-acute care providers.” Almost “15% of medical claims submitted to private payers for reimbursement are initially denied, respondents representing over 500 organizations told Premier Inc. in the survey.” And “an average of 3.2% of denied claims also included those that were pre-approved through the prior authorization process.” In spite of “the initial claim denial rate, over half of the claims rejected by private payers at first were paid,” Premier Inc. reported, but physicians “said that more initial denials may have been ultimately reimbursed if not for resource constraints that prevented them from pursuing payments through appeals and other means.”

Reuters reported, “The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Friday the number of measles cases in the United States has increased to 62 as of Thursday, higher than the whole of last year.” The agency “issued a health advisory on Monday urging people, particularly children and international travelers, to get vaccinated against measles due to the increase in cases this year.” The total number of cases was at 58 the week before. “Most cases reported this year have been among children aged 12 months and older who had not received the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.”

The Washington Post (3/25, Searing) reports that last week, AMA president Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, “said in a statement that ‘the rate of vaccinations against measles in the U.S. has declined since 2019—putting more people at risk of illness, disability and death.’” He “noted, however, that ‘the reduction in measles vaccination threatens to erase many years of progress as this previously eliminated vaccine-preventable disease returns.’ Because of a lower vaccination rate in the 2022-2023 school year, ‘approximately 250,000 kindergartners are at risk for measles infection,’ he said.”

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