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CRS — Hydraulic Fracturing: Selected Legal Issues (September 26, 2014)

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Hydraulic Fracturing: Selected Legal Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Hydraulic fracturing is a technique used to recover oil and natural gas from underground low permeability rock formations. Its use along with horizontal drilling has been responsible for an increase in estimated U.S. oil and natural gas reserves. Hydraulic fracturing and related oil and gas production activities have been controversial because of their potential effects on public health and the environment. Several environmental statutes have implications for the regulation of hydraulic fracturing by the federal government and states.

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American Housing Survey: 2013 Detailed Tables

October 20, 2014 Comments off

American Housing Survey: 2013 Detailed Tables
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The first findings from the 2013 American Housing Survey are now available in the form of dozens of detailed tables and a microdata file. The American Housing Survey is conducted biennially and, as in past years, provides current national-level information on a wide range of housing subjects. Topics unique to this survey include characteristics and physical condition of the nation’s housing units, indicators of housing and neighborhood quality, and home improvement activities. Specific examples include the presence of appliances, respondents’ rating of their homes on a scale of 1 to 10, and the average cost of kitchen and bathroom remodeling.

Topics new to the American Housing Survey this year are disaster planning and emergency preparedness, public transportation, household involvement in neighborhood and community activities, and the prevalence of “doubled-up” households, such as those with an adult child living at home. Specific examples include having an adequate food or water supply in case of emergency, key amenities accessible via public transportation and neighbors willing to help one another.

Vital Signs: Health Burden and Medical Costs of Nonfatal Injuries to Motor Vehicle Occupants — United States, 2012

October 15, 2014 Comments off

Vital Signs: Health Burden and Medical Costs of Nonfatal Injuries to Motor Vehicle Occupants — United States, 2012
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Background:
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death and injury in the United States. The purpose of this study was to describe the current health burden and medical and work loss costs of nonfatal crash injuries among vehicle occupants in the United States.

Methods:
CDC analyzed data on emergency department (ED) visits resulting from nonfatal crash injuries among vehicle occupants in 2012 using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System – All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP) and the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project National Inpatient Sample (HCUP-NIS). The number and rate of all ED visits for the treatment of crash injuries that resulted in the patient being released and the number and rate of hospitalizations for the treatment of crash injuries were estimated, as were the associated number of hospital days and lifetime medical and work loss costs.

Results:
In 2012, an estimated 2,519,471 ED visits resulted from nonfatal crash injuries, with an estimated lifetime medical cost of $18.4 billion (2012 U.S. dollars). Approximately 7.5% of these visits resulted in hospitalizations that required an estimated 1,057,465 hospital days in 2012.

Conclusions:
Nonfatal crash injuries occur frequently and result in substantial costs to individuals, employers, and society. For each motor vehicle crash death in 2012, eight persons were hospitalized, and 100 were treated and released from the ED.

Implications for Public Health:
Public health practices and laws, such as primary seat belt laws, child passenger restraint laws, ignition interlocks to prevent alcohol impaired driving, sobriety checkpoints, and graduated driver licensing systems have demonstrated effectiveness for reducing motor vehicle crashes and injuries. They might also substantially reduce associated ED visits, hospitalizations, and medical costs.

Announcement: Now Available Online: Final 2013–14 Influenza Vaccination Coverage Estimates for Selected Local Areas, States, and the United States

October 14, 2014 Comments off

Announcement: Now Available Online: Final 2013–14 Influenza Vaccination Coverage Estimates for Selected Local Areas, States, and the United States
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Final 2013–14 influenza season vaccination coverage estimates are now available online at FluVaxView (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/fluvaxview). The online information includes estimates of the cumulative percentage of persons vaccinated by the end of each month, from July 2013 through May 2014, for select local areas, each state, each U.S. Department of Health and Human Services region, and the United States overall.
Analyses were conducted using National Immunization Survey influenza vaccination data for children aged 6 months–17 years and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data for adults aged ≥18 years. Estimates are provided by age group and race/ethnicity. These estimates are presented in an interactive report (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/fluvaxview/interactive.htm) and complemented by an online summary report (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/fluvaxview/coverage-1314estimates.htm).

Medical Device Registries: Recommendations for Advancing Safety and Public Health

October 14, 2014 Comments off

Medical Device Registries: Recommendations for Advancing Safety and Public Health
Source: Pew Charitable Trusts

In 2012, FDA issued a report, “Strengthening Our National System for Medical Device Postmarket Surveillance,” outlining four key steps for creating a national surveillance system that would quickly identify poorly performing medical devices. One step was to encourage the development of national and international device registries, which contain information on patients who use or are treated with a specific device.

In response to FDA’s report, The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and the Medical Device Epidemiological Network (MDEpiNet) Science Infrastructure Center at Weill Cornell Medical College partnered to develop a set of recommendations—which emerged from several multistakeholder convenings of practitioners, regulators, payers, patients, and industry—on the use of registries to improve patient safety.

The report outlines five objectives for stakeholders to work toward so that medical device registries can better contribute to the national surveillance system, including:

  • Establishing criteria for determining if a device registry is the appropriate tool for postmarket surveillance;
  • Ensuring registry data—as well as information about a registry’s governance and financing—are publicly available;
  • Implementing efficiencies that can help streamline registry data collection and reduce the time and cost of reporting;
  • Leveraging registry data to accelerate medical device innovation and help fulfill related regulatory responsibilities; and
  • Resolving varying legal interpretations of provisions governing quality improvement activities and research, as they apply to registries.

Antibiotic resistance threats in the United States, 2013

October 13, 2014 Comments off

Antibiotic resistance threats in the United States, 2013
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

This report, Antibiotic resistance threats in the United States, 2013 gives a first-ever snapshot of the burden and threats posed by the antibiotic-resistant germs having the most impact on human health.

Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections. Many more people die from other conditions that were complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection.

Antibiotic-resistant infections can happen anywhere. Data show that most happen in the general community; however, most deaths related to antibiotic resistance happen in healthcare settings such as hospitals and nursing homes.

Ebola — Information for Healthcare Workers (CDC)

October 9, 2014 Comments off

Ebola — Information for Healthcare Workers
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Includes sections on:

  • Diagnosis/Testing
  • Specimen Collection, Transport, Testing, and Submission
  • Transportation/Monitoring/Movement
  • Protecting Healthcare Workers
  • U.S. Healthcare Settings
  • Preparedness and Response
  • African Healthcare Settings
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