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Category Archives: Health Care

HHS removes sex discrimination prohibition language from civil rights office website

Sunlight Foundation: “The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights has altered messaging on its website related to Section 1557, the provision of the Affordable Care Act prohibiting discrimination, including sex discrimination. Advocates and experts say the changes to informational webpages about Section 1557, detailed in the latest Web Integrity Project report, could foreshadow a shift in policy regarding the prohibition of sex discrimination as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) prepares to release new regulations as soon as this month. The report documents changes in language pertaining to sex discrimination on the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) website, first discovered by staff at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), as well as the reduction in access to training materials about Section 1557 for health and healthcare professionals. NWLC, which released a fact sheet about Section 1557, has filed a series of still-pending FOIA requests for information about why these changes were made to the website. Section 1557 has been the focus of a long-running legal battle over whether OCR, the office responsible for enforcing regulations stemming from 1557, can respond to complaints of discrimination against transgender and gender nonconforming individuals. HHS had determined that the text of Section 1557 allowed it to prohibit all forms of sex discrimination, including discrimination based on an individual’s sex, pregnancy, gender identity, and sex stereotyping, and it put in place these Section 1557 regulations to do so. HHS’s ability to implement the Section 1557 regulations, however, was limited after a lawsuit by religiously affiliated healthcare providers argued that they would “require them to perform and provide insurance coverage for gender transitions and abortions,” according to court records. In December of 2016, the federal court in Texas hearing the case issued a nationwide preliminary injunction that prevents OCR from enforcing Section 1557 protections against discrimination based on gender identity and termination of pregnancy, without affecting protections against other forms of sex discrimination…” [h/t Pte Weiss]

Health Insurers Increasing Data Collection on Patients and Rates are Rising

Joint reporting – ProPublica and NPR: “Without any public scrutiny, insurers and data brokers are predicting your health costs based on data about things like race, marital status, how much TV you watch, whether you pay your bills on time or even buy plus-size clothing…With little public scrutiny, the health insurance industry has joined forces… Continue Reading

HHS takes down Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Website

This site has been archived and remains available via the Internet Archive – https://web.archive.org/web/20180713143753/https://guideline.gov/ “The AHRQ National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC, guideline.gov) Web site will not be available after July 16, 2018 because federal funding through AHRQ will no longer be available to support the NGC as of that date. AHRQ is receiving expressions of interest… Continue Reading

NIH NNLM Gov Doc/Database: Data Thesaurus

“Data Thesaurus: All – Welcome to the Data Thesaurus, a resource connecting and defining concepts, services, and tools relevant to librarians working in data-driven discovery. A definition, relevant literature, and web resources accompany each term along with links to related terms. Search by term or keyword on the right or browse the 70 terms below.” Continue Reading

Yes – Software beats animal tests at predicting toxicity of chemicals

A cessation to the use animal testing is long overdue. Via Nature – Machine learning on mountain of safety data improves automated assessments. “Machine-learning software trained on masses of chemical-safety data is so good at predicting some kinds of toxicity that it now rivals — and sometimes outperforms — expensive animal studies, researchers report. Computer… Continue Reading

Toward the control of cancer – issues opportunities screening and treatment

“Cancer is a devastating disease. It is estimated that 1.7 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in 2018 and approximately 610,000 will die of it. Cancer does not discriminate. It affects humans of all ages, races, and ethnicities. Although virtually everyone is at risk for developing and dying from cancer, the burden of this… Continue Reading

HHS Report – Economic Opportunity and the Opioid Crisis: Geographic and Economic Trends

“This study examines relationships between indicators of economic opportunity and the prevalence of prescription opioids and substance use in the United States. We have three primary findings: The prevalence of drug overdose deaths and opioid prescriptions has risen unevenly across the county, with rural areas more heavily impacted. Specific geographic areas, such as Appalachia, parts… Continue Reading

NIH-funded scientists put socioeconomic data on the map

NIH: “The Neighborhood Atlas (link is external), a new tool to help researchers visualize socioeconomic data at the community level is now available. This online platform allows for easily ranking and mapping neighborhoods according to socioeconomic disadvantage. Seeing a neighborhood’s socioeconomic measures, such as income, education, employment and housing quality, may provide clues to the effects… Continue Reading

Stories From Experts About the Impact of Digital Life

“While many technology experts and scholars have concerns about the social, political and economic fallout from the spread of digital activities, they also tend to report that their own experience of digital life has been positive…Over the years of canvassings by Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center, many experts have been… Continue Reading

A Twitter Bot Has Joined the Immigration Battle to Fight ICE With Facts

Gizmodo: “A bot on Twitter is sharing images of all 212 immigration detention centers along with the address and demographic information of each location, tossing cold, hard facts into the heated online debate over immigration in America. Artist Everest Pipkin created the bot, @Abolish_ICE_Now, on Friday, about two months after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced… Continue Reading

Database of 340 Million Customer Records Leaks onto Web

The time is long over due to cease talking about data privacy – we have none – and move forward, now, to develop and implement standards to secure our metadata from organizations that collect, aggregate, sell, buy and trade every facet of our “data” without our knowledge and consent, with ramifications that continue to remain… Continue Reading

OSHA launches database of workplace chemical information

OSHA Safety and Health: “A new database from OSHA offers access to safety profiles and information on workplace chemicals. Pooling data from various government agencies and organizations, the OSHA Occupational Chemical Database offers chemical identification, physical properties, permissible exposure limits, sampling information and additional resources for each substance. OSHA calls the webpage its “premier one-stop… Continue Reading