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What We're Reading: Value of Naloxone; Compassionate Communication; More States Eye Work for Medicaid

AJMC Staff
A new working paper wonders if increased access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone is actually doing more harm than good; medical students are not only learning clinical skills but also how to deliver emotionally fraught information; lawmakers in Connecticut and Minnesota are introducing bills to impose work requirements in Medicaid.

Paper Questions Value of Naloxone

As the opioid epidemic worsens, access to naloxone has increased as police departments have begun stocking the drug. A new working paper questions the value of naloxone and whether increased access to the overdose-reversal drug is actually doing harm, according to STAT. The analysis found that, as states passed laws increasing access to naloxone, opioid-related emergency department visits increased with no decrease in mortality. The authors believe that increased access to naloxone is removing a deterrent to risky behavior.


Medical Students Learn Compassionate Communication

Students at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) are being asked to show that they not only are learning clinical skills, but also how to admit a medical mistake or deliver emotionally fraught information, such as a death notice. Kaiser Health News reported that OHSU’s revamped curriculum for medical students now includes standards for communication, ethics, and professionalism. This is part of a larger nationwide effort to help practicing doctors talk about death and dying.


Connecticut and Minnesota Both Consider Medicaid Work Requirements

Republicans in 2 more states are introducing bills that would add work requirements to their Medicaid programs. In Connecticut, the bill being promoted would not only impose work requirements for Medicaid but also eliminate exemptions for work requirements for some food stamp recipients. The state’s governor has previously announced his opposition to Medicaid work requirements. In Minnesota, bills are being introduced in both the state House and Senate. It is estimated that work requirements would affect 125,000 residents who do not have a disability and receive Medicaid. So far, the cost of enforcing work requirements in Minnesota is unclear.

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