What We're Reading: Cancer Clues and Patient Records; Va. Meets on Medicaid; Healthcare for Undocumented

AJMC Staff

Clues to Cancer Buried in Patient Records

Clues to cancer treatments are buried in inaccessible patient records, The New York Times reported, since there is no single format used by all providers. The director of the National Cancer Institute, Ned Sharpless, MD, said the problem is blocking research as well as attempts to improve patient care. Until patients’ medical records are linked to newly sequenced genetic data, life-or-death questions, such as which drugs worked best and the response rates were, cannot be answered.

Virginia Senate Reconvenes to Discuss Medicaid Expansion

The Virginia Senate reconvenes Tuesday to discuss a budget plan proposed by Republican leaders that expands Medicaid, but it could be blocked by others who still oppose the expansion, the Associated Press reported. State Democrats have pushed for years to expand Medicaid, saying Virginia should not lose the roughly $2 billion in extra federal funding. Until recently most Republicans have argued the long-term costs are unsustainable, but they are now split. If an agreement is not reached, the state government will shut down July 1 without a budget.  

California Proposes to Give Undocumented Immigrants Healthcare as Doctors Say Denying Care Contributes to Burnout

California is striking back against the Trump administration with a Senate bill to offer full health coverage to undocumented adults, Politico reported. The cost to expand Medicaid benefits to poor adult immigrants without legal status is projected at $3 billion annually. Some worry that extending health coverage could make the state a magnet for undocumented immigrants from other states. Separately, a study released Monday found that denying undocumented patients care that ultimately leads to worse outcomes, or even death, because of their immigration status contributes to healthcare providers’ professional burnout and moral distress, NPR reported.

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