What We’re Reading: COVID Funds and Medical Debt; Health Concerns Grow After Derailment; Guidelines and Provider Workdays


Some communities will use COVID relief money to pay medical debt; residents living near train car derailment site in Ohio are worried about toxic chemical health effects; following medical guidelines point by point would create impossibly long workdays for providers, studies are pointing out.

COVID Relief Funds to Pay Off Medical Debt in Some Communities

Municipal, county, and state governments around the United States are planning ways to use federal coronavirus pandemic relief funds to lessen or entirely pay for the medical debt for residents who quality, reported The Associated Press. In partnership with RIP Medical Debt, a charity that uses donations to buy large amounts of debt from hospitals and other health care providers, the governments would use funds from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, which included $360 billion for local economic relief.

Health Anxiety Rising for Residents Near Ohio Train Derailment Site

Health and environmental anxieties are rising in East Palestine, Ohio following train car derailments that leaked toxins into the air last week, according to NPR. On February 3, about 50 train cars derailed and caused fire for days, with 10 of the cars holding hazardous chemicals and prompting a “controlled release” by officials. Residents returned to the area last week after being told to evacuate. The EPA has been monitoring air quality and said it has not detected “levels of concern” but people have complained of symptoms and have said animals are acting sick and dying.

Medical Guidelines Ask the Impossible of Doctors

The difficulty of following every guideline in primary care is creating frustration in doctors around the globe and sparking conversations, reported The New York Times. For instance, one study found that if an American doctor followed all suggested health care guidelines, it would create a 27-hour workday. Going through the preventative care checklist outlined by the US Preventative Services Task Force would take 8.6 hours, said another study. The problem affects providers in both North America and Europe, the report said.

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