What We’re Reading: Woman Cured of HIV; COVID-19 Vaccination During Pregnancy; Fight to Continue Direct Contracting Model

A woman is now the third person in the world to be cured of HIV; CDC data suggest vaccinating women against COVID-19 during pregnancy may protect infants after birth; provider groups push to keep Direct Contracting payment model.

US Woman Is Now Third Person to Be Cured of HIV

A woman in the United States is now the third person in the world to be cured of HIV, according to The New York Times. She was cured using a new transplant method involving umbilical cord blood, which is more widely available than adult stem cells—used to cure the previous 2 patients—and doesn’t require as close of a match to the recipient. The woman is middle-aged, had leukemia, and is of mixed race, which scientists said widens the possibility of curing HIV among people with diverse racial backgrounds.

COVID-19 Vaccination Among Expecting Mothers May Protect Infants After Birth

CDC data showed that vaccinating women against COVID-19 during pregnancy may also temporarily protect their children after birth, Reuters reported. Data were collected from 379 hospitalized infants, 176 of whom were hospitalized for COVID-19. Overall, vaccines among mothers were 61% effective at preventing infant hospitalization. The researchers suggested that timing of the vaccine also played a role, as vaccine efficacy increased to 80% when received between 21 and 14 weeks before birth, and decreased to 32% when received earlier.

Provider Groups Fight to Continue Direct Contracting Model

Several provider groups are pushing for lawmakers and regulators to keep CMS’ Direct Contracting model, warning that ending the payment model in its second year could shatter confidence in value-based care participation. As reported by Fierce Healthcare, these efforts are in response to lawmakers in Congress wanting to end the model, believing it would fuel privatization of traditional Medicare, but providers argue the model is necessary for the shift from fee-for-service to value-based health care. The Direct Contracting model started its first performance year in April 2021 and allows providers to receive capitated or partially capitated population-based payments.