What We're Reading: Advocacy Groups Oppose Medicare Changes; Targeting Individual Cells; Rural Nursing Home Closures

Some patient advocacy groups opposing Medicare changes have received funding from pharma companies in the past; new techniques allow scientists to target individual cells for analysis; rural nursing homes continue to close.

Pharma Payments Could Influence Patient Advocacy Groups to Oppose Medicare Changes

Numerous patient advocacy groups recently appeared in nationwide advertisements opposing a Trump administration proposal that could limit the drugs required to be covered by Medicare. Nearly half of the groups representing patients have received payments, totaling more than $58 million in 2015 alone, from pharmaceutical companies, Kaiser Health News reported. While these groups continue to lobby Congress and the administration, experts have raised concerns regarding whether their financial ties could push them to put drugmakers’ interests ahead of the patients they represent.

Scientists Finally Able to Target Individual Cells for Analysis

Previously, studying key traits of cells required analysis of vast tissue samples, resulting in a scattered average of results from numerous cell types. Recently, scientists have discovered new techniques that allow them to directly study DNA codes, the activity of genes, and other traits of individual cells, the Associated Press reported. These methods have become widespread, revealing new details about the body and potentially allowing every human cell type to be catalogued.

Rural Nursing Home Closures Isolate Transferred Patients

Many residents have been forced to relocate as nursing homes continue to close in rural towns across the nation, mainly for financial reasons, and more individuals, swayed by changing health policies, are encouraged to live in their own homes with help from caregivers. Some residents of these nursing homes have been transferred long distances from their prior locations, making trips to visit them difficult or impossible and isolating them from spouses, friends, relatives, and religious groups they have known throughout their lives, The New York Times reported.