What We're Reading: Baltimore Low on Naloxone; Two Insurers Stick With ACA; Recovery in Hospitals

Baltimore Low on Opioid Overdose Drug

Demand for naloxone, which reverses an opioid overdose, has jumped significantly as the opioid epidemic continues to ravage the United States. According to The Washington Post, Baltimore’s health department is running low on the drug and has started rationing it for those at the highest risk of an overdose. Fatal overdoses in Maryland were up 66% in 2016 over 2015 and there are an estimated 21,000 heroin users in Baltimore alone. The city only has 4000 doses left that need to last until May 2018.

Two Insurers Reverse Decisions to Exit ACA Markets

Premera Blue Cross has decided that it will offer Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans in 2 Washington state counties that were at risk of having no insurers in 2018. In addition, Medica has indicated it will offer marketplace plans in Iowa next year, reported The Wall Street Journal. Without Medica, Iowa is at risk of having no ACA insurers in possibly the entire state. Premera’s decision to offer ACA plans in Grays Harbor and Klickitat counties in Washington state is a reversal from its earlier decision to exit those markets.

Speeding Recovery in Hospitals

A new study has found that hospital patients who have a healthier roommate are discharged quicker. In a blog post of The New York Times’ The Upshot, Austin Frakt, PhD, explained that patients with the healthiest roommates required less attention, were discharged faster, and cost about $840 less. The study found no negative side effects on the healthier roommate’s health. The study may make hospitals reassess the recent move toward more private rooms, which is more costly but reduces the spread of infections and increases satisfaction.