What We're Reading: Zika Remains a Global Emergency


What we're reading, September 5, 2016: Zika virus remains a global health emergency and worsens in Asia; the government provides "simple choice plan" options for 2017's open enrollment season; and how hospitals are improving the workplace.

In Florida, health officials have confirmed that local mosquitoes are carrying the Zika virus. The positive tests mean that the virus is still active in the area despite efforts to combat it, reported The New York Times. Meanwhile, the virus is spreading in the rest of the world. The Washington Post reported that the World Health Organization still considers the Zika virus a global health emergency. Outbreaks in Singapore are worsening and there is the potential for it to spread elsewhere in Asia and Africa.

The federal government is encouraging insurers to offer “simple choice plans” when 2017 open enrollment starts in November. According to Kaiser Health News, the government has provided guidelines for simple choice plans that eliminate many moving parts that confuse consumers when they are choosing a plan. Deductibles and limits on out-of-pocket spending will be standardized in these plans. There will be simple choice plans available at the bronze, silver, and gold levels, as well as 3 additional silver options for people who quality for cost-sharing reductions.

Burnout among healthcare providers is a serious issue that employers are working to combat. STAT took the time to celebrate Labor Day by highlighting 5 ways hospitals are improving the workplace. Among some of the initiatives being put into place are the addition of “reset rooms” where employees can take some time out of their busy work schedule, gardens and outdoor spaces to offer an escape, and hospital arts programs.

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