The Hidden Health Consequences of COVID

This article originally appeared on BeMedWise. An up-to-date version can be found here.

COVID-19 has left its mark in more ways than the number  of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, deaths, and long-term consequences indicate. While the COVID-19 pandemic is having a direct detrimental effect on public health, the economy, and our social lives, there are many indirect medical consequences as well. 

In 2021, the death rate in the United States was the highest it has ever been — especially in the 15-44 age range. While the death rates for cancer, diabetes, chronic liver disease, and stroke rose slightly, deaths from COVID-19 infection and indirect deaths from other conditions due to COVID-19 were the major contributors to this increase. From 2020 to 2021 COVID deaths increased from 351,000 to 415,000, an 11.8% increase. For every 21 deaths from COVID-19 there were another four deaths from other causes that the COVID-19 pandemic was indirectly responsible for, such as chronic disease — especially diabetes, suicide, drug overdose, and homicide. 

The

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Sexual Violence is a Public Health Crisis

CONTENT WARNING: This blog discusses rape and other forms of sexual violence.

Over recent years, the #MeToo movement has grown to bring sexual violence, abuse, and toxic behavior into awareness within American culture, but there is still much misinformation and stigma to combat to ensure the health and safety of everyone affected. Systems of protecting abusers and retaliating against survivors have been observed in many industries: film, music, game development, education, elite sports, and the military — only brought to light after years of harm done to countless people.

Sexual violence is the most under-reported crime with only 36% of rapes, 34% of attempted rapes, and 26% of sexual assaults reported to law enforcement. Less than 1% of rapes lead to felony convictions while over 89% of victims face profound emotional and physical consequences. Despite misconceptions, the prevalence of false reporting is low — between 2-7%. The consequences of sexual assault reach far into the lives of survivors, families, and communities and have a major effect on public health.

Victims of sexual

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Increasing COVID Costs for Uninsured Could Fuel Next Surge

We have been discussing the costs associated with COVID-19 for nearly two years. Earlier this year, we covered how the ongoing pandemic has affected employment and insurance status of millions of Americans. Now federal funds for vaccines, testing, and treatment of the novel coronavirus have run out and additional funding has failed to pass through Congress, leaving the 28 million uninsured Americans responsible for paying the costs themselves.

For most of the public health crisis even uninsured patients could receive free preventative vaccines, tests to detect the coronavirus, and treatment if infected. Unfortunately, this information hadn’t been widely circulated leading to many to not seeking necessary care — with sometimes tragically fatal results. Slow vaccination rates have even been partly caused by patients thinking they’d be charged for it. Despite an average of 30,000 new cases in the United States each day, uninsured patients have begun to be turned away from testing sites if they’re unable to cover the $100-$200 cost.

People without health insurance have been at a

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LGBTQ+ Health Awareness Week 2022

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA) people are members of every community. They are diverse, come from all walks of life, include people of all races and ethnicities, all ages, all socioeconomic statuses, and from all parts of the country. The healthcare needs of LGBTQIA people are sometimes unique and often overlooked, contributing to health disparities experienced by vulnerable populations.

Experts report that LGBTQIA people often avoid seeking out medical care or refrain from “coming out” to their healthcare provider. Marginalized people can face discrimination in any venue, and LGBTQIA patients could be made to feel that their gender identity or sexual preference is itself an illness or mental disorder. This compromises an entire community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, nonbinary, intersex, and asexual people who are at increased risk for several health threats when compared to heterosexual or cisgender peer groups:

  • Gay men are at higher risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections; 
  • Lesbians and bisexual women are less likely to get cancer screenings; 
  • Transgender people are among the least likely to have health insurance along with risks from hormone replacement and atypical cancers;
  • Nonbinary and genderqueer people (people who identify as neither male nor female) are at greater risk of violence and negative mental health outcomes
  • Intersex people (people born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the binary definitions of female or male) often have trouble finding doctors familiar enough with their bodies to provide appropriate care, or even filling out forms/paperwork with only binary gender options
  • Asexual people (people with little-to-no sexual attraction towards others) commonly have aspects of their care neglected by providers

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) had helped

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Facts and Tips for Patient Safety Awareness Week

Patient Safety Awareness Week is an annual recognition event intended to encourage everyone to learn more about healthcare safety. Patient safety is about preventing and reducing harmful medical incidents that lead to adverse effects. Studies suggest that as many as 400,000 deaths occur in the United States each year as a result of errors or preventable harm. While not every case of harm results in death, they can cause a long-term impact on the patient’s physical health, emotional health, financial well-being, or family relationships. Preventable harm is expected to cost the U.S. and European healthcare systems $383.7 billion. The bulk of these costs are directly associated with additional medical expenses, followed by increased mortality rates and loss of productivity. When indirect costs are accounted for, the estimated economic impact skyrockets to nearly a trillion dollars annually.

The average cost of preventable harm is approximately $58,776 per injury. Medicare and other

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Welcome to the NeedyMeds Voice! We look forward to presenting you with timely, provocative pieces on healthcare reform, patient advocacy, medication and healthcare access, and other health-related news. Our goals are to educate, enlighten, and elucidate; together, we will try to make sense of the myriad and ongoing healthcare-related changes in the U.S. today.