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Thousands of Experts Hired to Aid Public Health Departments Are Losing Their Jobs

As covid-19 raged, roughly 4,000 highly skilled epidemiologists, communication specialists, and public health nurses were hired by a nonprofit tied to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to plug the holes at battered public health departments on the front lines.

But over the past few months, the majority of the CDC Foundation’s contracts for those public health workers at local and state departments have ended as the group has spent nearly all of its almost $289 million in covid relief funding. The CDC Foundation, an independent nonprofit that supports the CDC’s work, anticipates that no more than about 800 of its 4,000 hires will ultimately staff those jurisdictions, spokesperson Pierce Nelson said.

That has left many local and state health departments facing staffing shortages as the nation eyes a possible winter uptick in covid cases and grapples with the ongoing threat of monkeypox, exploding caseloads of sexually transmitted infections,


Cash for Colonoscopies: Colorado Tries to Lower Health Costs Through Incentives

State employees in Colorado are being asked to be better consumers when shopping for health care services. And if they choose lower-cost and higher-quality providers, they could get a check in the mail for a portion of the savings.

It’s part of an initiative known as the Colorado Purchasing Alliance, through which employers in the state are banding together to negotiate lower prices for health care services. The state government is one of 12 employers that have agreed to join the alliance and will be the first to use the newly negotiated rates and consumer incentives.

The goal is to disrupt what’s considered a dysfunctional market for health care by encouraging employers and employees to make better choices and forcing health systems in the state — which have some of the highest prices and profits in the country — to cut their rates.

Since July 1, state employees


Ambulance Company to Halt Some Rides in Southern California, Citing Low Medicaid Rates

For 23 years, the private ambulance industry in California had gone without an increase in the base rate the state pays it to transport Medicaid enrollees. At the start of the year, it asked the state legislature to more than triple the rate, from around $110 to $350 per ride. The request went unheeded.

In September, American Medical Response, the largest U.S. provider of ambulance services, announced it had “made the difficult decision” to end nonemergency transports in Los Angeles County and blamed the state for having one of the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rates in the country. “What’s more,” the company, which sold for $2.4 billion in 2017 to private equity firm KKR, said, “we are not subsidized by taxpayer funds like public agencies, and almost 80% of our patients pay nothing or below cost for our services.”

The company, which also cited high operational costs, said


Empleadores se preocupan por la salud mental, pero no hay suficientes proveedores

Casi tres años después de que la pandemia de covid-19 alterara para siempre los lugares de trabajo, la cobertura de salud mental sigue siendo una prioridad para los empleadores, según la encuesta anual realizada por KFF.

Casi la mitad de los grandes empleadores encuestados, con al menos 200 trabajadores, informaron que una proporción cada vez mayor de sus empleados utilizaba servicios de salud mental. Sin embargo, casi un tercio de ese grupo dijo que la red de su plan médico no tenía suficientes proveedores en esta área, como para que los empleados tuvieran acceso oportuno a la atención que necesitaban.

A medida que millones de empleados cambiaban las oficinas cerradas por sus casas, o se arriesgaban a infectarse trabajando en frentes de batalla contra covid, los problemas de salud mental se dispararon.

Ahora, aunque muchos lugares de trabajo han vuelto a una apariencia de “normalidad”, algunos trabajadores todavía


States Opting Out of a Federal Program That Tracks Teen Behavior as Youth Mental Health Worsens

As the covid-19 pandemic worsened a mental health crisis among America’s young people, a small group of states quietly withdrew from the nation’s largest public effort to track concerning behaviors in high school students.

Colorado, Florida, and Idaho will not participate in a key part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior surveys that reaches more than 80,000 students. Over the past 30 years, the state-level surveys, conducted anonymously during each odd-numbered year, have helped elucidate the mental health stressors and safety risks for high school students.

Each state has its own rationale for opting out, but their withdrawal — when suicides and feelings of hopelessness are up — has caught the attention of school psychologists and federal and state health officials.

Some questions on the state-level surveys — which can also ask students about their sexual orientation, gender identity, sexual activity, and drug use