- Providers should not hesitate to treat hospitalized patients suspected of having influenza with antiviral medications, given the severity of the current flu season, health officials said Friday. “This flu season is shaping up to be a severe one, especially for older people and young children and those with underlying conditions,” Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a call with reporters. “Antiviral flu medicines are underutilized, but if you get them early, they can keep you out of the hospital and might even save your life.” This season's flu epidemic became widespread in 46 states as of Jan. 3, according to the CDC. More than 5,000 hospitalizations and as many as 26 deaths are attributable to this year's virus so far.
- The Food and Drug Administration's list of guidance priorities for 2015 indicates the agency will focus on further clarifying its regulatory stance on a number of healthcare technology areas such as accessories and decision-support software, among others. Among its top priorities for draft guidance are several health information technology priorities, including wellness, accessories, decision-support software and unique device identifiers. FDA guidances are the agency's interpretation of rules that the industry must follow.
- State-based exchanges are reporting a robust number of sign-ups and renewals for health insurance during the current open-enrollment period, an analysis of state data shows. The 14 state-based exchanges are collectively reporting that more than 995,000 people have signed up or re-enrolled into coverage as of early January. If that pace keeps up, states could surpass the roughly 2 million enrollees their exchanges saw last year. Combined with the nearly 6.6 million enrolled in coverage on HealthCare.gov, approximately 7.7 million have gained coverage since open enrollment began, very close to the 9.1 million individuals HHS predicted would sign up in the current enrollment period, which ends Feb. 15.
Health providers should not hesitate to treat flu patients with antivirals, CDC says, and other news
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