Healthcare Roundup—HHS, NASA team up to study health; 41% of Americans plan to skip flu shot

space galaxy
The Department of Health and Human Services and NASA are teaming up, plus more healthcare headlines.(Pixabay)

HHS teaming up with NASA to study health on Earth, in space

The Department of Health and Human Services and NASA are working together to study health concerns for people on Earth and in space.

NASA, for example, is interested in further research on cardiac arrhythmia and nutrition, and both agencies would benefit from investigation into portable and autonomous medical devices in these areas, Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan wrote in a blog post.

NASA has a long-standing research relationship with the National Institutes of Health, Hargan said.

“This collaboration between NASA and HHS has so many exciting possibilities for understanding health issues on Earth and helping to make deep space travel a possibility,” Hargan wrote. (Blog post)

17 women sue Columbia University and its hospitals over ‘massive coverup’ of sexual abuse

Seventeen women filed suit against Columbia University and its associated hospitals this week, saying the institutions took part in a “massive coverup” of an obstetrician's sexual abuse of patients spanning more than 20 years.

The plaintiffs say that the university was first alerted to the doctor’s behavior in the early 1990s but “actively and deliberately” concealed the abuse and allowed him to continue seeing patients.

The doctor in the case did not serve any prison time but did forfeit his medical license. (CBS News)

UCHealth launches price estimate tool for patients

University of Colorado Health has launched an individualized pricing tool that patients can use to estimate their healthcare costs.

The pricing estimates are specific to each patient’s insurance benefits and are available via UCHealth’s online portal or mobile app. It offers price estimates for 150 services at present and will be adding additional service lines in the future.

“This estimates tool gives patients the power to make informed healthcare choices, and it can also help guide patients as they select an insurance plan that’s right for them,” said Dan Rieber, UCHealth’s chief financial officer. (Announcement)

Nearly half of Americans intend to skip flu shot this year

More than half of Americans have yet to be vaccinated for the flu this season, and plenty are planning to skip their annual shot, according to a new report.

NORC at the University of Chicago found that 41% of Americans have yet to be vaccinated and do not intend to be. As of last month, 43% had gotten a vaccination, and an additional 14% had not yet been vaccinated but intended to get one.

People who are planning to skip the vaccine are concerned about its efficacy and side effects, according to the report. They’re also patients who are the least concerned about actually contracting influenza. (Announcement)