Reality bites: Lack of cash stops many Bathurst people seeing dentist | Western Advocate

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A NEW study released this month has found up to 25 per cent of people aged 15 and over in Bathurst have delayed seeing a dental professional in the last 12 months due to concerns over the cost. The study, released by the NSW Council of Social Service, maps economic disadvantage across NSW. Australian Dental Association NSW president Dr Kathleen Matthew said delaying dental health treatments put people’s overall health at risk. Dr Matthew said it was “clearly concerning” one in four people are delaying dental treatment because they can’t afford it. “I think that’s a very important conversation to have with the population.” She said the flow on effects from not getting treatment include pain and dental stress which only gets worse, costs more money and requires higher intervention in the end. Dr Matthew also said the lower end of social economic scale are more vulnerable to dental disease with dental disease the most chronic disease there is in the community, worldwide. ALSO MAKING NEWS: “It’s (dental) the missing part of the health system … if you visit the GP it’s subsidised by the government if you get a script filled subsidised by the PBS.” Complicating the matter are the extensive wait lists for public dental services. “The waiting list for the public system is a two door system…. if you have dental pain or infection there is a triage system in place but that’s just to sort out that issue,” she explained. “If you have multiple issues, you’re on the waiting list which has a bench mark of six months, in Bathurst there are 7000 people waiting,” she said. Dr Matthews said the time had come to discuss the health system and ask does it actually work. “The mouth is part of the body but there is form of subsidy under Medicare (for dental treatment). “If you’ve got a diseased wisdom tooth and the competing priory is getting good on the table for your family, then that’s going to be the higher priority,” she said. “Dentists get criticised about their costs, but the reality is we are running a health business without government support,” she said. “The Government needs to sit down come up with a plan to treat those vulnerable to dental disease more effectively and efficiently.” Dr Matthews said there is child dental benefit scheme for low income families, who receive $1000 in dental treatment per child, but said more needs to be done. She said the government needs to look at the staged implementation of a universal scheme for basic dental care.

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SF stops Google-affiliated testing after results take 10 days

San Francisco has stopped partnering with Google-affiliated Verily at its community COVID-19 test sites after the the state of California announced $55 million in contracts with the firm in March.

San Francisco’s first Verily testing site was set up in the Tenderloin in partnership with the San Francisco Department of Public Health and Glide Memorial Church. The pop-up was initially located next to Glide and later St. Mary’s Cathedral.

“We stopped utilizing the Verily asset in August when the turnaround time for testing results were 10-plus days,” the city said in a statement. “Upon resolution of the results reporting, we reached out to the state to deploy the asset to a new site but California Department of Public Health decided that the testing asset was needed elsewhere, a county that had higher infection rates. It was deemed at that point that San Francisco already had high testing rate and low infection rate and the asset was needed elsewhere.”

Pop-up testing led by the Department of Public Health and the genetic-testing company Color now operates in the Tenderloin twice a week in coordination with Glide.


Verily, the life sciences arm of Google’s parent company Alphabet, is one of many vendors the state has contracted with to provide testing. The state’s contract with the company based in South San Francisco was much hailed by state officials, as it offered a platform that screens potential patients and connects them with testing. The intention was to use the platform to bring testing to those neighborhoods most impacted by the virus or those with hard-to-reach populations.

In an April 29 press briefing, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the company was “focusing on expanding their testing with a socioeconomic lens to diverse communities, not just in rural California but inner city California.”

Trump even touted Verily, announcing on March 13 that Google was building a site to help Americans locate COVID-19 testing, misleading people to believe the Northern California effort was geared to the entire country.

While Verily was meant to help reach underserved communities in San Francisco, Kenneth Kim, clinical director of Glide, told Kaiser Health News that the platform presented many hurdles for the homeless population it was meant to serve. Verily requires users to have a Google account and Kim said many homeless residents getting tested had the accounts but they couldn’t remember passwords.

Alameda County also partnered with Verily to open two testing sites. The first one closed by May, and the second, at an Oakland Church, closed in August, according to Kaiser Health News. A June letter to California Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and other members of the county’s COVID-19 Racial Disparities Task Force noted many of the problems with the platform, including the inability for users to make an appointment over the phone and the requirement to have a Google account.

Kathleen Parkes told Kaiser Health News Gmail accounts are required to register with Verily’s platform because Google’s authentication procedures safeguard

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Lilly Stops Antibody Trial in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

Eli Lilly announced it will halt its ACTIV-3 trial evaluating the antibody bamlanivimab in combination with remdesivir for people hospitalized with COVID-19, after new evidence regarding efficacy emerged.

The new data from the National Institutes of Health suggest that the experimental neutralizing antibody therapy does not offer significant clinical benefit for people with more advanced COVID-19 illness, according to a company statement.

Eli Lilly also announced it plans to continue its other trials evaluating the antibody, including those assessing a potential role in treating people in the earlier stages of COVID-19.

“While there was insufficient evidence that bamlanivimab improved clinical outcomes when added to other treatments in hospitalized patients with COVID-19, we remain confident based on data from Lilly’s BLAZE-1 study that bamlanivimab monotherapy may prevent progression of disease for those earlier in the course of COVID-19,” the statement reads.

The ACTIV-3 trial was paused on October 13 after a data and safety monitoring board cited safety concerns.

The most recent data update that triggered an end to the trial did not reveal any significant differences in safety, though.  

Damian McNamara is a staff journalist based in Miami. He covers a wide range of medical specialties, including infectious diseases, gastroenterology, and rheumatology. Follow Damian on Twitter:  @MedReporter.

For more news, follow Medscape on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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Head Start never stops working for children and families, and neither should Congress

For 55 years, Head Start has stood by America’s children and families. Created as part of the War on Poverty, locally operated Head Start programs have prepared nearly 40 million children from at-risk backgrounds for success in school and life. Today, an unwavering bipartisan commitment from Congress enables Head Start programs across the nation to serve the educational, socio-emotional, health, and nutrition needs of more than 1 million children in safe, nurturing environments.

Fortunately, while COVID-19 has shut down many valuable forces in American life, it hasn’t stopped Head Start. In the months since the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading in the United States, Head Start staff have been working in overdrive to adapt their teaching strategies, sanitize classrooms, make necessary health-related adjustments to facilities, and provide access to quality online and other remote learning opportunities for children and families from at-risk backgrounds ― all while grappling with rising COVID-19 operational costs.

Head Start families are expressing relief that their programs have remained steadfast in their efforts to keep children healthy and prepare them for success in school and life. One Head Start parent in California shared that her program is “incorporating outdoor activity and keeping children on track. They are educating the children about why they cannot visit family and friends. They are supporting parents in managing working from home and helping our children learn at home. Our Head Start program has gone above and beyond in supporting our children.”

This fall, as more Head Start programs are engaged in reopening their classrooms safely, they are confronting the true cost of operating in the COVID-19 era. From PPE for children and staff to increased hours for janitorial staff to additional mental health services for children coping with this new trauma, Head Start programs are facing a funding shortfall that will soon impact the children and families they are supporting in navigating this crisis.

Since the start of COVID-19, Head Start programs have pivoted in countless innovative ways: conducting online classrooms, donning PPE and making home visits to check on children, erecting elaborate screening barriers and devising creative bus routes, arranging contactless health screenings and food drops — doing everything physically and financially possible to ensure children and families living on the margins aren’t pushed further to the edge. Head Start never stopped working.

That’s why Congress and the administration must not stop, either. They can start by making sure Head Start programs have the critical resources necessary to reopen classrooms safely. Based on extensive surveying of Head Start providers, the National Head Start Association estimates operational costs will increase by up to 20 percent this year as individual programs adapt and respond to the pandemic. That’s why the Head Start community has been advocating to Congress for at least $1.7 billion in emergency funding to keep up with COVID-19-related costs — PPE for teachers, IT upgrades to support virtual learning, facility adaptations, additional staff hours to meet smaller classroom ratios for social distancing, and many other needs.

Lack of emergency

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