The birth of the McCaughey septuplets in Iowa in November 1997 brought issues of fertility assistance and their potential outcomes to worldwide attention. This Pergonal-stimulated multiple pregnancy ended successfully, but not without health hurdles and economic consequences for the new siblings and their family. This article reviews the general situation surrounding infertility services and, within the current debate of epidemiological, economic, legal and social issues, posits that managed care may be able to make greater strides than the present fee-for-service system in providing more accessible and comprehensive care to the 5.3 million US citizens at risk for infertility. Our conclusions suggest that managed care plans for infertility can aid in assuring quality and decreasing unnecessary costs. Managed care organizations should take the lead in providing infertile couples with an organized, humanistic approach that is mindful of the attending social issues. On May 5, 1997, a US District court in Chicago ruled that infertility fits the definition of a disability, and thus is subject to the antidiscrimination enforcement under the Americans with Disabilities Act. (+info)
Effect of the Family and Medical Leave Act on the operation of cafeteria plans. Final regulations.
This document contains final regulations relating to cafeteria plans that reflect changes made by the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (Act). The final regulations provide the public with guidance needed to comply with the Act and affect employees who participate in cafeteria plans. (+info)
Employment barriers among welfare recipients and applicants with chronically ill children.
OBJECTIVES: This study evaluated the association of chronic child illness with parental employment among individuals who have had contact with the welfare system. METHODS: Parents of children with chronic illnesses were interviewed. RESULTS: Current and former welfare recipients and welfare applicants were more likely than those with no contact with the welfare system to report that their children's illnesses adversely affected their employment. Logistic regression analyses showed that current and former receipt of welfare, pending welfare application, and high rates of child health care use were predictors of unemployment. CONCLUSIONS: Welfare recipients and applicants with chronically ill children face substantial barriers to employment, including high child health care use rates and missed work. The welfare reform reauthorization scheduled to occur later in 2002 should address the implications of chronic child illness for parental employment. (+info)
Molecular and phenotypic effects of heterozygous, homozygous, and compound heterozygote myosin heavy-chain mutations.
Autosomal dominant familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (FHC) has variable penetrance and phenotype. Heterozygous mutations in MYH7 encoding beta-myosin heavy chain are the most common causes of FHC, and we proposed that "enhanced" mutant actin-myosin function is the causative molecular abnormality. We have studied individuals from families in which members have two, one, or no mutant MYH7 alleles to examine for dose effects. In one family, a member homozygous for Lys207Gln had cardiomyopathy complicated by left ventricular dilatation, systolic impairment, atrial fibrillation, and defibrillator interventions. Only one of five heterozygous relatives had FHC. Leu908Val and Asp906Gly mutations were detected in a second family in which penetrance for Leu908Val heterozygotes was 46% (21/46) and 25% (3/12) for Asp906Gly. Despite the low penetrance, hypertrophy was severe in several heterozygotes. Two individuals with both mutations developed severe FHC. The velocities of actin translocation (V(actin)) by mutant and wild-type (WT) myosins were compared in the in vitro motility assay. Compared with WT/WT, V(actin) was 34% faster for WT/D906G and 21% for WT/L908V. Surprisingly V(actin) for Leu908Val/Asp906Gly and Lys207Gln/Lys207Gln mutants were similar to WT. The apparent enhancement of mechanical performance with mutant/WT myosin was not observed for mutant/mutant myosin. This suggests that V(actin) may be a poor predictor of disease penetrance or severity and that power production may be more appropriate, or that the limited availability of double mutant patients prohibits any definitive conclusions. Finally, severe FHC in heterozygous individuals can occur despite very low penetrance, suggesting these mutations alone are insufficient to cause FHC and that uncharacterized modifying mechanisms exert powerful influences. (+info)
Running on empty: families, time, and workplace injuries.
Over the past 5 decades, more women have entered the labor force, and more households have been headed by single parents. Both trends have substantially reduced parents' free time, creating added strain in the event of family health problems, including work-related injuries and illnesses. This commentary presents evidence about the impact of occupational injuries on today's families. In addition to losing considerable income, injured parents are less able to do household work, and other family members are often called on to care for them. Family members cut back on their paid, school, and household work to fill in for the injured parent. This suggests the importance of policies to help today's time-strapped families cope with major family health events. (+info)
Toward creating family-friendly work environments in pediatrics: baseline data from pediatric department chairs and pediatric program directors.
OBJECTIVE: The objective was to determine baseline characteristics of pediatric residency training programs and academic departments in regard to family-friendly work environments as outlined in the Report of the Task Force on Women in Pediatrics. METHODS: We conducted Web-based anonymous surveys of 147 pediatric department chairs and 203 pediatric program directors. The chair's questionnaire asked about child care, lactation facilities, family leave policies, work-life balance, and tenure and promotion policies. The program director's questionnaire asked about family leave, parenting, work-life balance, and perceptions of "family-friendliness." RESULTS: The response rate was 52% for program directors and 51% for chairs. Nearly 60% of chairs reported some access to child care or provided assistance locating child care; however, in half of these departments, demand almost always exceeded supply. Lactation facilities were available to breastfeeding faculty in 74% of departments, although only 57% provided access to breast pumps. A total of 78% of chairs and 90% of program directors reported written maternity leave policies with slightly fewer reporting paternity leave policies. The majority (83%) of chairs reported availability of part-time employment, whereas only 27% of program directors offered part-time residency options. Most departments offered some flexibility in promotion and tenure. CONCLUSIONS: Although progress has been made, change still is needed in many areas in pediatric departments and training programs, including better accessibility to quality child care; improved lactation facilities for breastfeeding mothers; clear, written parental leave policies; and flexible work schedules to accommodate changing demands of family life. (+info)
Benefits for employees with children with special needs: findings from the collaborative employee benefit study.
Approximately 13-15 percent of U.S. children have special health care needs. The demands of their caregiving can affect their parents' health and workplace performance. We interviewed forty-one U.S. employers and conducted focus groups with working parents in four U.S. cities to determine the extent to which employers understand the needs of these families and to identify opportunities for improving workplace benefits for these employees beyond health insurance. Employers saw value in improving workforce performance and employee retention through expanded benefits and indicated promising opportunities to improve their response to the needs of employees with children with chronic conditions. (+info)
Absence and leave; sick leave. Final rule.
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management is issuing final regulations on the use of sick leave and advanced sick leave for serious communicable diseases, including pandemic influenza when appropriate. We are also permitting employees to substitute up to 26 weeks of accrued or accumulated sick leave for unpaid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave to care for a seriously injured or ill covered servicemember, as authorized under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, including up to 30 days of advanced sick leave for this purpose. Finally, we are reorganizing the existing sick leave regulations to enhance reader understanding and administration of the program. (+info)