Surveillance of morbidity during wildfires--Central Florida, 1998. (1/1417)

Several large wildfires occurred in Florida during June-July 1998, many involving both rural and urban areas in Brevard, Flagler, Orange, Putnam, Seminole, and Volusia counties. By July 22, a total of 2277 fires had burned 499,477 acres throughout the state (Florida Department of Community Affairs, unpublished data, 1998). On June 22, after receiving numerous phone calls from persons complaining of respiratory problems attributable to smoke, the Volusia County Health Department issued a public health alert advising persons with pre-existing pulmonary or cardiovascular conditions to avoid outdoor air in the vicinity of the fires. To determine whether certain medical conditions increased in frequency during the wildfires, the Volusia County Health Department and the Florida Department of Health initiated surveillance of selected conditions. This report summarizes the results of this investigation.  (+info)

Can restrictions on reimbursement for anti-ulcer drugs decrease Medicaid pharmacy costs without increasing hospitalizations? (2/1417)

OBJECTIVE: To examine the impact of a policy restricting reimbursement for Medicaid anti-ulcer drugs on anti-ulcer drug use and peptic-related hospitalizations. DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: In addition to U.S. Census Bureau data, all of the following from Florida: Medicaid anti-ulcer drug claims data, 1989-1993; Medicaid eligibility data, 1989-1993; and acute care nonfederal hospital discharge abstract data (Medicaid and non-Medicaid), 1989-1993. STUDY DESIGN: In this observational study, a Poisson multiple regression model was used to compare changes, after policy implementation, in Medicaid reimbursement for prescription anti-ulcer drugs as well as hospitalization rates between pre- and post-implementation periods in Medicaid versus non-Medicaid patients hospitalized with peptic ulcer disease. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Following policy implementation, the rate of Medicaid reimbursement for anti-ulcer drugs decreased 33 percent (p < .001). No associated increase occurred in the rate of Medicaid peptic-related hospitalizations. CONCLUSIONS: Florida's policy restricting Medicaid reimbursement for anti-ulcer drugs was associated with a substantial reduction in outpatient anti-ulcer drug utilization without any significant increase in the rate of hospitalization for peptic-related conditions.  (+info)

A comparison of the reproductive physiology of largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides, collected from the Escambia and Blackwater Rivers in Florida. (3/1417)

Largemouth bass (LMB), Micropterus salmoides, were taken from the Escambia River (contaminated site) and the Blackwater River (reference site) near Pensacola, Florida. The Escambia River collection occurred downstream of the effluent from two identified point sources of pollution. These point sources included a coal-fired electric power plant and a chemical company. Conversely, the Blackwater River's headwaters and most of its length flow within a state park. Although there is some development on the lower part of the Blackwater River, fish were collected in the more pristine upper regions. Fish were captured by electroshocking and were maintained in aerated coolers. Physical measurements were obtained, blood was taken, and liver and gonads were removed. LMB plasma was assayed for the concentration of 17ss-estradiol (E2) and testosterone using validated radioimmunoassays. The presence of vitellogenin was determined by gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and Western blotting using a monoclonal antibody validated for largemouth bass vitellogenin. No differences in plasma concentrations of E2 or testosterone were observed in females from the two sites. Similarly, males exhibited no difference in plasma E2. However, plasma testosterone was lower in the males from the contaminated site, as compared to the reference site. Vitellogenic males occurred only at the contaminated site. Additionally, liver mass was proportionately higher in males from the contaminated site, as compared to males from the reference site. These data suggest that reproductive steroid levels may have been altered by increased hepatic enzyme activity, and the presence of vitellogenic males indicates that an exogenous source of estrogen was present in the Escambia River.  (+info)

Insurance coverage of unintended pregnancies resulting in live-born infants--Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, and South Carolina, 1996. (4/1417)

In the United States during 1994, approximately 49% of all pregnancies, excluding miscarriages, were unintended. Unintended pregnancy can result in adverse health outcomes that affect the mother, infant, and family. Little is known about the distribution of unintended pregnancy with respect to the payment source for health care. In the absence of data for periconceptional payment source for health care, prenatal-care payment source is used as a surrogate. To develop recommendations to reduce unintended pregnancy, CDC analyzed insurance coverage-specific prevalences of live-born infants from unintended pregnancies among women aged 20-34 years using data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Monitoring System (PRAMS) for 1996 (the most recent year for which data are available). This report summarizes the results of this analysis, which indicates that the highest rates of unintended pregnancy occurred among women covered by Medicaid, with lower rates among women covered by health-maintenance organizations (HMOs) or private insurance.  (+info)

Medicare HMOs: who joins and who leaves? (5/1417)

Medicare risk health maintenance organizations (HMOs) are an increasingly common alternative to fee-for-service Medicare. To date, there has been no examination of whether the HMO program is preferentially used by blacks or by persons living in lower-income areas or whether race and income are associated with reversing Medicare HMO selection. This question is important because evidence suggests that these beneficiaries receive poorer care under the fee-for-service-system than do whites and persons from wealthier areas. Medicare enrollment data from South Florida were examined for 1990 to 1993. Four overlapping groups of enrollees were examined: all age-eligible (age 65 and over) beneficiaries in 1990; all age-eligible beneficiaries in 1993; all age-eligible beneficiaries residing in South Florida during the period 1990 to 1993; and all beneficiaries who became age-eligible for Medicare benefits between 1990 and 1993. The associations between race or income and choice of Medicare option were examined by logistic regression. The association between the demographic characteristics and time staying with a particular option was examined with Kaplan-Meier methods and Cox Proportional Hazards modeling. Enrollment in Medicare risk HMOs steadily increased over the 4-year study period. In the overall Medicare population, the following statistically significant patterns of enrollment in Medicare HMOs were seen: enrollment of blacks was two times higher than that of non-blacks; enrollment decreased with age; and enrollment decreased as income level increased. For the newly eligible population, initial selection of Medicare option was strongly linked to income; race effects were weak but statistically significant. The data for disenrollment from an HMO revealed a similar demographic pattern. At 6 months, higher percentages of blacks, older beneficiaries (older than 85), and individuals from the lowest income area (less than $15,000 per year) had disenrolled. A small percentage of beneficiaries moved between HMOs and FFS plans multiple times. These data on Medicare HMO populations in South Florida, an area with a high concentration of elderly individuals and with one of the highest HMO enrollment rates in the country, indicate that enrollment into and disenrollment from Medicare risk HMOs are associated with certain demographic characteristics, specifically, black race or residence in a low-income area.  (+info)

Counting the uninsured using state-level hospitalization data. (6/1417)

OBJECTIVE: To assess the appropriateness of using state-level data on uninsured hospitalizations to estimate the uninsured population. METHODS: The authors used 1992-1996 data on hospitalizations of newborns and of appendectomy and heart attack patients in Florida to estimate the number of people in the state without health insurance coverage. These conditions were selected because they usually require hospitalization and they are common across demographic categories. RESULTS: Adjusted for the gender and ethnic composition of the population, the percentages of uninsured hospitalizations for appendectomies and heart attacks produced estimates of the state's uninsured population 1.6 percentage points lower than those reported for 1996 in the US Census March Current Population Survey. CONCLUSION: Data reported by hospitals to state agencies can be used to monitor trends in health insurance coverage and provides an alternative data source for a state-level analysis of the uninsured population.  (+info)

The role of medical problems and behavioral risks in explaining patterns of prenatal care use among high-risk women. (7/1417)

OBJECTIVE: To examine the associations between maternal medical conditions and behavioral risks and the patterns of prenatal care use among high-risk women. DATA SOURCE/STUDY DESIGN: Data on over 25,000 high-risk deliveries to African American and white women using multinomial logistic regression to predict the odds of adequate-plus care relative to three other categories of care. DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS: Data were extracted from records maintained by the University of Florida/Shands Hospital maternity clinic on all deliveries between 1987 and 1994; records for white and for African American women were subset to examine racial differences in medical conditions, health behaviors, and patterns of prenatal care use. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Net of sociodemographic and fertility-related characteristics, African American and white women with late antepartum conditions and hypertension problems had significantly higher odds of receiving adequate-plus care, as well as no care or inadequate care, relative to adequate care. White women with gynecological disease and medical/surgical problems were significantly less likely to receive no care or inadequate care, as were African American women with gynecological disease. CONCLUSIONS: Maternal medical conditions explain much but not all of the adequate-plus prenatal care use. More than 13 percent of African American women and 20 percent of white women with no reported medical problems or behavioral risks used adequate-plus care. Additional research is needed to understand this excess use and its possibilities in mediating birth outcomes.  (+info)

Screening for breast cancer: time, travel, and out-of-pocket expenses. (8/1417)

BACKGROUND: We estimated the personal costs to women found to have a breast problem (either breast cancer or benign breast disease) in terms of time spent, miles traveled, and cash payments made for detection, diagnosis, initial treatment, and follow-up. METHODS: We analyzed data from personal interviews with 465 women from four communities in Florida. These women were randomly selected from those with a recent breast biopsy (within 6-8 months) that indicated either breast cancer (208 women) or benign breast disease (257 women). One community was the site of a multifaceted intervention to promote breast screening, and the other three communities were comparison sites for evaluation of that intervention. All P values are two-sided. RESULTS: In comparison with time spent and travel distance for women with benign breast disease (13 hours away from home and 56 miles traveled), time spent and travel distance were statistically significantly higher (P<.001) for treatment and follow-up of women with breast cancer (89 hours and 369 miles). Personal financial costs for treatment of women with breast cancer were also statistically significantly higher (breast cancer = $604; benign breast disease = $76; P < .001) but were statistically significantly lower for detection and diagnosis (breast cancer = $170; benign breast disease = $310; P < .001). Among women with breast cancer, time spent for treatment was statistically significantly lower (P = .013) when their breast cancer was detected by screening (68.9 hours) than when it was detected because of symptoms (84.2 hours). Personal cash payments for detection, diagnosis, and treatment were statistically significantly lower among women whose breast problems were detected by screening than among women whose breast problems were detected because of symptoms (screening detected = $453; symptom detected = $749; P = .045). CONCLUSION: There are substantial personal costs for women who are found to have a breast problem, whether the costs are associated with problems identified through screening or because of symptoms.  (+info)