Uncompensated care and hospital conversions in Florida. (17/1417)

Hospital conversions to for-profit ownership have prompted concern about continuing access to care for the poor or uninsured. This DataWatch presents an analysis of the rate of uncompensated care provided by Florida hospitals before and after converting to for-profit ownership. Uncompensated care declined greatly in the converting public hospitals, which had a significant commitment to uncompensated care before conversion. Among converting nonprofit hospitals, uncompensated care levels were low before conversion and did not change following conversion. The study suggests that policymakers should assess the risk entailed in a conversion by considering the hospital's historic mission and its current role in the community.  (+info)

Effects of health insurance and race on early detection of cancer. (18/1417)

BACKGROUND: The presence and type of health insurance may be an important determinant of cancer stage at diagnosis. To determine whether previously observed racial differences in stage of cancer at diagnosis may be explained partly by differences in insurance coverage, we studied all patients with incident cases of melanoma or colorectal, breast, or prostate cancer in Florida in 1994 for whom the stage at diagnosis and insurance status were known. METHODS: The effects of insurance and race on the odds of a late stage (regional or distant) diagnosis were examined by adjusting for an individual's age, sex, marital status, education, income, and comorbidity. All P values are two-sided. RESULTS: Data from 28 237 patients were analyzed. Persons who were uninsured were more likely diagnosed at a late stage (colorectal cancer odds ratio [OR] = 1.67, P =.004; melanoma OR = 2.59, P =.004; breast cancer OR = 1.43, P =.001; prostate cancer OR = 1.47, P =.02) than were persons with commercial indemnity insurance. Patients insured by Medicaid were more likely diagnosed at a late stage of breast cancer (OR = 1.87, P<.001) and melanoma (OR = 4.69, P<.001). Non-Hispanic African-American patients were more likely diagnosed with late stage breast and prostate cancers than were non-Hispanic whites. Hispanic patients were more likely to be diagnosed with late stage breast cancer but less likely to be diagnosed with late stage prostate cancer. CONCLUSIONS: Persons lacking health insurance and persons insured by Medicaid are more likely diagnosed with late stage cancer at diverse sites, and efforts to improve access to cancer-screening services are warranted for these groups. Racial differences in stage at diagnosis are not explained by insurance coverage or socioeconomic status.  (+info)

Detection of viral pathogens by reverse transcriptase PCR and of microbial indicators by standard methods in the canals of the Florida Keys. (19/1417)

In order to assess the microbial water quality in canal waters throughout the Florida Keys, a survey was conducted to determine the concentration of microbial fecal indicators and the presence of human pathogenic microorganisms. A total of 19 sites, including 17 canal sites and 2 nearshore water sites, were assayed for total coliforms, fecal coliforms, Escherichia coli, Clostridium perfringens, enterococci, coliphages, F-specific (F(+)) RNA coliphages, Giardia lamblia, Cryptosporidium parvum, and human enteric viruses (polioviruses, coxsackie A and B viruses, echoviruses, hepatitis A viruses, Norwalk viruses, and small round-structured viruses). Numbers of coliforms ranged from <1 to 1, 410, E. coli organisms from <1 to 130, Clostridium spp. from <1 to 520, and enterococci from <1 to 800 CFU/100 ml of sample. Two sites were positive for coliphages, but no F(+) phages were identified. The sites were ranked according to microbial water quality and compared to various water quality standards and guidelines. Seventy-nine percent of the sites were positive for the presence of enteroviruses by reverse transcriptase PCR (polioviruses, coxsackie A and B viruses, and echoviruses). Sixty-three percent of the sites were positive for the presence of hepatitis A viruses. Ten percent of the sites were positive for the presence of Norwalk viruses. Ninety-five percent of the sites were positive for at least one of the virus groups. These results indicate that the canals and nearshore waters throughout the Florida Keys are being impacted by human fecal material carrying human enteric viruses through current wastewater treatment strategies such as septic tanks. Exposure to canal waters through recreation and work may be contributing to human health risks.  (+info)

Impact of race on the treatment for peripheral arterial occlusive disease. (20/1417)

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of race on the treatment of peripheral artery occlusive disease (PAOD) and to examine the role of access to care and disease distribution on the observed racial disparity. METHODS: The study was performed as a retrospective analysis of hospital discharge abstracts from 1992 to 1995 in 202 non-federal, acute-care hospitals in the state of Florida. The subjects were patients older than 44 years of age who underwent major lower extremity amputation or revascularization (bypass grafting or angioplasty) for PAOD. The main outcome measures were incidence of intervention, incidence per demographic group, multivariate predictors of amputation versus revascularization, multivariate predictors of amputation versus revascularization among those patients with access to sophisticated care (hospital with arteriographic capabilities), and multivariate predictors of surgical bypass graft type (aortoiliac vs infrainguinal). RESULTS: A total of 51,819 procedures (9.1 per 10,000 population) were performed for PAOD during the study period and included 15,579 major lower extremity amputations (30.1%) and 36,240 revascularizations (69.9%). Although the incidence of a procedure for PAOD was comparable between African Americans and whites (9.0 vs 9.6 per 10, 000 demographic group), the incidence of amputation (5.0 vs 2.5 per 10,000 demographic group) was higher and the incidence of revascularization (4.0 vs 7.1 per 10,000 demographic group) was lower among African Americans. Furthermore, multivariate analysis results showed that African Americans (odds ratio, 3.79; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.34 to 4.30) were significantly more likely than whites to undergo amputation as opposed to revascularization. The secondary multivariate analyses results revealed that African Americans (odds ratio, 2.29; 95% CI, 1.58 to 3. 33) were more likely to undergo amputation among those patients (n = 9193) who underwent arteriography during the procedural admission and to undergo infrainguinal bypass grafting (odds ratio, 2.00; 95% CI, 1.48 to 2.71) among those patients (n = 27,796) who underwent surgical bypass grafting. CONCLUSION: There is a marked racial disparity in the treatment of patients with PAOD that may be caused in part by differences in the severity of disease or disease distribution.  (+info)

Association of herpesvirus with fibropapillomatosis of the green turtle Chelonia mydas and the loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta in Florida. (21/1417)

Sea turtle fibropapillomatosis (FP) is a disease marked by proliferation of benign but debilitating cutaneous fibropapillomas and occasional visceral fibromas. Transmission experiments have implicated a chloroform-sensitive transforming agent present in filtered cell-free tumor homogenates in the etiology of FP. In this study, consensus primer PCR methodology was used to test the association of a chelonian herpesvirus with fibropapillomatosis. Fibropapilloma and skin samples were obtained from 17 green and 2 loggerhead turtles affected with FP stranded along the Florida coastline. Ninety-three cutaneous and visceral tumors from the 19 turtles, and 33 skin samples from 16 of the turtles, were tested. All turtles affected with FP had herpesvirus associated with their tumors as detected by PCR. Ninety-six percent (89/93) of the tumors, but only 9% (3/33) of the skin samples, from affected turtles contained detectable herpesvirus. The skin samples that contained herpesvirus were all within 2 cm of a fibropapilloma. Also, 1 of 11 scar tissue samples from sites where fibropapillomas had been removed 2 to 51 wk earlier from 5 green turtles contained detectable herpesvirus. None of 18 normal skin samples from 2 green and 2 loggerhead turtles stranded without FP contained herpesvirus. The data indicated that herpesvirus was detectable only within or close to tumors. To determine if the same virus infected both turtle species, partial nucleotide sequences of the herpesvirus DNA polymerase gene were determined from 6 loggerhead and 2 green turtle samples. The sequences predicted that herpesvirus of loggerhead turtles differed from those of green turtles by only 1 of 60 amino acids in the sequence examined, indicating that a chelonian herpesvirus exhibiting minor intratypic variation was the only herpesvirus present in tumors of both green and loggerhead turtles. The FP-associated herpesvirus resisted cultivation on chelonian cell lines which support the replication of other chelonian herpesviruses. These results lead to the conclusion that a chelonian herpesvirus is regularly associated with fibropapillomatosis and is not merely an incidental finding in affected turtles.  (+info)

Physical and nonphysical partner abuse and other risk factors for low birth weight among full term and preterm babies: a multiethnic case-control study. (22/1417)

This study sought to determine the risk of low birth weight from intimate partner abuse. The case-control design was used in a purposively ethnically stratified multisite sample of 1,004 women interviewed during the 72 hours after delivery between 1991 and 1996. Abuse was determined by the Index of Spouse Abuse and a modification of the Abuse Assessment Screen. Separate analyses were conducted for 252 full term and 326 preterm infants. The final multiple logistic regression models were constructed to determine relative risk for low birth weight after controlling for other complications of pregnancy. Physical and nonphysical abuse as determined by the Index of Spouse Abuse were both significant risk factors for low birth weight for the full term infants but not the preterm infants on a bivariate level. However, the risk estimates decreased in significance in the adjusted models. Although today's short delivery stays make it difficult to assess for abuse, it is necessary to screen for domestic violence at delivery, especially for women who may not have obtained prenatal care. The unadjusted significant risk for low birth weight that became nonsignificant when adjusted suggests that other abuse-related maternal health problems (notably low weight gain and poor obstetric history) are confounders (or mediators) that help to explain the relation between abuse and low birth weight in full term infants.  (+info)

Benzodiazepines in Miami-Dade County, Florida driving under the influence (DUI) cases (1995-1998) with emphasis on Rohypnol: GC-MS confirmation, patterns of use, psychomotor impairment, and results of Florida legislation. (23/1417)

Benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressant drugs often detected in biological samples from driving under the influence (DUI) offenders. They are associated with marked psychomotor impairment and represent up to 20% of all Miami-Dade County, Florida DUI urine samples analyzed in our laboratory annually. Flunitrazepam emerged in the mid-1990s as an illegal drug in the U.S. that was predominantly abused recreationally and associated with sexual assaults. Immunoassays for benzodiazepines do not discriminate between different benzodiazepines, and certain metabolites, such as 7-aminoflunitrazepam, react poorly with immunoassay reagents. A simple and sensitive method for the detection and quantitation of major benzodiazepines and metabolites by gas chromatography with mass selective detection is presented. This method was used to confirm benzodiazepines in general and flunitrazepam in particular. Data collected over a three-and-a-half-year period are summarized. Whereas flunitrazepam was present in up to 10% of DUI cases in 1995 and 1996 and had fast become the most frequently encountered benzodiazepine in Miami-Dade County DUI-related urine samples, a dramatic drop in case numbers followed the legal reclassification of the drug as a Schedule I substance in Florida in February 1997. Flunitrazepam was often used alone or in combination with cannabis and cocaine. A recent rise in clonazepam cases coincides with the decrease in flunitrazepam confirmation and may indicate a new trend in the abuse of benzodiazepines in South Florida.  (+info)

Field evaluation of the Determine rapid human immunodeficiency virus diagnostic test in Honduras and the Dominican Republic. (24/1417)

Rapid detection of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection can result in improved patient care and/or faster implementation of public health preventive measures. A new rapid test, Determine (Abbott, Abbott Park, Ill.), detects HIV type 1 (HIV-1) and HIV-2 antibodies within 15 min by using 50 microl of serum or plasma. No specialized equipment or ancillary supplies are required, and results are read visually. A positive result is noted by the appearance of a red line. An operational control (red line) indicates proper test performance. We evaluated the Determine rapid HIV detection test with a group of well-characterized serum samples (CD4 counts and viral loads were known) and serum samples from HIV-positive individuals at field sites in Honduras and the Dominican Republic. In the field evaluations, the results obtained by the Determine assay were compared to those obtained by local in-country HIV screening procedures. We evaluated serum from 100 HIV-positive patients and 66 HIV-negative patients. All samples gave the expected results. In a companion study, 42 HIV-positive samples from a Miami, Fla., serum bank were tested by the Determine assay. The samples had been characterized in terms of CD4 counts and viral loads. Fifteen patients had CD4 counts <200 cells/mm(3), while 27 patients had CD4 counts >200 cells/mm(3). Viral loads ranged from 630 to 873,746 log(10) copies/ml. All samples from the Miami serum bank were positive by the Determine test. Combined results from the multicenter studies indicated that the correct results were obtained by the Determine assay for 100% (142 of 142) of the HIV-positive serum samples and 100% (66 of 66) of the HIV-negative serum samples. The Determine test was simple to perform and the results were easy to interpret. The Determine test provides a valuable new method for the rapid identification of HIV-positive individuals, especially in developing countries with limited laboratory infrastructures.  (+info)