MPH's alumni Creech, Self, and Williams: New approach for staph-related skin abscesses explored

July 14, 2017

New multicenter research that includes Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) investigators, could change treatment approaches to simple skin abscesses, infections often caused by Staphylococcus aureus (staph) bacteria. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that adults and children who have simple abscesses 5 centimeters or smaller in diameter have higher cure rates if the abscess is drained in combination with antibiotic treatment, either trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX or Bactrim) or clindamycin, compared to drainage alone.  

MPH's Graves: Uncovering waste in US healthcare: Evidence from ambulance referral patterns

July 11, 2017

Hospitals that spend more on initial care following patient emergencies have better outcomes than hospitals that spend less at first and rely more on additional forms of long-term care, according to a new study co-authored by MIT economists. The paper, "Uncovering waste in US healthcare: Evidence from ambulance referral patterns," appears in the July issue of the Journal of Health Economics. The co-authors are Doyle; John A. Graves, an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University; and Jonathan Gruber, the Ford Professor of Economics at MIT.

MPH's Schaffer comments on why the shingles vaccine hasn't caught on

June 29, 2017

People who live to age 85 have a 50-50 chance of developing the excruciating rash known as shingles, yet the vaccine that cuts the risk remains unpopular. In 2015, only about 34 percent of adults 65 and over had ever gotten the shot, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting Wednesday. The rate has been inching up since 2006, when Merck launched the shingles vaccine, called Zostavax.

MPH's Graves explains how new health care bill effects insurance shoppers

June 29, 2017

Many Tennesseans shopping for insurance could pay more money under the Senate's health care reform bill, although the underlying factors driving the costs change over the next decade.  The Senate bill would allow plans to cover 58 percent of the actuarial value — or the percentage of the plan that is expected to cover of services — which is similar to what's called catastrophic plans on the existing exchange, which come with lower premiums, said John Graves, assistant professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

MPH alumnus Diamond: Tennessee first state to set up safety ratings for youth sports leagues

June 26, 2017

A new rating system called Safe Stars will soon allow parents to check and see if youth sports leagues in Tennessee follow state-recommended safety protocols.A collaboration between the Tennessee Department of Health and the Program for Injury Prevention in Youth Sports (PIPYS) at Vanderbilt, Safe Stars is the nation’s first statewide safety rating system for all types of youth leagues.

Nikpay: Uninsured emergency department visits down after Medicaid expansion

June 20, 2017

Fewer uninsured patients are walking through the doors of Emergency Departments in states that expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), even though the total number of visits has increased since 2014, according to an Annals of Emergency Medicine study released Monday. Lead author Sayeh Nikpay, Ph.D., assistant professor of Health Policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said the increase was “modest,” with 2.5 more emergency department visits per 1,000 people in states that expanded Medicaid coverage under the ACA.

Vanderbilt MPH alumna's study shows cesarean patients are prescribed more narcotic pain medications than needed

June 14, 2017

Most women who undergo a cesarean childbirth are prescribed more opioid (narcotic) pain medications than needed upon release from the hospital, a Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) study shows.The study, published online June 8 in Obstetrics and Gynecology and in print in July, studied 179 cesarean patients from VUMC over an eight-week period to examine the variation in opioid prescribing and consumption after cesarean delivery, the most common major surgical procedure performed in the United States.  

NYT: MPH’s Graves comments on the individual healthcare market challenge

June 12, 2017

In recent years, millions of middle- and working-class Americans have moved from job to job, some staying with one company for shorter stints or shifting careers midstream.The Affordable Care Act has enabled many of those workers to get transitional coverage that provides a bridge to the next phase of their lives — a stopgap to get health insurance if they leave a job, are laid off, start a business or retire early.