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1.  Infective Endocarditis in the U.S., 1998–2009: A Nationwide Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e60033.
Previous studies based on local case series estimated the annual incidence of endocarditis in the U.S. at about 4 per 100,000 population. Small-scale studies elsewhere have reported similar incidence rates. However, no nationally-representative population-based studies have verified these estimates.
Methods and Findings
Using the 1998–2009 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, which provides diagnoses from about 8 million U.S. hospitalizations annually, we examined endocarditis hospitalizations, bacteriology, co-morbidities, outcomes and costs. Hospital admissions for endocarditis rose from 25,511 in 1998 to 38, 976 in 2009 (12.7 per 100,000 population in 2009). The age-adjusted endocarditis admission rate increased 2.4% annually. The proportion of patients with intra-cardiac devices rose from 13.3% to 18.9%, while the share with drug use and/or HIV fell. Mortality remained stable at about 14.5%, as did cardiac valve replacement (9.6%). Other serious complications increased; 13.3% of patients in 2009 suffered a stroke or CNS infection, and 5.5% suffered myocardial infarction. Amongst cases with identified pathogens, Staphylococcus aureus was the most common, increasing from 37.6% in 1998 to 49.3% in 2009, 53.3% of which were MRSA. Streptococci were mentioned in 24.7% of cases, gram-negatives in 5.6% and Candida species in 1.0%. We detected no inflection in hospitalization rates after changes in prophylaxis recommendations in 2007. Mean age rose from 58.6 to 60.8 years; elderly patients suffered higher rates of myocardial infarction and death, but slightly lower rates of Staphylococcus aureus infections and neurologic complications. Our study relied on clinically diagnosed cases of endocarditis that may not meet strict criteria. Moreover, since some patients are discharged and readmitted during a single episode of endocarditis, our hospitalization figures probably slightly overstate the true incidence of this illness.
Endocarditis is more common in the U.S. than previously believed, and is steadily increasing. Preventive efforts should focus on device-associated and health-care-associated infections.
PMCID: PMC3603929  PMID: 23527296
2.  Free Drug Samples in the United States: Characteristics of Pediatric Recipients and Safety Concerns 
Pediatrics  2008;122(4):736-742.
Free drug samples frequently are given to children. We sought to describe characteristics of free sample recipients, to determine whether samples are given primarily to poor and uninsured children, and to examine potential safety issues.
We analyzed data on 10 295 US residents <18 years of age from the 2004 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a nationally representative survey that includes questions on receipt of free drug samples. We performed bivariate and multivariate analyses to evaluate characteristics associated with receipt of ≥1 free drug sample in 2004. We identified the most frequently reported sample medications and reviewed potential safety issues.
Ten percent of children who received prescription medications and 4.9% of all children received ≥1 free drug sample in 2004. In bivariate analyses, poor children (family incomes of <200% of the federal poverty level) were no more likely to receive free samples than were those with incomes of ≥400% of the poverty level (3.8% vs 5.9%). Children who were uninsured for part or all of the year were no more likely to receive free samples than were those who were insured all year (4.5% vs 5.1%); 84.3% of all sample recipients were insured. In multivariate analyses, routine access to health care (≥3 provider visits in 2004) was associated with free sample receipt. The 15 most frequently distributed pediatric free samples in 2004 included 1 schedule II controlled medication, Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine), and 4 medications that received new or revised black box warnings between 2004 and 2007, Elidel (pimecrolimus), Advair (fluticasone/salmeterol), Strattera (atomoxetine), and Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine).
Poor and uninsured children are not the main recipients of free drug samples. Free samples do not target the neediest children selectively, and they have significant safety considerations.
PMCID: PMC2680431  PMID: 18829796
free drug samples; drug safety; medically underserved; access to health care; black box warning; uninsured; drug packaging; health insurance
3.  U.S. Physicians’ Views on Financing Options to Expand Health Insurance Coverage: A National Survey 
Physician opinion can influence the prospects for health care reform, yet there are few recent data on physician views on reform proposals or access to medical care in the United States.
To assess physician views on financing options for expanding health care coverage and on access to health care.
Nationally representative mail survey conducted between March 2007 and October 2007 of U.S. physicians engaged in direct patient care.
Rated support for reform options including financial incentives to induce individuals to purchase health insurance and single-payer national health insurance; rated views of several dimensions of access to care.
1,675 of 3,300 physicians responded (50.8%). Only 9% of physicians preferred the current employer-based financing system. Forty-nine percent favored either tax incentives or penalties to encourage the purchase of medical insurance, and 42% preferred a government-run, taxpayer-financed single-payer national health insurance program. The majority of respondents believed that all Americans should receive needed medical care regardless of ability to pay (89%); 33% believed that the uninsured currently have access to needed care. Nearly one fifth of respondents (19.3%) believed that even the insured lack access to needed care. Views about access were independently associated with support for single-payer national health insurance.
The vast majority of physicians surveyed supported a change in the health care financing system. While a plurality support the use of financial incentives, a substantial proportion support single payer national health insurance. These findings challenge the perception that fundamental restructuring of the U.S. health care financing system receives little acceptance by physicians.
PMCID: PMC2659157  PMID: 19184240
access to care; health care reform; physician behavior
4.  BRIEF REPORT: Influenza Vaccination and Health Care Workers in the United States 
To determine influenza vaccination rates among U.S. health care workers (HCWs) by demographic and occupational categories.
We analyzed data from the 2000 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Weighted multivariable analyses were used to evaluate the association between HCW occupation and other variables potentially related to receipt of influenza vaccination. HCWs were categorized based on standard occupational classifications as health-diagnosing professions, health-assessing professions, health aides, health technicians; or health administrators.
Demographic characteristics and occupation category.
Receipt of influenza vaccination within 12 months of survey.
Descriptive statistics and weighted multivariable logistic regression.
There were 1,651 HCWs in the final sample. The overall influenza vaccination rate for HCWs was 38%. After weighted multivariable analyses, HCWs who were under 50 (odds ratio [OR] 0.67%, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.50 to 0.89, compared with HCWs 50 to 64), black (OR 0.57 95% CI: 0.42, 0.78, compared with white HCWs), or were health aides (OR 0.73%, 95% CI: 0.51, 1.04, compared with health care administrators and administrative support staff) had lower odds of having been vaccinated against influenza.
The overall influenza vaccination rate among HCWs in the United States is low. Workers who are under 50, black, or health aides have the lowest rates of vaccinations. Interventions seeking to improve HCW vaccination rates may need to target these specific subgroups.
PMCID: PMC1484661  PMID: 16606378
Influenza vaccinations; health care workers; National Health Interview Survey; nosocomial infection; employee health
5.  Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease Among Asian Indians in the United States 
Studies, mostly from outside the United States, have found high prevalence of diabetes, coronary heart disease (CHD), and hypertension among Asian Indians, despite low rates of associated risk factors.
To analyze the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, CHD, hypertension, and other associated risk factors among Asian Indians in the United States compared to non-Hispanic whites.
Cross-sectional study using data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) for 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000. We analyzed 87,846 non-Hispanic whites and 555 Asian Indians.
Whether a subject reported having diabetes, CHD, or hypertension.
Asian Indians had lower average body mass indices (BMIs) than non-Hispanic whites and lower rates of tobacco use, but were less physically active. In multivariate analysis controlling for age and BMI, Asian Indians had significantly higher odds of borderline or overt diabetes (adjusted OR [AOR], 2.70; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.72 to 4.23). Multivariate analysis also showed that Asian Indians had nonsignificantly lower odds ratios for CHD (AOR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.25 to 1.35) and significantly lower odds of reporting hypertension (AOR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.42 to 0.82) compared to non-Hispanic whites.
Asian Indians in the United States have higher odds of being diabetic despite lower rates of obesity. Unlike studies on Asian Indians in India and the United Kingdom, we found no evidence of an elevated risk of CHD or hypertension. We need more reliable national data on Asian Indians to understand their particular health behaviors and cardiovascular risks. Research and preventive efforts should focus on reducing diabetes among Asian Indians.
PMCID: PMC1490101  PMID: 15963176
Asian Indian; diabetes; coronary heart disease; hypertension; obesity
6.  How and why community hospital clinicians document a positive screen for intimate partner violence: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:48.
This two-part study examines primary care clinicians' chart documentation and attitudes when confronted by a positive waiting room screen for intimate partner violence (IPV).
Patients at community hospital-affiliated health centers completed a screening questionnaire in waiting rooms that primary care providers (PCPs) were subsequently given at the time of the visit. We first reviewed the medical records of patients who screened positive for IPV, evaluating the presence and quality of documentation. Next we administered a survey to PCPs that measured their knowledge, attitudes and practice regarding IPV.
Seventy-two percent of charts contained some documentation of IPV, however only 10% contained both a referral and safety plan. PCPs were more likely to refer patients (p < .05) who screened positively for mood or anxiety disorders, disclosed that they feared for their safety or were economically disadvantaged. Those that feared for their safety or endorsed mood or anxiety disorders were more likely to have notation of a safety plan in their records. When surveyed, 81.6% of clinicians strongly agreed that it is their role to inquire about IPV, but only 68% expressed confidence in their ability to manage it. In contrast, 93% expressed confidence in managing depression. Sixty-seven percent identified time constraints as a barrier to care. Predictors of PCP confidence in treating patients who have experienced IPV (p < .05) included hours of recent training and clinical experience with IPV.
Mandatory waiting room screening for IPV does not result in high levels of referral or safety planning by PCPs. Despite the implementation of a screening process, clinicians lack confidence and time to address IPV in their patient populations suggesting that alternative methods of training and supporting PCPs need to be developed.
PMCID: PMC1318461  PMID: 16297245

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