Hospitals and clinics report seeing significantly more patients, including children and college students, with flu-like symptoms and are adding staff to deal with the influx. Health care staff also are taking precautions, such as wearing special masks and being diligent about hand-washing, to protect themselves from the H1N1 flu virus.
President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged lawmakers to approve his 10-year, $900 billion health care reform plan to help cut health care costs and expand coverage to millions of Americans. In his address to a joint session of Congress, Obama also called on legislators to stop bickering over the proposal, saying he "will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it's better politics to kill this plan than to improve it."
Some patients are discharged from the hospital only to return shortly afterward, often through the emergency department, according to a USA TODAY report. Experts say unplanned readmissions cost billions of dollars each year, but hospitals and physicians are starting to use care models that provide better follow-up to keep people from needing a return trip.
A survey by the ANA, AARP and American Medical Association of 1,001 U.S. residents found 55% were very concerned about getting needed medical treatment or drugs under the current health care system. The survey also showed 73% had a very favorable opinion of their physician and 68% felt the same about nurses, but half were concerned about shortages among both types of providers.