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Trump Antigen Testing Fail; COVID Stimulus Waste; Politicians vs Public Health

Welcome to the latest edition of Investigative Roundup, highlighting some of the best investigative reporting on healthcare each week.

Trump’s Antigen Testing Fail

Eschewing evidence, the White House has favored antigen testing for COVID-19 over the more reliable PCR tests, Kaiser Health News reported, citing one potential reason for the disease outbreak there.

Antigen tests do not need to be processed in traditional labs and yield results more quickly, making them more favorable to the Trump administration. But BinaxNOW, the new antigen test now used in the White House, has not been independently verified for accuracy and reliability. BinaxNOW received an FDA emergency use authorization in August.

The Department of Health and Human Services recently inked a $760-million contract with Abbott, which makes BinaxNOW, to distribute 150 million tests to places including historically black colleges and universities, state governors (to help them potentially reopen schools), and nursing homes. The Big Ten football conference also decided to play this fall — after originally punting on the season — in part because of the availability of the more rapid antigen tests, “following Trump’s political pressure,” KHN reported.

The White House does not report antigen test results to the Washington, D.C., health department — “a potential violation of federal law under the CARES Act, which says any institution performing tests to diagnose COVID-19 must report all results to local or state public health departments,” the article stated.

Why the COVID Stimulus Was a ‘Waste’

Much of the $4 trillion handed out by the federal government during the pandemic went to large companies that didn’t need the help, rather than struggling medical practices, public health departments, and other healthcare entities, according to a Washington Post analysis.

“The legislation bestowed billions in benefits on companies and wealthy individuals largely unscathed by the pandemic, leaving some local public health efforts struggling for money to conduct testing and other prevention efforts,” according to the analysis, which was based on data from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

More than half of the aid ($2.3 trillion) went to businesses that weren’t required to show that they were hurt by the pandemic, or that they kept workers on the job, the Post reported.

Only $25 billion was earmarked for coronavirus testing via the most recent relief bill on April 24. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Romer and bipartisan groups of experts have called for $100 billion or more for testing.

Many public companies received CARES Act tax breaks, including Tenet Healthcare, as did companies unaffected by the pandemic. Medical equipment maker Owens & Minor, for example, plans to claim $13 million in tax breaks while personal protective equipment demand has sent its stock price soaring.

The healthcare and social services sector received 12.9% of the $670 billion Paycheck Protection Program loans while accounting for 10% of job losses. Construction and manufacturing, by comparison, received 12.4% and 10.3%, while accounting for just 4.7% and 6.4% of job losses, respectively.

By following traditional methods of propping up businesses instead of addressing

Colorado Medical Waste Receives Environmental Leadership Award

An Environmental Leader in the State of Colorado going above and beyond environmental compliance

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability awards Colorado Medical Waste with the Environmental Leadership Program Silver Award. The ELP is a statewide environmental recognition and reward program for facilities that voluntarily go above and beyond compliance of state and federal regulations and are committed to continual environmental improvement for their business and communities as well.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

The ELP logo stencil was sprayed at their facility in Aurora along with a photo taken of available employees. (Photo: Business Wire)

A video by Colorado Governor Jared Polis was presented to virtually celebrate the program’s new members. The ELP logo stencil was sprayed at their facility in Aurora along with a photo taken of available employees.

Inclusion in the CDPHE Environmental Leadership Program was awarded to Colorado Medical Waste for demonstrating its commitment to:

Using the natural oxidizing power of ozone, electricity, and an industrial shredder, waste volume is reduced by 90% to a sterile confetti residual with “ZERO” emissions as ozone reverts back to simple oxygen. Tons of medical waste streams are diverted from landfills, incinerators, and hazardous waste facilities. State of the art processes and technologies reduce the public health effects and environmental impact of traditional autoclave and incineration technologies. Efficacy tests prove ozone is 100x more effective than steam and an environmental alternative to incineration. Reduction of landfilled medical waste and incineration decreases methane greenhouse gas emissions and their contribution to global warming and climate change. Colorado Medical Waste and ozone processing bring medical waste management into the 21st century.

Beverly Hanstrom, the company CEO and owner says, “We are leading the industry and are at the forefront of environmental stewardship to reduce the carbon footprint of healthcare and medical waste. Our leadership raises awareness and exemplifies our passion and commitment to make a difference.”

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Beverly Hanstrom, CEO/Owner
Colorado Medical Waste, Inc.
3131 Oakland St.
Aurora, CO 80010
(303) 763-2339 Fax
Links: Brochure | Video | LinkedIn

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