Los Angeles Times – Fewer Americans delayed needed medical care in 2014, survey says
The number of Americans who put off needed medical care fell substantially last year, according to a new survey that provides one of the fullest pictures of how the federal health law may be improving not only insurance coverage but also access to healthcare.
From 2012 to 2014, the share of consumers delaying a recommended test or treatment or not filling a prescription fell by nearly a third. And the percentage who reported problems with medical bills fell by almost a quarter.

The Washington Post – CDC: Flu vaccine only 23 percent effective this season, but still better than nothing
So it turns out this season’s flu vaccine was kind of a dud. Getting it reduced a person’s chance of having to visit the doctor because of the flu by only 23 percent — and possibly even less for many adults — according to data released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Commonly, it’s been closer to 60 percent,” said Brendan Flannery, an epidemiologist at the CDC’s influenza division, who said this year’s figure is nearly the lowest the agency has seen during the decade or so since it began tracking annual vaccine effectiveness.

Food Safety News – Fast-Food Chain Removes Soda From Kids’ Menus
National fast-food chain Wendy’s is removing soda from its kids’ menus, acknowledging requests from consumer organizations, including MomsRising.org and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
Effective immediately, menus intended for children’s food options will not mention soda, although parents are still free to order it for their kids if they choose.

The Washington Post – More than a third of American workers don’t get sick leave, and they’re making the rest of us ill
Today, President Obama’s proposing legislation that would give American workers 7 days a year of paid sick leave. The U.S. remains the world’s only wealthy nation that does not mandate a minimum of paid sick leave, vacation leave or parental leave.
Paid sick leave is also, frankly, a public health issue. According to the American Public Health Association, during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic “an estimated 7 million additional individuals were infected and 1,500 deaths occurred because contagious employees did not stay home from work to recover.”

Health Affairs – How Community Health Workers Can Reinvent Health Care Delivery In The US
As health policy, research and practice are becoming increasingly focused on improving the health of populations and addressing social determinants of health, Community Health Workers (CHWs) may be just what the doctor ordered. As part of the public health workforce with ties to the local community, CHWs can now be reimbursed by Medicaid for providing preventive services if recommended by a physician or other licensed practitioner.
This groundbreaking CMS regulatory change, along with policy support from the Affordable Care Act, holds the promise of bridging the gap between mainstream health care and community health through expanding the CHW profession and its impact on clinical care. Much like other disruptive changes in health care, however, fulfilling this potential will require a new way of thinking among state policymakers and the health care system at large.

NPR – Why I Left The ER To Run Baltimore’s Health Department
When I was just beginning my third year as a medical student, I learned an important lesson about what matters most in health.
It was a typical summer afternoon in St. Louis, with the temperature and humidity both approaching 100. My patient was a woman in her 40s who was being admitted to the hospital because her lungs were filling with fluid, a complication of kidney failure. She had missed all three dialysis appointments that week.