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PLoS Negl Trop Dis ; 15(8): e0009702, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1359097


BACKGROUND: Annually, about 2.7 million snakebite envenomings occur globally. Alongside antivenom, patients usually require additional care to treat envenoming symptoms and antivenom side effects. Efforts are underway to improve snakebite care, but evidence from the ground to inform this is scarce. This study, therefore, investigated the availability, affordability, and stock-outs of antivenom and commodities for supportive snakebite care in health facilities across Kenya. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: This study used an adaptation of the standardised World Health Organization (WHO)/Health Action International methodology. Data on commodity availability, prices and stock-outs were collected in July-August 2020 from public (n = 85), private (n = 36), and private not-for-profit (n = 12) facilities in Kenya. Stock-outs were measured retrospectively for a twelve-month period, enabling a comparison of a pre-COVID-19 period to stock-outs during COVID-19. Affordability was calculated using the wage of a lowest-paid government worker (LPGW) and the impoverishment approach. Accessibility was assessed combining the WHO availability target (≥80%) and LPGW affordability (<1 day's wage) measures. Overall availability of snakebite commodities was low (43.0%). Antivenom was available at 44.7% of public- and 19.4% of private facilities. Stock-outs of any snakebite commodity were common in the public- (18.6%) and private (11.7%) sectors, and had worsened during COVID-19 (10.6% versus 17.0% public sector, 8.4% versus 11.7% private sector). Affordability was not an issue in the public sector, while in the private sector the median cost of one vial of antivenom was 14.4 days' wage for an LPGW. Five commodities in the public sector and two in the private sector were deemed accessible. CONCLUSIONS: Access to snakebite care is problematic in Kenya and seemed to have worsened during COVID-19. To improve access, efforts should focus on ensuring availability at both lower- and higher-level facilities, and improving the supply chain to reduce stock-outs. Including antivenom into Universal Health Coverage benefits packages would further facilitate accessibility.

Antivenins/therapeutic use , Equipment and Supplies, Hospital/statistics & numerical data , Health Services Accessibility/statistics & numerical data , Snake Bites/drug therapy , Antivenins/economics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Costs and Cost Analysis , Equipment and Supplies, Hospital/economics , Health Services Accessibility/economics , Humans , Kenya/epidemiology , Private Sector/economics , Private Sector/statistics & numerical data , Public Sector/economics , Public Sector/statistics & numerical data , Snake Bites/economics , Snake Bites/epidemiology
Am J Manag Care ; 27(4): e123-e129, 2021 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1194880


OBJECTIVES: Proponents of a single-payer or public option health care system often cite the lower administrative expenses in public Medicare compared with those in private Medicare, claiming that this difference represents efficiency. We check the validity of this comparison in terms of accuracy and definitions and suggest expanding its scope to include expanded financial data of the 2 Medicare systems. STUDY DESIGN: Using annual Medicare Boards of Trustees and National Health Expenditure Accounts data from CMS and health insurers' financial statement data, we compare the level and percentage of the administrative expenses of the Medicare systems and show incompatible and not reconcilable definitions of administrative expenses. We expand our analysis to income, benefits, gains and losses, and loss ratios of the programs. METHODS: Our methodology is a careful comparison of categories of expenses between public and private insurers using official data sources. The comparison is both qualitative and quantitative. RESULTS: We validate the low administrative expenses of Medicare parts A, B, and D (1.35% of benefits in 2018) compared with Medicare Part C (10.86% of benefits without loss adjustment expenses [LAE] and 14.84% with LAE for 2018). Expanding the focus, the income and benefits per beneficiary grew faster and larger in Medicare parts A, B, and D than in Medicare Part C-a reversal of earlier trends. The public Medicare program suffered losses in 11 years during 2002-2018, whereas private insurers' Medicare remained solvent with about an 85% loss ratio. CONCLUSIONS: Comparisons of the systems in the United States would benefit from expanding the focus beyond incomparable administrative expenses. For the current period of coronavirus disease 2019, if the trends continue, public Medicare may suffer greater deficits relative to the private Medicare Part C.

Costs and Cost Analysis , Medicare Part A/economics , Medicare Part B/economics , Medicare Part C/economics , Medicare Part D/economics , Humans , Private Sector/economics , Public Sector/economics , United States
PLoS One ; 15(10): e0241017, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-892383


BACKGROUND: Economic recessions carry an impact on population health and access to care; less is known on how health systems adapt to the conditions brought by a downturn. This particularly matters now that the COVID-19 epidemic is putting health systems under stress. Brazil is one of the world's most affected countries, and its health system was already experiencing the aftermath of the 2015 recession. METHODS: Between 2018 and 2019 we conducted 46 semi-structured interviews with health practitioners, managers and policy-makers to explore the impact of the 2015 recession on public and private providers in prosperous (São Paulo) and impoverished (Maranhão) states in Brazil. Thematic analysis was employed to identify drivers and consequences of system adaptation and coping strategies. Nvivo software was used to aid data collection and analysis. We followed the Standards for Reporting Qualitative Research to provide an account of the findings. RESULTS: We found the concept of 'health sector crisis' to be politically charged among healthcare providers in São Paulo and Maranhão. Contrary to expectations, the public sector was reported to have found ways to compensate for diminishing federal funding, having outsourced services and adopted flexible-if insecure-working arrangements. Following a drop in employment and health plans, private health insurance companies have streamlined their offer, at times at the expenses of coverage. Low-cost walk-in clinics were hit hard by the recession, but were also credited for having moved to cater for higher-income customers in Maranhão. CONCLUSIONS: The 'plates' of a health system may shift and adjust in unexpected ways in response to recessions, and some of these changes might outlast the crisis. As low-income countries enter post-COVID economic recessions, it will be important to monitor the adjustments taking place in health systems, to ensure that past gains in access to care and job security are not eroded.

Administrative Personnel/psychology , Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections , Economic Recession , Health Care Sector/economics , Health Facility Administrators/psychology , Health Personnel/psychology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Private Sector/economics , Public Sector/economics , Ambulatory Care Facilities/economics , Attitude of Health Personnel , Brazil , COVID-19 , Community Health Services/economics , Developing Countries , Humans , Insurance, Health, Reimbursement , Interviews as Topic , Physicians/psychology , Qualitative Research , SARS-CoV-2 , Telemedicine , Unemployment