Combating

Brazil’s community health workers could play a key role in combating COVID-19

Brazil has more than 286,000 community health workers integrated into the national primary healthcare program. These professionals form a broad network serving 75% of the population, especially low-income families who lack medical insurance and are the most adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Back in March, researchers at Imperial College London noted Brazil’s network of community health workers as a valuable asset that could assure an effective response to the pandemic. According to the article, the service they provide sets an example to be followed by other countries. But the response was not effective, there was no national plan, and the service provided by community health workers wasn’t considered essential to control the disease until July.

They weren’t even considered health professionals and so weren’t given personal protective equipment [PPE], just to take one example,” said Gabriela Lotta, a professor at GetĂșlio

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Community health workers could play a key part in combating COVID-19 in Brazil, study says

Community health workers could play a key part in combating COVID-19 in Brazil, study says
An article in The Lancet stresses the vulnerability of these health workers, whose readiness to counter fake news with trustworthy information, and to monitor COVID-19 patients in home isolation, has been neglected. Credit: Gabriela Lotta / CEM

Brazil has more than 286,000 community health workers integrated into the national primary healthcare program. These professionals form a broad network serving 75% of the population, especially low-income families who lack medical insurance and are the most adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Back in March, researchers at Imperial College London noted Brazil’s network of community health workers as a valuable asset that could assure an effective response to the pandemic. According to the article, the service they provide sets an example to be followed by other countries. But the response was not effective, there was no national plan, and the service provided by community health workers wasn’t considered essential to control the

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Combating Health Care Fraud, Abuse and Waste

Our health-care system is broken in many ways and legislation is not likely to solve the problems. In 2009 we each spent about $8,000 on health care. That totaled $2.5 trillion or almost 18 percent of the nations gross domestic product. Unfortunately about one quarter of that was budgeted not for health care, but for fraud! Here are some recent fraud statistics.

• Medicare and Medicaid billing errors resulted in improper payments of $108 billion.

• Fraudulent claims for Medicare accounted for $33 billion in losses.

• Improper private-pay payments cost about $100 billion.

• Health insurance fraud costs us about $68 billion.

• Fraudulent insurance payments cost us $50 billion.

• Payments for medical errors run about $38 billion.

• About 10 percent of prescription drugs are counterfeit, costing about $12 billion a year.

All of this means that we are wasting about $25 million per hour on medical … Read More