CDC on Wednesday announced that it is testing wastewater for polio in parts of Michigan and Pennsylvania, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Georgia and Virginia.
- Georgia: CDC on Wednesday announced that it is testing wastewater for polio in certain communities in Michigan and Pennsylvania. In July, the first case of paralytic polio in almost a decade was detected in Rockland County, New York. Since then, the virus has been detected in sewage water in New York City, Orange County, Sullivan County, Queens County, and Nassau County. Now, health officials will expand wastewater testing for polio to Oakland County, Michigan, and an unspecified area around Philadelphia. "Wastewater testing can be an important tool to help us understand if poliovirus may be circulating in communities in certain circumstances," said José Romero, director of CDC's national center for immunization and respiratory diseases. "Vaccination remains the best way to prevent another case of paralytic polio, and it is critically important that people get vaccinated to protect themselves, their families and their communities against this devastating disease." (O'Connell-Domenech, The Hill, 11/30)
- Georgia: A new Medicaid demonstration program that requires beneficiaries to be working, in school, or volunteering is set to begin in 2023—but critics have voiced concern that the program will be expensive and result in fewer enrollees compared with a normal Medicaid expansion. "The systems being set up for work requirements are very costly to implement for states," said Laura Harker, a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Under Georgia's Pathways to Coverage program, the state's Medicaid eligibility criteria would expand to include individuals with an annual income up to 100% of the Federal Poverty Level, or $13,590 for one person. To remain eligible for the program, Medicaid recipients must spend at least 80 hours working, volunteering, or going to school every month, according to the state's application to CMS. "If a member does not meet the hours and activities threshold, they will be suspended from Medicaid and no longer able to receive the Medicaid benefit," the application states. (Frieden, MedPage Today, 11/30)
- Virginia: Nestlé recently announced plans to sell plant-based Toll House chocolate chips. According to Nestlé USA's chief strategy officer, Melissa Cash, the products will be available "potentially as early as 2023." In 2018, Nestlé released a line of dairy-free morsels, but the plant-based morsels will be different. "Nestlé Toll House plant-based morsels will be a brand-new product within the Toll House portfolio," Nestlé said. "As we continue to look to innovate in the plant-based category, baking is an area we're excited to explore," the company added. "Plant-based, especially for those that are trying to avoid dairy, can be one of those places where you feel like you have to compromise," Cash said. "You think about chocolate chips and indulgence—that's a place that you don't want to compromise," she said. "So we're looking to innovate in that plant-based space … to really push out plant-based morsels." (Kingson, Axios, 11/28)