An effort to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding failed in the Senate on Monday, but the fight isn’t over. That was only the opening volley in a larger funding battle to play out in September.
Inspectors are being asked to pay greater attention following analysis showing mistakes resulting in injuries and deaths
The federal government is asking health inspectors nationwide to be on the lookout for errors by nursing homes in managing the blood thinner Coumadin, including those that lead to patient hospitalizations and deaths.
In a memo sent last month to state health departments, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services cited a report by ProPublica and The Washington Post that focused on the harm caused by homes’ failure to manage the drug.
In some cases, homes gave residents too much of the drug, which caused internal bleeding. In other cases, they gave residents too little, leading to blood clots and strokes.
In some cases, homes gave residents too much of the drug, which caused internal bleeding. In other cases, they gave residents too little, leading to blood clots and strokes. Continue reading
Pregnancy: A Touchy Subject In Employee Wellness Assessments
“Are you pregnant?”
By Julie Appleby
It’s a topic employers generally avoid, since the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 prohibited sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy.
But women’s advocates fear these long-standing protections could be undermined by some workplace wellness programs.
That question and “How old were you when you first became pregnant?” are both included in a health risk assessment offered to some clients of Audax Health, a wellness firm.
“How old were you when you first became pregnant?”
“These are questions they should not ask,” because of the potential for discrimination, said Emily Martin, vice president and senior counsel for the NWLC, in a letter to the Obama administration asking for a ban on such questions in wellness programs. Continue reading
By Julie Rovner
Republican calls to defund Planned Parenthood over its alleged handling of fetal tissue for research are louder than ever. But they are just the latest in a decades-long drive to halt federal support for the group.
This round of attacks aims squarely at the collection of fetal tissue, an issue that had been mostly settled — with broad bipartisan support — in the early 1990s. Among those who voted to allow federal funding for fetal tissue research was now-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
McConnell made no mention of his previous position when he announced that the Senate would take up a bill to cut off Planned Parenthood’s access to federal funds before leaving for its summer break. The first vote on the bill is expected as soon as Monday. Continue reading
The Kraft Heinz Company Voluntarily Recalls Select Varieties of Kraft Singles Products Due to Potential Choking Hazard
Only 3-Lb. and 4-Lb. Packages of Kraft Singles Included in Recall
From Kraft Heinz
The Kraft Heinz Company is voluntarily recalling select code dates and manufacturing codes of Kraft Singles individually-wrapped slices due to the possibility that a thin strip of the individual packaging film may remain adhered to the slice after the wrapper has been removed.
If the film sticks to the slice and is not removed, it could potentially cause a choking hazard.
The recall applies to 3-lb. and 4-lb. sizes of Kraft Singles American and White American pasteurized prepared cheese product with a Best When Used By Date of 29 DEC 15 through 04 JAN 16, followed by the Manufacturing Code S54 or S55. Continue reading
Brooke Gladstone takes a deep dive into media misdirection on health and diet news, and puts together two Breaking News Consumer’s Handbooks to help you navigate the din.
First, an object lesson on bogus studies that make headlines with John Bohannon; how to read health news with Gary Schwitzer of HealthNewsReview.org; and Timothy Caulfield, author of Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong about Everything?, explains the science behind celebrity-endorsed diet trends and beauty treatments.
SONGS: Roary’s Waltz – John Zorn; Accentuate The Positive – Syd Dale
By Sarah Varney
SAN FRANCISCO — Americans have long stood out among residents of developed nations for how much they fret over, and are bankrupted by, health care costs.
But well into the second year of expanded coverage under the Affordable Care Act, those worries have eased significantly in the nation’s most populous state.
Californians no longer rank health care costs as their top financial concern.
“This was exactly the goal,” said Dr. Bob Kocher, a senior Obama White House official in 2009 and 2010 who helped draft the federal health care law. “Financial security was an enormous factor in our design.”
California has made swift gains in extending health coverage to its residents. It was one of just 15 states and the District of Columbia that opted for a state-based marketplace and expanded the publicly funded Medicaid program for low-income Americans.
Those moves have paid off: About two-thirds of Californians who were uninsured in 2013 now have health insurance, according to the survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which was released Thursday. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Foundation.) Continue reading
Paralytic shellfish poison found at unsafe levels
From Public Health – Seattle & King County
Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP) has been detected at unsafe levels in shellfish on Vashon-Maury Island. As a result, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has closed Vashon-Maury Island beaches, including Quartermaster Harbor, to recreational shellfish harvest. This closure is an expansion on a July 23 alert for Quartermaster Harbor alone.
The closure includes all species of shellfish including clams, geoduck, scallops, mussels, oysters, snails and other invertebrates; the closure does not include crab or shrimp. Crabmeat is not known to contain the PSP toxin, but the guts can contain unsafe levels.
To be safe, clean crab thoroughly and discard the guts (“butter”). Working with partners, Public Health – Seattle & King County is posting advisory signs at beaches warning people to not collect shellfish.
Commercial beaches are sampled separately and commercial products should be safe to eat.
Anyone who eats PSP contaminated shellfish is at risk for illness. PSP poisoning can be life-threatening and is caused by eating shellfish containing this potent neurotoxin. A naturally occurring marine organism produces the toxin. The toxin is not destroyed by cooking or freezing. Continue reading
CDC investigators to join state and local health officials next week
From the Washington State Department of Health
The Salmonella outbreak that may be linked to pork products has grown to 90 cases in several counties around the state. The ongoing outbreak is under investigation by state, local, and federal public health agencies.
With the increase in cases, state health officials have asked the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to send a special team to help with the investigation. This team of “disease detectives” will arrive in Washington next week.
The likely source of exposure for some of the ill people appears to have been whole roasted pigs, cooked and served at private events.
The likely source of exposure for some of the ill people appears to have been whole roasted pigs, cooked and served at private events. Continue reading
By Michelle Andrews
One in seven women experience depression during pregnancy or the first year after giving birth, yet many may not realize it or report their concerns to clinicians.
A new proposal by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force could help change that. It recommends that all women who are pregnant or within a year of giving birth be screened for perinatal depression, as it’s called.
The screening proposal is included as part of a broader recommendation to screen all adults for depression that the task force released this week for public comment.
One in seven women experience depression during pregnancy or the first year after giving birth.
In the 2009 document, the task force didn’t review depression in pregnant and postpartum women and made no screening recommendation for them. Continue reading
From Public Health – Seattle & King County
Close your eyes. You’re floating on your back (wearing a life preserver, most likely) at your favorite lake, with ducks and geese gently quacking as they feed nearby. Puffy clouds overhead, willows on the bank, and lily pads forming a soothing backdrop for your relaxing float.
And then a microscopic parasite burrows into your skin. You just got swimmer’s itch!
What is swimmer’s itch?
Swimmer’s itch (cercarial dermatitis) is an itchy rash caused by a parasite in lake water. If you come into contact with water contaminated with parasites the microscopic parasites can burrow into the skin. Continue reading
By Ashley Kelmore
Public Health – Seattle & King County
Our hotter-than-usual summer in the Pacific Northwest likely won’t reach the extremes of the 1995 Chicago summer heat wave, which killed 733 people.
But some of the issues from that catastrophe are relevant to us here and now, and Dr. Eric Klinenberg describes them in his fascinating book Heat Wave.
Klinenberg proposes that the temperature and humidity are not solely to blame for illness and death from heat.
Instead, it is the heat combined with the systems society has set up (or not set up) that failed people in a complicated way.
Similar neighborhoods, deadly differences
Klinenberg focuses on comparing two neighborhoods that are similar in basic demographics, and even have the same microclimate, but had VERY different death rates.
To explain this disparity, he looks at how the different neighborhoods function. Are people too scared to leave their buildings to seek cooler locations (such as libraries or movie theaters)?
Are they too worried about their finances to turn on the life-saving window AC unit to cool themselves down?
Are they isolated from support systems that could have intervened to make sure they were doing okay? In many cases, the answers are “yes,” “yes,” and “yes.”
Chicago’s government and how they responded (or failed to respond) was also a factor, according to Klinenberg.
Front-line police officers were tasked with community policing but didn’t check in on the community.
Fire chiefs ignored warnings from their staff that they should have more ambulances available.
And sadly, the health commissioner didn’t really ‘get’ that something was amiss. Klinenberg also explores the role the media played in not treating the story with the gravity it deserved until late into the heat wave. Continue reading