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Report NYs Severe Housing Issues Impact Public Health / Public News Service

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A new report offers a health survey of people in New York and around the country to help officials improve outcomes in their states.

One finding from the United Health Foundation is how affordable housing is linked to the public health of New Yorkers. Research found that the pandemic contributed to an increase in deaths nationwide between 2019 and 2020, with New York leading the way with a 29% increase.

Rebecca Sanin, President and CEO of Long Island’s Health and Welfare Council, said the lack of affordable housing on Long Island has caused people to spread the virus faster in crowded homes.

“We have had many, many people leaving hospitals, returning home and being quarantined for 10 days, sharing a bathroom with three families where it was absolutely impossible just from a structural perspective of their lives,” explained Sanin. “Everyone benefits when there are affordable options for the people.”

The report ranks New York 50th or last in the country for segregation in residential areas and the percentage of housing stock at risk of lead contamination. On the positive side, New York received high ratings for access to clinical care, with more than 300 GPs per 100,000 population.

The isolation of the pandemic has had a huge impact on mental health as the number of New Yorkers reporting mental distress increased 8% between 2019 and 2020.

Ravi Johar, UnitedHealthcare’s Chief Medical Officer, emphasized the importance of people recognizing their mental health problems and seeking help.

“Having a support system, talking to friends and finding a way to be really socially active really makes a big difference to your mental wellbeing,” said Johar. “And we know that mental well-being also has an immense influence on physical well-being.”

The report ranks New York ninth in the nation for overall health outcomes, including low premature death and obesity rates. The state has also seen a sharp increase in the number of young people who received all doses of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

Disclosure: United Healthcare contributes to our health reporting fund. If you would like to support news in the public interest, click here.

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Pockets of Michigan have limited or no access to mental health providers, and a new pilot program is set to change that.

Wayne State University College of Nursing has received a $ 1.6 million grant from the State Department of Health and Human Services to train more mental health and psychiatric nurses.

Umeika Stephens, a graduate psychiatric nurse at Wayne State University and a psychiatric nurse in Detroit, said it was important to have providers that can holistically assess patients’ mental health needs.

“Our goal is to ensure that when patients can enter, they can see a psychiatric nurse practitioner,” said Stephens. “You can see someone who can not only perform therapy, but also prescribe medication for you if necessary.”

She added that while the need existed before the pandemic, it has been exacerbated in recent years as many Michigans feel grief over losing a loved one to COVID-19, or the financial hardship, isolation, or depression that it entails Fear.

Surveys show that nearly 40% of Michigan residents reported having had anxiety or depression during the pandemic, but 27% were unable to get counseling or therapy.

Stephens acknowledged that it can be daunting for a nurse to go back to school to graduate, but she wants future students to know it’s worth it.

“Financing, you know, further training is always very expensive,” emphasized Stephens. “I think it’s really important to give people a chance they may not even have considered and to be able to help people continue their education.”

She noted that many graduates would stay in Michigan and support local communities. The first cohort of students funded by the scholarship will begin in January, and nurses who wish to work in underserved communities and have a passion for mental health support are encouraged to apply.

Disclosure: Wayne State University contributes to our fund for community awareness, education, health, and social justice reporting. If you would like to support news in the public interest, click here.

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This may be due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but historically 13.6 million people have already got health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for 2022.

Brian Sasser, chief communications officer for the Episcopal Health Foundation, said those who missed the normal December 15 filing deadline can still get coverage for most of the year if they apply within the next three weeks.

“You have until January 15, 2022 to sign up for an ACA plan, and if you did, your coverage would begin February 1,” Sasser explained.

In addition to Texas, Florida, Georgia, and nine other states that haven’t expanded Medicaid under the ACA have some of the largest increases in healthcare enrollment this year.

Sasser said that by December 15, Texas enrollment in the ACA had increased 20%.

“Around 750,000 people signed up for ACA health insurance during this open enrollment period, and of course that’s good news,” said Sasser. “We believe it continues to show that if it is affordable, people will buy health insurance.”

Another driver of the surge in enrollment could be people who lost their job-related coverage during the pandemic and are now using HealthCare.gov or a state marketplace.

Either way, Sasser argued that people are better off with even minimal reporting.

“If more people are insured, they are more likely to receive preventive treatment and are more likely to see a doctor,” emphasized Sasser. “And they tend not to wait for something to get really serious before going to the emergency room or something.”

The Biden administration said it was using four times the number of navigators or insurance advisors to help people sign up through the ACA, a change from two years ago under President Donald Trump, who cut tens of millions in funding for navigators.

Disclosure: The Episcopal Health Foundation contributes to our fund for reporting on health issues, mental health, philanthropy, and poverty issues. If you would like to support news in the public interest, click here.

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A recent report found that if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the US Supreme Court.

In Keystone State, Democratic Governor Tom Wolf would veto attempts to restrict access to abortion.

Elicia Gonzales, executive director of the Abortion Liberation Fund of Pennsylvania, said she had heard from other funds of an increase in people traveling out of state for abortions since Texas passed the six-week abortion ban.

Gonzales argued that Roe did very little for people who have access to abortion assistance who are living in poverty.

“Because of the link between racism and poverty in this country, they were black and brown,” said Gonzales. “In Pennsylvania, people have to wait 24 hours to get an abortion after they’ve already decided on the treatment. It was bad. Knocking Roe against Wade would only make the situation worse.”

In Pennsylvania counties, 86% do not have an abortion provider. The majority of people would drive from states like Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, and Kentucky, states where restrictions are expected if Roe v. Calf is lifted.

Lizbeth Rodriguez, community engagement coordinator for Philadelphia and Delaware County’s Women’s Centers, said she was working with other abortion providers in the state to determine where care would be most needed when Pennsylvania saw an influx of people traveling for care.

“These providers are resilient and will continue to provide the care these communities need,” said Rodriguez. “When we get together with these vendors, we communicate obstacles and issues as they come. So I have a feeling it is currently working with other vendors to strengthen our networks.”

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments earlier this month about Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, which could affect Roe’s future. A decision is expected next year.

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Severe problems facing American health sector

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According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, hospitals in nearly half of America’s states are at near capacity as the highly transmissible omicron variant of the coronavirus sweeping the country hits record numbers of infections.

President Joe Biden has ordered more military health workers sent to “hard-hit” states to help with staffing shortages and provide relief efforts.

Announcing the phased deployment of 1,000 military health workers, Biden said, “I know we are all frustrated as we enter this new year,” and reiterated his message that COVID-19 remains a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” He says the military operation would help hard-pressed hospitals “nationwide.”

Hospitals set to receive the military operations have warned teams ranging in size from seven to 25 may not be enough to slow the surge.

Bob Riney, the president of public health at Detroit’s Henry Ford Health System, which has already received federal aid and expects more military medics, says, “We have systemic challenges[with]an incredible volume and very, very tired doctors… and that goes for everyone Healthcare systems that have been in the midst of this surge,” he adds: “There is no one-size-fits-all solution.”

The military will support health systems in states where patients suffering from other diseases classified as “non-urgent” are postponing their treatment to make way for Covid infections. They will also fill staffing gaps as more infected healthcare workers take days off themselves to recover while patient demand grows.

The Pentagon says it has about 1,000 additional active-duty medical troops ready to deploy to civilian hospitals across the country as needed.

In addition to active-duty support, more than 15,000 National Guard Soldiers have been activated in 49 states to help with the pandemic response in areas such as clinical care, testing and immunizations.

The announcements are strikingly similar to the earlier days of the pandemic in the United States, when the military was called up on active duty and hospitals struggled to treat waves of patients sick with COVID-19. The only difference is that in these difficult times vaccines were not yet approved.

Alabama, Missouri, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Texas and Wisconsin are reportedly among the states suffering from particular shortages of intensive care beds.

At around seven percent, Texas had the fewest free beds in the intensive care unit. Data suggests that Southern and Midwestern states were disproportionately affected.

In Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee says hospitals will temporarily suspend non-urgent procedures “so that as much capacity and staff can be dedicated to urgent needs, to the people who need it right now.”

In Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers says National Guard members are being trained to become certified nursing assistants to support hospitals and nursing homes. He says, “We anticipate that the first round of staffing and relief efforts will allow skilled nursing facilities to open 200 or more beds by the end of February” as the state announced a record number of confirmed cases.

The state of Alabama this week reported a record number of children hospitalized due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant of coronavirus. At least 60 children had been hospitalized and 13 were being treated in intensive care.
The state saw a record series of cases in January, when state health officials told the media they were “extremely concerned” about the increase in hospitalizations for children and parents to get their children vaccinated.

As the surge spreads from state to state, the impact on healthcare systems has worsened with the depletion of even the reserve of traveling nurses, who are also becoming infected in droves.

Lisa Greenwood, associate dean of nursing at Madison College, which trains members of the Guard, has warned that “our healthcare providers are beyond exhausted. We just don’t have enough staff to take care of everyone who is sick.”

Data from the Department of Health and Human Services shows that 19 states had at least 85% of adult intensive care unit beds occupied, while 24 states had at least 80% of staffed hospital beds occupied.

More than 5.5 million new cases were registered in seven days, far surpassing all previous records. The number of people hospitalized with the virus has also hit new highs.

More than 2,224 deaths from COVID-19 were recorded as of Jan. 13, according to US media. The daily average of deaths stands at 1,873, double the level at the end of November 2021. Experts say these trends are expected to continue with the fasting spread of infections.

The average of new cases has reached over 800,000 per day, an unprecedented pandemic high. More than 889,000 new cases were reported as of Jan. 13, and more than nine million cases have been logged since the New Year. At the current rate, the US can expect to have 70 million documented COVID cases at any time, depending on what data is released that the American public considers a reliable source.

The cumulative death toll has reached 870,000. But the extra deaths are now over 1.1 million, according to the Economist. Historically, the magnitude of deaths rivals the magnitude of population deaths during the 1918 flu pandemic.

Meanwhile, the national infection rate has reached 26 percent, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, underscoring the massive undercount announced and the scale of infections that remain widespread across the country.

Biden has also promised he will direct his administration to procure an additional 500 million COVID-19 home tests to meet rising demand. The White House had previously pledged to make 500 million tests available starting in January.

The US President won the presidential race by vowing to eliminate the threat of the pandemic and vowed to deal with the virus much better than his predecessor. After his first year in office, things are not going according to plan. In recent weeks, Covid-19 cases have reached record highs; The number of deaths is rising across the country, and the number of Americans hospitalized with the disease is now higher than at any previous point during the pandemic.

Long queues for a Covid test and low availability of home tests have drawn criticism of White House preparedness, while disparate policies and confused messages from public health officials have left the disease-weary public both frustrated and confused.

This has led to a significant drop in public confidence in the new White House, coupled with a drop in Biden’s overall approval ratings.

Despite attempts by the Biden administration to downplay the dangers posed by Omicron, the pressure on America’s healthcare systems is leading to a severe health crisis caused by staffing shortages, to which the White House has no serious answer other than a pledge to deploy more medical troops.

The US president blames too many Americans for still “sitting on the sidelines” in the fight against the pandemic for not taking the vaccine. “If you don’t get vaccinated, do it,” he says. “But as long as we have tens of millions of people not getting vaccinated, we will have full hospitals and needless deaths,” Biden added.

Critics argue the government hasn’t done enough to convince the public to take the vaccine.

That comes as the Supreme Court last week dealt another blow to the president’s vaccine-only plan by denying a national vaccination or testing requirement for major US companies.

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California tries ‘whole person care’ for social problems

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Faced with myriad social pathologies, California will try a new approach – a more integrated and aggressive treatment.

As it grapples with the stubborn COVID-19 pandemic, California also grapples with a smorgasbord of equally resilient social pathologies, including chronic illness, homelessness, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness and street crime.

State and local governments have developed programs to mitigate the effects of these diseases, but they generally operate in silos, each targeting a specific condition, with no apparent coordination with others, even though the individuals they serve very often have multiple issues to have.

For example, a homeless person not only has no shelter, but is poor and likely has medical problems and suffers from mental illness, alcoholism and/or drug addiction affecting the criminal justice system.

Moreover, official approaches have been largely passive, offering those affected opportunities to improve their lot but, except on rare occasions, not requiring them to cooperate.

Get a savvy journalist on what’s going on in California every Friday with a weekly roundup of Dan’s column.

The 2022-23 state budget proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last week signals that the state will begin to address chronic social problems differently, integrating services aimed at “whole care,” intervening more aggressively, and, in some cases, taking responsibility take over those whose lives are out of control.

At the heart of this new approach is California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal, or CalAIM for short, which Newsom hailed as a “unique opportunity to completely transform California’s (Medi-Cal) system.” when he signed an enabling law. Medi-Cal, California’s health care system for the poor, has more than 14 million enrollments, more than a third of the state’s residents.

CalAIM is described in the budget as “a framework that encompasses broad-based delivery system, program and payment reform across the Medi-Cal program (that) recognizes the opportunity to advance the holistic approach to care that integrates health care and other social determinants.” of health at the national level with a clear focus on improving health and reducing health gaps and inequalities, including improving and expanding behavioral health care.”

“Previous research has shown that the most costly (Medi-Cal) enrollments tend to be treated for multiple chronic conditions (such as diabetes or heart failure) and often suffer from mental illness or substance use disorders,” said Legislative Budget Counsel Gabe Petek , says in an analysis by CalAIM. “The costs for this demographic are often driven by frequent hospitalizations and high prescription drug costs. In part, social factors such as homelessness play a role in the high utilization of these enrolled students.”

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Because Medi-Cal serves such a large portion of the state’s population, CalAIM could have a massive societal impact – especially since it envisages a greatly expanded role. For example, insurance companies and other Medi-Cal providers will assign their customers Personal Care Managers who will not only oversee their medical care but also improve other aspects of their lives, such as: B. Housing and income support.

The state’s new approach will also impact California’s criminal justice system, which has evolved away from punishment and toward rehabilitation over the past decade. Newsom also suggests that inmates be enrolled in Medi-Cal prior to their release from prison and thus receive a wider range of supportive services.

This automatic registration is symbolic of the more activist or pushy attitude Newsom advocates, and another example could be a huge shift in mental health. During his budget press conference, he again hinted that he wants to put people with serious mental illnesses through a “conservatory” process that could force them into housing and treatment rather than allowing them to roam the streets.

These are major shifts in direction in the medical and human services of a state that does not have a positive track record of administering highly conceptual policies. We can only wait and see if it works.

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Tewksbury Board of Health issues advisory | News

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TEWKSBURY – Following an emergency meeting on Friday, January 8, 2022, the Tewksbury Board of Health, along with the Tewksbury Health Department, debated and then voted unanimously to issue a health advisory in the wake of skyrocketing COVID-19 case numbers across the community.

Health Director Shannon (Sullivan) Gillis said the city is “in the middle of a surge” and cases are not limited to the elderly. In fact, “most cases are between 10 and 40 years old,” Gillis said.

Gillis explained that the city only knows of those infected who have taken a lab test and are being tracked across the state. COVID-positive at-home testing isn’t included, and so the city knows the positivity rate is far higher.

Health Committee Chair Raymond Barry said the city has been surpassing the state rate of COVID-19 infections since early September.

“I’m worried about that spike,” Barry said.

Several factors are at play, including the challenge of finding a test kit, long lines to get a PCR test, and the revelation that some home test kits are fake.

“I thought I just had a cold and when I tested [earlier this season] I found myself being positive,” Barry said.

To inform residents and businesses and remind them of previous protocols, the board issued the recommendation to refocus awareness.

“Face masks are still recommended, and they can also protect you against the flu,” Barry said.

Social distancing should continue to be observed, hand washing is encouraged and people should avoid staying in close contact with groups of people for long periods of time whenever possible. Barry suggested that older people and those at high risk should consider returning to stores for the early hours or off-peak hours.

The advice comes close to an indoor mask mandate but aims to urge people to exercise caution with their day out in the community. Member Maria Zaroulis said gatherings of large groups are contributing to the “increasing numbers” and said people “need to be extra careful” and that people are spreading the virus without even realizing it, citing the fact that a person can have no symptoms but still have COVID-19 and spread the disease.

Member Charles Roux said: “The virus is not going anywhere,” saying, “I’m not against masks, I’m not against vaccination, but people know better and people know when to wear masks.”

The advisory includes a reminder of all the steps to take to minimize the spread of COVID and flu. Roux asked companies to come back to some of the hygiene protocols “as a recommendation”.

The recommendation was issued Friday and included a Code Red appeal to residents. The advisory includes recommendations to get vaccinated or boosted, wear a mask, stay two meters away from others, avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, take tests to prevent spread to others, wash hands frequently, cover, clean and disinfect coughs and sneezes and take precautions when travelling, and it urges companies to use best practice protocols for disinfection and social distancing.

According to the CDC, the Omicron variant is highly contagious. While the effects of the variant do not appear to cause as many illnesses individually as the delta variant, the impact on health and education infrastructures has been devastating.

For the full guide, visit the city’s website at www.tewksbury-ma.gov.

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