State Highlights: Flu Season Hitting Hard In N.H., Fla., Texas; Ga.’s Increase In Elder Abuse Cases Draws Crackdown On Licensed Facilities
Media outlets report on news from New Hampshire, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Vermont and Illinois.
Flu Is On The Rise In N.H.
Flu season is ramping up in New Hampshire, just as it is in most of the country, with a particularly severe strain adding to the number of hospitalizations and even fatalities. As of the end of 2017, five deaths in New Hampshire have been attributed to flu, which is on par with other seasons in which the dominant flu strain is a type known as H3N2, said Dr. Benjamin Chan, the state’s epidemiologist, on Tuesday. (Brooks, 1/17)
Tampa Bay Times:
Pinellas Is At The Center Of A Rise In Florida Flu Outbreaks
Pinellas County has reported more than five outbreaks of flu this season, among the most of any county in the state so far, according to the Florida Department of Health. ...Adults ages 65 and older and children are the most at risk for severe complications from influenza-like illnesses. (Griffin, 1/16)
Dallas Morning News:
In Midst Of Deadly Flu Season, Fort Worth's John Peter Smith Opens Extra Clinics
Fort Worth's John Peter Smith Hospital has set up two new clinics to help combat this year's deadly flu outbreak. The hospital on Tuesday launched roving clinics intended to serve the homeless. That population is susceptible to the illness, particularly in crowded shelters. Last fall, the hospital established clinics in homeless shelters to help vaccinate against the flu, said Joel Hunt, who heads the hospital's street medicine program. Usually, those clinics stay open until people stop showing up, but this season called for a January relaunch. (Branham, 1/16)
Georgia Health News:
‘Horrific’ Elder Abuse Case Highlights Crackdown On Unlicensed Facilities
Georgia has seen more than 3,000 people charged with elder abuse crimes, perpetrated against the elderly or disabled people, since 2010, GBI Director Vernon Keenan said Tuesday at a news conference in Atlanta. Last year, 49 individuals were rescued from such “dungeons,’’ he added. (Miller, 1/16)
The Baltimore Sun:
Study Shows Maryland Meets Goals Of Cutting Health Care Costs Without Achieving Changes In Care Delivery
Maryland’s ambitious program to curb health care spending is meeting that main goal but not transforming how patients are treated. Those are the findings of a study published Tuesday of the state’s hospitals, which operate under a unique federally sanctioned system that U.S. regulators hope will be a national model of cutting costs and improving care. (Cohn, 1/16)
The Washington Post:
Nurses At United Medical Center Say Babies Still Being Born There Despite Shutdown Of Obstetrics Unit By Regulators
Women continue to give birth at United Medical Center, the city’s troubled public hospital, even after regulators shut down the labor and delivery unit on Aug. 9 citing concerns about patient safety, an attorney representing nurses told the D.C. Council on Tuesday. Births are taking place in the emergency room, said Wala Blegay, a staff attorney at the D.C. Nurses Association, during a public roundtable Tuesday. Obstetrics nurses are no longer working at UMC, and that increases the risks for mothers and their babies, she said. (Chason, 1/16)
A Shrinking Number Of Rural Texas Hospitals Still Deliver Babies. Here's What That Means For Expecting Moms.
Texas’ rural hospitals have struggled just to stay open; federal Medicaid reimbursements don’t fully cover the costs of services they provide, and fewer doctors and specialists have opted to practice in small towns. ...Meanwhile, the low number of births in rural areas has made it difficult for hospitals to justify the costs of staff and equipment. (Evans, 1/17)
Central Care Clinics Lose Grant Funding In Federal Court Ruling
A Houston federal judge on Tuesday denied an injunction requested by Central Care clinics to block the loss of grant money critical to the continued operation of its six locations across the city. Patients "should not be alarmed" but should expect some changes, Central Care's lawyer Reginald McKamie said after the hearing. ... The city's oldest federally qualified health center sued in December to retain grant money from the Health Resources and Services Administration, a U.S. Health and Human Services agency known as HRSA. (George, 1/16)
New Hampshire Public:
What Can N.H. Expect Once Vermont Legalizes Marijuana?
Vermont is poised to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana beginning this summer. Police along New Hampshire’s western border, though, say they’re not concerned about the policy change. (Greene, 1/16)
Chicago Sun Times:
In Battle Over Presence Health Subsidy, Backers Say Other Side Using NRA Tactics
Some aldermen oppose a $5.5 million subsidy to Presence Health, but Swedish Covenant Hospital got $4.6 million despite a similar anti-abortion stance.