December 4, 2018
Playbook From The Well…

Tuesday, December 4, 2018




Antidepressants surpass painkillers in Erie, Pa. The Buffalo News reports, “The most prescribed class of drugs for Medicaid patients in Erie County doesn’t treat asthma, heart disease, diabetes or even severe pain.

“It treats depression.”


Harm reduction: Best practices versus community acceptance. West Virginia Public Radio reports, “Current best practices for harm reduction programs include a couple provisions: No retractable needles should be distributed, patients should get as many needles as possible regardless of how many they bring back, and barriers to accessing needles should be as low as possible. But sometimes those recommendations are at odds with community acceptance for the practices.”


…One of the biggest criticisms was an increase in crime. WVPB reports, “When the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department closed its harm reduction programs, one of the biggest criticisms of the program was that it led to an increase in crime, vagrancy and homelessness. Those claims are not without merit.”


Marshall names Ramirez director of Great Rivers Regional System of Addiction Care. MetroNews reports, “A new leader for the Great Rivers Regional System for Addiction Care at Marshall Health has been announced by Marshall University.


“Tina L. Ramirez, the former director of multiple prevention and wellness initiatives at the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, has been named as director. Ramirez said she has been on the job for a couple of months.”



West Virginians respect women as public service leaders. The News and Sentinel reports, “The Friday before election day, Carol Miller — soon to be elected as the next U.S. representative for the 3rd Congressional District — took the stage after being introduced by President Donald Trump to the crowd at Huntington Tri-State Airport for one final rally.


“Standing nearby was the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate in West Virginia history, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, who had warmed up the crowd at the start of the rally. With Miller’s election on Nov. 6, West Virginia’s five-member congressional delegation is now three men and two women.

“’Having 40 percent of our congressional delegation women is, I think, a great statement about the respect that West Virginians have for women as women leaders in public service,’ Capito said. ‘I’m just proud that West Virginia is one of those states that have broken through that barrier.’”



Hansen is head of ODCP. WV News reports, “Gov. Jim Justice named the new head of the Office of Drug Control Policy … and announced that he is forming a new council of experts to help fight the state’s opioid epidemic in conjunction with the office.


Bob Hansen, who is currently Marshall University’s director of addiction studies, will be the new director of the office. Justice said that, together with the council and the new director, he wants to end the state’s drug addiction problem.


Hanshaw to continue as speaker.  MetroNews reports, “Delegate Roger Hanshaw won a rematch with House Finance Chairman Eric Nelson to continue as Speaker  of the House of Delegates.”


Hawaii can use Medicaid for housing. Hawaii News Now reports, “Hawaii is one of the first states in the country given the go-ahead to use federal Medicaid dollars — typically reserved for health care costs — to help homeless people move into housing.”


Maine gearing up for vaccination philosophical exemption fight. The Bangor Daily News reports, “Some Mainers are gearing up for a fight over the future of the state’s philosophical exemption for childhood vaccinations, a battle that is expected to play out during the upcoming legislative session.”


Oregon backs off opioid limitations. The Bulletin reports, “Oregon health officials have backed off of a proposal that would have limited Medicaid coverage of opioids for certain chronic pain conditions to 90 days and forced patients who have been taking opioids for longer to be tapered off those medications within a year.”



CDC works to understand threat posed by Asian longhorned tick. Outbreak News reports, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with public health, agricultural, and academic experts to understand the possible threat  posed by the spread of the Asian longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) in several U.S. states since its discovery in 2017, according to today’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.”


Despite Romaine, tainted beef, report calls US status of foodborne illnesses ‘quite sunny.’ Pacific Standard reports, “Those clippings [about Romaine and tainted beef] are clicky and grim, but they’re also at least somewhat misleading, because the current state of foodborne illnesses in the U.S. is actually, well, quite sunny.”


Global flu pandemic begins with animals. The New York Times Magazine reports, “A global flu pandemic begins when a virus circulating in animals — like birds or pigs — mutates to infect humans, allowing it to spread quickly. In 1918, such an influenza sickened an estimated one-third of the world’s population, killing as many as 50 million people.”


Marshall, WVU work to produce a new generation of trained health-care professionals. WV News reports, “With projected doctor shortages and expanding health-care costs, the United States is looking ever more at the nation’s medical schools to produce the physicians needed.


“To help with this national need, state medical educators at both the West Virginia and Marshall University medical schools say they are working to produce a new generation of trained health-care professionals.”

Measles spike in 2017 threatening public health progress. Time reports, “Reported cases of measles spiked in 2017, threatening years of public health progress and pointing to gaps in vaccination coverage worldwide, according to new data released … from the World Health Organization … and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…”


…Progress stalls on polio. Fox4 reports, “Progress has stalled in ridding the world of polio.”


WVU achieves record-breaking number of outpatient visits. WV News reports, “With a month still left to go in 2018, WVU Medicine recently achieved a record-breaking number of outpatient visits.”

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