Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the Web.
Experts: Overcome mental health stigma by talking and listening
Stigma surrounds mental health because nobody is taught how to handle sadness and pain and the resources are difficult to access. But people sharing their experiences is the only way to bring about change and help those suffering. Speaking Thursday at The Gazette’s Iowa Ideas symposium, Mary Neubauer said the discussion about mental health and suicide may be “uncomfortable,” but the lack of resources in Iowa pushed her to talk about “my inspiration” — her 18-year-old son, Sergei, who died by suicide in 2017. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)
SHIIP counselors ready to help with Iowans with Medicare open enrollment
Open enrollment is underway for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans and the Iowa Insurance Division’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program or “SHIIP” is reminding Iowans that they are available to offer free, unbiased and confidential assistance. Iowans may make changes to their Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plan during open enrollment beginning October 15, 2019, through December 7, 2019. (KIWA)
Civica Rx collaboration begins supplying drugs to member hospitals
Civica Rx, a multi-state collaboration among three philanthropies and 40 health systems aimed at addressing hospital generic drug shortages, announced it has delivered its first medication to a member hospital. Riverton Hospital, an Intermountain Healthcare facility in Utah, has received its first vials of Vancomycin, an essential antibiotic that has often been in short supply at Riverton and thousands of hospitals across the country. Both MercyOne and UnityPoint Health in Iowa are member health systems of Civica Rx. (Des Moines Business Record)
Australia just had a bad flu season. That may be a warning for the US.
Australia had an unusually early and fairly severe flu season this year. Since that may foretell a serious outbreak on its way in the United States, public health experts now are urging Americans to get their flu shots as soon as possible. The number of cases of flu in this country is still quite low, according to the weekly C.D.C. FluView released Friday. But as the weather cools, it is expected to ramp up. This year’s Australian outbreak began in April, two months earlier than usual, and persisted into October. (New York Times)
US vaping illnesses top 1,000; death count is up to 18
The number of vaping-related illnesses has surpassed 1,000, and there’s no sign the outbreak is fading, U.S. health officials said Thursday. Doctors say the illnesses, which first appeared in March, resemble an inhalation injury. Symptoms include severe, shortness of breath, fatigue, and chest pain. Most who got sick said they vaped products containing THC, the marijuana ingredient that causes a high, but some said they vaped only nicotine. (Associated Press)
How one Maine school is tackling the youth vaping epidemic
Maine last week banned vaping or possession of an e-cigarette on school grounds. Kara Tierney-Trevor, South Portland High School’s social worker, said a handful of students have come to her and admitted that they vape regularly. The school has found some strategies that may be working. They’re patrolling bathrooms and hallways and confiscating the devices when they find them. But instead of suspending students for four to five days as they did under the old policy, school leaders are sending them home for just one day and giving them a thorough behavioral health assessment. (Stateline)