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Department of Health: Over 9.3 Million Vaccinations to Date, 53.1% of Entire Population Received First Dose, 46.2% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older…

Posted: May 13, 2021 at 1:49 am


Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., May 12, there were 2,179 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,179,251.

There are 1,751 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19. Of that number, 406 patients are in the intensive care unit with COVID-19. More data is available here.

The trend in the 14-day moving average number of hospitalized patients per day is coming down, after peaking at 2,661 patients which is slightly below what it was at the height of the spring 2020 peak of 2,751 patients on May 3, 2020. The full 14-day moving average since the start of the pandemic can be found here.

Statewide percent positivity for the week of April 30 May 6 stood at 6.6%.

The most accurate daily data is available on the website, with archived data also available.

As of 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, May 11, there were 52 new deaths identified by the Pennsylvania death registry, reported for a total of 26,659 deaths attributed to COVID-19. County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Pennsylvania hospitals began receiving shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine the week of Dec. 14 andModerna COVID-19 vaccine the week of Dec. 21. TheJanssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccinewas first allocated to Pennsylvania theweek of March 1. On Friday, April 23, the CDC and FDA notified all COVID-19 vaccine providers that the pause in administering doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine has been lifted. Following the announcement, Pennsylvania resumed Janssen vaccinations. Vaccination numbers for Pennsylvania do not include Philadelphia, which is its own jurisdiction, or federal facilities, which are working directly with the federal government.

Vaccine highlights

Federal data representing all 67 counties:

Statewide data representing the 66 counties within the Department of Healths vaccine jurisdiction:

Mask-wearing is required in all businesses and whenever leaving home. Fully vaccinated people are permitted to participate in some activities without a mask based on CDC guidance. Consistent mask-wearing is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

There are 157,792 individualswho have a positive viral antigen test and are considered probable casesand 639 individualswho have a positive serology test and either COVID-19 symptoms or a high-risk exposure.

There are 4,483,950 individuals who have tested negative to date.

In licensed nursing and personal care homes, there are 71,294 resident cases of COVID-19, and 15,003 cases among employees, for a total of 86,297 at 1,590 distinct facilities in all 67 counties. Out of total deaths reported to PA-NEDSS, 13,198 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. A county breakdown can be found here. Note that the number of deaths reported to NEDSS is not exactly the same as the COVID-19 related deaths reported by the death registry. The number of deaths among nursing and personal care home residents and employees is taken from the PA-NEDSS death data, as this information is not available in the death registry data.

Approximately 28,120 of our total cases are among health care workers.

Statewide The Wolf Administration has since noon, May 11:

The Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable and efficient to all Pennsylvanians:

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics

MEDIA CONTACT: Barry Ciccocioppo - RA-DHpressoffice@pa.gov

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Department of Health: Over 9.3 Million Vaccinations to Date, 53.1% of Entire Population Received First Dose, 46.2% of Pennsylvanians Age 18 and Older...

Colorado considering bill that would require insurance to cover annual mental health exams – 9News.com KUSA

Posted: at 1:49 am


HB 21-1068 remains under consideration and is expected to move forward to appropriations Friday morning.

DENVER A bill moving through the Colorado legislature is aimed at breaking the cost barrier that may come with accessing mental health resources.

HB 21-1068would require health insurance plans to provide coverage for the total cost of an annual mental health examination.

If passed, the coverage would apply to insurance plans issued or renewed in the state on or after Jan. 1, 2022.

State Rep. Dafna Michaelson Janet (D-Adams County) said the pandemic heightened the need for increased mental health resources. She said she is optimistic it will receive bipartisan support.

"We passed it out of the first committee, unanimously, and it was health and insurance, its not an easy committee," she said.

"The whole idea of an annual mental health wellness exam is that you would go every year just like you go to your doctor to your physical and spend 45 60 minutes, depending on your insurance plan, with a qualified mental health care provider that you can select from a large range of different types of providers and talk about the different things that are going on in your life," Michael Janet added.

The bill would require insurance coverage to:

State Rep. Brianna Titone (D-Jefferson County) is also sponsoring the bill and said breaking the cost barrier is one of many steps forward.

"Running bills like this helps to start the conversation up and we need to have those conversations as uncomfortable as they are," Titone said.

Titone said expanding access to mental health resources could also benefit the economy.

"Mental health crisis cost a lot more to deal with than it does the preventative care," she said. "We can save a ton of money on the backend when people dont have to deal with emergency room visits or loss of work."

The bill remains under consideration and is expected to move forward to appropriations Friday morning.

SUGGESTED VIDEOS:Latest from 9NEWS

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Colorado considering bill that would require insurance to cover annual mental health exams - 9News.com KUSA

Downtown business group says ending health order comes with mixed reactions – ABC17NEWS – ABC17News.com

Posted: at 1:49 am


COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Coronavirus health orders covering Columbia and Boone County are set to expire at noon Wednesday, ending a 14-month period with orders in place.

Nickie Davis, executive director of Columbia's Downtown Community Improvement District, said in an email that while many businesses are eager for the health order to end, others are worried it may lead to rising coronavirus cases and another lockdown.

Davis said many businesses will still ask their customers to wear a mask and her organization is advising residents to check in with a business before going there.

The executive director says many businesses are waiting to make a decision, to see what case statistics look like two weeks following the removal of the health order in Columbia.

Several Columbia businesses are posting about precautions they're taking on their social media pages. Many say they will still require masks inside their businesses.

One business, Green Meadows Hair Co. & Spa says they will keep all of their current guidelines in place, including requiring masks and social distancing.

Constance Parker, owner of Green Meadows said the business will follow CDC guidelines which still recommend masks for salons and spas.

Parker said there has only been a single customer that hasn't wanted to wear a mask and that most are understanding, even appreciative of the measures taken.

Hairdresser Nancy Wilson said many clients come to her because of the safety measures taken in Green Meadows.

"We've sterilized and cleaned and worked and done everything that we could to make it work, so why would you not go ahead now and continue on?" Wilson added.

Columbia had been under a mask requirement since last summer, when the city council approved the mandate. The health department later incorporated the mask requirement into health orders and extended it to all of Boone County.

The county and city have been under orders since March 20, 2020 -- a few days after the state's first coronavirus-related death was reported in Boone County.

City and county leaders said last week that the low number of new coronavirus cases and the high rate of vaccination in Boone County support the decision to let the health orders expire. In addition to a mask mandate, the orders required businesses to use social distancing.

Officials justified the orders as a way to lessen the strain on local hospitals, which were treating dozens of coronavirus patients during the height of the pandemic. Only two Boone County residents were hospitalized as of Tuesday with COVID-19 and the average number of daily cases was at nine, according to the county's coronavirus dashboard.

The Columbia/Boone County health department said Wednesday it is still encouraging residents and businesses to keep using coronavirus precautions such as social distancing and mask wearing.

Boone / Columbia City Government / Coronavirus / Local News / News / Politics / Public Health Alert / Top Stories / Video

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Downtown business group says ending health order comes with mixed reactions - ABC17NEWS - ABC17News.com

Nursing execs dish on the digital health tools they’ve found most useful during the pandemic – Healthcare IT News

Posted: at 1:49 am


In a recent study, researchers associated more favorable electronic health record usability scores with lower odds of burnout among nurses.

Unfortunately, that study also found that nurses scored their EHR usability atan F which seems to bode ill for workplace satisfaction in an already stressful environment.

Still, it's not all bad news: Nursing executives from hospitals around the country told Healthcare IT News that they've come to rely on a large range of digital health tools during the COVID-19 pandemic. And, they say, they'll continue to use some of that software in a post-pandemic world.

Multiple execs pointed to telehealth as a major game-changer for patient care.

"Having the ability to safely connect and communicate enabled clinic visits to continue despite the pandemic," said Ellen Hansen, chief nursing and clinical services officer at Childrens of Mississippi, part of the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

"Telehealth is severely underutilized in many parts of the world, as culture and habits are difficult to change," Hansen added. "Providers prefer to see patients in person; however, the ability of telehealth to reach people with little to no access to healthcare is critical, never more so than in a pandemic."

Hansen noted that, although telehealth use has diminished in some services to pre-COVID-19levels, "It would be great to see more funding and emphasis on incorporation of telehealth into all possible practices."

Similarly, Gwendolyn Oglesby-Odom, chief nursing officer at Advocate Aurora Health in Chicago, pointed to Zoom specifically as an invaluable COVID-19-era solution.

"We use Zoom within our Epic Medical Record System to perform telehealth visits with our patients," Gwendolyn Oglesby-Odom explained. "Zoom has also allowed patients on our COVID-19 unit to connect with family members who are unable to visit them.

"Zoom has been a game changer for us in the wake of the pandemic," she added.

Despite the uneven reputation EHRs, some execs pointed to their vendors as being particularly helpful.

"In the midst of the pandemic, Cerner created a customized COVID-19 power plan, which is an order set that conveniently has all of the orders necessary to care for a COVID-19 patient," said Lorenzo Suter, CEO at Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Dupont Hospital. He also chairs the IU Fort Wayne Nursing Advisory Board.

"This has not only saved the providers time in having to search for individual orders, but it has also allowed providers to be consistent in providing all COVID-19 patients with comprehensive and high-quality care," Suter continued.

At the Cleveland Clinic, providers relied on a wide range of digital solutions, explained Nelita Iuppa, associate chief nursing officer for informatics.

Like the other executives, Iuppa mentioned telehealth as an integral part of patient care.

"We introduced virtual visits to our inpatient areas in order to connect clinicians and patients, as well as patients with their families," she said.

"Patients were able to say good night to their children, visit with loved ones and complete consult visits with specialists all from their hospital room. Caregiver teams also utilized these tools to complete virtual team rounds in critical care units during this time," she explained.

This wasn't limited to in-hospital visits, either.

"In our outpatient areas virtual visit volumes increased tenfold as we reached out to our patients in the community who were hesitant about traveling into our facilities for their care.Our nurses offered reassurance, technical assistance and encouragement that really fostered the adoption for these types of appointments," she said.

The clinic also relied on mobile apps to keep patients and staff as safe as possible.

"Cleveland Clinic developed several different screening applications," said Iuppa. "One for visitors and one for our caregivers to run through a list of symptoms to validate they were feeling healthy prior to coming into work that day.

"As we started to reopen limited visitation to our hospitals, the nurses were critical in documenting the primary visitor in the electronic medical record that could instantaneously be cross checked at the front entrances to verify visitor name and the date and time of these events," she explained.

In addition, Iuppa noted that the system used digital tools to give nurses the chance to continue professional development even at a time of upheaval.

"We offered our first-ever completely virtual nursing conference events during COVID-19 with over 1,000 nurse participants around the world, and we also offered remote learning for new hire onboarding and for nurses who were floating to unfamiliar locations to assist with staffing and patient care," she said.

"Many nurses were also able to stay connected using virtual huddles and meeting tools and keep our enterprise nursing committees and workgroups engaged and productive during this time," she added.

"We have been very fortunate to partner with our IT colleagues and other caregiver disciplines across our enterprise to utilize really fantastic digital solutions during the pandemic," said Iuppa.

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.Twitter: @kjercichEmail: kjercich@himss.orgHealthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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Nursing execs dish on the digital health tools they've found most useful during the pandemic - Healthcare IT News

Tax exemption to fund hundreds of new health care roles – Stillwater News Press

Posted: at 1:49 am


OKLAHOMA CITY A new sales tax exemption approved by the Oklahoma Legislature will allow one of the states largest academic health systems to begin training hundreds of new health care workers, supporters said Tuesday.

Senate Bill 79, which was recently signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt, will allow OU Health to train 70 new medical residents within three years, 110 additional nursing graduates a year and 50 new nurse practitioners a year, said Joseph Harroz Jr., president of the University of Oklahoma.

This is a major move forward to allow for a healthier Oklahoma, the providers we need desperately, he said.

Harroz said Oklahoma ranks 46th in the number of physicians per capita. Nursing advocates, meanwhile, said it has 40% fewer nurses per capita than the national average. But the state ranks 11th in the country in retaining physicians who come to Oklahoma to train for their residency, Harroz said.

The measure restores a decades-old sales tax exemption that the hospital system had been granted from 1909 through 1997 when it operated as a non-profit. The Legislature revoked that exemption in 1997 when the University Hospitals Authority privatized the hospital system and hired an out-of-state for-profit company to run it.

Harroz said the bills approval comes in tandem with the transition back to non-profit status with the merger of the hospital with the physician practice.

This is a concerted effort to make Oklahoma as a whole healthier, and were going to wind up with nurse practitioners who can help so many, Harroz said.

When the measure takes effect in July 2022, legislative fiscal analysts expect an $11.8 million decrease in state sales tax collections in the first year, including a $5 million direct impact on Oklahoma Citys collections. OU Health plans to help the city offset its expenses for the first five years through a staggered payment system.

Supporters believe the sales tax impact will continue to decrease each year as more people enter the health care profession, open practices and pay taxes.

One thing that we figured out last year, and it was laid bare (by COVID-19), is the shortage of medical doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners, and this bill directly addresses that, said State Sen. Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, the president pro tem.

He also said the measure will be a big economic driver.

State Sen. Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, said the measure, which failed last year, will not only benefit Oklahoma City, but the entire state.

He said rural Oklahoma struggles to attract medical doctors, but the increased number of trained nurse practitioners will make a difference.

State Rep. Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston, said a companion measure House Bill 2874 which contains the workforce development piece is still working its way through the legislative process.

The increase in any medical professionals in the state of Oklahoma will definitely improve the health not only of our citizens, but even the economy of the state, he said.

Janelle Stecklein covers the Oklahoma Statehouse for CNHI's newspapers and websites. Reach her at jstecklein@cnhinews.com.

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Tax exemption to fund hundreds of new health care roles - Stillwater News Press

124 retired generals and admirals question Biden’s mental health | TheHill – The Hill

Posted: at 1:49 am


A group of retired U.S. military admirals and generals signed a letter released Tuesday questioning President Bidens fitness for office and seemingly challenging the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

The letter,signed by 124 former military leaders and posted by Flag Officers 4 America, said the Constitutional Republic is lost without fair and honest elections that accurately reflect the 'will of the people.'

"The FBI and Supreme Court must act swiftly when election irregularities are surfaced and not ignore them as was done in 2020," the letter added.

Former Attorney General William Barr said in December the Justice Department uncovered no evidence of voter fraud that could have affected the outcome of the 2020 election, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.

The signatories also questioned the mental and physical condition of the Commander in Chief, adding that national security issues require quick and accurate decisions involving life and limb.

Recent Democrat leaderships inquiries about nuclear code procedures sends a dangerous national security signal to nuclear armed adversaries, raising the question about who is in charge, the letter said. We must always have an unquestionable chain of command.

While in office, former President Trump periodically questioned Bidens mental capacity and age during the campaign season, at times referring to him as sleepy Joe.

Kevin O'Connor, the presidents doctor, released a report earlier this month maintaining that Biden is a "healthy, vigorous, 77-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency,"Business Insider reported.

The signatories additionally compared potential challenges to ideological battles not seen since Americas founding.

"We are in a fight for our survival as a Constitutional Republic like no other time since our founding in 1776, they said. The conflict is between supporters of Socialism and Marxism vs. supporters of Constitutional freedom and liberty."

A statement on the Flag Officers 4 America website, says that although its members are no longer engaged in active military service, they are bound by that oath to do what we can, in our capacity today, to protect our nation from the threats to her freedom.

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124 retired generals and admirals question Biden's mental health | TheHill - The Hill

FDA Breakthrough Device Designation Is Granted to Avenda Health for Laser Ablation System in Prostate Cancer – Cancer Network

Posted: at 1:49 am


The Avenda Health Focal Therapy System, a product designed to deliver prostate cancer treatment in-office, was granted breakthrough device designation by the FDA, according to Avenda Health, the company responsible for developing the artificial intelligence (AI)enabled focal therapy system.1

The product intended for use as a male lumpectomy device was developed as an alternative to traditional surgery or radiation, for which the adverse effects of treatment can compromise quality of life.

We are working to advance the treatment of prostate cancer by giving patients and their doctors more options, Shyam Natarajan, co-founder and CEO of Avenda Health, said in a press release. We see our approach as similar to that of a lumpectomy for breast cancer if the cancerous tumor and appropriate treatment margins can be identified, the standard approach of removing the entire prostate gland and surrounding tissue may not be necessary.

By using patient-specific data and AI, the system is able to deliver accurate, tailored laser treatment to the tumor and spare healthy tissue in the process. The system uses a proprietary laser needle and thermal optical sensors to ablate the tumor.2 In turn, this offers the possibility to minimize adverse effects of therapysuch as urinary, sexual, a bowel dysfunctionand to perform procedures in a physicians office.

The designation is for products that have the potential to transform standard-of-care treatments for serious diseases. Under the Breakthrough Device Program, the FDA delivers priority review for protocols of clinical trials as well as decisions regarding commercialization. Following FDA approval of the technology, it will also enable reimbursement by Medicare.

The FDA has not approved a new device for the treatment of localized prostate cancer in more than 40 years, Brit Berry-Pusey, co-founder and COO of Avenda Health, said in the release. We look forward to working closely with the FDA to bring our product to market so that patients no longer need to choose between treating their prostate cancer and preserving their quality of life.

A phase 1 trial with 10 patients demonstrated safety of the technology, with no declines in urinary or sexual function noted during the follow-up period. The study was conducted by a multidisciplinary team of physicians and clinical scientists from UCLA and was funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute.

Ten years ago, a group of dedicated clinical scientists at UCLA came together from urology, radiology, pathology and biomedical engineering with the goal of improving treatment for prostate cancer. Where we are today compared to when we started is remarkable, said Leonard S. Marks, MD, who is co-founder and chief medical officer of Avenda Health and professor of urology at UCLA. Avenda Health continues to advance in this mission, and the FDAs recognition of the incredible impact that this technology could have on the field of urology in treating prostate cancer is encouraging.

In December 2020, the device earned 510(k) clearance from the FDA for the ablation of soft tissue.

References

1. Avenda Health Granted FDA Breakthrough Device Designation for Technology to Treat Prostate Cancer. News release. Avenda Health. May 11, 2021. Accessed May 12, 2021. https://bwnews.pr/2QbcatZ

2. Avenda Health Receives FDA Clearance for their Focal Laser Ablation System. News release. Avenda Health. December 16, 2020. Accessed May 12, 2021. https://prn.to/3y86eDp

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FDA Breakthrough Device Designation Is Granted to Avenda Health for Laser Ablation System in Prostate Cancer - Cancer Network

Utah Dept. of Health gives go ahead to start vaccinating kids 12+ – fox13now.com

Posted: at 1:49 am


SALT LAKE CITY Following the guidance of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the Utah Department of Health has told providers to begin offering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to children 12-15 years old.

WATCH: Cox promotes Utah's vaccination efforts in Biden meeting

The CDC announced Wednesday that it had accepted the recommendation of its advisory panel to begin vaccinating younger children.

According to state officials, approximately 215,000 children in Utah fall between the age category now eligible to receive a vaccine. Utah is one of the youngest states in the country, with a third of the state under the age of 18.

The sooner providers start vaccinating these kids the better, said Gov. Spencer Cox in a statement. Many Utah parents have been waiting for this news so they can make sure their families are more fully protected. This will mean safer gatherings with family and friends and an epic summer.

READ: Utah to end participation in COVID-19 unemployment benefits

Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson told FOX 13 on Tuesday that the state would rely heavily on pediatricians to give out the vaccine to children. The Salt Lake County Health Department said it would offer the vaccine to anyone over 12 beginning Monday at all its clinics. The Utah County Health Department said it would begin Friday (parents must still consent to their child being vaccinated).

Over 23,000 Utah children between 12-15 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 during the pandemic, state health officials say. Of those, 201 were hospitalized.

Despite popular thinking, many kids get COVID-19. Some of them get sick enough to require treatment in hospitals and some suffer from serious, potentially long-lasting side effects at rates similar to adults, even when they were asymptomatic or had only mild symptoms at the time of their infection, said Dr. Michelle Hofmann, UDOH's deputy director. Protecting these kids by getting them vaccinated is such an important milestone in the COVID-19 response.

The CDC also changed its stance on administering the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other common vaccines. It is now considered safe for children to receive all vaccines in one visit.

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District Attorney Shares Mental Health Struggles & Pushes For Bill To Improve Access To Care: Ive Seen Things I Cant Unsee – CBS Denver

Posted: at 1:49 am


DENVER (CBS4) Adams County District Attorney Brian Mason is opening up about his own mental health struggles in an effort to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and increase access to care.

Too many people in law enforcement suffer, often in silence, from mental health struggles. I know this because Im one of them, Mason said at a press conference meant to build support for a bill that would require insurers to cover annual mental wellness checks just as they do annual physicals.

Mason says, if not for therapy, he wouldnt be alive.

I go to homicide scenes. I go to autopsies. I see things in my role that I cannot unsee. Ive had my own mental health crises and close to a mental health breakdown.

Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, sponsor of the bill, says its aimed at identifying and treating mental health issues before they become a crisis. Just as physicals can flag high cholesterol before it leads to a heart attack, she says, a mental wellness check can detect signs of depression before it leads to a suicide and even reduce the physical manifestations of stress and anxiety like high blood pressure and migraines.

Imagine you went to the doctor for a physical, and the doctor said, hey, you have high blood pressure. Why dont you call me back when you have a heart attack? Thats the state of our mental health care system right now, said Michaelson Jenet.

She says mental health care should be as routine and relevant as physical health care. Her goal is to help people establish a relationship with a primary care therapist like their relationship with their primary care physician.

She knows the importance of the bill firsthand. She has major depressive disorder.

It is like any other condition can be treated, and if you have access and you know how to get there and if youre doing it on a regular basis, Michaelson Jenet said.

Rep. Brianna Titone, co-sponsor of the bill, says it is needed now more than ever.

With the pandemic upon us here, still lingering around, a lot of people are still struggling, she said. So lets get ahead of this and fix these problems early.

In addition to preventing a mental health crisis, Mason says, it will also help prevent crime.

Theres a staggering number of people in the criminal justice system who have mental health struggles.

He says its not just perpetrators who struggle, but victims and the crimes, he says, have a ripple effect.

Preventing crime is always better, and I might add cheaper, than prosecuting crime. We can help prevent crime with this bill. By providing annual mental health exams, we can identify problems before people enter the criminal justice system and, hopefully, keep them out altogether. This not only helps those who struggle with mental health, it makes our community safer, Mason said.

The Colorado Association of Health Plans, a trade association for the health insurance industry, says the bill will increase premiums by .1%. Supporters say it will save far more in things like addiction and hospitalization.

If it passes, it would be the first law of its kind in the country. It passed its first committee unanimously.

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District Attorney Shares Mental Health Struggles & Pushes For Bill To Improve Access To Care: Ive Seen Things I Cant Unsee - CBS Denver

State health officials planning to work on COVID-19 vaccine distribution throughout the summer and for some time – KELOLAND.com

Posted: at 1:49 am


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) Plan on a summer full of COVID-19 vaccine updates and information.

Health officials with the South Dakota Department of Health repeated the goal for herd immunity for COVID-19 will be 70% of the eligible population. To help the state achieve that, theyll continue to point people to trusted sources of information and encourage questions about the vaccine, not fear.

We know that we are going to need to continue to work on this through the summer months, Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon said. Just continue to help people make that choice. We expect to be working on this for some time.

On Wednesday, 50% of South Dakotans age 16 and older have become fully vaccinated. Health officials reported 56% of South Dakotans age 16 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Soon the age group 12-15 will also be allowed to start receiving the vaccine. Health officials said the 2019 U.S. Census data reports that age group as 48,120 people in South Dakota.

The same census data estimates nearly 25% of South Dakotas population is age 19 or younger, roughly 220,000 out of 886,667. So far only 9,971 persons in the 16-19 age group have received a vaccine.

The goal of vaccinating 70% of the eligible population will remain, Malsam-Rysdon said as the state plans to add the 12-15 age group as eligible. Thats the number were trying to get to, to have an assurance of herd immunity.

Adding people to the eligible population will reduce the percent vaccinated because the denominator will be larger.

State epidemiologist Dr. Joshua Clayton said 70% is a goal for the DOH and a lower threshold for general herd immunity.

We want not only the entire population of the state that are eligible to be at 70-percent. We also want some populations to achieve that as well, Dr. Clayton said. We want to make sure that we have that uniform level of protection across all population groups and all geographical areas.

Malsam-Rysdon did not want to set a date to reach 70% of the eligible population to become vaccinated.

She said health systems receiving vaccine allocation from the state are now ordering vaccine allocations with a order by demand system.

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State health officials planning to work on COVID-19 vaccine distribution throughout the summer and for some time - KELOLAND.com

U.S. Will Protect Gay And Transgender People Against Discrimination In Health Care – NPR

Posted: at 1:49 am


The Biden administration says the government will protect gay and transgender people against sex discrimination in health care. In this 2017 photo, Equality March for Unity and Pride participants march past the White House in Washington. Carolyn Kaster/AP hide caption

The Biden administration says the government will protect gay and transgender people against sex discrimination in health care. In this 2017 photo, Equality March for Unity and Pride participants march past the White House in Washington.

Gay and transgender people will be protected from discrimination in health care, the Biden administration announced Monday, effectively reversing a Trump-era rule that went into effect last year.

The announcement from the Department of Health and Human Services concerns one of the most notable parts of the Affordable Care Act the provision in Section 1557 that prevents health care providers and insurance companies from discriminating on the basis "race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in certain health programs and activities."

Effective immediately, the agency says it will interpret that provision to encompass discrimination against someone on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity in health care.

"Fear of discrimination can lead individuals to forgo care, which can have serious negative health consequences," HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. "It is the position of the Department of Health and Human Services that everyone including LGBTQ people should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period."

Officials at HHS framed the change as updating the agency's interpretation of existing law to bring it into alignment with Bostock v. Clayton County, last year's landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. That ruling found that LGBTQ people are protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 banning discrimination on the basis of sex.

"It is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex," Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the ruling.

That decision last June came down just a few days after the Trump administration finalized a rule removing nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people in health care. Though it technically took effect in August, multiple courts have since issued preliminary injunctions blocking some parts of the rule.

"The Supreme Court has made clear that people have a right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex and receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. That's why today HHS announced it will act on related reports of discrimination," Becerra said.

HHS joins other federal agencies in implementing similar guidance after President Biden signed an executive order called "Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation" on his first day in office. The departments of Housing and Urban Development and Justice both issued memoranda earlier this year; in March, the Pentagon overturned the Trump-era rules that effectively banned transgender people from serving in the military.

Xavier Becerra, shown here in 2019, announced the update on Monday that is meant to prevent discrimination against transgender and gay people in health care. Rich Pedroncelli/AP hide caption

At HHS, the new interpretation announced Monday puts the agency in position to more aggressively investigate and enforce LBGTQ discrimination complaints.

"We are open for business," Robinsue Frohboese, acting director in the HHS Office for Civil Rights, said in an interview with NPR. "Ensuring the protections of individuals, of non-discrimination based on their gender identity and sexual orientation, is a critical part of our civil rights mission."

The Biden administration has yet to put forward a formal rule on this issue. Normally, federal agencies must follow a lengthy process for issuing new rules and regulations. The Trump administration's rule, which took effect in August, took about a year to finalize and is still technically on the books.

"This is a policy announcement by the administration to say that this is the way that they read the statute and the way that they'll enforce it and they can begin doing that without a rule," said Valarie Blake, a law professor at West Virginia University. "But I anticipate that they'll promulgate a new rule anyway that gives a little more shape to what sex discrimination means."

Frohboese declined to say whether the agency is planning to propose a new rule, saying only that the administration is "actively considering" doing so.

The Trump-era rule was itself a reversal of an Obama-era executive action. The Trump administration had worked to define protections against sex discrimination throughout government to exclude LGBTQ people.

When that rule was finalized last year, LGBTQ people and advocates criticized the change, saying it could have a chilling effect on gay and transgender people seeking needed health care.

"Our mission as the Department of Health and Human Services is to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans, including LGBTQ individuals and everyone. Everyone needs access to health care. No one should be discriminated against in this. This change in rules and regulations will help us do that," said Dr. Rachel Levine, assistant secretary for health, who in March became the first openly transgender person to serve in a Senate-confirmed position.

Advocacy groups such as the ACLU and Lambda Legal applauded Monday's announcement but continued to push for a full rollback of the Trump administration's rule. In addition to limiting the definition of sex discrimination, the change under Trump included a number of other provisions, such as eliminating a requirement to include notice of nondiscrimination policies in multiple languages in health-related mailings and reducing the number of entities covered by the law's nondiscrimination provision.

"The significant step taken today is just one step in what is a long road to undo the undermining of health care protections for all people under the Trump administration," Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, an attorney with Lambda Legal, said in a statement.

The announcement from HHS comes as conservative state legislatures are working to enact a variety of bills targeting transgender people. Last month in Arkansas, legislators overrode Gov. Asa Hutchinson's veto to enact a new law banning doctors from providing gender-affirming medical care to transgender youth.

It was not immediately clear what legal effect the HHS announcement would have on the Arkansas legislation and other similar laws in the works across the country.

"I think that there'll need to be a significant legal analysis about how this guidance and this change in rules interacts with those laws," Levine told NPR.

In the meantime, hospitals and other health care providers in places such as Arkansas that rely heavily on federal funds may feel they are in a bind with competing legal directives about providing care to transgender youth, according to Blake.

"They have state law with whatever penalty that might be but breathing down their necks, they have federal regulators that can pull away their Medicare and Medicaid money," she said.

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U.S. Will Protect Gay And Transgender People Against Discrimination In Health Care - NPR

Santa Barbara County Public Health officials urging people to continue to get tested for COVID-19 even if fully-vaccinated | NewsChannel 3-12 – KEYT

Posted: at 1:49 am


Coronavirus

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. Californias and Santa Barbara Countys COVID-19 cases are dropping. According to Santa Barbara County Public Health data, on January 15 there were 364 new cases in Santa Barbara County and 2,786 active cases. On March 12 there were 54 new cases in the county and 255 active cases. On May 11 there were 8 new cases and 81 active cases.

California has seen a similar drop in cases with a 7-day COVID-19 positivity rate of 1.0% and the second-lowest new cases per capita in the country.

However, even with low numbers, health officials said getting tested is still critical to keeping our numbers low.

Dr. David Fisk is an infectious disease specialist at Cottage Hospital and Sansum Clinics. He said, "Without [testing] we don't know what's happening. If you think back to the beginning of this you know of March of last year in the United States we had the disease spreading and we had no idea of telling where it was and where it wasn't because we didn't have testing."

Santa Barbara County Public Healths Emergency Medical Services coordinator, Matt Higgs, added, "Without the continued testing we have the risk of having cases spread throughout the community and dropping us back into the [more restrictive] tier."

To signup for a free COVID-19 test visit the LHI website. The Santa Barbara County Public Health testing bus is currently at Palm Park Parking Lot at 236 East Cabrillo Boulevard.

Health / Santa Barbara - South County / Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County / Video

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Susan G. Komen and American Bone Health Unite on Campaign to Empower Women Through Healthy Living – Business Wire

Posted: at 1:49 am


DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Susan G. Komen, the worlds leading breast cancer organization, is teaming up with American Bone Health on a unique education campaign to empower women with information about the importance of heathy living for maintaining good life-long breast and bone health. The campaign, sponsored by Amgen, will seek to help women have constructive conversations with their doctor about appropriate screening and diagnosis to understand their evolving risk of breast cancer, bone loss and fracture throughout their life.

We know that as women age, their risk for both breast cancer and bone fracture increase, and that women who have undergone breast cancer treatment are at an even greater risk for a bone fracture, said Paula Schneider, CEO of Susan G. Komen. Empowering women to take proactive steps to improve their bone health is key to our goal of improving the quality of life for our breast cancer community.

We are proud to support Susan G. Komen and American Bone Health on this important initiative, said Darryl Sleep, M.D., senior vice president of Global Medical and chief medical officer at Amgen. More must be done to raise awareness about the cause of potentially painful and life-altering bone breaks among women. Postmenopausal osteoporosis is underdiagnosed and undertreated, and unfortunately, one broken bone is more likely to lead to another. In addition, women with breast cancer may be at high risk for bone breaks due to adjuvant aromatase inhibitor therapy or skeletal related events due to bone metastases. This collaboration brings to life our commitment to predict and help prevent bone breaks among women at high risk for fracture through increased screening, risk identification and education.

The collaboration will educate women about the importance of breast health and bone health, including the importance of asking their providers if bone screening is right for them in addition to getting a mammogram, for ER+ breast cancer patients about the increased risk of fracture, and for those living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), also known as stage IV, about risk and prevention of skeletal related events (SREs). The campaign will target breast cancer survivors, those living with MBC and the general population of women over 45.

When it comes to bone health, women need to be their own best advocate. This campaign will empower women to take the lead in having a conversation about their bones with their health care providers, says Cheryl Hostinak, executive director of American Bone Health. As many as 1-in-2 women over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis, and these fractures can be debilitating and even cause loss of independence. Cancer survivors are especially at risk of broken bones due to the effects of the disease as well as side effects of some treatments. Our goal is to empower all women to take steps to manage their bone health and prevent bone loss and fractures.

As part of the launch of this initiative, Komen and American Bone Health will develop and administer a survey to assess the personal knowledge of women aged 45 and over, as well as those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, about bone health. The campaign will direct participants to the American Bone Health Fracture Risk CalculatorTM to learn about their risk factors. The findings will aid in the deployment of future work to increase knowledge and promote regular screening and healthy living.

About Susan G. Komen

Susan G. Komen is the worlds leading nonprofit breast cancer organization, working to save lives and end breast cancer forever. Komen has an unmatched, comprehensive 360-degree approach to fighting this disease across all fronts and supporting millions of people in the U.S. and in countries worldwide. We advocate for patients, drive research breakthroughs, improve access to high-quality care, offer direct patient support and empower people with trustworthy information. Founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzys life, Komen remains committed to supporting those affected by breast cancer today, while tirelessly searching for tomorrows cures. Visit komen.org or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social media at komen.org/contact-us/follow-us/.

About American Bone Health

American Bone Health is a national, community-based organization that teaches people how to build and keep strong and healthy bones for life with practical and up-to-date information and resources to inspire them to prevent bone loss, osteoporosis and fractures. Learn more at http://www.AmericanBoneHealth.org and @ambonehealth. American Bone Health and American Bone Health Fracture Risk Calculator are trademarks of American Bone Health.

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Susan G. Komen and American Bone Health Unite on Campaign to Empower Women Through Healthy Living - Business Wire

20 Tasty Fruits with Health Benefits – Healthline

Posted: at 1:49 am


An apple a day keeps the doctor away, or so the saying goes.

Healthcare professionals know that fruit is a highly nutritious, delicious, and convenient addition to any diet. With more than 2,000 varieties of fruit available, you may wonder which ones you should pick.

Each type of fruit brings its own unique set of nutrients and benefits to the table. The key is to eat fruits of various colors, as each color provides adifferent set of healthy nutrients (1).

Here are the top 20 healthiest fruits to enjoy on a regular basis.

One of the most popular fruits, apples are chock-full of nutrition.

Theyre rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, such as pectin, hemicellulose, and cellulose. These help you manage your blood sugar levels, promote good digestion, and support gut and heart health (2, 3, 4).

In addition, theyre a good source of vitamin C and plant polyphenols, which are disease-fighting compounds found in plants. In fact, consuming apples regularly may lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, overweight, obesity, and neurological disorders (3, 5, 6, 7).

Note that most of the polyphenols in apples are located just below the skin, so be sure to eat it to reap the greatest benefits.

Blueberries are well known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

In particular, theyre high in anthocyanin, a plant pigment and flavonoid that gives blueberries their characteristic blue-purple color. This compound helps fight cell-damaging free radicals that can lead to disease (8).

Numerous studies have pointed to the health benefits of a diet high in anthocyanins, such as a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, overweight, obesity, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer, and cognitive decline (8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13).

For example, a study including over 200,000 participants observed a 5% decrease in the risk of type 2 diabetes for every 17 grams of anthocyanin-rich berries they consumed per day (14).

Other berries high in anthocyanins include blackberries, bilberry, elderberry, cherries, and chokeberries (8).

The benefits of bananas go beyond their potassium content. Along with providing 7% of the Daily Value (DV) for potassium, bananas contain (15):

In addition, they offer a wide variety of plant compounds called polyphenols and phytosterols, both of which support your overall health. Furthermore, theyre high in prebiotics, a type of fiber that promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut (16, 17, 18, 19).

Note that green, unripe bananas are higher in resistant starch than ripe ones, and theyre a good source of the dietary fiber pectin. Both of these have been linked to a number of health benefits, including improved blood sugar control and better digestive health (20, 21).

Meanwhile, ripe bananas are an excellent source of easily digested carbs, making them great to fuel up on before a workout (22, 23).

Oranges are known for their high vitamin C content, providing 91% of the DV in a single fruit. Theyre also high in potassium, folate, thiamine (vitamin B1), fiber, and plant polyphenols (24).

Studies have found that consuming whole oranges may lower levels of inflammation, blood pressure, cholesterol, and post-meal blood sugar (24, 25).

Though 100% orange juice provides a high volume of nutrients and antioxidants, it usually lacks dietary fiber. Varieties that include the pulp do include some fiber, so opt for these over juices without pulp.

That said, try to eat whole oranges more often, and keep juice portions to 1 cup (235 mL) or less per serving.

Also known as pitaya or pitahaya, dragon fruit is rich in many nutrients, including fiber, iron, magnesium, and vitamins C and E. Its also an excellent source of carotenoids, such as lycopene and beta carotene (26).

People in Southeast Asian cultures have regarded dragon fruit highly for hundreds of years as a health-promoting fruit. Over recent decades, it has gained popularity in Western countries (26).

Known as the king of fruits, mangoes are an excellent source of potassium, folate, fiber, and vitamins A, C, B6, E, and K. Theyre also rich in numerous plant polyphenols that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (27).

In particular, mangoes are high in mangiferin, a potent antioxidant. Studies have shown it may protect the body from chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and certain forms of cancer (28, 29, 30).

Whats more, mangoes contain fiber, which helps support regular bowel movements and aids digestive health (31).

Unlike most other fruits, avocados are high in healthy fats and low in natural sugars.

Theyre mostly made of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat linked to better heart health. They also contain high amounts of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, vitamins E and K, and two carotenoids known as lutein and zeaxanthin, which support eye health (32, 33, 34).

In fact, a high quality 2020 study found a significant decrease in cholesterol levels and an increase in blood lutein levels among participants who consumed an avocado per day for 5 weeks (35).

When compared by weight, avocados are higher in calories than most other fruits. However, studies have linked them to better weight management. Researchers have proposed that this is because their high fat and fiber contents promote fullness (33, 36, 37).

Lychee, which is also known as litchi and Chinese cherry, is packed with nutrition.

In particular, its a rich source of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and many polyphenols with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These include (38, 39):

One serving of lychee is around seven small individual fruits.

Pineapple is one of the most popular tropical fruits.

One cup (165 grams) of pineapple provides 88% of the DV for vitamin C and 73% of the DV for manganese (40).

Manganese supports metabolism and blood sugar regulation and acts as an antioxidant (41, 42).

Pineapple also contains a number of polyphenolic compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (41, 43).

Additionally, pineapple contains an enzyme known as bromelain, which people commonly use to tenderize meats. Anecdotal sources also claim this enzyme may support digestion, though theres limited research on this (41).

Strawberries are a favorite fruit for many. Theyre delicious, convenient, and highly nutritious. In particular, strawberries are a good source of vitamin C, folate, and manganese (44).

Theyre full of plant polyphenols that act as antioxidants, such as flavonoids, phenolic acids, lignans, and tannins.

In particular, theyre high in anthocyanins, ellagitannins, and proanthocyanidins, which studies have shown reduce the risk of chronic disease (45, 46, 47).

Furthermore, they have a low glycemic index, meaning they wont significantly affect your blood sugar levels (45, 46, 47).

Though known for its pungent smell, durian is incredibly nutritious.

A single cup (243 grams) provides:

It also contains plenty of other B vitamins, copper, folate, and magnesium (48).

Whats more, its rich in plant polyphenols, including (49, 50):

Its also a high source of potassium and fiber, both of which contribute to good heart health. Finally, durian pulp has probiotic effects, which may support healthy gut diversity (49, 50).

Cherries are a great source of fiber and potassium, both of which are important for heart and gut health (51, 52, 53).

Theyre also high in antioxidant plant compounds, such as anthocyanins and hydroxycinnamates, which help protect the body from oxidative stress.

Furthermore, theyre a good source of serotonin, tryptophan, and melatonin, which support good mood and sleep (52).

Though they may not readily come to mind when you think of fruit, olives are a great addition to your diet.

Theyre an excellent source of vitamin E, copper, and a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid.

Theyre also rich in plant polyphenols, such as oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, and quercetin, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (54, 55, 56).

In fact, whole olives and olive oil make up a large component of the Mediterranean diet, which studies have shown may lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cognitive decline, overweight, and obesity (55, 56, 57, 58).

Watermelon is a highly nutritious summer favorite. Its an abundant source of antioxidants, such as vitamins A and C, beta carotene, and lycopene. Its also a good source of potassium and magnesium (59).

In particular, watermelon is one of the top sources of lycopene, a carotenoid that gives watermelon its pink-red color.

A diet high in lycopene is linked to lower levels of oxidative stress and inflammation. The nutrient may also decrease the risk of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes (60, 61, 62).

Interestingly, lycopene and beta carotene may also provide minor skin protection from ultraviolet (UV) rays, reduce the risk of sunburns, and help your skin heal faster (63, 64, 65).

That said, youll still need to use sunscreen to keep your skin fully protected (63, 64, 65).

Finally, watermelon has a uniquely high water content. A single wedge (434 grams) provides 13.4 ounces (395 mL) of water. Since its high in both water and potassium, it can help hydrate and replenish electrolytes after a workout or on a hot summer day (59).

Also known as the Chinese gooseberry, kiwi is great for your health.

Its high in vitamin C and a good source of fiber, potassium, folate, and vitamin E. Its also a good source of carotenoids, including lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta carotene, which support eye health and become more dominant as fruits ripen (66, 67).

Furthermore, people have used it in traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years to support gut health and digestion.

These benefits are due to its soluble and insoluble fiber, polyphenols, and digestive enzymes such as actinidin (66, 67).

One small study showed that consuming 2 kiwis daily for 3 days increased stool frequency and softened stool, suggesting it may help treat mild constipation (68).

Peaches are another summer favorite. Theyre a good source of potassium, fiber, and vitamins A, C, and E. They also contain the carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta carotene (69).

While the flesh and skin are both nutritious, the skin contains higher amounts of antioxidants, which can help fight free radicals in your body. Therefore, make sure you eat the peach skin to reap the greatest health benefits (70, 71).

Fortunately, the nutrient content of peaches appears to be similar whether you consume them fresh or canned. However, if you opt for canned peaches, make sure theyre packed in water rather than sugary syrup (72).

Guava is a fantastic source of vitamin C. In fact, a single fruit (55 grams) provides 140% of the DV for this nutrient (73).

Along with this, guava contains some of the highest amounts of lycopene compared with other lycopene-rich foods like tomatoes, watermelon, and grapefruit (73, 74).

Its also a high source of other antioxidants, such as beta carotene and various flavonoids (73, 74).

Because guava is so high in nutrients and antioxidants, consuming it regularly may support the health of your eyes, heart, kidneys, and skin (74).

It may likewise protect against chronic diseases and support a healthy immune system (74).

Grapes are convenient, healthy, and particularly high in potassium and vitamin K, which both support heart health.

Theyre a rich source of beneficial plant compounds that have been linked to numerous health benefits, such as a lowered risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. These compounds include (75, 76):

While all varieties of grapes provide benefits, red and purple grapes have the highest antioxidant content. In particular, they produce purple-red pigments called anthocyanins, which have been linked to better heart and brain health (8, 76).

Pomegranates are known for their high antioxidant content.

They contain a lengthy list of beneficial plant compounds, such as flavonoids, tannins, and lignans. These have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help fight free radicals and reduce your risk of chronic disease (77, 78, 78, 80).

One high quality study found that people experienced significantly lower levels of inflammation after drinking 8.5 ounces (250 mL) of pomegranate juice per day for 12 weeks, compared with a placebo (81).

Grapefruit is one of the healthiest citrus fruits. Its packed with vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and beta carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A.

In an observational study including 12,789 people, grapefruit consumption was linked to higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and lower body weight, waist circumference, body mass index (BMI), triglycerides, and levels of inflammation (82).

Moreover, regularly consuming grapefruit may aid weight management and promote heart health (83, 84, 85).

Though grapefruit is highly nutritious, some of its compounds can lessen or alter the effectiveness of certain medications. Talk with your healthcare professional about whether you can eat grapefruit if youre taking:

In these cases, you may have to avoid grapefruit (86).

Many delicious and nutritious fruits can help ensure good health.

While this list provides 20 of the most nutritious fruits, there are many others you can choose from.

To reap the greatest benefits, be sure to eat a variety of colorful fruits on a daily basis.

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20 Tasty Fruits with Health Benefits - Healthline

Georgia State Bar Says Theres a Glaring Problem with Lin Woods Claim About How Mental Health Exam Request Went Public – Law & Crime

Posted: at 1:48 am


After the State Bar of Georgia asked him to take a voluntary mental health examination, lawyer Lin Wood filed a lawsuit against its representatives comparing the request to the Salem Witch Trials and alleged its general counsel made public a confidential inquiry. On Wednesday, the Bar members replied that the problem with that claim is that Wood himself made the request public in a social media post seen by more than 600,000 people.

[Wood] also posted the State Bars grievance and the roughly 1,700 pages supporting it, the Bars members noted in a 17-page legal brief. Plaintiff cannot complain that his privacy was violated or that he suffered harm due to the disclosure of this request when he was the one who publicized it.

Their legal brief links to and embeds Woods posts on Telegram, the encrypted social media app that Wood turned to after being banned from Twitter, shortly after the Jan. 6th siege of the U.S. Capitol.

Wood had claimed that the State Bars general counsel Paula J. Frederick already made public its confidential inquiry through comments to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which reported that she confirmed its existence on Jan. 29. The Bar responded that the problem with that theory is that Woods Telegram post was dated Jan. 26, some three days earlier.

The pro-Trump lawyer also claimed that the only evidence supporting the Bars request were four, out-of-state grievances and comments posted to [Wood]s personal social media.

This is incorrect, the Bar members replied. The factual record was extensive at the time the request was made.

The Bar members said that much of the support for the inquiry came from Woods own words, both public and private in emails, text messages, and voice messages.

As revealed by Wood himself in January, the Bars nine-page summary recaps Woods post-election lawsuits, including his so-called Kraken complaints in Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Arizona with Sidney Powell. All of those lawsuits were dismissed, and the attorneys who brought them are now facing multiple demands for sanctions and calls for their disbarment.

The summary also reprises Woods conspiracy theories that Chief Justice John Roberts is a member of a club or cabal requiring minor children as an initiation fee and that former Vice President Mike Pence is a TRAITOR, a Communist Sympathizer & a Child Molester.

The Bar obtained many of the private messages it describes through litigation between Wood and three colleagues he previously described as his former law partners, two of whom claim Wood assaulted them. Their lawsuit described what they called Woods erratic, abusive, and unprofessional behavior from late 2019 to 2020. The former colleagues also claimed that they taped Wood declaring: I might actually be Christ coming back for a second time in the form of an imperfect man, elevating Christ consciousness.

Law&Crime exclusively published some of those partners recordings previously, along with tapes by Woods former business associate Dave Hancock, who previously served as the executive director of the lawyers non-profit entity #FightBack Foundation.

In a recording first brought to light in Law&Crimes podcast Objections, Wood could be heard emotionally recounting his childrens request that he get treatment.

Right now, they want me to tell them Ill go to a mental health healthcare professional for regular monthly therapy however long it takes, which Im never going to do, Wood was heard saying of his children on one recording provided to Law&Crime.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten, who is presiding over Woods litigation with the State Bar of Georgia, previously rejected two of Woods post-election lawsuits. Wood unsuccessfully tried to force the judge to recuse himself on that basis. Batten declined to recuse himself so, in a ruling that Wood is currently appealing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Listen to exclusive recordings of Lin Wood on Law&Crimes podcast Objections:

Read Woods response to the bars motion to dismiss and the bars response to Wood below:

(Screenshot of Lin Wood via WSB-TV)

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Georgia State Bar Says Theres a Glaring Problem with Lin Woods Claim About How Mental Health Exam Request Went Public - Law & Crime

Crocs giving away thousands of shoes to health care workers this week: How to get a free pair of clogs – NJ.com

Posted: at 1:48 am


Footwear brand Crocs has brought back its Free Pair for Healthcare program after the company donated over 860,000 pairs of shoes last year to provide comfort to health care heroes for their extraordinary efforts in the battle against COVID-19.

This time, Crocs is giving away 10,000 pairs of clogs from its Crocs at Work collection each day this week to frontline health care workers. The promotion runs through Friday, May 14 and coincides with National Nurses Week.

To receive a free pair, visit Crocs website beginning at noon to submit a request. Crocs will be available until the free pair allotment has been fulfilled for the day.

Crocs isnt only popular among health care workers. The brand has reached an all-time high in first quarter revenues, according to its latest quarterly earnings report, increasing its 2021 revenue growth outlook between 40-50%.

CEO Andrew Rees says its record-breaking profits shows that the demand for the Crocs brand is stronger than ever, which is most likely from people choosing comfort over style during the pandemic. The revenue total for the first quarter is $460.1 million, a 63.6% increase compared to the same period last year.

A pair of classic, colorful foam clogs are the most popular style and known for comfort. After all, Crocs motto is comfort is the key to happiness.

You can currently find plenty of styles for up to 60% off, along with Crocs iconic classic clogs.

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Crocs giving away thousands of shoes to health care workers this week: How to get a free pair of clogs - NJ.com

Judge weighing relevance of Ahmaud Arberys mental health – WTNH.com

Posted: at 1:48 am


by: RUSS BYNUM, Associated Press

FILE This combo of booking photos provided by the Glynn County, Ga., Detention Center, shows from left, Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael, and William Roddie Bryan Jr. The Justice Department announced federal hate crime charges against the three men Wednesday, April 28,2021, in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a Georgia man who was killed while out for a run last year. All three are charged with one count of interference with civil rights and attempted kidnapping. The McMichaels are also charged with using, carrying and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.(Glynn County Detention Center via AP)

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) A Georgia judge will continue hearing legal motions Thursday in the murder case of three men facing a fall trial in the slaying of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was chased and shot after being spotted running in the defendants neighborhood.

Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley planned to revisit defense attorneys push for permission to show the trial jury evidence involving Arberys mental health. They argue that mental illness could have played a role in the Feb. 23, 2020, slaying. Prosecutors are objecting, saying its a ploy by defense lawyers to make a case that Arberys death was his own fault.

During the pretrial hearings first day Wednesday, the judge opted against hearing testimony regarding Arberys mental health. He said he wanted to weigh the issue before allowing the slain mans private medical information to be discussed in open court.

Travis McMichael and his father, Greg McMichael, armed themselves and pursued the 25-year-old man in a pickup truck as he ran past their home just outside the port city of Brunswick, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) south of Savannah.

A neighbor, William Roddie Bryan, joined the chase and took cellphone video of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery three times at close range with a shotgun.

The three men, all of whom are white, are charged with malice murder and other counts. The judge has scheduled jury selection in their trial to begin Oct. 18.

The case sparked a national outcry during a year of protests over killings of unarmed Black people. The Justice Department on April 28 added hate crime charges against the McMichaels and Bryan, who all pleaded not guilty to the federal counts before a U.S. magistrate judge Tuesday.

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Judge weighing relevance of Ahmaud Arberys mental health - WTNH.com

Pinterest Announces New Funding and Assistance Initiatives for Mental Health Awareness Month – Social Media Today

Posted: April 29, 2021 at 1:54 am


Pinterest has announceda range of new events and features for Mental Health Awareness Month, as it looks to play a role in addressing mental health concerns, which are evidently - based on on-platform search activity - increasingly front of mind for many Pinners.

As explained by Pinterest:

"The pandemic has brought mental health to the foreground. A recent survey conducted by the CDC found 42% of respondents reported anxiety or depression symptoms. We know that Pinners are 20% more likely than the rest of the population to have mental and emotional well-being top of mind during COVID-19, and beyond the pandemic these numbers are expected to increase."

In an effort to address this, Pinterest is committing $10 million in funding over the next 12 months to mental health organizations,in order to advance innovation in the field, and boost available services. Pinterest says that it will specifically focus on funding organizations that are looking to tackle racial and other disparities in access.

"This is the first step in a multi-year philanthropic commitment to emotional well-being by Pinterest, with the intention of becoming one of the biggest funders of the issue in the United States."

On Pinterest specifically, the platform is also adding new mental health related content to its Today Tab, which will be in addition to its existing mental health resources and tools, including its self-help, wellbeing exercises, which it launched in 2019.

These guided sessions are designed to provide immediate relief for those experiencing mental distress, and are available at any time - and Pinterest is now looking to add more to these tools to cater to rising demand.

Pinterest is also partnering with non-profit group #HalfTheStory to raise awareness of digital impacts and concerns related to mental health.

"#HalfTheStorycelebrates hidden human talents, passions, beliefs, and struggles that connect us on a deeper level. Pinterest will donate ad credits to #HalfTheStoryto encourage others to learn more about the organization, raise funds for its teen-focused curriculum Social Media U, and drive Pinnersto useful resources, including how to manage screen time and how to empower safe advocacy online."

And finally, Pinterest is also partnering with singer Bebe Rexha during Mental Health Awareness Month to further boost its awareness efforts.

Bebe Rexhawill create exclusive Story Pins and other content to share more about her own mental health journey, and how that has inspired her most recent album, which will be released on May 7th.

Pinterest will also display a green logo on its social media profiles for the month of May,reflecting the official color of Mental Health Awareness Month.

Again, given the related search activity, this is a key area of focus for Pinterest, and it's good to see the platform looking to provide mental health support to its 478 million users.

Pinterest says that, overall, searches for mental health awareness on the platform are up 2.5x year-on-year, with Pinners looking for help in a range of ways.

Specifically, Pinterest has reported that searches activity is significantly higher for:

People are also searching for terms like "mental health challenge"(+2.7x) and "mental health check in" (+2.7x) at much higher rates, while "meditation", as a single term, is also now seeing more Pin search activity than ever.

Clearly, there are needs to be addressed here,with the pandemic taking a toll on everyone, in different ways.

For Pinners that need an extra hand, such initiatives could be crucial, and keeping this in focus is an important, and valuable, push from the platform.

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Pinterest Announces New Funding and Assistance Initiatives for Mental Health Awareness Month - Social Media Today

New Bailey Avenue mural will put spotlight on mental health – WGRZ.com

Posted: at 1:54 am


The mural is called 'You're Not Alone,' and it was designed by six student artists from Buffalo's Center for Arts and Technology.

BUFFALO, N.Y. A new mural will be going up in Buffalo's Kensington neighborhood, and just like other murals across the city, it has an important message behind it.

This one is in perfect timing with Mental Health Awareness Month and it is for anyone who may be struggling with their mental health.

The mural is called "You're Not Alone," and it was designed by six student artists from Buffalo's Center for Arts and Technology. Western New York artist Tyshaun Tyson will help oversee the project.

They hope to have the mural finished near the end of May. A target date of May 21 has been set.

If you want to see its progress, the mural is on the Horizon Health Services building on Bailey Avenue near Kensington Avenue.

"We are so fortunate to partner with Horizon Health Services on this major outdoor public art initiative," Gina Burkhardt, the BCAT president and CEO, said in statement.

"Our youth are skilled artists who deeply understand the benefits of artistic expression and the experience a mural can bring to a community. The youth will create a unique visual depiction that tells a story of hope to anyone working through mental health challenges."

Anne Constantino, president and CEO of Horizon, added, "The dedication, thoughtfulness and passion that went into the design and execution with their youth encompass our shared mission and commitment to quality care and life changing services for the community we serve. We are confident that this message will impact not only our current patients and family members but provide continued awareness and hope for our community members each and every day."

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New Bailey Avenue mural will put spotlight on mental health - WGRZ.com

Health Department Budget Shows COVID is Here to Stay – GovTech

Posted: at 1:54 am


(TNS)- Mayor Jim Kenney's budget proposal for the next fiscal year is focused on gradually returning Philadelphia to normal. But the Health Department budget reflects the likelihood that COVID-19 is here to stay.

Kenney says keeping Philadelphians healthy is a top priority for the coming years, representing a shift toward prioritizing public health as a result of the pandemic. The department will also have a renewed focus on racial disparities in health care, amid a pandemic in which Black and brown residents were most likely to get severely ill or die of COVID-19.

The Health Department budget proposal of $162.5 million represents 3.1% of Kenney's proposed $5.18 billion spending plan. Other city departments, including police, fire, and the pension system, account for much larger shares of city spending. But the Health Department budget contains targeted spending increases for specific programs related to the pandemic and other issues.

If City Council adopts Kenney's budget proposal, the department would receive $980,000 in new funding for the fiscal year starting in July, said city spokesperson Mike Dunn. That's on top of the $75 million set aside in a reserve for ongoing costs of the pandemic $50 million of which is specified for coronavirus containment as well as federal funding going toward pandemic-related costs.

Philly OKs indoor weddings and catered events, further easing coronavirus restrictions

The containment division was initially funded by federal grants and would also continue to receive some federal money.

Besides continuing the work it has already been doing to fight the pandemic, the division will add an outbreak management team as vaccinations increase and cases decrease, according to Kenney's budget proposal. The outbreak unit will "provide support to partners and communities in containing outbreaks, including swift availability of testing and support for guidance on isolation and quarantine," according to the city's five-year plan.

The department also hopes to expand its immunizations unit and its emergency preparedness and response unit "so that it can better deliver COVID-19 vaccines and respond to future emergencies of all sorts," Dunn said.

The health budget proposal also includes $250,000 to support the formation of a racial equity plan, addressing an issue that city officials say already existed but was highlighted by the pandemic.

The mayor's five-year plan, for example, cited as a priority attacking the "unacceptably high rates at which Black and brown Philadelphians suffer from hypertension, diabetes, cancer, asthma, and maternal mortality."

Kenney sees 'hope for an eventual return to all that makes Philadelphia great' in annual address

Other new and additional costs in the Health Department budget proposal include $1 million to address air pollution and air quality issues with a disproportionate impact on Black and brown neighborhoods.

Dunn acknowledged the Health Department's limited ability to combat racial health disparities, but said the department would focus on making recommendations and prioritizing programs that could make an impact.

" The Health Department believes that racial disparities in health outcomes are mainly driven by social issues specifically historic and current racism that lead to reduced income, employment, and other opportunities which, over lifetimes, appear as health problems and decreased life expectancy," Dunn said. "Closing the gap in health outcomes will require solving those larger social inequities, which are not under control of the Department of Public Health."

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Health Department Budget Shows COVID is Here to Stay - GovTech

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