First Edition: Sept. 19, 2022 (2023)

Today's early morning highlights from the major news organizations.

KHN:Private Equity Sees The Billions In Eye Care As Firms Target High-Profit Procedures
Christina Green hoped cataract surgery would clear up her cloudy vision, which had worsened after she took a drug to fight her breast cancer. But the former English professor said her 2019 surgery with Ophthalmology Consultants didn’t get her to 20/20 vision or fix her astigmatism — despite a $3,000 out-of-pocket charge for the astigmatism surgical upgrade. Green, 69, said she ended up feeling more like a dollar sign to the practice than a patient. “You’re a cow among a herd as you just move from this station to this station to this station,” she said. (Weber, 9/19)

KHN:Doctors Rush To Use Supreme Court Ruling To Escape Opioid Charges
Dr. Nelson Onaro conceded last summer that he’d written illegal prescriptions, although he said he was thinking only of his patients. From a tiny, brick clinic in Oklahoma, he doled out hundreds of opioid pills and dozens of fentanyl patches with no legitimate medical purpose. “Those medications were prescribed to help my patients, from my own point of view,” Onaro said in court, as he reluctantly pleaded guilty to six counts of drug dealing. Because he confessed, the doctor was likely to get a reduced sentence of three years or less in prison. (Kelman, 9/19)

KHN:Many Refugees Dealing With Trauma Face Obstacles To Mental Health Care
As a young boy living in what was then Zaire, Bertine Bahige remembers watching refugees flee from the Rwandan genocide in 1994 by crossing a river that forms the two Central African nations’ border. “Little did I know that would be me a few years later,” said Bahige. Bahige’s harrowing refugee journey began when he was kidnapped and forced to become a child soldier when war broke out in his country, which became the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997. He escaped at age 15 to a Mozambique refugee camp, where he lived for five years until he arrived in Baltimore in 2004 through a refugee resettlement program. (Zurek and Rocha, 9/19)

KHN:Journalists Look Into Wildfire Trauma And The South’s Monkeypox Response
KHN reporter and producer Heidi de Marco discussed the impact of wildfire trauma on children in Northern California on CapRadio’s “Insight With Vicki Gonzalez” on Sept. 13. ... KHN Florida correspondent Daniel Chang discussed the Southern response to the monkeypox outbreak on C-SPAN’s “Washington Today” on Sept. 14. (9/17)

The Washington Post:Biden Says ‘Pandemic Is Over’
President Biden declared the coronavirus pandemic “over,” in apparently off-the-cuff remarks that reflect the growing sentiment that the threat of the virus has receded, even as hundreds of Americans continue to die of covid each day. “We still have a problem with covid,” Biden said on “60 Minutes,” which aired Sunday night. “We’re still doing a lot of work on it … but the pandemic is over.” Biden made the remarks Wednesday during an interview at the auto show in Detroit, referencing the crowds at the event. The annual auto show had not been held since 2019. (Diamond, 9/18)

Politico:Biden On ‘60 Minutes’: ‘The Pandemic Is Over’
Biden’s insistence on Sunday night that the pandemic is over caught several of his own health officials by surprise. The declaration was not part of his planned remarks ahead of the “60 Minutes” interview, two administration officials familiar with the matter told POLITICO. Later in the interview, Biden was clear that he didn’t take the overall effects of the pandemic lightly. “The impact on the psyche of the American people as a consequence of the pandemic is profound,” he said. (Cohen and Cancryn, 9/18)

The Hill:Biden: ‘The Pandemic Is Over’
Biden has in the past argued that the United States had turned a corner on the pandemic, most notably during a speech on Independence Day in 2021, when he asserted the country had the tools necessary to “declare independence” from the virus. But in the weeks that followed, the delta variant contributed to a surge in cases and deaths. And in late 2021 into early 2022, the omicron variant again led to a spike in cases and deaths. Newly available booster shots were designed specifically to shield Americans from severe cases of the omicron variant. (Samuels, 9/18)

NPR:Joe Biden Said The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Over, But The Data Says Otherwise
The National Institutes of Health defines a pandemic as "an epidemic of disease, or other health condition, that occurs over a widespread area (multiple countries or continents) and usually affects a sizable part of the population." So are we really in the clear? (Archie, 9/19)

(Video) GMA Regional TV Early Edition: September 19, 2022

The Hill:Fauci Fears ‘Anti-Vaxxer Attitude’ Could Cause Outbreaks Of Non-COVID Diseases
Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said in a new interview that the “anti-vaxxer attitude” of some Americans risks causing non-COVID virus outbreaks in the U.S.“I’m concerned the acceleration of an anti-vaxxer attitude in certain segments of the population . . . might spill over into that kind of a negative attitude towards childhood vaccinations,” Fauci told The Financial Times in an interview published Sunday.(Oshin, 9/18)

AP:West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice Signs Abortion Ban Into Law
Republican Gov. Jim Justice on Friday signed into law a ban on abortions at all stages of pregnancy, making West Virginia the second state to enact a law prohibiting the procedure since the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling overturning its constitutional protection. The bill will go into effect immediately, except for the criminal penalties, which will go into effect in 90 days, he said. Justice described the legislation on Twitter as “a bill that protects life.” (Willingham, 9/16)

Columbus Dispatch:Ohio Clinics Resume Abortions Up To 20 Weeks Into Pregnancy
Patients and clinics in Ohio are wasting no time scheduling abortions after a judge temporarily blocked the state’s abortion ban, allowing abortions up to 20 weeks into pregnancy to go forward.Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Christian Jenkins ruled on Wednesday that the state Constitution might protect Ohioans' right to an abortion. The decision blocks Ohio’s ban on abortions after fetal cardiac activity is detected — which is typically around six weeks into pregnancy — for 14 days.(Trombly and Laird, 9/17)

Reuters:Abortion Gives Democrats A Shot At Flipping A Senate Seat In Wisconsin
Evidence is building that a wave of women voters might be the difference-maker if Democrats are to keep their Senate majority and stem their expected losses in the House of Representatives in the Nov. 8 midterm elections. Wisconsin is one of several states where voter registrations among women have surged since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. (Oliphant, 9/16)

Politico:Abortion Ruling Has Put These 5 California House Races In Play
Control of the House will be decided by a handful of races around the nation, and California alone has at least five whose outcome may hinge on a single issue: abortion. ... Support for abortion rights is strong in California, where the Democrats who dominate state government have placed an initiative on the ballot to enshrine access in the state constitution. Prop 1, as it’s known, has support from 69 percent of likely voters. That’s expected to drive supporters of abortion rights to the polls in a way that will likely hurt GOP candidates in the tighter races, such as those held by Republican incumbents Rep. Mike Garcia in the suburbs at the northern edge of LA and Rep. Ken Calvert, who now must face voters in Palm Springs because of redistricting. (White, 9/18)

The Hill:White House Pushes For Monkeypox Funding As Cases Fall
Monkeypox cases are declining in many areas of the country, but the Biden administration is warning that the virus still poses a danger and pushing for lawmakers to approve itsmultibillion-dollar funding request to combat it. More than 23,000 infections have been confirmed in the U.S. during the outbreak, but the growth has slowed. Cases have dropped about 50 percent in the past month, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from an average of 440 cases a day on Aug. 16 to 170 cases a day on Sept. 14. (Weixel, 9/18)

NPR:What Are Your Chances Of Catching Monkeypox — Compared To COVID?
The concerns about catching monkeypox come at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is still in force, with over 300,000 cases reported daily across the globe and over 10,000 deaths per week. So how can people get a clear idea of what their chances are of contracting monkeypox? (Barnhart and Doucleff, 9/16)

(Video) GMA Regional TV Early Edition: October 19, 2022

Dallas Morning News:Monkeypox Case Confirmed At High School In Fort Worth ISD
A case of the monkeypox virus has been confirmed at a high school in Fort Worth ISD, the district announced Friday. The case involves someone at Arlington Heights High School, but it’s unclear whether the person infected is a student or an employee. The district said it began sanitizing the school immediately to help curb the spread of the virus, and encouraged parents to monitor their children for 21 days to see if they develop symptoms. (Landers, 9/16)

CIDRAP:Low Risk Of Monkeypox Spread Noted In Health Workers
In a report today of 313 healthcare workers (HCWs) exposed to monkeypox in Colorado, none of them contracted the virus, despite few wearing the recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) or receiving postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) vaccination. (Soucheray, 9/16)

The New York Times:Is There Anything You Can Do To Prevent Or Treat Monkeypox Scars?
Although the scabs are a sign that the painful infection is about to be cleared, there is a possibility that some patients will still have redness or discoloration afterward that will fade with time, said Dr. Mary Stevenson, an assistant professor of dermatology at N.Y.U. Langone Health. In some cases, people may also be left with permanent scars. (Sheikh, 9/19)

Becker's Hospital Review:Supply For Moderna's Omicron Booster Hits Snag
Two weeks after the CDC and FDA authorized Moderna's bivalent omicron booster for emergency use, doses are running out in a few U.S. states.Some pharmacies and hospitals in Hawaii, California and Washington, D.C., have reported they're out of Moderna's omicron-targeted vaccine. Despite these hiccups in supply, Moderna has not cited any reasons for manufacturing or shipment delays.(Twenter, 9/16)

Bend Bulletin:St. Charles Health System To Welcome Back Unvaccinated Workers
Hospital administrators have lifted the requirement that all health care professionals at St. Charles Health System must be vaccinated against COVID-19, nearly a year after it had been put in place. The health system said it would now allow workers who had an approved religious or medical exception to work at the health system even if they are not vaccinated against COVID-19. This follows the state’s rules requiring COVID-19 vaccination updated in April. (Roig, 9/15)

Stat:Have Researchers Hit A Wall In The Hunt For Severe Covid Drugs?
It seemed interminably slow then, what with all the haze and fear of fresh plague, but in hindsight it was a medical marvel: From January 2020 to February 2021, researchers proved four different effective therapies for patients hospitalized with Covid-19 — a lightning pace for drug research, where progress is often measured in decades. That picture has changed starkly. (Mast, 9/19)

Stateline:Pandemic Prompts More States To Mandate Paid Sick Leave
For all the punishment COVID-19 has inflicted in New Mexico, the virus also is responsible for the state enacting one of the broadest paid sick leave laws in the country. “It’s almost completely related to the pandemic,” said Democratic state Sen. Mimi Stewart, who co-sponsored the bill in her chamber. (Ollove, 9/16)

AP:N. Carolina Hospitals Offer New Medicaid Expansion Proposal
North Carolina’s hospitals and hospital systems on Friday unveiled an offer that could shake up stalled negotiations to pass legislation that would expand Medicaid to cover hundreds of thousands of low-income adults in the state. The North Carolina Healthcare Association said the offer sent to Republican legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper also contained reforms to some state laws that require regulatory approval before certain medical buildings can be constructed or services offered in a region. (Robertson, 9/16)

(Video) 7.5 magnitude quake shakes Mexico on anniversary of two previous tremors

AP:Parents Win Key Ruling In Michigan Newborn Blood Dispute
A judge has found key parts of Michigan’s newborn blood-testing program unconstitutional in a challenge by four parents who raised concerns about how leftover samples are used long after screening for rare diseases. The lawsuit is not a class action. But the decision this week is likely to have an impact on how the state maintains millions of dried blood spots and makes them available for outside research. (White, 9/16)

The Boston Globe:West Nile Virus Detected In R.I.
This year’s first human case of West Nile virus has been detected in a person in Providence County who is currently hospitalized, state health officials said Friday. The unidentified person is in their 70s and reportedly started experiencing symptoms of the West Nile virus almost three weeks ago, according to Joseph Wendelken, a spokesman for the state health department. (Gagosz, 9/17)

The Washington Post:Families Destroyed By Fentanyl Deaths Rally Near The White House
April Babcock and Virginia Krieger both lost children to the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl and have pleaded with lawmakers and officials to ramp up enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border to stop the flow of illicit drugs. On Saturday, the mothers built a kind of wall. Fifty banners stretched for about 400 feet, nearly spanning the width of the National Mall. They featured faces of nearly 3,500 people who lost their lives to fentanyl. Many were young, even teenagers. Some wore their high school jerseys or graduation caps. They smiled, forever frozen in time on the banners, which Babcock said represented the thousands of people who have died of opioid use. (Kornfield, 9/18)

Indianapolis Star:Overdoses Are Marion County Coroner's Office Leading Cause Of Death
In its annual report examining trends among the decedents it takes in, the Marion County Coroner's Office recorded 799people last year died from accidental drug intoxication. The alarming statistics surpassed the number of people examined by the office who died from heart disease − long at the top of the list − blunt force trauma and firearms for the second year in a row. (Nelson, 9/19)

AP:Recovering Addicts Work To Help Others In 'Project Recover'
Joy Bogese is one of four peer recovery specialists who have been working in central Virginia this year as part of “Project Recover.” The specialists are embedded with ambulance crews and police officers so they can offer guidance and resources to victims during one of the most difficult times of their lives — immediately following an overdose. (Lavoie, 9/17)

Stat:Intellia's CRISPR Treatment Corrects DNA Of 6 Patients With Rare Disease
Intellia Therapeutics said Friday the first six patients to receive its CRISPR-based treatment for a genetic swelling disorder have safely had small, corrective changes made to dysfunctional DNA inside their liver cells. (Molteni, 9/16)

(Video) PBS NewsHour full episode, Sept. 19, 2022

USA Today:Every Cure To Seek New Uses For Generic Drugs To Treat Rare Diseases
"No one is responsible for ensuring that drugs are fully utilized for all diseases they can help," said Every Cure co-founder Dr. David Fajgenbaum."We're taking on that responsibility." Every Cure aims to raise $55 million to coordinate drug data, identify generics that might offer hope for patients with a rare diseaseand bring the most promisingdrugs through clinical trials.(Weintraub, 9/18)

Bloomberg:Nurse Claims Forced Arbitration Was Used To Trap Him In Job Juggling 40 Patients
A staffing agency that serves health-care facilities in New York state was accused in a lawsuit of using hardball legal tactics to stop workers from quitting low-paid jobs. The complaint, filed Friday by a nurse who immigrated to the US from the Philippines, is the latest to allege that employers are resorting to illegal means to trap foreign workers in assignments that burnt-out American caregivers no longer want. (Eidelson, 9/16)

NBC News:1 In 5 Households Has Medical Debt. That Includes People With Private Insurance
"The kinds of things we saw in our study are virtually nonexistent in most other wealthy nations," said the study’s lead author David Himmelstein, a professor at the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College in New York City. The U.S. needs a "real big change." (Lovelace Jr., 9/16)

(Video) 'Bloomberg Surveillance: Early Edition' Full (10/19/22)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations.Sign up for an email subscription.


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