The Health News USA January 23 2018

  • The flu season that’s already been the worst in nearly a decade is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon, according to the latest report from the nation’s health protection agency. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the flu that is blanketing every state except Hawaii is growing more intense and deadly. So far this season, the flu has claimed the lives of at least 30 children.
  • A group of state lawmakers want to ask voters this year to approve five hundred million dollars in bonds to pay for mental health facilities and other treatment centers. Senator John Braun, a Centralia Republican who sponsored the legislation, says his bill would kick-start an effort to build mental health facilities around Washington to take pressure off overburdened Western State Hospital.
  • After thousands of customers’ HIV statuses were revealed in mailings last year, a federal class-action lawsuit against health care company Aetna has reached a $17 million settlement. The lawsuit was filed in August after some 12,000 Aetna customers nationwide received letters mailed in July that accidentally revealed their HIV status through the windows of the envelopes, indicating they were taking either HIV medications or PrEP, a medication that prevents HIV.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 23rd of January 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2018/01/21/flu-season-getting-worse-as-illness-has-lot-more-steam-than-expected.html

The flu season that’s already been the worst in nearly a decade is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon, according to the latest report from the nation’s health protection agency.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the flu that is blanketing every state except Hawaii is growing more intense and deadly. So far this season, the flu has claimed the lives of at least thirty children.
….
Thirty-two states reported high patient traffic last week, up from twenty six the previous week. That is how the CDC gets a measure of the season based on how many doctor or hospital visits are because of cough or other flu symptoms. Overall, the health agency said it was the busiest week for flu symptoms in nine years.
….
The virus that’s predominating this year is Influenza A HthreeNtwo, and that tends to be more severe and it affects the elderly and the very young. In a bad season, there are as many as fifty six thousand deaths connected to the flu. In the U.S., annual flu shots are recommended for everyone age 6 months or older.
….
In Mississippi, flu outbreaks have hit more than one hundred nursing homes and other long-term care places, resulting in some restricting visitors.

http://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Bill-would-use-bonds-to-fund-more-mental-health-12513445.php

A group of state lawmakers want to ask voters this year to approve five hundred million dollars in bonds to pay for mental health facilities and other treatment centers. Senator John Braun, a Centralia Republican who sponsored the legislation, says his bill would kick-start an effort to build mental health facilities around Washington to take pressure off overburdened Western State Hospital.

The News Tribune reports that Braun’s effort has already won support from some Senate Democrats and other key lawmakers. If approved by voters, the bonds would not apply to Washington’s constitutionally set debt limit, which governs how much the state can borrow for construction projects. State Treasurer Duane Davidson, a Republican, says he understands the need for more mental health treatment but is worried about the state’s high debt load.

http://edition.cnn.com/2018/01/17/health/aetna-hiv-privacy-settlement-bn/index.html

After thousands of customers’ HIV statuses were revealed in mailings last year, a federal class-action lawsuit against health care company Aetna has reached a seventeen million dollar settlement.

The lawsuit was filed in August after some twelve thousand Aetna customers nationwide received letters mailed in July that accidentally revealed their HIV status through the windows of the envelopes, indicating they were taking either HIV medications or PrEP, a medication that prevents HIV.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, which is now subject to court approval, Aetna has agreed to pay seventeen million one hundred sixty one thousand two hundred to resolve the privacy breach claims. That money will be used to send an automatic base payment of at least  five hundred dollars to those whose privacy was breached by the large-windowed envelopes.
An automatic base payment of seventy five dollars will be provided to about one thousand six hundred additional customers whose health information was allegedly disclosed to Aetna’s legal counsel and mail vendor.

Aetna was sued in two thousand fourteen and two thousand fifteen for requiring customers to receive their HIV medications through the mail and not allowing them to pick them up in person at pharmacy stores, the latest lawsuit noted. Those previous lawsuits were settled, and on July twenty eight, letters were sent in the mail to inform Aetna customers that they no longer had to mail-order their HIV medications.

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