The Health News USA August 14 2017

Overview

  • Federal data shows the number of senior citizens in Tennessee who are hospitalized due to painkillers has more than tripled over the last decade. The Tennessean reports the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality data showed that in 2015, 467 seniors out of every one hundred thousand spent time in the hospital due to opioids.
  • Teen pregnancy prevention projects attended by hundreds across the country, reaching more than a million youths, that are funded by a program the Trump administration has scheduled for elimination in its proposed budget. If Congress concurs, it will end the Obama-era effort to shift away from decades of reliance on abstinence-only programs, which showed little to no evidence of effectiveness.
  • More than 20,000 people have signed up for a free online course to better understand dementia. The University of Tasmania’s Understanding Dementia Massive Online Course (MOOC) is a nine-week online course drawing on the expertise of neuroscientists, clinicians and dementia care professionals.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 14th of August 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/tennessee/articles/2017-08-13/number-of-seniors-hospitalized-due-to-opioids-triples

Federal data shows the number of senior citizens in Tennessee who are hospitalized due to painkillers has more than tripled over the last decade. The Tennessean reports the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality data showed that in two thousand five, four hundred sixty seven seniors out of every one hundred thousand spent time in the hospital due to opioids. In two thousand fifteen, the rate had increased to one thousand five hundred five. The newspaper reports various reasons for hospitalizations, including auto accidents and falls after taking opioids, interactions with other medications and unintentional overdoses. The spike has left some advocates who work with seniors age sixty five and up puzzled. “We know that as America grows older there’s going to be more hip replacements or more falls, but I don’t think that counts for a nearly fourfold increase in opioid hospitalizations for this group,” said Grace Sutherland Smith, executive director for the Council on Aging of Middle Tennessee.

Experts say family members and doctors are more likely to overlook addiction in seniors. In addition, Dr. Peter Martin, a psychiatrist and director of the Vanderbilt Addiction Center, says no one in the past worried about seniors becoming addicts. Gerontologist Doctor Jim Powers tries to address the problem in the exam room, though he says some conversations can be awkward. Some patients have taken opioids for years for legitimate pain.

Powers says some patients are willing to try other means to control pain, such as therapy. Other patients “need professional help. They need tapering,” he said. “But the system is not ready to receive as many older patients with substance abuse disorder. As the population has grown older, we have not seen a corresponding increase in drug treatment programs.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/health/teen-pregnancy-prevention-trump-budget-cuts.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fhealth&action=click&contentCollection=health&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront

Teen pregnancy prevention projects attended by hundreds across the country, reaching more than a million youths, that are funded by a program the Trump administration has scheduled for elimination in its proposed budget. If Congress concurs, it will end the Obama-era effort to shift away from decades of relying on abstinence-only programs, which showed little to no evidence of effectiveness. Most projects begun under the Obama administration’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program that teaches about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases in addition to abstinence. Even before the budget is voted on, the Health and Human Services Department is reducing the projects, which it funds through grants of eighty nine million dollars a year to eighty one organizations.

Health commissioners from twenty large cities are protesting, writing to Tom Price, the health and human services secretary, that cutting funding “will not only reverse historic gains made in the U.S. in reducing teen pregnancy rates, but also make it difficult to truly understand what practices are most effective.” Shortly before the groups receiving grants learned their money would be cut early, a leader of an abstinence education advocacy organization, Valerie Huber, was named chief of staff to the health and human services assistant secretary who oversees adolescent health.

In what is widely considered a public health success story, teenage pregnancy rates have been declining nationally for twenty five years. Factors include sex education in schools, movies and shows about teenage pregnancy, cultural shifts that have made it easier for parents to discuss the issue with their children and greater availability of birth control, especially long-acting contraceptives like implants and intrauterine devices. But rates are still higher than in other industrialized countries, and there is little rigorous research about which approaches work. Students who were sexually inexperienced before seventh grade were more likely to have had sex by late ninth grade.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2017/08/07/congress-revamps-housing-program-benefit-areas-where-hiv-spreading/538189001/

Congress has restructured a federal program that provides housing assistance for people living with HIV to funnel more money into areas struggling to control the outbreak.

While legislators and housing advocates say the adjustments will better target regions with high rates of the virus, these changes are likely to mean less money for some of the large cities that handled the early effects of the epidemic. To help with the transition, Congress increased funding for the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS or HOPWA program about six percent this year. In the past, this money was distributed across the country based on a jurisdiction’s cumulative number of cases (including people who had died).  Now under the two thousand seventeen funding, finalized by Congress in May, HOPWA has awarded three hundred twenty point four million dollars to qualifying states and local jurisdictions to be apportioned primarily based on their share of the total number of people living with the virus.

The number cases required to qualify for funding also changed from one thousand five hundred cumulative AIDS cases to two thousand living cases of HIV/AIDS. No jurisdiction will receive less HOPWA money than in two thousand sixteen, but about twenty five cities and counties are getting a smaller piece of the pie than before. The top five seeing their percentage of funding drop are, in order, New York City, Atlanta, Miami, Washington, D.C., and Houston.

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