Military Responds To Troops’ Psychological Well being Disaster In Alaska

Also, news about nursing home conditions in Indiana, another hospital superbug outbreak, respiratory illness among Houston children, and more.

USA Today: Army Rushes Counselors To Alaska Amid Suicide Crisis

The Army is rushing more than 40 mental health counselors and chaplains to Alaska in coming weeks to address its suicide crisis among soldiers there. The move, announced by Army Secretary Christine Wormuth, follows a USA TODAY investigation that found soldiers in Alaska who had sought help for suicidal thoughts often waited weeks to see behavioral health counselors. In 2021, 17 soldiers died by confirmed or suspected suicide, more than the two previous years combined. The Army plans to send five behavioral health counselors, 17 family life counselors and 19 chaplains to meet the urgent demand among soldiers for help with mental health, Wormuth told the House Armed Services Committee. (Vanden Brook, 5/18)

In nursing home news from Indiana and Nevada —

Indianapolis Star: Lawsuit: Nursing Home Conditions Made Rape And Murder ‘Inevitable’

The rape and murder of an 80-year-old woman at an Indianapolis nursing home was the “inevitable result” of poor staffing and horrible conditions at the facility, according to a wrongful death lawsuit the victim’s family filed Tuesday in Marion Superior Court. Patricia Newnum, a grandmother who sang gospel songs at her church, was killed in February at Homestead Healthcare Center, a nursing home on the city’s south side. Another resident, Dwayne Freeman, 60, is charged with murder and rape in her death. (Cook, 5/18)

Las Vegas Review-Journal: ‘Superbug’ Outbreaks Reported At Nevada Hospitals, Nursing Facilities

State and federal health authorities are investigating ongoing outbreaks at Nevada hospitals and nursing homes of a drug-resistant “superbug” that can lead to serious illness and even death. As of mid-April, the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services has been investigating acute outbreaks of a fungus called Candida auris at-care hospitals, long-term acute-care hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, according to a technical bulletin sent by the state to health care providers. (Hynes, 5/17)

More health news from across the US —

The New York Times: Mayor Adams Unveils Program To Address Dyslexia In NYC Schools

Mayor Eric Adams announced Thursday the details of a plan to turn around a literacy crisis in New York City and, in particular, to serve thousands of children in public schools who may have dyslexia, an issue deeply personal to the mayor, who has said his own undiagnosed dyslexia hurt his academic career. School officials plan to screen nearly all students for dyslexia, while 80 elementary schools and 80 middle schools will receive additional support for addressing the needs of children with dyslexia. The city will also open two new dyslexia programs — one at PS 125 Ralph Bunche in Harlem and the other at PS 161 Juan Ponce de Leon in the South Bronx — with a goal of opening similar programs in each borough by 2023. (Fadulu, 5 /12)

The Boston Globe: ‘We’re Losing Lives.’ Black, Latino Leaders Tackle Racial Health Disparities

Black and Latino health care and business leaders on Monday launched a new initiative, the Health Equity Compact, that aims to combat racial and ethnic disparities in Massachusetts laid bare by the pandemic. Among the 41 leaders are such names as Lee Pelton, president of The Boston Foundation; Dr. Kevin Churchwell, CEO of Boston Children’s Hospital; and Cain Hayes, president of Point32 Health, the state’s second-largest health insurer. The group’s main objective is to design — and lobby the state Legislature to pass — an expansive reform bill aimed at closing the deeply entrenched gaps between health outcomes for Black and Latino residents and their white neighbours. (Damiano, 5/16)

st. Louis Post-Dispatch: Transplant Patients And Families Have A New Place To Stay In St. Louis

Mid-America Transplant on Wednesday will mark the opening of its new $12.3 million Family House in the Dogtown neighborhood, providing out-of-town patients needing transplants a place to stay at little or no cost while waiting for and recovering from a transplant. Elected officials, hospital administrators, surgeons and former patients are scheduled to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the 34,000-square-foot building with 15 one-bedroom and six two-bedroom apartments. (Munz, 5/17)

Houston Chronicle: Houston Kids Are Getting Sick At An Unusual Rate This Spring. Here’s Why, According To Doctors

Houston doctors are noticing an unusual uptick of common respiratory illnesses among kids, such as the flu and rhinovirus, the predominant cause of a cold. Overall, the illnesses are not severe enough to require hospitalization but may be keeping kids home from school with a fever, sore throat, cough, and a variety of other symptoms. The trend is not surprising to Dr. Michael Chang, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at UTHealth and Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. (Gill, 5/17)

Stateline: Teens Period Poverty Activism Has Stirred Lawmakers To Action

For many years, Laila Brown, a 16-year-old from Vicksburg, Mississippi, and her peers had conversations about the stigma of periods and the lack of period products at school. After learning about “period poverty,” or inadequate access to menstrual hygiene products and education, Brown and her older sister, Asia, 21, wanted to help. In January 2021, they co-founded 601 for Period Equity, a menstrual equity organization named after the Vicksburg area code, that focuses on education, advocacy and distribution of free pads, tampons and other menstrual products. “I remember hearing girls in the restroom [say], ‘I need some pads. My period just started, and I’m not prepared,”” Laila Brown told Stateline. “A lot of times it’s not only [about] not having access [to products], but it’s also being caught off guard. Sometimes people cannot afford to always have pads on deck.” (Wright, 5/16)

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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