Tuesday, February 21, 2023 | Kaiser Health News

Medical Clinic To Open Near Ohio Train Derailment Site

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced that the state will open the clinic to evaluate people who are concerned in the aftermath of the toxic train incident. Also in the news, a lawsuit in California over damaged IVF embryos, mental health professional shortages in Texas, and more.

Clinic To Open Near Ohio Derailment As Health Worries Linger

Early next week, the state plans to open a medical clinic in the village to evaluate those who are worried and analyze their symptoms, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced. The clinic will include a team of experts in chemical exposures that is being deployed to eastern Ohio. (Orsagos and Seewer, 2/17)

Ohio Train Derailment: Experts On Toxic Chemical Risks

It’s been more than two weeks since a Norfolk Southern train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, spilling chemicals onto the ground and into waterways, and releasing them into the air as damaged cars burst into flames. A few days later, on February 6, officials intentionally released vinyl chloride gas from five train cars and burned it in order to avoid an explosion. Here’s a look at what we know so far about the potential hazards of air, soil, and water contamination stemming from the train derailment, and what experts say about the chemicals’ possible long term-risks to health. (Neimark, 2/21)

In other news from across the states —

The Washington Post:
Embryos Were Damaged After IVF Clinic Used Spoiled Oil, Lawsuit Says

A California couple hoping to start a family someday turned to in vitro fertilization — storing their embryos with a plan to use them later to have “one or more children,” according to a lawsuit. But in January, the couple received news they’d hoped to never hear from their fertility clinic. All of the embryos they’d stored were damaged. (Somasundaram, 2/21)

The Texas Tribune:
Texas’ Shortage Of Mental Health Care Professionals Is Getting Worse 

In 2016, the warnings about the future of the Texas mental health care workforce were clear. “More than 80 percent of Texas counties are designated as Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas, which are defined as more than 30,000 residents per clinician,” the Texas Statewide Behavioral Health Strategic Plan stated seven years ago. “Many of the most experienced and skilled practitioners are approaching retirement. … Texas higher education institutions have been unable to produce enough graduates to meet the predicted demand.” But no forecaster predicted a global pandemic that sparked months of lockdowns and restrictions on public life that left both Texas and a nation seeking to counter the resulting anxiety and depression. (Simpson, 2/21)

New Hampshire Public Radio:
New Study Estimates 55% Of New Hampshire’s Groundwater Probably Has Elevated Radon Levels 

The new study mapping radon and uranium levels in New Hampshire looks at probability. It found that more than half the state’s groundwater has a 50% or higher probability of radon levels above what’s considered safe. The state says levels higher than 2,000 picocuries per liter are unsafe to drink. The study also estimated 76% of New Hampshire groundwater has a 50% or higher probability of detectable concentrations of uranium. (Han, 2/20)

Maryland Lawmakers Want To Modernize Mental Health Services

A bipartisan group of Maryland lawmakers on Friday gathered to express their support for a package of legislation to modernize and improve access to mental health services in the state. The measures focus on getting people help earlier, preferably in community and primary care settings, before they experience a mental health crisis requiring costly trips to the emergency room or in-patient care. (Witte, 2/17)

The CT Mirror:
Advocates: Medicaid Rates Leave CT Kids Without Autism Services

On a bad day in Antoinette Snow’s quest to get medication management services for her 15-year-old grandson, who has an autism diagnosis, the call goes something like this: “We no longer participate in HUSKY.” Click. On a good day, it’s more like: “I would be glad to take you in, but I don’t participate in Medicaid or HUSKY. I’ll give you a number to this doctor that does.” (Monk, 2/20)

The CT Mirror:
HUSKY Insurance Is ‘Unwinding’ In CT. Here’s What To Know

A federal pandemic policy that guaranteed Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents is coming to an end. Typically, people who receive Medicaid, known as HUSKY in Connecticut, go through an annual process to confirm whether they still qualify for the program. But, during the pandemic, the federal government instituted a policy, known as “continuous enrollment,” that prevented states from kicking people off of Medicaid, even if they no longer qualified or failed to update their eligibility information. (Golvala, 2/21)

News Service of Florida:
Lawmaker Eyes Medicaid Managed-Care Program For People With Developmental Disabilities

A House Republican has filed a proposal that would create a pilot program to provide Medicaid managed-care services to people with developmental disabilities. State Rep. Wyman Duggan of Jacksonville on Wednesday filed the proposal (HB 831) for consideration during the legislative session that will start March 7. It would create a managed-care pilot program in Miami-Dade County that would provide “comprehensive services” to Medicaid beneficiaries with developmental disabilities. (2/20)

Also —

Cleanup Workers Got Sick After Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. They Want BP To Pay

The oil washed ashore every day, globs of tarlike ooze blighting sugar-white sand beaches. Rodney Boblitt’s job was to report it. A special agent for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, he was assigned to patrol 14 miles of Panhandle beaches on an all-terrain vehicle, alerting cleanup crews to new slicks from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. (O’Donnell and Chesnes, 2/21)

Journalist Angela Hart Furnishes Framework On Homelessness In California

KHN senior correspondent Angela Hart discussed homelessness in California and Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s legacy on KPBS’ “Midday Edition” on Feb. 9. She discussed the same issue on Cap Radio’s “Insight” on Feb. 13. (2/18)

Bessie Venters

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Religion news: Special events at area houses of worship

Tue Feb 21 , 2023
Jews and Jim Crow Class Becca Diamond Learn about how Jews viewed racial issues in the Jim Crow Era and the complicated origins of the Black-Jewish relationship. The class is offered 7:30-8:30 pm on Thursday, Feb. 23, or Thursday, March 2, based on research from Rabbi Becca Diamond’s rabbinical thesis […]
Religion news: Special events at area houses of worship

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