Healthwatch | WYPR

Healthwatch

Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore City Health Commissioner
Credit Baltimore City Health Department

Healthwatch is Midday's regular series of conversations with Dr. Leana Wen, the Baltimore City Health Commissioner, about current and emerging issues affecting the health and well-being of Charm City residents.

Ever since her appointment by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in January 2015, Dr. Wen has pursued a radically holistic vision of public health: she believes that people's health and well-being are at the root of every critical issue in modern city life, from crime and incarceration, to housing and homelessness, to addiction and education.  In our regular conversations with the Health Commissioner, we explore these links, while she keeps us up to date on how the city is meeting Baltimore’s unique public health challenges.

Today we begin the hour with another edition of the Midday Healthwatch Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen is here to discuss some of the troubling new data on Maryland’s opioid problem, and some new efforts by Congressman Elijah Cummings and Senator Elizabeth Warren to help address it. She'll explain why the city has joined a lawsuit to stop the Trump Administration’s continuing efforts to gut the Affordable Care Act, and why Baltimore is fighting a White House plan to restrict Title X funding for women’s health programs. Dr. Wen also describes the importance of last week's Breastfeeding Awareness Week...and she takes your questions and comments about public health!

Today's Healthwatch was live-streamed on Facebook; the video is available on WYPR's Facebook page.

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Today it's another edition of the Midday Healthwatch, when Dr. Leana Wen, the Health Commissioner of Baltimore City, joins Tom to talk about current issues in public health. 

What are the long-term health effects of the psychological trauma experienced by thousands of children separated from their immigrant parents by US border officials in recent months?

Following Tuesday's primary election, the political battle lines have been drawn in the race for Maryland Governor.  When it comes to health care, how do the actions of Governor Larry Hogan stack-up against the proposals of Democratic challenger Ben Jealous? 

The Trump Administration has proposed changes to federal Title X grant regulations that some are calling a gag rule, because they would restrict what physicians can tell their patients in conversations about contraception, abortion, and reproductive health services. 

Dr. Wen also discusses progress toward passage of the CARE Act, a new legislative assault on the opioid crisis proposed recently by Rep. Elijah Cummings and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

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Before beginning today's Healthwatch conversation with Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen, Tom talks with WYPR reporter Mary Rose Madden about the news that Baltimore Police Commissioner Daryl DeSousa has been charged by federal prosecutors with not filing tax returns for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015.  DeSousa has admitted to the facts filed in Federal Court yesterday, and he’s apologized.

Following today's Midday broadcast, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh announced she has suspended Mr. DeSousa with pay until the matter is "resolved." In the meantime, the police chief position will be filled by Deputy Commissioner Gary Tuggle, a former top-ranking Drug Enforcement Administration official tapped by De Sousa in March to oversee strategic and support services for the City.
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As Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz is laid to rest this afternoon, we’ll begin today with a conversation about heart disease.  Mr. Kamenetz’s sudden passing has left a lot of people wondering, “How can a man, who was only 60 years old, not overweight, a healthy eater, and a person who exercised regularly, die of a heart attack?”

Dr. Leana Wen, the Health Commissioner of Baltimore City reminds us of what we can do to prevent heart disease.  She joins Tom on this edition of the Midday Healthwatch, our regular conversations with Dr. Wen about important public health issues affecting the well-being of all Baltimorians.  

On today’s edition of Healthwatch, with Baltimore City Health Commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen:

Behavioral Health System Baltimore and the Baltimore City Health Department have announced plans to open the city’s first Stabilization Center, with $3.6 million in funds from the State Legislature. 

Cuts by the Trump Administration to the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative threatens the  progress made locally and nationally in reducing the number of unwanted teen pregnancies.  We speak with Healthy Teen Network President, Pat Paluzzi, DrPH, about the impact these cuts will have on her clients. 

Finally, senior citizens in Baltimore fall more often than seniors elsewhere.  Roughly 5,000 visits to emergency rooms last year were because of people taking a tumble.  What can be done to keep older folks on their feet?

Dr. Wen answers our questions for the hour, and takes your calls, emails and tweets about your public health concerns.

Photo by Tom Kelley/Getty Images

On this edition of the Midday Healthwatch:  a busy week for public health advocates.  Members of the Baltimore City Council voted unanimously Monday to approve a measure requiring restaurants to replace the sugary soft drinks offered in most kids’ meals with more healthful milk, juice or water -- a response to the city's rampant childhood-obesity rates. In Annapolis, advocates pressed state lawmakers for new controls on soaring prescription drug prices. They also lobbied to bolster mandatory insurance provisions of the beleaguered Affordable Care Act, and they sparred over a bill that would impose tough new conditions on the use of the life-saving anti-overdose drug Narcan, or Naloxone, by repeat opioid abusers.

Joining Tom in the studio -- and taking a break from the front lines of public health advocacy -- is  our regular guest on the Midday HealthwatchBaltimore City Health Commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen.  She talks about some of the key legislative battles being waged over public health policy, and addresses listeners' comments and questions. 

Photo courtesy mrs.sog.unc.edu

Today, another edition of the Midday Healthwatch with Dr. Leana Wen, the Health Commissioner of Baltimore City.  Lawmakers in Annapolis and Washington are wrestling with competing views on prescription drug affordability, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, legislation to stem the rising tide of opioid addiction, and changes to the Affordable Care Act, among other issues. 

What are the feds and the state willing to do to help cities like Baltimore, who are strapped for cash, and who have no shortage of people in need?

And with influenza season in full swing, what can you do to protect yourself and the ones you love, particularly children and the elderly, who are most at risk for a disease that can be fatal?

Baltimore's Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen spends the hour discussing how the city is responding to its most pressing public health concerns, and answering your questions and comments.

photo courtesy gbmc.org

It's another edition of the Midday Healthwatch, our monthly conversation with Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana WenShe’ll bring us up to date on the city’s continuing battle with the twin epidemics of violence and drug abuse.  We’ll also talk about health insurance.  Record numbers of Marylanders are signing up under the Affordable Care Act.  How the city’s B’more for Healthy Babies initiative is giving babies a healthy start.  And, despite record high temperatures today, it’s Code Blue season.  How are some of our most vulnerable citizens going to stay safe this winter? 

It’s another edition of the Midday Healthwatch, our monthly conversation with Baltimore City Health Commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen.    

According to the latest estimate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 142 Americans die every day from a drug overdose  -- more than 50,000 people every year. The majority of these deaths, now surging in more than 30 states, are being caused by powerful illicit opioid drugs like heroin and fentanyl, and widely-used prescription painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone, the active opioids in Percocet and Vicodin, respectively.

Courtesy of Medscape

It’s another edition of Healthwatch, our monthly conversations with Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen.  She and Tom discuss a wide range of public health issues, from the weekend’s dangerous heat to the hot drama on Capitol Hill as Senate Republicans continue their struggle to repeal Obamacare. They also talk about White House plans to cut essential public health budgets, and about new state funds for a city program promoting healthier food options in the city's corner food stores. And Dr. Wen has the latest on the continuing threat of the mosquito-borne Zika virus -- remember the Zika virus?

Courtesy AP Photo

The Senate version of healthcare legislation is the topic on most people’s minds on Capitol Hill. Senate leadership wants to replace the Affordable Care Act with The Better Care Reconciliation Act.  As of this moment, passage of the Senate health care bill appears somewhat in doubt. Yesterday’s CBO score, and a chorus of critics, say the Senate bill will cause at least 15 million Americans to lose their health insurance by next year. It remains to be seen what effect passing the bill would have on patients, doctors, hospitals, insurers, and public health agencies, although there are plenty of people from each of those groups who have criticized McConnell’s “discussion draft” of the bill.

On today’s edition of Healthwatch, our monthly conversation about health and well-being in Baltimore with Baltimore City Health Commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen, we’ll talk about the impact the Senate bill might have on our city’s most vulnerable populations, and the ongoing fight to quell the growing opioid epidemic. 

Yesterday, President Trump issued a budget plan that proposes dramatic cuts to Medicaid and other programs like SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, often referred to as food stamps. Despite campaign promises to the contrary, the president wants to reduce Medicaid spending over 10 years by as much as $1.4 trillion according to some estimates. The Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides healthcare support under Medicaid to low income children, would be cut by 20% in the first year alone. This of course comes after House Republicans passed a health care bill to replace the Affordable Care Act earlier this month. Some in the Senate have vowed to start over, rather than work with the House bill as they craft their own. 

What could these cuts mean for the most vulnerable folks living in our city who rely on programs like Medicaid and food stamps to survive? Tom is joined by Dr. Leana Wen, the Health Commissioner of the city of Baltimore, for the Midday Healthwatch. 

Medscape.com

In a dramatic political showdown last week on the nation’s health insurance system, the Republican-led House and a determined President Trump tried but failed to repeal and replace The Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare. Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision to withdraw his controversial bill, because of defections by both conservative and moderate Republicans, means the ACA remains the law of the land. But with opponents still vowing to bring the program down, are critical medical coverage and public health services still in jeopardy? 

Concerns were also raised this month by the Trump Administration’s proposed 2018 budget, which would boost defense spending and sharply reduce funding to federal agencies like Health and Human Services, whose budget would be cut by 18% next year. What would such cuts mean for the future of medical research, maternal health care and addiction treatment?

For now, Governor Larry Hogan's declaration earlier this month of a State of Emergency provides an extra 50 million dollars over the next five years to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic in Maryland, and help support the state's prevention, recovery and enforcement efforts. 

Today, it’s another edition of the Midday Healthwatch, our monthly visit with Dr. Leana Wen, the Health Commissioner of the City of Baltimore. She joins Tom in the studio to talk about the ACA going forward, the state's continuing battle against the opioid epidemic, and other issues on the front lines of public health.

US News and World Report

Last week, the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, released an outline of how House Republicans hope to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama Care. The legislative blueprint, which offers no precise cost estimates, includes significant changes to Medicaid, grants to states, health savings accounts, and tax credits. Similar repeal-and-replace drafts are circulating as well among Republicans in the Senate, and will have to be reconciled with the House proposal.

On Wednesday, the US Conference of Mayors called for a National Day of Action to talk about the potential consequences of repealing Obama Care.  The Mayors point to  impacts on the health and safety of low income residents of their cities, and the financial strain changes may put on local hospitals.

Today on the Midday Healthwatch, Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore's  health commissioner (and first-time expectant mom!), joins Tom to talk about what the effects of an ACA repeal might be on Charm City.  We’ll take your calls, your questions and comments. 

National Press Foundation

Mirroring the nationwide epidemic, the number of opioid addiction and abuse victims in Baltimore continues to rise, and overdose cases crowd the city’s emergency rooms.  Last week, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan appointed a Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force, and proposed new legislation for the General Assembly that would put strict limits on opioid prescriptions and impose tough new penalties for traffickers.  On this month's edition of  HealthwatchBaltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen joins Tom Hall  to discuss the city’s continuing response to the opioid epidemic. 

Dr. Wen answers our questions for the hour,  and takes your calls, emails and tweets about your public health concerns.

Photo courtesy Washington City Paper

Today, another edition of Healthwatch, our monthly series of conversations with Dr. Leana Wen, the Health Commissioner of Baltimore City.

This year, more than 300 people have been victims of homicides in Baltimore, but nearly that number died of opioid overdoses in just the first six months of 2016.  Congress has passed the 21st Century Cures Act, directing one billion dollars to target the national epidemic of opioid addiction and support new mental health research and treatment programs.  How will that affect local efforts to help people caught in the grips of drug dependency?  Dr. Wen -- the co-chair of a local group assembled to devise a comprehensive strategy, and a national leader in addressing this national dilemma -- discusses the outlook for curbing the opioid addiction epidemic.

Dr. Wen takes listener calls, tweets and emails during the conversation.

The segment concludes with Tom Hall's appreciation of some prominent Baltimoreans who passed on during 2016, whose contributions to the life of the city will be sorely missed. 

It’s the Midday Healthwatch with Dr. Leana Wen, the Health Commissioner of Baltimore City.  There’s good news for babies in Baltimore: the infant mortality rate fell to record low levels in 2015.  And there is an effort afoot to help those healthy babies grow into healthy teenagers.  We’ll look at the ways the city is implementing its new Youth Health and Wellness Strategy.  Plus, the future of Obamacare:  If President Elect Trump makes good on his promise to repeal and replace the ACA, what will that mean for local health departments struggling to address the needs of the uninsured, and the under-insured?  Even though rates for some plans are rising, is the ACA still a good deal for some people?

Dr. Leana Wen joins Tom in the studio for an hour of conversation about important public health issues affecting the people of Baltimore, and she takes your calls, emails and tweets.

On Wednesday, September 28th, Congress finally approved long-delayed funding to fight the Zika epidemic.  What will that one-point-one billion dollar measure mean for the battle against  the mosquito borne disease in MD?  Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen joins Tom Hall  for our monthly Healthwatch segment.  She’ll have an update on the status of local control efforts.

Other topics today include how the city plans to use a new 5-million dollar federal grant to help West Baltimore communities traumatized by the violence of the 2015 uprising.   And Dr. Wen notes the second HealthyBaltimore 2020 conversation planned for Thursday evening, from 6-8pm, at the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum. These townhall meetings are an opportunity for city residents to learn more about the city's new strategy for bringing more equitable health and wellness services to Baltimorians before the end of the decade. Check out the event site www.hb2020.com for details

National Press Foundation

Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen joins Tom in the studio for our monthly Healthwatch conversation. Dr. Wen discusses how to stay safe during our dangerous Code Red heat-alert conditions. The Health Commissioner also talks about the continuing efforts to keep the Zika virus from spreading in Maryland, about the serious opioid overdose epidemic in Baltimore, and the informational website DontDie.org  that the city recently launched, which shows you how to administer Naloxone, a drug that can save a person from a potentially fatal opioid overdose.

Photo from CDC.gov

Dr. Leana Wen is Baltimore City’s Health Commissioner, and she joins us here on Maryland Morning each month for our Healthwatch segment -- conversations about issues affecting the health and well-being of Charm City residents.

In today's program, Dr. Wen talks with Tom about the national epidemic of gun violence, much of it involving young people, and why her campaign to combat this scourge has become such an urgent public health challenge. Dr. Wen made a similar case in her presentation at last month's 5th National Summit on Preventing Youth Violence, held here in Baltimore. 

Dr. Wen  laments US Congressional failure in recent legislation to increase funding for opioid addiction treatment programs.  She also describes the steps the city is taking to protect against the Zika virus.

And with temperatures in Baltimore soaring into the 90s this week, Dr. Wen has some important advice for staying safe during the heat wave.  

Washington Post

    

Dr. Leana Wen is Baltimore City’s Health Commissioner, and she joins us here on Maryland Morning each month for our Healthwatch segment -- conversations about issues affecting the health and well-being of Charm City residents.

In today's program, Dr. Wen talks with Tom about her continuing campaign against opioid painkiller abuse, and her participation  last week with other Baltimore community leaders in a White House meeting on the city's social and economic resurgence.

And Dr. Wen talks with Tom about the obesity threat posed by sugary drinks, and her support for pending City Council legislation requiring warning signs to be posted wherever sugar-sweetened beverages are sold. For more information about the proposal to require warnings about sugary drinks, click here.

Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun

For our regular Healthwatch series Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore’s Health Commissioner, joins us in-studio to discuss issues affecting the health and well-being of Charm City residents. 

This month she joins Tom to discuss the Vision for Baltimore program that provides free on-site vision testing and prescription eyeglasses to all city school students from elementary to middle school. Dr. Wen also shares the city's plan to prepare for a potential rise in Zika virus rates this summer.

Baltimore City Health Department

We begin this morning with Dr. Leana Wen. She is Baltimore’s Health Commissioner, and a regular guest on our program for a series we call Healthwatch. Dr. Wen joins us here in the studio once a month to talk about issues affecting the health and well-being of Charm City residents…and she’s just back from the National Prescription Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta, where on Tuesday she joined President Obama and a panel of experts for a discussion of the nation’s, and Baltimore’s, epidemic of opioid drug abuse.

health.baltimorecity.gov/

Beginning this month, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana S. Wen joins Tom every month for a series of Maryland Morning segments we call Healthwatch:  ​conversations about issues affecting the health and well-being of Charm City residents.

Today, Dr. Wen discusses key elements of the Health Department's new White Paper: The State of Health in Baltimore (Winter 2016), which includes persistently high rates of HIV infection among some of the city's most marginalized populations.

Ever since her appointment by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in January 2015, Dr. Wen has pursued a radically holistic vision of public health: she believes that people's health and well-being are at the root of every critical issue in modern city life, from crime and incarceration, to housing and homelessness, to addiction and education.  In the months ahead, we’ll ask the Health Commissioner to explore these links with us, and to keep us all up to date on how the city is meeting Baltimore’s unique public health challenges.