Wednesday, November 1, 2023 – KFF Health News

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Ban On Businesses’ Covid Shot Mandates Heads To Texas Governor

Under the law, private companies that punish workers for refusing a covid shot could get a $50,000 fine. Meanwhile, Houston Independent School District nurses are voicing their anger at a plan to have them staff two covid clinics without extra pay. Other news is from California, Florida, Long Island, and elsewhere.

The Texas Tribune:
COVID Vaccine Mandate Ban For Private Employers Heads To Texas Governor

A sweeping ban on COVID-19 vaccine mandates for employees of private Texas businesses is on its way to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk, carrying with it a $50,000 fine for employers who punish workers for refusing the shot. (Harper, 10/31)

Houston Chronicle:
HISD Nurses Frustrated With Vaccine Plan, Citing No Pay, Safety

Houston ISD nurses are voicing frustration with the district’s plans to have them staff two vaccine clinics in early November without extra pay or, in many cases, recent experience administering shots. Over 250 HISD nurses were informed last week that they are expected to report to one of the two vaccination sites between 7:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on both weekends, and that participation in the events is “mandatory and not optional,” according to emails shared with the Houston Chronicle. (González Kelly, 10/31)

Public Health Watch and Investigative Reporting Workshop:
East Texans Live With Diabetes At Higher Rate Than The National Average

Managing diabetes is difficult enough with health insurance. Doing it without insurance can feel impossible. The disease — the nation’s costliest chronic condition and especially prevalent among the poorest Americans — demands daily care and resources to keep it under control. Left untreated, it mushrooms through the body’s blood vessels, damaging organs and limbs and leaving behind a trail of disability and premature death. (Krisberg and Levithan, 11/1)

On health professionals’ pay in California —

Fresno Bee:
University Of California Paid 114 Doctors Over $1 Million Last Year. How Many Were Women? 

The University of California’s health system paid 113 medical professors at least $1 million in total pay last year. Only 12 of those high-earning health professionals were women, according to a Sacramento Bee analysis of 2022 payroll data from the UC Office of the President. (Miller and Reese, 10/31)

In health news from Florida —

WLRN 91.3 FM:
Floridians Can Begin Shopping For 2024 ACA Insurance Plans Wednesday 

The federal government has set the enrollment period for Affordable Care Act insurance from Wednesday to Jan. 15. Last year, Florida led the nation in the number of enrollees. (Zaragovia, 10/31)

Study: Hurricane Ian Unleashed Flesh-Eating Bacteria Into Florida Waters

A Journal mBio study confirmed Hurricane Ian, which struck Southwest Florida in September 2022, unleashed various Vibrio bacteria that can cause illness and death in humans. The study, conducted in October 2022 by scientists from the University of Florida and the University of Maryland, was based on data and samples gathered off the coast of Lee County, where Hurricane Ian made landfall last year. (Garcia, 10/31)

On other developments across the country —

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer:
Cleveland Clinic To Deliver Medication Using Drones

When you’re sick, it can be painful to get to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. The Cleveland Clinic plans to simplify – and speed up – the process for patients, by delivering medication via drone, in minutes, at no extra charge. (Rose, 11/1)

CBS News:
Treating Prostate Cancer Just Got Easier In The Twin Cities

November is men’s cancer awareness month, and there’s some news many men are not aware of — screening for prostate cancer is now as simple as getting a blood test. And for those who do end up having cancer, treating the condition can be easier than ever in the Twin Cities. … High Intensity Focused Ultrasound — a HIFU. It’s a probe that heats and treats only the part of the prostate with cancer and the surrounding area. WCCO got a peak of the only machine in the cities – at Methodist Hospital. (Littlefield, 10/31)

CBS News:
Long Island’s Primary Care Doctor Shortage Expected To Worsen In Next 10 Years, Research Finds

Many doctors across Long Island are seeing they just don’t have enough time in their days to keep up with demand, and new research shows it could get worse in the next 10 years. Northwell Health research claims the United States and Long Island are both facing a primary care doctor shortage. Its numbers claim by 2034, America could be dealing with a deficiency of around 48,000 doctors. “That is 72 million people throughout the U.S. that will be without a doctor,” said Dr. Lauren Block, general internist at Northwell Health. (Dias, 10/31)

Minnesota Public Radio:
Southeast Minnesota Struggles For Common Ground On Nitrate Pollution As Health Worries Rise

Corn once grew and livestock grazed on Paul Wotzka’s steeply sloped farm near Weaver, Minn., in rural Wabasha County, not far from the Mississippi River. These days, Wotzka rotates annual crops with perennials such as garlic, grapes and hazelnut that keep the soil continuously covered. He uses only compost, no commercial fertilizer. (Marohn, 10/31)

Haaland Announces Funding For Colorado Mine Cleanup

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Tuesday rolled out $10 million in federal funds to boost mine cleanup efforts in Colorado, a portion of the $16 billion in funds Congress designated for legacy pollution cleanup efforts nationwide. … “People spend years dealing with serious environmental and health risks caused by these sites,” Haaland said. “But I believe that we have the resources to end this cycle. Together we can make these smart investments and build a cleaner and more just future for our children and our grandchildren.” (Yachnin, 10/31)

The 19th:
Pregnant Farmworkers Get Time Off To Prevent Pesticide Exposure — But Many Don’t Know It Exists

For over two decades, a growing body of research has found several associations between pesticides and issues in early childhood development, specifically for children born in farmworking communities. What the research has found is that prenatal exposure to pesticides has been linked with neurodevelopmental issues like decreased cognition and lower IQ in childhood and an increase in ADHD and autism, said Carly Hyland, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Berkeley who has worked on a study of 600 pregnant farmworkers in California’s Salinas Valley, and has followed the development of their children since the 1990s. (Kutz, 10/31)

KFF Health News:
Medical School On Cherokee Reservation Will Soon Send Doctors To Tribal, Rural Areas

Ashton Glover Gatewood decided to give medical school a second try after learning about a new campus designed for Indigenous students like herself. Gatewood is now set to be part of the first graduating class at Oklahoma State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation. Leaders say the physician training program is the only one on a Native American reservation and affiliated with a tribal government. (Zionts, 11/1)

Axios Portland:
Why Oregon’s Law To Make Daylight Saving Time Permanent Isn’t In Effect 

It’s that time of year again. Clocks will need to be reset this weekend, falling back an hour at 2am Sunday. The time disruption affects our mental and physical health, fueling an ongoing debate about whether to stay year-round on daylight saving time, aka permanent summer time. (Harris, 10/30)

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