Six Nursing Homes Fined Following Care Lapses

Six Connecticut nursing homes have been fined by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) for violations that resulted in injuries to residents. Bloomfield Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation was fined $3,000 for four incidents, spanning from 2015 to this year. On Oct. 8, 2016, a registered nurse found a resident unresponsive with no pulse. According to DPH, the RN did not do a full assessment or begin CPR.

Racial Disparities Persist Despite Decline In Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths

The rate of infants dying suddenly and unexpectedly has dropped in recent years, but data show that racial disparities persist. Babies born to American Indian and Alaska Natives and African American families suffer much higher rates of sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID) than other races and ethnicities, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show. Between 2011 and 2014, 194.1 American Indian and Alaska Native infants and 170.2 African American infants per 100,000 live births died from SUID nationwide. Those rates are significantly higher compared with 83.8 for whites, 51.1 for Hispanics and 32.1 for Asian or Pacific Islander babies per 100,000 live births, during the same time period. SUID encompasses sudden infant death syndrome, commonly known as SIDS, as well accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed, and other unspecified causes of death in children up to a year old.

Task Force To Examine So-Called ‘Custody For Care’ Controversy

A task force created by state lawmakers will examine whether the Department of Children and Families (DCF) should be prohibited from requiring that parents give up custody of their children in order to access mental health and other services, under legislation signed by the governor. The newly formed panel, which is charged with reporting its recommendations by Feb. 1, 2018, will study whether state statutes should be amended to prohibit DCF from requiring or requesting that a parent or guardian of a youth admitted to DCF on a voluntary basis terminate his or parental rights or transfer custody in order to obtain services. The task force also will study ways of increasing families’ access to voluntary services without making parents relinquish custody of their children. The legislation creating the task force was prompted by recent stories by C-HIT that detailed a practice known as ‘trading custody for care,’ in which parents who cannot meet their children’s severe behavioral health needs in a home setting are subject to “uncared for” petitions that turn their children over to DCF custody.

Report: Many CT Consumers Don’t Understand Their Health Insurance Policies

Many consumers who obtain insurance through Connecticut’s health care exchange don’t understand the plans they buy—and can struggle to access care as a result, according to a new report. Insurance plans typically use complicated language that is difficult to understand, according to the Health Disparities Institute, UConn Health. As a result, some patients have trouble accessing care, experience delays in care, encounter administrative hassles and face other hurdles, the study found. The institute conducted a statewide poll last year among 516 adults who enrolled in qualified health plans through Access Health CT (AHCT), the state health insurance exchange created under the Affordable Care Act. Many struggled to understand basic insurance terms like “premium,” “deductible” and “co-pay.”

More needs to be done to educate all health insurance consumers, regardless of where they buy their policies, said Lisa Freeman, executive director of the nonprofit Connecticut Center for Patient Safety.

Ansonia Nurse Accused Of Murder Loses License

A licensed practical nurse from Ansonia who is accused of murdering an Eastern Connecticut State University student has lost his nursing license in an unrelated case involving a fight he had with a visitor in a patient’s home. The Board of Examiners for Nursing voted Wednesday to revoke the license of Jermaine V. Richards, 34, after holding a hearing. Richards did not attend the hearing because he is being held on a $500,000 bond at Northern Correctional Institution in Somers on a charge that he murdered his is ex-girlfriend, Alyssiah Wiley, 20, of West Haven in 2013. After an extensive search, her dismembered body was found in Trumbull in May 2013, less than two miles from Richards’ home, the Connecticut Post has reported. Richards, who denied the nursing charges in a letter to the state Department of Public Health in December, was not represented by a lawyer at the hearing.

State Disciplines Eight Nurses

The state Board of Examiners for Nursing on Wednesday disciplined eight nurses, including seven for cases involving the theft or abuse of drugs and alcohol. The board revoked the registered nurse license of Enrique Lopez of Washington Depot, finding that between September and December, while working at Life Spring Home Health Care of Waterbury, he took a drug used to treat panic attacks from patients, records show. He also failed to properly document medical records and falsified a drug record, state Department of Public Health records show. From June to November, he also took an anti-anxiety drug from a patient and offered to pay the patient’s cable bill in return for the drug, records show. The board also found that Lopez made inappropriate comments or had inappropriate physical contact with a patient, records show.

Weight Loss Gets Harder, But Still Possible After 50

Last fall, Sharon Boland was worried she’d never lose the extra 70 pounds she was carrying. At age 54, everyone told her, it would be nearly impossible to slim down. “I’ve probably carried weight most of my life,” said Boland, a business lawyer who lives in Greenwich, but she had gained an extra 25-30 pounds in the previous few years. Her friends were right: It is undeniably harder to lose weight after about age 50. Eating and exercise habits that worked fine during the 30s and 40s can quickly lead to extra pounds and paunches a decade or two later.

State Fines Six Nursing Homes Following Residents’ Deaths, Care Lapses

Six nursing homes have been fined for violations, including two incidents where residents died. The Reservoir in West Hartford was fined $3,000 after a resident died and investigators found staff did not administer CPR for the required period of time, according to the state Department of Public Health (DPH). The resident, who was at the facility for short-term rehabilitation, had difficulty breathing on Feb. 6, 2016. A licensed practical nurse (LPN) began performing CPR compressions but soon after, a registered nurse told the LPN to stop the compressions, according to DPH.

Yale Study: Minority Breast Cancer Patients Less Likely To Have Genetic Test

A genetic test that helps doctors determine how best to treat breast cancer—and whether chemotherapy is likely to help—is significantly more likely to be administered to white women than blacks or Hispanics, a Yale study has found. The test, called Oncotype Dx (ODx), uses gene expression to gauge how early-stage breast cancer is affecting patients’ gene activity. It uses the information to determine how likely cancer recurrence would be, and physicians and their patients can use that knowledge to decide how to proceed with treatment. Yale researchers retrospectively analyzed a group of more than 8,000 Connecticut women who were diagnosed with hormone receptor positive breast cancer between 2011 and 2013, and found “significant racial and ethnic disparities in use of this new gene test,” said study leader Dr. Cary Gross, a member of Yale Cancer Center and professor of medicine and epidemiology at Yale School of Medicine. “It reinforces that, at the same time we are investing in developing new treatments and new testing strategies and we’re promoting them with great excitement, we really need to double-down our efforts to eliminate disparity,” Gross said.