The state Medical Examining Board disciplined four doctors on Tuesday, including reprimanding and fining a prominent Norwalk plastic surgeon $2,500 for failing to keep adequate medical records. The medical license of the plastic surgeon, Dr. Laurence Kirwan, was also placed on probation for four months while he must complete a course in medical documentation, a consent order states. In 2015, the mother of a patient who had two chin procedures from Kirwan in 2014 filed a complaint with the state Department of Public Health, records show. A plastic surgery consultant found that Kirwan’s treatment records did not meet the standard of care, records show. On his blog, Kirwan says he is a professor and an internationally recognized expert in plastic surgery who has practiced in Norwalk, Manhattan and London.
As the federal government renews tests to determine how much glyphosate is in America’s foods, Connecticut environmental groups, organic farmers and a U.S. senator say it’s time to limit the use of, or ban, the popular herbicide. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the world’s top-selling weed killer, Roundup, is a suspected carcinogen that’s used in agriculture, on golf courses, ballfields and other public venues, and for lawn care, experts said. It can be found in more than 750 products sold in the U.S., reports the National Pesticide Information Center. Health concerns have been raised about Roundup for decades, concerns consistently disputed by its manufacturer, Monsanto. Earlier this year, a group of environmental health scientists called for the federal government to reassess whether glyphosate is a cancer risk.
State health officials have fined a Norwalk residential care home $1,000 and ordered it to hire an independent consultant after uncovering safety violations there earlier this year. Carlson Place was ordered to hire a consultant within four weeks of the consent order, which was signed June 26 by state Department of Public Health (DPH) officials and Carlson Place manager and owner Diane Mortali. The consultant must be familiar with public health codes, federal regulations, state building and fire codes, and others standards the facility failed to meet. According to the consent order, which is in effect for two years, the consultant will evaluate the facility’s engineering and maintenance program, assess the coordination of daily maintenance services various vendors provide, make recommendations and report back to DPH on the facility’s compliance efforts. The facility manager must meet with DPH representatives every 90 days.
The state Board of Examiners for Nursing has disciplined four nurses, including three in cases involving alcohol or drugs. The board on July 19 temporarily suspended the registered nurse license of Fernando Roldan of Hartford for failing to comply with the terms of a four-year probation, including attending therapy or support group sessions and submitting drug or alcohol test results, state Department of Public Health (DPH) records show. DPH records show that Roldan admitted that he abused alcohol between 2010 and 2014. The board’s April memorandum of decision said that Roldan was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol for the third time in 2013 and spent a year in prison. It also said he was fired from his job at Connecticut Valley Hospital’s Whiting Forensic Institute, where he had worked for 20 years, for using unreasonable force during a restraint of a patient.
A licensed practical nurse from Ansonia who is accused of murdering an Eastern Connecticut State University student will get another chance to keep his nursing license. Last week, the Board of Examiners for Nursing vacated a decision it made in June to revoke the license of Jermaine V. Richards, 34, after Richards, who is being held on a $500,000 bond at Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, requested a continuance on a hearing he had been unable to attend in June. The board on July 19 granted his request for the continuance. Richards is facing charges that he was involved in a fight with a visitor in a patient’s home. In June, the board had concluded after the hearing that he slept while on duty at a patient’s home, misrepresented himself as a registered nurse, violated the patient’s privacy by bringing a visitor to the home and then had a physical altercation with the visitor, state records show.
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.
Adult children should talk with parents about health and end-of-life preferences long before these matters become urgent, experts in the field say. “If you can think early on about options, identify preferences, talk to people about what they would like done, you really tend to have more control over the process,” according to gerontologist Donna Fedus, founder of the Connecticut-based consulting company, Borrow My Glasses. More than a third of U.S. adults provide care for an older relative, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. As life expectancy increases and health care becomes increasingly complex, Fedus said, that role becomes more difficult.
Our podcast, sponsored by ConnectiCare, Donna Fedus, founder of Borrow My Glasses and Anne Elwell of Qualidigm, provide tips on ways to discuss care with an elder parent years before it is needed. Talking with parents about their health status, their medications and their doctors while health is relatively good can give children important information and make the transition to the adult child actively managing care less jarring, she said.
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.
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.
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.