A few years ago, patient navigators at Project Access-New Haven set out to see if they could change the course of health care treatment for some Medicaid patients who frequently used emergency rooms.
They contacted emergency departments at Yale New Haven Hospital and its Saint Raphael campus and enrolled 100 patients in their study in 2013. Those selected had visited emergency rooms four to 18 times in the past year for chest pain, abdominal pain or chronic migraines, among other ailments. The navigators at Project Access coordinated health care for the patients. They scheduled appointments with primary care physicians, provided reminders, accompanied patients to physician visits and followed up to ensure compliance with the prescribed treatment. The preliminary results were eye-opening: “We saw an average cost reduction of $153 per member per month,” said Dr. Roberta Capp, assistant professor, Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver, and lead investigator of the study.
The Board of Examiners for Nursing disciplined three nurses and one former nurse last week for cases involving drug use, theft, deceit and mental illness. After a hearing last Wednesday, the board voted to revoke the registered nurse license of Ryan Buynicki of Agawam, Massachusetts, who, records show, stole Dilaudid in 2015 while working at Osborn Correctional Center in Somers. Buynicki also stole controlled substances from five patients in the prison infirmary in 2015 and falsified controlled substance records, according to the statement of charges against him by the state Department of Public Health. The board also found that his use of controlled substances was affecting his ability to practice a nurse, the statement said. The board issued a cease and desist order against Lisa Piatak of Shelton to stop practicing nursing without a license.
The number of people diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease has increased in Connecticut as well as across the country, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. Though experts note that some of the increase is due to better screening, they are concerned about an actual rise in cases and attribute that to more casual sex through hookup apps and an increase in unprotected sex. Nationwide, more than 2 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were reported in 2016, the highest number ever, with chlamydia making up the majority of cases. The annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report, released in late September, found that a total of 1,598,354 cases of chlamydia were reported in 2016, a 4.7 percent increase over 2015. Gonorrhea cases increased by 18.5 percent to 468,514, and syphilis increased 17.6 percent to 27,814 cases. In Connecticut, 14,028 cases of chlamydia were reported, 759 more than in 2015, a 5.7 percent rise.
Millions of Americans will have a hard time falling or staying asleep tonight, and research says most of them will be women. “Insomnia is definitely more common in females, and it seems to begin fairly early on,” said Dr. Meir Kryger, a professor at the Yale School of Medicine who studies sleep. Sleep problems can appear in women as early as their teens or 20s, he said. Various research shows women are more likely than men to experience the sleep disorder. Women are about 1.5 times more likely to have insomnia, said Kryger, who has written several books on the topic, including “The Mystery of Sleep,” which was published in March.
The state Board of Examiners for Nursing disciplined nine nurses this week, including taking action against seven nurses who abused drugs or alcohol. The board revoked the license of Christine Tracy, a licensed practical nurse, for abusing heroin in 2014. The board’s memorandum of decision said that Tracy of Ansonia was arrested in 2014 after driving on the wrong side of the road and striking two other cars. After being hospitalized, she was found in possession of seven bags of heroin. She was arrested and placed on probation for three years in 2016 after pleading guilty to possession of narcotics and failure to appear in court, the memo said.
There’s no denying it: most of us are stressed. Stress levels in the country are at their highest in at least a decade, research shows, and a recent American Psychological Association (APA) study found two-thirds of respondents feel stressed about the future. To learn about the leading sources of stress, how stress affects your health and how to reduce stress, the Connecticut Health I-Team will host a community forum, “Getting Ahead of Stress: A Primer on Medicine, Mental Health and Mindfulness,’’ from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 5, at the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University, 370 Bassett Road in North Haven. The free event is open to the public and you can register here.
A son and mother who practice medicine in West Hartford were fined a total of $11,500 today by the state Medical Examining Board for prescribing high doses of opioids for patients without monitoring them for drug abuse. The board fined Dr. Corey Jaquez of the West Hartford Medical Center $7,500 and placed his medical license on probation for a year. They also fined his mother, Janis Jaquez, a physician assistant at the center, $4,000 and placed her license on probation for a year. Both were ordered to take courses in prescribing drugs and managing chronic pain, which they have already completed, and will have their practice monitored by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) during the probation, under consent orders they agreed to with the board. DPH records show the charges grew out of a report in 2015 from the state Department of Consumer Protection’s Drug Control Division about the care of three patients between 2010 and 2014.
Combining medication with other forms of therapy can help people with opioid addition avoid relapse by calming cravings and managing the symptoms of withdrawal. Less than half of the privately drug addiction programs nationally offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT); and even in those programs, only one-third of patients receive MAT, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. In Connecticut, there are about 40 Medicaid providers that prescribe medication for treatment. In our podcast, sponsored by Wheeler Clinic, Dr. Robert Grillo discusses medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction. Increasing access to MAT is important given the extreme danger associated with relapse, says Dr. Robert Grillo, medical director for psychiatry at Wheeler Clinic.
State health officials cited and fined eight nursing homes for various violations that resulted in lapses in care. The Reservoir in West Hartford was fined $2,360 after staff failed to give a resident’s spouse proper written notice that the resident was being transferred to another facility. The resident was moved on July 12 and the resident’s spouse opposed the move because it was far from the spouse’s home. The move came a week after the resident had left the facility despite being identified as an elopement risk and wearing a WanderGuard sensor, the Department of Public Health (DPH) citation said. Police found the resident in a wooded area about 50 feet behind the facility.
Trying to walk out to Charles Island at Silver Sands State Park in Milford this summer, George Swaby drowned after he and a friend were swept up in a fast current off a sandbar. Beachgoers watched as a boater rescued his friend that Friday, July 21. The body of Swaby, 28, was not found for two days. Compounding the tragedy was that it happened in sight of the beach, although outside the swimming area. “It was our goal to guard that beach from Thursday through Sunday,” said Dennis Schain, spokesman for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.