State Medical Board Fines, Disciplines Doctors

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.

Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs That Worked Lose Federal Funding

While we’ve been engrossed in the Republicans’ umpteenth attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration quietly has stopped funding 80-some teenage pregnancy prevention programs around the country, including a highly successful one in Hartford. The Trump administration has cut nearly $214 million in grants. Those grants were awarded under President Obama, and were supposed to have ended in 2020. Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services let grantees know that the funds would end in 2018—two years earlier than promised. The cut was first reported by Reveal, a product of The Center for Investigative Reporting.

Norwalk Residential Care Facility Fined, Ordered To Hire Consultant

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.

Nursing Board Disciplines Four Nurses

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.

Female Surgeons Making Inroads In Male-Dominated Operating Rooms

When the lights power on in the operating room at Bridgeport Hospital, more than a half of the acute care team of surgeons peering from behind the masks are women. That’s unusual, given that only 28 percent of all surgeons in Connecticut are female, according to the latest figures from the American Medical Association (AMA). Flexible work schedules and hiring more surgeons to ease the on-call burden has helped to lure more women to the trauma surgical team, said Bridgeport Hospital’s chief medical officer, Dr. Michael Ivy, a trauma surgeon. Hospitals statewide have launched initiatives to help boost the ranks of women surgeons. There’s been progress, but gaps persist.

State Ranks High In Child Well-Being But That’s Only Half The Story

On the surface, it looks as if Connecticut children fare pretty well. According to the annual Kids Count report from The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the state ranks fourth in education, third in health, and sixth in overall well-being for children. The foundation pointed to nearly universal health insurance—97 percent—for Connecticut’s children as a major contributor to the state’s high ranking. Of all the states, Connecticut also had the lowest rate of deaths among children ages 1 to 19: 15 deaths per 100,000 children. But that’s not the entire story, not by half.

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.

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.