There were 6 new COVID-19 deaths reported since yesterday, bringing the death toll to 7,990; hospitalizations dropped by 13 to total 505, the Department of Public Health (DPH) reported. Residents testing positive for the virus totaled 328,000, an increase of 702 since yesterday’s report. The state reported 8,201,633 tests completed, up 34,388. The positivity rate is 2.04%. For a county-by-county breakdown of cases, go here and click on “Daily Data Report.”
The COVID-19 pandemic slowed down many aspects of college students’ lives, but one student advocacy group has continued its work toward strengthening the law on the reporting of sexual assaults on college campuses. The Every Voice Coalition in Connecticut, part of a national group of students and advocates, convinced lawmakers to sponsor a bill, An Act Concerning Sexual Misconduct on College Campuses, during this year’s legislative session. The bill, which was aired at a recent public hearing of the Higher Education and Employment Advance Committee, says that:
• Colleges will impose amnesty policies to protect students from being punished for reporting due to alcohol or drug use at the time of the assault; and
• Campus Climate Surveys will be disseminated to collect data on sexual violence and to increase transparency. Advocates and health officials maintain that sexual assaults on college campuses are under-reported. In 2018, the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut reported 436 incidents of sexual assaults and stalking on college campuses, but added that figure represents only a small percentage of all incidents on campuses.
Kimarra Thorbourne planned to restrict added sugar in her babies’ diet as long as possible, but the Windsor mother recently started giving her 7-month-old twins “Motts for Tots” juice “to introduce them to something new.” At their 6-month checkup, the babies’ pediatrician said nothing about avoiding fruit juice or sugar. But research shows that the food and beverages babies and toddlers consume influences their taste preferences and eating habits throughout life. For babies, human milk, formula and water are all they need to drink for the first year, pediatricians say. Dr. Michelle Van Name, a pediatric endocrinologist with Yale Medicine, tells her patients that cow’s milk is the recommendation for toddlers—and it’s less expensive than juices. She said toddlers should be introduced to water at an early age so they develop a taste for it because if they get used to sweet drinks, they won’t like water.
Six Connecticut hospitals will lose 1% of their Medicare reimbursements this fiscal year under a federal program that levies penalties for high rates of hospital-acquired injuries and infections. It’s the lowest number of hospitals penalized since the program began leveling funding cuts in 2015, data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) show. The hospitals are among 774 nationwide that will lose funding under the Hospital-Acquired Conditions Reduction Program, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis. The program was created by the Affordable Care Act. When assessing hospitals, the government examines how many infections and other potentially avoidable complications patients suffered – things like blood clots, sepsis, bedsores and hip fractures.
The state Medical Examining Board voted to allow a physician whose license has been suspended in several states to practice telemedicine in Connecticut. The board in November suspended the Connecticut license of Dr. Roozbeh Badii after learning that he had been disciplined in Maryland and Virginia. The Connecticut suspension was to remain in place until the board could hold a hearing to determine his mental fitness to practice. Instead, Badii agreed to waive the hearing and accept the terms of a consent order which places his license on probation for two years, but allows him to provide telehealth services to patients. The approval of the consent order by the board terminates the suspension, DPH officials said.
The state Medical Examining Board agreed Tuesday to discipline two doctors including a physician awaiting sentencing in a federal health care fraud case. Dr. Fawad Hameedi, of New York, has been working periodically at urgent care centers in Connecticut while awaiting sentencing for his role in a health care fraud ring operating in New York, according to documents. He has not worked as a physician in Connecticut since March, officials said. The board voted to place Hameedi on probation for two years with several stipulations and reprimand his Connecticut license to practice medicine. Under the terms of the discipline, Hameedi cannot operate a solo practice during the probation period and he must have his employer submit reports to the state Department of Public Health (DPH) every two months that he is working safely and using accurate billing practices.
Most Connecticut hospitals will lose some of their Medicare reimbursement payments over the next year as penalties for having too many readmitted patients, according to new data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Statewide, 25 of the hospitals evaluated – or 89% – will have reimbursements reduced, to varying degrees, in the 2021 fiscal year that started Oct. 1, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of CMS data. Nationwide, almost half of hospitals, or 2,545 of them, will have their Medicare reimbursements cut, according to Kaiser Health News. The latest penalties were calculated using data from June 2016 through June 2019, meaning the influx of patients to hospitals seen amid the pandemic didn’t factor in.
Four nurses were recently disciplined by the state Board of Examiners for Nursing for drug and alcohol abuse and for photographing a patient without consent. The state placed Sara Scobie’s practical nurse license on probation for one year and fined her $500 for photographing a juvenile patient and sharing details of the patient’s personal and clinical information without parental consent, according to her signed order. Scobie was also reprimanded by the state Department of Public Health (DPH). Scobie of Milford, who was providing home care for a medically compromised child through All Pointe HomeCare of Cheshire, photographed the patient and then shared those photos without permission, according to the signed order. During the probation period Scobie cannot be employed as a nurse by any personnel provider service, home health agency, or assisted living agency, according to the order.
As the state readies for open enrollment for health insurance beginning November 1, those who have lost their jobs or have recently moved to Connecticut can get coverage now through Access Health CT (AHCT). For those who don’t have a qualifying event for special enrollment—such as getting married, giving birth or adopting a child—open enrollment for 2021 health insurance plans begins Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 15. Consumers can begin “window shopping” and comparing plans on Oct.
Students at the University of Connecticut asked UConn professors who taught the summer COVID-19 course what they think about the pandemic’s impact on the upcoming election. The COVID-19 pandemic that has put the world to a halt for the past seven months has now also reached the highest office in the country. President Donald Trump announced early Friday morning that he and his wife, Melania, have tested positive for COVID-19 and would begin quarantining. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, tested negative, according to a Tweet from Pence’s press secretary. At this time, nearly 34 million people have contracted the virus and over a million have died worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.