Recent News

Baltimore City Recognizes National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

National Native American HIV AIDS Day Baltimore City Health Department

On Saturday, March 18, 2017, the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) and Baltimore City HIV Planning Group and Commission partnered with Native American LifeLines in celebrating National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day by hosting the 3rd Annual Round Dance and Community Health Fair.

This was the 10 year anniversary of this nationwide observance.

The US opioid crisis is real and deadly. Trumpcare could make it even worse. (Mic)

Connie Petroski can't remember the exact moment her daughter, Jessica, went from being a sunny 17-year-old who loved dressing up for school dances and hanging out with her friends to a sullen, quiet 18-year-old alternating between falling asleep upside down on the toilet and getting into hysterical shouting matches with her mother.

"She just got with the wrong person and started with cocaine, and it just goes from there," Connie said in a phone interview. "It's just one drug after another and nothing ever gets strong enough, so that's when they turn to heroin."

Jessica is just one of the estimated 2.1 million Americans currently struggling with opioid addiction, and the epidemic is only getting worse. In 2015, the most recent year on record, opioids killed more than 33,000 people — a record. From 2014 to 2015, deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl, the painkiller that was found to be responsible for the 2016 death of the singer Prince, rose by 75%. 

Read the entire story.

I'm Pregnant. What Would Happen If I Couldn't Afford Health Care? (NPR)

On Christmas Day, I found out that I was pregnant. It was the best present I could have hoped for. My husband and I have wanted to start a family for years, and we could not wait to share the news with our loved ones.

 But my initial exhilaration quickly turned to anxiety. As a physician, I knew many of the things that could go wrong. I wanted to do everything I could do to have a healthy baby.

 I found an obstetrician and made an appointment for my first prenatal visit. I was so relieved when I saw the baby's heartbeat on the ultrasound. My blood was drawn to check for anemia and thyroid problems. I had the rest of my recommended first trimester tests, including a Pap smear and testing for HIV and sexually-transmitted infections.

 Read the entire story.

Six reasons to fight the ACA replacement plan (Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore health commissioner: ACA replacement plan is 'fiscally irresponsible and a national security risk.'

 For months, I have received questions from concerned residents about how repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would impact their health. My patients were worried about whether they could still get medications to treat their heart disease and diabetes, whether they would they lose coverage for mental health and addiction services, and whether they would continue to get basic preventive services such as mammogram, pap smears and blood pressure screenings.

 This week, House Republicans issued their proposed replacement. There are six particularly concerning provisions with drastic consequences to Baltimore's health:

 First, the bill punishes those with lower wages by eliminating subsidies to help pay for insurance coverage based on a person's income. As a physician who has practiced medicine before and after the ACA, I have seen patients forced to make the impossible choice between basic needs, including food and housing, and critical medications. I have seen patients forgo paying for insurance coverage because it is too expensive. I have seen the consequences when people are forced to pay for this "choice" with their lives.

Read the entire story.

Health commissioner Wen talks about her pregnancy (Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen thought she was doing a good job keeping her secret.

But when she recently revealed to her staff that she was expecting a baby in August, one colleague responded: "I figured that out when I saw you turn three different colors in 20 minutes."

Yes, it's true. Even the city's top health official suffers from morning sickness and fatigue.

Wen and her husband, who manages an information technology team at Legg Mason, are expecting their first child, a boy, this summer. 

The energetic commissioner known for her nonstop work ethic said she'll take off at least eight weeks to spend time with her son after he is born. 

As a Republican-led Congress moves to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which aimed to make health insurance available for all American citizens, Wen said she is reminded how fortunate she is to have good benefits.

 Read the entire story.

Testimony in favor of SB 868 Prescribing and Dispensing Naloxone to Non-certificate Holders

Following is testimony given by Mark O’Brien, Director of Opioid Overdose Prevention and Treatment. The statement was presented to the Finance Committee on behalf of Dr. Wen on March 16, 2017.

Baltimore City Health Services Affected by Winter Storm Stella

Baltimore, MD (March 14, 2017) – The following Baltimore City Health Department Services have been impacted by Winter Storm Stella:

Health Commissioner Dr. Wen Declares Code Blue Alert in Baltimore Overnight Tonight Through Thursday Morning

BALTIMORE, MD (March 14, 2017) – With temperatures predicted to fall into the single digits with wind chill, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen today issued a Code Blue declaration for Baltimore City beginning tonight, Tuesday, March 14th through the morning of Thursday, March 16th.

Testimony in favor for HB 909 Maryland Health Insurance Coverage Protection Act

Following is testimony given by Legislative Director Jeff Amoros. The statement was presented to the Health and Government Operations Committee on behalf of Dr. Wen on March 10, 2017.