Recent News

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Worried about Health of Millions after Congressional Budget Office Confirms Effects of American Health Care Act

BALTIMORE, MD (May 24, 2017)Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen today issued the following statement in response to the Congressional Budget Office’s report on the American Health Care Act, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on May 4, 2017.

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Fears Proposed Federal Budget Harms Health of Baltimoreans

BALTIMORE, MD (May 23, 2017)—Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen today issued the following statement in response to the release of President Trump’s proposed federal budget.

What Baltimore City Is Doing To Prevent Spread Of Zika (CBS)

BALTIMORE (WJZ)  Baltimore City officials have announced what they are doing to prevent the spread of Zika and other mosquito-borne illnesses.

Zika, which is spread by mosquito bites and unprotected sex, is linked to microcephaly, a serious birth defect which causes abnormally small heads and severe brain damage.

There have been 15 cases reported in Baltimore City, after the person contracted the virus by traveling to an area with active transmission.

There have been more than 5,000 confirmed cases in the U.S., with 224 locally-transmitted cases in Florida and Texas.

The Baltimore City Health Department has implemented a plan “to help educate city agencies and communities across our city how to prevent and respond to the Zika virus.”

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Baltimore City Announces Zika Preparedness Plan

Officials urge residents to take caution to prevent the spread of Zika and other mosquito-borne illnesses

BALTIMORE, MD (May 23, 2017)—Baltimore City officials today announced citywide efforts to prevent the spread of Zika and other mosquito-borne illnesses. The Zika virus is spread by mosquito bite or unprotected sex and is linked to serious birth defects.

Baltimore pharmacies ready for over-the-counter sales of heroin overdose drug (BBJ)

A new state standing order goes into effect June 1 in Baltimore that will expand access to naloxone, a medication that reverses the effects of opioid overdose. And city pharmacists are preparing for the shift.

The move is another step in the effort to reduce opioid deaths in the state and city. Gov. Larry Hogan has declared Maryland's opioid epidemic a state of emergency, after fatal heroin overdoses nearly doubled between January and September 2016 compared to the previous year, and fentanyl deaths quadrupled. In total, deaths from these two opioid drugs spiked to 1,656. In March, Hogan signed an executive order for $50 million in new funding to go toward addressing the crisis.

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How Public Health Agencies Can Leverage Data to Improve Community Health (Health Tech)

The national push to increase electronic health record adoption by healthcare providers has made data increasingly available to inform public health decisions. Access to both reliable and expedient information shared between partners enables disease surveillance, contact tracing, emergency response, home visits, chronic disease interventions and other core functions. This data adds clarity to existing interventions, automates back-office functions and enables advanced analytics.

Still, much of the focus on healthcare recently has shifted to encompass more than just clinical interactions. As reimbursement models arc toward value-based care, provider organizations are looking at upstream factors to incorporate the social determinants of health into their clinical workflow.

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Note from the Commissioner: Medicaid Isn't about Policy, It's about People's Lives

Every day, I am proud to work at the Baltimore City Health Department with nearly a thousand dedicated women and men who support the most vulnerable in our community. We deliver core services such as preventing deadly outbreaks, ensuring sanitation in food service facilities, and caring for both human and animal residents in their time of need.

One of our core services is healthcare access, which is being threatened by the recent proposal passed in the House of Representatives to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. On Monday, I joined U.S. Representatives Elijah Cummings and John Sarbanes at a Town Hall to discuss the importance of Medicaid to Baltimore, and how it serves as the safety net for our most vulnerable residents, including our children, families, seniors, and those with mental illness and addiction.

The dangers of extreme temperature swings, learn more (WBFF)

Baltimore has gone from temperatures near freezing in early May, to temperatures in the 90s.

"When we have multiple days of heat it is especially dangerous because there can be a cumulative effect of heat on the body," Baltimore City Health Department employee Jennifer Martin said.

She cautioned that it is important to give your body up to two weeks to acclimate itself to the warmer temperatures.

"So this week we are experiencing several days of heat in a row so that makes this a good time to get ready for summer," she noted, adding, "Extreme heat can be dangerous because for those who are elderly or have chronic medical condition, the heat can exasperate their medical condition so this is a good time to prepared and get ready for summer heat."

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Bad summer of tick-borne illnesses expected (WBAL)

With summer right around the corner, experts are expressing concerns over the threat of a bad season for tick-borne illnesses.

Can Federal and Community Support Solve the Opioid Problem? (U.S. News & World Report)

By May 18, more than 12,500 Americans had died from an opioid overdose in 2017 alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's more than double the number of reported deaths from gun violence so far this year.

It's a staggering statistic, but opioid addiction is a problem without an easy, straightforward solution.

In order to address the crisis fully, steps need to be taken on both the supply and demand sides of the issue, says Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore City's health commissioner and former emergency room doctor. And, she points out, there are other societal factors to consider.

"When we look at the data of where it is that people are dying of overdoses, where the rates of addiction have climbed most precipitously, those areas are also the ones that are hardest hit by unemployment, by housing instability, by individuals in communities with uncertain futures," Wen says. "This is an overall societal problem that we need to address."

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