The U.S. should rethink its entire approach to painkillers and the people addicted to them, panel urges (LA Times)

To reverse a still-spiraling American crisis fueled by prescription narcotic drugs, a panel of experts advising the federal government has recommended sweeping changes in the ways that physicians treat pain, their patients cope with pain, and government and private insurers support the care of people living with chronic pain.

In a comprehensive report on what must be done to staunch the toll of opiates in the United States, a panel of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine makes clear that steps needed to prevent the creation of future opiate addicts will drive some people who are now dependent on these medications toward street drugs such as fentanyl and heroin.

“It is therefore ethically imperative to couple a strategy for reducing lawful access to opioids with an investment in treatment for the millions of individuals” already hooked on the painkillers, the panel wrote.

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Decisive leadership: Baltimore Health Commissioner Leana Wen sees the ER as a valuable training ground for physician leaders (Furst Group)

In the age of value-based care, organizations are leaning on clinicians to lean in to leadership. This opens new vistas for physicians and nurses, but health systems and insurers must do their homework. A physician who heads his or her own practice may have valuable leadership skills, but leading, say, a staff of 12 is different from overseeing a $2 billion budget and ensuring a board and a C-suite are in sync with your vision.

One such physician who has made the jump is Leana Wen, MD, the Baltimore City Health Commissioner, who leads a staff of 1,000 employees. Since being named to the role in December 2014, Wen has shown a predilection for taking decisive action, perhaps unsurprising as someone trained as an emergency room physician.

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Baltimore Health Commissioner Posts Statement On ACA Lawsuit (WJZ)

 The health commissioner of Baltimore City made a statement Thursday in a Facebook post about the suit filed against the Trump administration for “intentionally and unlawfully sabotaging the Affordable Care Act.

“I am gravely concerned for the wellbeing of my patients, my city and millions of individuals who are finding themselves unable to afford health care,” Dr. Leana Wen, city health commissioner, said.

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'Code Red' announced for Baltimore Wednesday, cooling centers to open (WBFF)

Baltimore's health commissioner is announcing a "Code Red" extreme heat alert for the city for Wednesday and opening cooling centers.

Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen notes the heat index is expected to be higher than 100 degrees, as the heat wave hangs on.

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