ALERT: Zika Virus Update

In response to a new CDC report issued today, Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) held a news conference in which he announced a second Zika Infection zone in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The new area of Zika infection involves five new Zika cases and covers approximately 1.5 square miles in Miami Beach.

So far, Florida is the only state that has reported local transmission of Zika virus, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has affirmed continuation of a Travel Advisory for the region issued on August 1, 2016. The Florida Department of Health (DoH), whose responsibility it is to identify and track incidence and prevalence of infectious diseases within the state, has identified 36 persons infected through local transmission, and 488 persons infected either while traveling to areas outside of the country with mosquito-borne transmission or from having sexual relations with such a traveler. The Florida DoH also reports that 68 of the persons infected with Zika Virus are pregnant women.

“The virus is not necessarily spreading throughout the entire county, [but] we will always err on the side of providing more information to the public so people can make more informed decisions… to protect themselves,“ said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH during the news conference with Governor Scott. “For now, pregnant women, and those women who anticipate pregnancy in the coming months, along with their partners, who are concerned with the possibility of Zika Virus infection which may cause microcephaly among other serious birth defects, may consider postponing nonessential travel to all parts of Miami-Dade County, Florida.”

Once again, for Arizona residents, there is no current need for action, unless they anticipate travel to areas in which the virus has already been identified. However, there are some basic steps that everyone may take in general to reduce the impact of the mosquito population locally:

  1. Ensure that all windows and doors are screened to prevent entry of mosquitoes into living areas;
  2. Eliminate from all surroundings pools of stagnant water in which mosquitoes breed; and
  3. Use proper attire and approved topical sprays and creams when outside, early in the evenings and late at night, to repel mosquitos.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/08/19/florida-governor-confirms-zika-virus-now-actively-spreading-in-miami-beach/

Zika Virus Update

In response to a new CDC report issued today, Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) held a news conference in which he announced a second Zika Infection zone in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The new area of Zika infection involves five new Zika cases and covers approximately 1.5 square miles in Miami Beach.

So far, Florida is the only state that has reported local transmission of Zika virus, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has affirmed continuation of a Travel Advisory for the region issued on August 1, 2016. The Florida Department of Health (DoH), whose responsibility it is to identify and track incidence and prevalence of infectious diseases within the state, has identified 36 persons infected through local transmission, and 488 persons infected either while traveling to areas outside of the country with mosquito-borne transmission or from having sexual relations with such a traveler. The Florida DoH also reports that 68 of the persons infected with Zika Virus are pregnant women.

“The virus is not necessarily spreading throughout the entire county, [but] we will always err on the side of providing more information to the public so people can make more informed decisions… to protect themselves,“ said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH during the news conference with Governor Scott. “For now, pregnant women, and those women who anticipate pregnancy in the coming months, along with their partners, who are concerned with the possibility of Zika Virus infection which may cause microcephaly among other serious birth defects, may consider postponing nonessential travel to all parts of Miami-Dade County, Florida.”

Once again, for Arizona residents, there is no current need for action, unless they anticipate travel to areas in which the virus has already been identified. However, there are some basic steps that everyone may take in general to reduce the impact of the mosquito population locally:

  1. Ensure that all windows and doors are screened to prevent entry of mosquitoes into living areas;
  2. Eliminate from all surroundings pools of stagnant water in which mosquitoes breed; and
  3. Use proper attire and approved topical sprays and creams when outside, early in the evenings and late at night, to repel mosquitos.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/08/19/florida-governor-confirms-zika-virus-now-actively-spreading-in-miami-beach/

House Call: Days Gone By

House Call: Days Gone By

Many of us in private medical practice today struggle more to retain a sense of purpose and fulfillment on a day-to-day basis than we do to make proper and effective healthcare decisions on behalf of our patients. What should be a very clear mandate to expand our knowledge base and apply it every day to benefit our patients has become a secondary goal to the constant challenge of keeping our head above water amidst a growing torrent of confusing regulations and administrative responsibilities. And today, as I received a telephone call from my 84-year-old patient complaining of fever and swollen ankles, knowing that she would not be able to come to my office for evaluation and might end up in the ER in the middle of the night, I understood that the most important decision I would make the entire day was to make the effort to stop by her home at the end of the day to make a house call.

SAs a child growing up in a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts, I recall our family doctor, Dr. Gonnella, episodically ringing our front doorbell, being welcomed by my mother and grandmother into our home, accepting the offer of a seat at the kitchen table and a cup of coffee, and chatting casually about family and community. It was both satisfying and reassuring to see him… unless of course you were the sick child for whom he was called to make a visit! Nevertheless, I remember him–his towering presence, his authoritative but reassuring voice, and his white coat and small black doctor’s bag–because he was there for all of us in the house, to make us better, and to make us whole. His medicine of choice had less to do with a prescription pad than it did with a reassuring word, a pleasant smile, and a warm touch of the hand.

But such medicine is rarely seen today. The “house call” for most of us has been boxed and placed into the attic of healthcare, and relegated to fond memory for those of us old enough to remember its value. Most of us in private practice today measure the value of time spent caring for patients in terms of RVUs, DRGs, and ACO standards… complicated algorithms that may or may not serve to reduce the cost of healthcare, but most certainly and concurrently compromise the essence of healthcare itself. And there is very little room in this contemporary world of healthcare for the time and effort needed for house calls.

Not today. And not for me and my patient. Today, I made a house call, and brought to my patient more than a diagnosis, a prescription, and an invoice for services rendered. I brought to her love, compassion, and healing that will always transcend health insurance and federal regulation. For about an hour, the last hour of a long day, I was just a doctor caring for my patient in her own home… the same way that Dr. Gonnella cared for me. And it was just what the doctor ordered… for both of us.

Michael J Lucherini MD MS
Summit Medicine and Pediatrics

ALERT. Banner Health Victimized by Cyber Attack.

ALERT. Banner Health Victimized by Cyber Attack. Protected Information of Millions Stolen.

The protected demographic and billing information of 3.7 million people stored in a massive database belonging to Banner Health System, which has hospitals in seven states including Arizona, has been hacked. Early reports indicate that their system was breached at least twice in the month of July, and it is unclear at this early stage of investigation how much information, including the possibility of medical health data, was stolen.

As an agency considered a “covered entity” under the federal Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Banner Health System is required to maintain a high standard of security for its records, and is also required to report to federal and state agencies any suspected or actual breach of security. In a press release today, officials from the Banner Health System have indicated that they plan to mail notices of occurrence of the breach and instructions on required and suggested action to each of the 3.7 million people whose identity and billing information may have been accessed illegally and stolen from their servers.

“>”Banner is committed to maintaining the privacy and security of information of our patients, employees, plan members and beneficiaries, customers at our food and beverage outlets, as well as our providers,” reported Peter Fine, President and CEO of Banner Health.

Anyone who has questions or concerns about the cyber hacking event may call 855-223-4412.

http://noconow.co/2aCQvkP

http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com/story/32679798/up-to-37-million-may-have-been-affected-by-banner-health-hack

ALERT: Zika Virus Officially Arrives in the U.S.

Update as of 8/1/2016 at 11:35 am: Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) now reports that the number of Zika virus cases has increased from 4 to 14 in a one square mile area in his state.

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The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports four new cases of Zika Virus infection in the United States. The cases were identified in Florida, appear to be isolated, and were not transported through infected persons who arrived from other countries and regions in which the virus is now endemic.

Authorities in Florida are bracing for further spread of Zika-related illness, which is particularly dangerous to the pre-born children of pregnant women. The CDC does not anticipate rapid or extensive spread of the mosquito species that transmits Zika virus to humans, but has published an action plan for all communities in which the virus has been identified.

For Arizona residents, there is no current need for action, unless they anticipate travel to areas in which the virus has already been identified. However, there are some basic steps that everyone may take in general to reduce the impact of the mosquito population locally:

  1. Ensure that all windows and doors are screened to prevent entry of mosquitoes into living areas;
  2. Eliminate from all surroundings pools of stagnant water in which mosquitoes breed; and
  3. Use proper attire and approved topical sprays and creams when outside, early in the evenings and late at night, to repel mosquitos.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/08/19/florida-governor-confirms-zika-virus-now-actively-spreading-in-miami-beach/