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Kaiser Health News Original Stories

3. Political Cartoon: 'Railroaded?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Railroaded?'" by Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


Heart devices cost
$1.5 billion.
And they didn’t work!

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Summaries Of The News:

Public Health And Education

4. For Hospitals Tending To Onslaught Of Shooting Victims It Was 'Worst Moment And Proudest Moment'

Las Vegas-area hospitals are prepared and well equipped to deal with traumas, but Sunday's mass shooting was unlike any they'd seen before.

The New York Times: Controlled Chaos At Las Vegas Hospital Trauma Center After Attack
On Sunday night, Toni Mullan drove 110 miles an hour on side streets from home to get back to University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, where she had just worked a 12-hour shift as a clinical supervisor in the trauma resuscitation department. Her car was smoking as she pulled into a three-hour parking spot close to the trauma center. Ms. Mullan, 54, left her hazard lights blinking as she shut the car door and raced inside. (Fink, 10/2)

The Wall Street Journal: Las Vegas Hospitals Face Range Of Serious Traumas
Hospitals in Las Vegas are grappling with a range of patient injuries that reflect the chaos of Sunday evening’s mass shooting, including horrific gunshot wounds and traumas inflicted as victims tried to flee. Local hospitals called in extra staff as well as medical personnel from a nearby Air Force base to cope with the onslaught, as authorities on Monday reported at least 59 deaths and more than 527 wounded from the tragedy outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Whalen and Caldwell, 10/2)

NPR: Las Vegas Hospitals Call In Reinforcements To Care For Shooting Victims
Hospitals across the Las Vegas area were inundated Sunday evening when hundreds of people injured in the mass shooting at a country music festival on the Strip arrived at their doors by ambulances and private car. And hundreds of doctors, nurses, and support personnel were called into work to help handle the patients that were lined up in ambulance bays and hallways, officials say. (Kodjak, 10/2)

Modern Healthcare: Hospitals Lean On Practice To Treat Mass Shootings 
Las Vegas hospitals have likely implemented similar emergency preparedness protocols as they treat the roughly 515 people who were wounded Sunday night in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, which has left at least 58 people dead as of Monday afternoon. University Medical Center, the only Level 1 trauma center in Nevada, has treated 104 individuals who were wounded when a lone gunman opened fire on a concert crowd on the Las Vegas strip. More than 30 patients were treated in the free-standing trauma center approximately 6 miles from the country music festival's location. Four patients were pronounced dead at the facility, UMC spokeswoman Danita Cohen told the media. (Castellucci, 10/2)

Modern Healthcare: Hospital Emergency Rooms Saw More Than 700,000 Shooting Victims Last Decade 
As hospitals in Las Vegas deal with hundreds of shooting victims, a new study finds that gun violence sent more than 700,000 patients to emergency rooms in less than a decade. Those visits resulted in nearly $25 billion spent in healthcare over that period. Local officials reported that hospitals in Las Vegas were treating 515 casualities and that 58 people were dead after a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort Hotel late Sunday night. Firearm-related injuries accounted for 25.3 emergency department visits for every 100,000 people between 2006 and 2014, according to an analysis of government data published Monday in Health Affairs and released to the press on an embargo before Sunday's shooting. (Johnson, 10/2)

The Baltimore Sun: Shot At Las Vegas Concert, Arundel High Grad Loses Eye, Remains In Coma
When a lone gunman with automatic rifles opened fire on the crowd below, Tina Frost, a 2008 graduate of Arundel High, was among the more than 520 people wounded early Monday morning in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Fifty-nine people were killed. Late Monday, Becky Frost said her 27-year-old sister had lost her right eye and was in a Las Vegas intensive care unit after a two-hour surgery. (Cox, 10/2)

5. Mass Shootings Are A 'Serious Public Health Issue,' Doctors Group Says

The American College of Physicians is calling on Congress to address the issue immediately. But while Democrats are calling for gun control action in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, Republicans have been quiet on the issue.

The Hill: Leading Doctors Group Calls For Automatic Weapons Ban After Las Vegas Shooting 
The American College of Physicians issued a statement Monday labeling mass shootings a “serious public health issue” and calling for a ban on automatic and semiautomatic weapons in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas. “We must acknowledge that lack of a U.S. policy to address gun violence is the reason we have much higher rates of injuries and deaths from firearms violence than other countries,” the group said in a statement. Specifically, we call for a ban on the sale and ownership of automatic and semiautomatic weapons." (Carter, 10/2)

Reuters: After Las Vegas Massacre, Democrats Urge Gun Laws; Republicans Silent
Sunday's massacre in Las Vegas spurred a ritual-like response from U.S. politicians following the mass shootings that have left a trail of victims across the country: Democrats renewed demands for tougher gun laws while Republicans offered up prayers but showed no signs of supporting such legislation. (Cowan, Cornwell, Holland and Tuppper, 10/2)

And —

Los Angeles Times: GOP Still Plans To Vote On NRA-Backed Legislation That Eases Gun Restrictions
Congress has been unable, or unwilling, to approve gun control legislation after recent mass shootings — including one targeting lawmakers playing baseball — and it is unlikely to consider new bills after the attack in Las Vegas. To the contrary, House Republicans are on track to advance legislation easing firearms rules, including a package of bills backed by the National Rifle Assn. that would make it easier to purchase silencers. (Mascaro, 10/2)

6. In 2016 Election, Communities With Poor Public Health Tended To Shift Vote To Trump

Some experts warn not to read too much into the study, which could be a result of too much data dredging. But the authors say it makes sense.

Stat: In Sicker Communities, Trump Got More Votes. Is That Why He Won?
The worse a community’s health the more strongly its voters backed Donald Trump in the 2016 election compared to their support for Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, researchers reported on Monday. The findings suggest that public health “might influence” how people vote, said Dr. Jason Wasfy of Massachusetts General Hospital, who led the study, which looked at factors such as death rates, diabetes prevalence, and teen pregnancy. “The communities that shifted from Romney to Trump in general have worse public health.” (Begley, 10/2)

Bloomberg: Study Finds Poor Health Tied To Votes For Trump In 2016 Election 
Everybody has a theory about how Donald Trump defied the polls and won the U.S. presidential election. The latest: health. There is a “substantial association” between measures of poor public health and shifts toward Trump in last November’s balloting, from voting patterns in the 2012 election, according to a paper from researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Political Science, published Monday in the journal PLOS ONE. (Shanker, 10/2)

7. Congress Asked To Overrule Outdated Medicaid Regulation On Funding For Opioid Treatment Centers

Only smaller facilities qualify for Medicaid payments under a 1965 law that was intended to break up large, state-run mental asylums, but state attorneys general are asking Congress, in the midst of a crisis, to expand that. In other news, the National Institutes of Health, noting a lack of evidence on the issue, will begin to study opioids' effects on babies.

The Associated Press: State Attorneys General Seek More Beds For Drug Treatment
A bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general on Monday called on Congress to allow Medicaid funding to flow to larger drug treatment centers, potentially expanding the number of addicts who can get help as the nation grapples with an overdose crisis. The government lawyers for 38 states and Washington, D.C., sent a letter to congressional leaders requesting the change. They say it's needed to help fight the opioid abuse and overdose epidemic, which continues to claim tens of thousands of lives a year. (Mulvihill, 10/2)

The Hill: NIH To Study Babies Affected By Opioids 
The National Institutes of Health is funding a new study on babies born with opioid withdrawal syndrome, a side effect of the nation’s epidemic of prescription painkillers and heroin. The number of newborns with this syndrome has increased in recent years, yet there’s a lack of standard, evidence-based treatments for providers, according to an NIH press release announcing the new study on Monday. (Roubein, 10/2)

In other news from the states —