GROUPS CALL FOR AID TO EMERGENCY DEPARTMENTS TO COPE WITH ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH: The Emergency Nurses Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Emergency Physicians say that a lack of resources is resulting in children and their families struggling and spending long hours in emergency departments when they're looking for help in emergencies.
Systemic changes and a focus on inequity are needed, the groups said in a statement published jointly in the Journal of Emergency Nursing, Pediatrics and the Annals of Emergency Nursing.
Every year, some half a million children and adolescents with mental health and behavioral health conditions are evaluated in emergency departments for psychiatric emergencies, the groups said in a press release, and these numbers are increasing.
Many times, a lack of resources can complicate matters,” Terry Foster, president of the Schaumburg-based Emergency Nurses Association, said in the press release. “This can leave individuals struggling with their mental or behavioral health in the emergency department for extended periods of time, leading to overcrowding, among other things. An increase in treatment education and resources can only continue to Improve the care provided for not just youth, but all mental and behavioral health patients.”
“Many emergency departments lack sufficient personnel, capacity and infrastructure to triage and treat patients with mental and behavioral emergencies,” Dr. Mohsen Saidinejad, a lead author of the policy statement, said in the press release. “This increases the likelihood of lengthy wait times, crowded facilities and other challenges that compromise patient care. In many cases, an inadequate mental health infrastructure gives families nowhere else to turn but the emergency department. It’s a dilemma we’re experiencing more often since the COVID pandemic began. The time has come to address the mental health crisis of our youth. Mental health emergencies are just that — emergencies. Children and families deserve timely, affordable and equitable access to care and treatment, just as they would if they present with a broken arm, a seizure or a serious infection.”
Saidinejad is a member of the Itasca-based AAP and Irving, Texas-based ACEP committees on pediatric emergency medicine.
The statement calls out disparities in access to care based on insurance status, gender identity, language preference, the geographic location of mental health certified and inpatient psychiatric units, and race and ethnicity.
The statement calls for, among other things, research into evidence-based guidelines and best practices for emergency department screening tools, assessment, consultation, acute management and follow-up care related to children’s mental health crises. It also suggests better emergency department transfer strategies and use of mental health mobile crisis teams to respond to schools, physicians’ offices and homes.
UCHICAGO MEDICINE ADDRESSES SECURITY AFTER FIGHT SPILLS INTO HALLS OF EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT: Following multiple shootings in Washington Park Sunday evening, neighborhood violence moved into the University of Chicago Medical Center's Hyde Park Adult Emergency Department.
The incident has UChicago Medicine assessing its security protocols and identifying areas of improvement, according to an internal memo circulated among staff on Tuesday.
The Washington Park shootings occurred just after 8 p.m. at 57th Street and Payne Drive, one block from the medical center, the staff memo from Krista Curell, executive vice president and chief operating officer of UChicago Medicine Health System and Judd Johnson, vice president, enterprise facility operations.
"A crowd gathered on Maryland Avenue while the wounded patients were being taken inside and treated," the memo stated. "At 8:20 p.m., a group of 15 to 20 people entered the adult ED entrance waiting room and moved into patient treatment areas where fighting broke out, prompting an exterior lockdown of the department. Three ED employees reported injuries; a person who was with the group that entered the ED also reported being injured."
Hospital security removed the entire group within two minutes of the them entering the clinical space, and no weapons were found inside or on any person who entered the building during the altercation, the statement said.
The hospital had just begun, on Aug. 8, to use a new weapons detection system at the main entrance to the adult emergency department.
HOSPITALS, ORGANIZATIONS WORKING TOGETHER ON MENTAL HEALTH: Collaborative Bridges, a partnership of three safety net hospitals and three community mental health agencies, are tackling mental and behavioral health issues in Chicago's West Side communities.
With the launch of the program, Collaborative Bridges community treatment teams from three agencies are supporting three area hospitals' patients with post-discharge mental health and substance abuse needs, seeking to provide a more seamless transition of care, the organization said in a statement.
Community Counseling Centers of Chicago is paired with behavioral health provider Hartgrove Hospital. Bobby E. Wright Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center is paired with Loretto Hospital. And Habilitative Systems is paired with Humboldt Park Health.
"Our partners recognize how critical it is that we are integrated in our approaches to get at the root causes of the mental health and substance use stressors people face." Patrick Dombrowski, executive director of Collaborative Bridges, said in the statement. "We have an opportunity to create systems of care that are solution-focused and connected at a community level. When people seek hospital care for behavioral health and substance needs, it is often because they have inadequate community support in their lives. Collaborative Bridges is looking to change that."
Collaborative Bridges is part of the Illinois Department of Health & Family Services' Healthcare Transformation Collaboratives.
ABORTION PILL RULING HEADED TO SUPREME COURT BEFORE ANYTHING CHANGES: A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday ruled that access to the abortion pill should be preserved with some limits, rejecting part of an order from a judge in Texas that would have effectively banned the sale of the drug across the country.
The 2-1 decision is the latest in a complicated legal saga over mifepristone, which remains available for women seeking to end their pregnancies under an April order from the U.S. Supreme Court. That will stay in effect until the high court rules again on the matter or refuses to hear the case on appeal.
While the majority said it was too late to challenge the legality of the initial approval of mifepristone by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in 2000, it upheld some limits imposed by the Texas judge. The appeals court said FDA decisions after 2016 — allowing the drug to be taken later in pregnancy and mailed directly to patients — were likely unlawful and should be rolled back.
In a statement, Dr. Jack Resneck Jr., immediate past president of the Chicago-based American Medical Association said the ruling, if it stands, will have negative effects.
“Today’s decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals continues to signal a move in the wrong direction on access to mifepristone, potentially eliminating the ability to prescribe and dispense mifepristone via telemedicine and reinstating barriers to access that lack scientific evidence," Resneck said in the statement.
“Research shows an association between restricted access to safe and legal abortion and higher rates of maternal morbidity and mortality, with already vulnerable populations experiencing the greatest burden. Reduced access to mifepristone will almost certainly exacerbate the maternal mortality crisis in places that do not have access to this medication. It may also threaten access to mifepristone for use in medical management of miscarriage in states seeking to broadly ban its use.
Planned Parenthood of Illinois President and CEO Jennifer Welch reminded people that “medication abortion remains safe, effective and legal in Illinois."
"Creating restrictions does not stop people from having abortions. Instead, it creates unnecessary obstacles to care," she said in a statement. "This ruling is yet another politically motivated attack to confuse millions of people trying to access essential sexual and reproductive health care. Planned Parenthood of Illinois consistently works to ensure our patients can access the full range of abortion options, including medication abortion at all of our 16 health care centers and via telehealth.”
The U.S. Justice Department said it disagreed with the ruling and plans to file an appeal with the Supreme Court. Read more.
SCIENTISTS FIND POSSIBLE CAUSE, TREATMENT FOR ARDS: Northwestern Medicine researchers have discovered a potential new way to treat older patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
There are no targeted therapies currently available for patients, and the mortality rate remains high — approximately 40%.
The disease, diagnosed among some 190,000 people annually, occurs when fluid leaks into the lungs, depriving the lungs of oxygen entering the bloodstream, Northwestern said in a statement. It is commonly the result of injury to the lungs, with aging being a risk factor that also increases the risk of mortality, the statement said.
“Compared to young adults, the incidence of ARDS resulting from sepsis, pneumonia and COVID-19 in the elderly is as much as 20-fold greater, and mortality is up to 10-fold greater,” senior study author YouYang Zhao, professor of pediatric clinical care at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in the statement.
Zhau's team, working on both young and old mice, found that persistent lung injury and high mortality after sepsis due to ARDS were caused by impaired regeneration of endothelial cells in the lungs — cells that line blood vessels in the lungs to regulate the exchange of oxygen between the bloodstream and surrounding tissue, the statement said.
A gene, FOXM1, a previously known mediator of endothelial cell regeneration, was impaired in the lungs of aged mice but not in younger mice, the statement said.
To validate their findings, the endothelial cell regeneration in older mice using the chemotherapy drug decitabine.
“Employing an endothelium-targeted nanoparticle to deliver FOXM1 to the vascular endothelial cells in aged mice could reactivate the regenerative and reparative program and promote survival after sepsis,” said Zhao, who also is a professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine and of pharmacology at Feinberg.
The findings were published this week in Science Translational Medicine.
JOINT COMMISSION ACQUIRES NATIONAL QUALITY FORUM: The OakBrook Terrace-based Joint Commission has acquired another nonprofit health care quality organization, Washington, D.C.-based National Quality Forum, Crain's sister publication Modern Healthcare reports.
Transaction details were not released, but the goal of the move is consolidating quality measures and integrating more industry voices into the development of standards.
“We believe that by combining the unique capabilities of each organization, we can better support focused improvement in healthcare,” said Dr. Jonathan Perlin, president and CEO of The Joint Commission, in a news release.
The forum will remain independent in its development of consensus-based standards and practices. However, the majority of its board will be appointed by the Joint Commission.
The Health & Human Services Department contracts with the forum to provide guidance on performance measure priorities to entities like the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. More than 300 organizations are members of the forum, including health systems, insurers and public health agencies.
ABBVIE GETS EUROPEAN NOD FOR MIGRAINE DRUG: North Chicago-based pharmaceutical giant AbbVie said in a press release that the European Commission has approved its migraine-preventing drug, Aquipta (atogepant), for adults who have four or more migraine days per month.
"The European Commission approval of Aquipta is a significant milestone for people suffering from four or more migraine days per month as it provides a once-daily treatment option that can reduce the number of migraine days and the associated pain they experience," Roopal Thakkar, chief medical officer and senior vice president of development and regulatory affairs at AbbVie, said in the statement.
Atogepant is approved in the United States for both chronic and episodic migraines and in Canada for episodic migraines under the brand name Qulipta.
AT A GLANCE
Attorneys representing patients who are accusing former obstetrician-gynecologist Vernon Cannon of misconduct, and seeing his patients while intoxicated, and accusing his employer, DuPage Medical Group, now Duly Health & Care, of negligence say that four additional cases have been filed against Cannon and the medical group, bringing the number of cases up to a total of 16.
A spokesman for Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. said in an emailed statement Thursday that the law firm also intends to file an additional 37 cases in the coming week.
Modern Healthcare tells you what you need to know about changes to the organ transplantation system.
After an outcry from providers and patients and a major congressional investigation, lawmakers overwhelmingly passed the Securing the U.S. Organ Procurement & Transplantation Network Act of 2023 in July. President Joe Biden, who requested an overhaul in his fiscal 2024 budget proposal, is expected to sign the bill, which would end the United Network for Organ Sharing's nearly four-decade monopoly over the system and enable other organizations to participate.
UNOS, as the nonprofit organization is known, has been subject to accusations of mismanagement, lengthy waiting lists, lost organs, fatalities and a failure to address disparities in donations and distributions among racial and ethic minorities.
Twelve Illinois health care providers and universities, including Rush University Medical Center and Erie Family Health Center, are among the dozens of institutions across the country receiving a portion of $100 million in federal grants to help alleviate the industry-wide nursing shortage.
Illinois organizations received grants ranging from $6,000 to $700,000. Rush, the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Erie Family Health Center were among local recipients that received the largest grants. Read more.
Join Crain's and a panel of health industry leaders on Sept. 21 for the Crain's Equity Event: Breaking Down Barriers: Redefining Health Equity in Chicago.
The panel is made up of Cristy Garcia-Thomas, president of the Advocate National Center for Health Equity and chief DEI officer at Advocate Health; Ayesha Jaco, executive director or West Side United; and Esther Sciammarella, executive director of the Chicago Hispanic Health Coalition. The event will be moderated by Crain's health care reporter Katherine Davis.
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE
• Swedish Hospital President and CEO Anthony Guaccio will retire at the end of 2023 after 27 years in leadership at the hospital, and current Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Lind will be promoted to president.
Guaccio, 62, has been Swedish's president and CEO since 2016 and held other executive titles since coming to the North Side hospital in 1996. He said the hospital is well-positioned to continue its mission of improving health care for those who are underserved.
He's worked with his successor for decades at Swedish. When Guaccio was promoted from chief operating officer to president and CEO in 2016, he promoted Lind from a vice president position to COO. Read more.
• Dr. Joshua Blomgren is returning to his alma mater as head team physician for Benedictine University in Lisle.
Blomgren, a primary care sports medicine physician with Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush will oversee the treatment of athletes with sports-related health issues or conditions and provide sideline coverage for home football games and select games of other sports. Blomgren was a multisport athlete in high school and a soccer player at Benedictine University.