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Online Memorial Honors Filipino Health Care Workers Who Have Died Of COVID-19 – NPR

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Fletcher, Gore Clash on Outsourcing Proposal for Jail Health Care – NBC 7 San Diego

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Supervisor Nathan Fletcher joined community activists and county workers Monday to announce a proposal to have the Health and Human Services Agency administer medical and behavioral health services in jails, and prevent Sheriff Bill Gore from privatizing services.

Gore, who recently cited the Sheriff’s Department’s $90 million annual health care bill for inmates as a reason to look toward cost-saving strategies, will ask the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to consider a request to look at possible vendors for the county’s health care needs in its jails and other facilities. The meeting will be conducted via teleconference in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fletcher and his coalition launched a petition called “Stop the Sheriff from Outsourcing Medical and Mental Health Services,” contending that privatization could lead to worse healthcare overall and threaten county jobs.

“Instead, we need a system of care driven by providing the appropriate care and preparation for release and reintegration into society,” Fletcher told reporters. “Not a system designed to limit care to maximize profit.”

Along with having the Health & Human Services Agency manage healthcare needs at jails, Fletcher is also asking his fellow supervisors to halt all actions related to outsourcing until an evaluation is completed within 180 days.

The Sheriff’s Department currently operates a hybrid system of private contractors and county workers. According to Fletcher’s group, the county sees a suicide rate for inmates five times higher than the state prison system.

“We have been given a sneak preview of the outcome of (for-profit) care in jails and laying off county workers, and it is grim,” said Genevieve Jones-Wright, executive director of Community Advocates for Just and Moral Governance.

“The sheriff has failed to meaningfully address his abhorrent record concerning the deaths in our local jails, and now he is putting forward a proposal that will exacerbate the loss of lives even further,” she said.

David Garcias, president of Service Employees International Union Local 221, said Gore’s plan “is to sell out their jobs to for-profit companies that provide substandard care and force the public to pick up their bill for lawsuit and settlement costs.”

Gore responded to Fletcher’s criticism with a letter addressed to the supervisor, stating that the board “has no direct authority over the jail,” in terms of duties or operation.

“In fact, the penal code recognizes that a county sheriff may contract with providers of health care for the care of inmates,” the letter says.

“As sheriff, I am consistently looking for ways to provide the highest level of medical services for inmates in the county jail system. “There is no reason to delay the process for 180 days.”

In response to Fletcher’s claim of poor healthcare outcomes for inmates and low morale among staff, Gore argued that his department “has worked diligently to improve timely access to care for our inmate population.”

In a July 31 opinion piece in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Gore wrote it would be irresponsible of him “not to explore all available options” for inmate mental and medical health care, especially given fiscal pressures on the county caused by the pandemic.

Gore argued that the county already spends over $20 million on contracted services for inmates. “The only way to find out if that money is providing the highest value is to explore options,” he wrote.

The sheriff also praised his department’s medical services staff for their “exceptional work every day in a very challenging environment.”

Read Gore’s letter in full here.

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Multnomah County health officer to hold COVID-19 news conference

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PORTLAND, Ore. — Multnomah County Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines will hold an 11:30 a.m. news conference to discuss the spread of COVID-19.

Multnomah County, Oregon’s most densely populated, is among the counties with the most rapid spread of COVID-19. Last week, Gov. Kate Brown added Multnomah, Marion and Hood River counties to Oregon’s COVID-19 County Watch List.

In a news conference last week, Dr. Vines said the coronavirus is widespread in Multnomah County, with 62% of the county’s cases not traceable to a known source.

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‘These very young students saw combat-level injuries’: health care students’ reflect on Walmart mass shooting a year later

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EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) — El Paso medical professionals had just minutes to prepare for one of the most difficult days in their careers: August 3, 2019, the day of the Walmart mass shooting. In the chaos, some nursing and medical students suddenly found themselves on the front lines.

A year later, the sights and sounds of the hospital still linger with medical student Christian Castro. Castro is of the many health care students who raced in to volunteer at hospitals after the mass shooting, rushing into the trauma and feeling compelled to go where they could help.

“It hit me that whatever is going on, however many people are hurt, the hospital’s going to need help,” he said.

“We came in on the opposite side of the emergency room,” Castro said. “It was very quiet, very empty, kind of an eerie feeling. As we got closer, the quiet, eerie feeling kind of changed to this more urgent, louder, noise-filled environment of the emergency room.”

At the time, Castro was a third-year medical student at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

“Once I figured out that my immediate family and friends were all okay, my extended family of El Paso, I kind of had the sense that they were in danger,” Castro said. “I needed to be there. My community needed me.”

At University Medical Center, it quickly became clear: no job was too small.

“They were receiving these victims as they were coming in from pedestrian vehicles, from ambulances,” Castro said. “They were meeting them at the door, assessing them within a couple of seconds to minutes… Everyone had a little role to play in that time and kind of like this little symphony of chaos mended in its way into taking care of these patients.”

“No one looked out of  place,” he added. “Everyone knew that they had a job that needed to be done.”

Health care students became heroes, suddenly thrust into the middle of the crisis.

“Our students were in clinicals and they were in the ICU, the emergency department and also in OR,” said Dr. Stephanie Woods, the Dean of the Hunt School of Nursing at TTUHSC El Paso. “Very quickly we had to make a decision.

Nursing students at TTUHSC El Paso went on lockdown, but instead of sheltering in place, they jumped in to the fight.

“These very young students in their early twenties, mid-twenties, suddenly saw combat-level injuries,” Dr. Woods said. “They saw things they have never seen and would hope to never see again.”

It was a lesson they might not have learned in a classroom, and one they likely hoped they would never have to learn at all.

“When you commit to certain purposes in your life, you don’t get to ask yourself, ‘I’ll do that if that’s convenient,'” Dr. Woods said. “Nurses don’t have the option of saying, ‘I’m going to stand aside from this crisis.'”

For Castro, instinct took over.

“Everything happened so quickly,” Castro said. “It really wasn’t until I got home later that night that I had a chance to sit down and like take a deep breath and then think like, ‘wow, this really happened.’ The families we helped. The families we couldn’t help. The patients, the doctors and the nurses and the things we saw and the things we heard. It kind of rushed in all at once.”

A year later, Castro knows the impact will last a lifetime.

“If it wasn’t already clear to me, it became crystal clear that that’s where I was meant to be. I was right where I was supposed to be,” Castro said. “It did kind of serve as an example, or like a very clear magnifying glass, for me to see that I truly am on the right path and I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. There’s no question about it.”

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