State Disciplines Nine Nurses

The state Board of Examiners for Nursing disciplined nine nurses this week, including taking action against seven nurses who abused drugs or alcohol. The board revoked the license of Christine Tracy, a licensed practical nurse, for abusing heroin in 2014. The board’s memorandum of decision said that Tracy of Ansonia was arrested in 2014 after driving on the wrong side of the road and striking two other cars. After being hospitalized, she was found in possession of seven bags of heroin. She was arrested and placed on probation for three years in 2016 after pleading guilty to possession of narcotics and failure to appear in court, the memo said.

Doctors, Clinician Team Up For C-HIT Forum On Stress, Mindfulness

There’s no denying it: most of us are stressed. Stress levels in the country are at their highest in at least a decade, research shows, and a recent American Psychological Association (APA) study found two-thirds of respondents feel stressed about the future. To learn about the leading sources of stress, how stress affects your health and how to reduce stress, the Connecticut Health I-Team will host a community forum, “Getting Ahead of Stress: A Primer on Medicine, Mental Health and Mindfulness,’’ from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 5, at the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University, 370 Bassett Road in North Haven. The free event is open to the public and you can register here.

Med Board Fines West Hartford Doctor, Physician Assistant

A son and mother who practice medicine in West Hartford were fined a total of $11,500 today by the state Medical Examining Board for prescribing high doses of opioids for patients without monitoring them for drug abuse. The board fined Dr. Corey Jaquez of the West Hartford Medical Center $7,500 and placed his medical license on probation for a year. They also fined his mother, Janis Jaquez, a physician assistant at the center, $4,000 and placed her license on probation for a year. Both were ordered to take courses in prescribing drugs and managing chronic pain, which they have already completed, and will have their practice monitored by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) during the probation, under consent orders they agreed to with the board. DPH records show the charges grew out of a report in 2015 from the state Department of Consumer Protection’s Drug Control Division about the care of three patients between 2010 and 2014.

Medication Helps People Stay Off Opioids

Combining medication with other forms of therapy can help people with opioid addition avoid relapse by calming cravings and managing the symptoms of withdrawal. Less than half of the privately drug addiction programs nationally offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT); and even in those programs, only one-third of patients receive MAT, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. In Connecticut, there are about 40 Medicaid providers that prescribe medication for treatment. In our podcast, sponsored by Wheeler Clinic, Dr. Robert Grillo discusses medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction. Increasing access to MAT is important given the extreme danger associated with relapse, says Dr. Robert Grillo, medical director for psychiatry at Wheeler Clinic.

Eight Nursing Homes Fined Following Lapses In Care

State health officials cited and fined eight nursing homes for various violations that resulted in lapses in care. The Reservoir in West Hartford was fined $2,360 after staff failed to give a resident’s spouse proper written notice that the resident was being transferred to another facility. The resident was moved on July 12 and the resident’s spouse opposed the move because it was far from the spouse’s home. The move came a week after the resident had left the facility despite being identified as an elopement risk and wearing a WanderGuard sensor, the Department of Public Health (DPH) citation said. Police found the resident in a wooded area about 50 feet behind the facility.

Drowning Can Be Averted, But State Water Safety Funds Have Shrunk

Trying to walk out to Charles Island at Silver Sands State Park in Milford this summer, George Swaby drowned after he and a friend were swept up in a fast current off a sandbar. Beachgoers watched as a boater rescued his friend that Friday, July 21. The body of Swaby, 28, was not found for two days. Compounding the tragedy was that it happened in sight of the beach, although outside the swimming area. “It was our goal to guard that beach from Thursday through Sunday,” said Dennis Schain, spokesman for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Nursing Board Disciplines Four Nurses

The state Board of Examiners for Nursing disciplined four nurses Wednesday, including two accused of abusing drugs or alcohol and two accused of lying about their credentials. The board reprimanded and fined Vittoria Guerrera, a registered nurse from Prospect, $3,000, in connection with lying to her employer, St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, in 2015 about her results on a national nursing exam. Guerrera told her employers that a report that she failed the test was false, a consent order approved by the board said. From June through September of 2015, Guerrera continued to work as an RN at the hospital despite having failed the nursing test, the consent order said.

State Leads Nation In Providing Preventive Dental Care To Low-Income Children

The number of low-income Connecticut children receiving dental sealants, a treatment to prevent tooth decay, has grown in recent years and the state’s participation rate outpaces the nation. In 2016, 44,497 (19.6 percent) of the 226,111 children ages 5 to 16 enrolled in the Connecticut Dental Health Partnership had sealants placed on molars, up 9 percent from 2011, according to the state Department of Social Services. Nationally, in the 2015 fiscal year, 14.9 percent of eligible children – 2.7 million out of more than 17 million – received sealants, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. State officials and dental providers make a concerted effort to educate families about the importance of sealants, said Donna Balaski, director of dental services at DSS. “Sealants are shown to be an effective treatment for preventing disease,” she said, and is part of a broader DSS strategy to teach families about overall dental health.

Yale: Opioid Addiction Treatment In ED Is Cost-Effective

As the opioid epidemic deepens, Yale researchers say starting treatment with medication is the most cost-effective way to treat patients in hospital emergency departments. People with opioid addiction often seek treatment in EDs for overdoses and other ailments. Those who receive buprenorphine, a medication that reduces drug cravings, in the ED incur lower health care costs over the following month than those who get a referral to treatment services or receive a brief intervention with a facilitated referral, according to a new analysis of a randomized clinical trial. The analysis, published today in the journal “Addiction,” compared the estimated health care costs for patients over the 30 days following their ED visit. Those costs included ED care, addiction treatment, inpatient and outpatient costs and medications.

State Medical Board Fines, Disciplines Doctors

The state Medical Examining Board disciplined four doctors on Tuesday, including reprimanding and fining a prominent Norwalk plastic surgeon $2,500 for failing to keep adequate medical records. The medical license of the plastic surgeon, Dr. Laurence Kirwan, was also placed on probation for four months while he must complete a course in medical documentation, a consent order states. In 2015, the mother of a patient who had two chin procedures from Kirwan in 2014 filed a complaint with the state Department of Public Health, records show. A plastic surgery consultant found that Kirwan’s treatment records did not meet the standard of care, records show. On his blog, Kirwan says he is a professor and an internationally recognized expert in plastic surgery who has practiced in Norwalk, Manhattan and London.