Halloween at risk in local neighborhoods

Residents of Walled Lake, Michigan are spooked about a Halloween with the COVID-19 pandemic. Home to 7,000 residents, parents students and doctors are preparing for a safe holiday. Halloween and COVID-19

“Very interesting,” said Dr. Alka Jain when asked. “I have a 12-year-old (who) wants to go trick-or-treating, so we had to figure out a plan for her. Everyone is on a different spectrum with COVID-19.

Physician assistants could expand access to health care

Capital News Service
LANSING — Patients would gain greater access to health care if lawmakers approve a bill that would let physician assistants practice with less supervision and make it easier for some of them to prescribe drugs. The measure would make Michigan the first state to offer that level of autonomy. The idea is to help physician assistants better reach and serve patients, said Michael DeGrow, executive director for the Michigan Academy of Physician Assistants. The legislation will make it easier for them to practice in many different counties. For example, if you’re homebound with a chronic condition in rural Northern Michigan, multiple visits to outpatient health care may not be possible.

Less state money for mandates makes counties pay

Capital News Service
LANSING — Michigan is requiring Kent County to increase public health counseling with no additional state funding. Ottawa County has just discovered it must begin reimbursing foster parents’ mileage under Department of Human Services requirements. State funding for Marquette County’s senior services has dropped more than 20 percent since 2007, leaving these expenses for the county to cover. Michigan counties say issues like these are created by unfunded or underfunded mandates — new services the state requires counties to perform without paying its share of the costs. “This is a sore spot with local government throughout the state,” said Alan Vanderberg, Ottawa County administrator.

State and local health officials struggle to anticipate disease threats from climate change

Capital News Service
LANSING — State health officials are struggling to anticipate new health threats posed by a changing climate. The Michigan Department of Community Health has put together the Michigan Climate and Health Adaptation program to prepare for any health risks the climate change may bring.  The program was recently renewed with a grant from the Centers for Disease Control. The unusual weather brought on by climate change can have health consequences that range from something as minor as dehydration to as serious as a West Nile virus outbreak, said Angela Minicuci, a public information officer for the state health department. “Our primary goals are that climate change will be recognized as a public issue and integrated into a public health practice,” said Dominic Smith, the state health department community health educator.