Physician Practice Roundup—Doctor groups warn of ‘irreparable harm’ to migrant children separated from parents

A physician's stethoscope
Community health centers have seen growth, particularly in states that expanded Medicaid. (Getty/millionsjoker)

Doctor groups warn of ‘irreparable harm’ to migrant children separated from parents

Add the voices of physician groups to those opposed to the Trump administration policy that is separating immigrant children from their parents in a growing crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Separating children from their families can create health risks, warned Colleen Kraft, M.D., president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“The AAP urges the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice to immediately end the policy of family separation. Separating children from their parents contradicts everything we stand for as pediatricians—protecting and promoting children’s health. We know that family separation causes irreparable harm to children. This type of highly stressful experience can disrupt the building of children's brain architecture. Prolonged exposure to serious stress—known as toxic stress—can lead to lifelong health consequences,” Kraft said.

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And at its annual meeting last week, delegates of the American Medical Association also adopted a policy in opposition to separating children from their caregivers at the border and sending them to federal government facilities.

“Children leaving the chaos of their home countries should not be further traumatized by the U.S. government policy of separating children from their caregiver. It’s inhumane and risks scarring children for the rest of their lives,” said AMA board member Bobby Mukkamala, M.D. (AAP statement, AMA article)

Patient visits to community health centers soar, report finds

Community health centers have seen a significant boost in patient visits over the past several years, according to a new report. 

Community health centers, or clinics that offer a variety of services to low-income or underinsured patients in medically underserved areas, saw 33% patient growth between 2010 and 2016, according to an analysis (PDF) from George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health.

Increases were most pronounced in states that expanded Medicaid. In Louisiana, for example, the number of patients visiting a community health center increased by 86%, and in Indiana the number increased by 83%. 

Seven states saw an increase of 200,000 or more patients visiting these facilities over the six-year window; five—New York, Indiana, Ohio, California and Washington—are expansion states. (FierceHealthcare)

Patient can sue doctor who did not disclose inexperience

A patient who underwent a complex heart surgery and suffered complications can sue the surgeon for not disclosing that he never performed the procedure before, the Iowa Supreme Court has ruled.

The court ruled the patient may sue the doctor, Sohit Khanna, M.D., and his former employer, the Iowa Heart Center, over the lack of disclosure. Doctors have a duty to inform patients of their professional experience or training, if the information would help “a reasonable person” decide whether to undergo a proposed treatment, according to the court decision. (Des Moines Register)

FDA considers approving HPV vaccine for more adults

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering an application that, if approved, would enable more people to gain access to the vaccine to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV).

The vaccine Gardasil, which protects against HPV, is now approved for patients 9-26 years of age. Merck, which makes the vaccine, has applied to the FDA to approve use of the vaccine for adults between the ages of 27 and 45 to prevent certain cancers and diseases caused by HPV. The FDA has granted priority review to the application and has set a target date of Oct. 6 to decide on the application. (Merck statement)

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