Health & Welfare

New state law conceals records of abuse, neglect in nursing homes

A new Wisconsin law, which went into effect in February 2011, bars families from using state health investigation records in state civil suits filed against long-term providers, including nursing homes and hospices. It also makes such records inadmissible in criminal cases against health care providers accused of neglecting or abusing patients.

Wisconsin law increases abortion delays, risk

Planned Parenthood has not provided abortions by medication since April, claiming a new abortion law’s language was too vague to comply with. As a result, many women have had surgical abortions instead and face delays in making appointments.

Abortion pill restrictions part of nationwide push

Medication abortions have become more prevalent nationally in the past few years, and laws targeting them are sweeping state legislatures across the country.

Gaps remain in jails’ suicide prevention

Since 2003, 52 Wisconsin county jail inmates have taken their own lives. Department of Corrections jail inspector Nancy Thelen said that generally, Wisconsin’s 72 county-run jails are doing “a very good job with their suicide watches.”

But a Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism review of the counties’ most recent jail inspection records found that at least one-third of them had, like Monroe County, been cited for problems with their suicide prevention efforts.

Ignored and underfunded, mental health care thin at county jails

Key findings:
• Wisconsin’s county-run jails are overloaded with people with mental illness — but services are largely inadequate.
• The state Department of Corrections is charged with oversight but does not evaluate the quality of jails’ mental health care.
• For nearly a quarter-century, the Legislature has required the DOC to collect and summarize annual reports on jails’ mental health care, but most jails have not provided the information, and the DOC acknowledges it has not been asking for them.
• One-third of Wisconsin’s jails have been cited for inadequate suicide prevention efforts.

Bowing to pressure, fireplace makers step up safety measures

Myron Levin
To stave off regulation and lawsuits over severe burns to toddlers, manufacturers will provide protective screens as standard equipment with new gas fireplaces.
The industry has revised its voluntary guidelines to call for the addition of mesh screens to be permanently attached to new fireplaces to prevent contact with the scorching glass fronts, which get [...]

New research finds increase in U.S. suicide rate since recession

An important piece of new research has found that the United States suicide rate rose sharply in the years since the recession started.
A report published Sunday by the Lancet, a medical journal, showed the rate rose four times faster between 2008 and 2010 than in the eight years leading up to the recession. During the recessionary [...]

Conference draws 50 frac sand protesters
Conference draws 50 frac sand protesters

More than 50 people gathered Monday to protest frac sand mining outside a conference on the silica sand resources of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Concerns about the health, safety, and environmental impacts of the sudden boom in new industrial sand mining facilities are shared by many across the Upper Midwest.

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