…says this will facilitate more tradeThe Essequibo Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ECCI) is calling on Government to desilt the Pomeroon River; one of the deepest rivers in the Caribbean, to accommodate trade.ECCI PresidentSuean SeewnarayanAccording to the Chamber President, Suean Seewnarayan, due to the heavy siltation of the Pomeroon River mouth, large vessels cannot enter nor leave port and this is adding to the cost the regions bears for importation and exportation of goods.Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) is mainly an agricultural region which has the potential to produce enough food for local and export markets. However, according to the Chamber, farmers need to have the necessary infrastructure and security in place before investing.Additionally, the Chamber President noted that the garbage piled up and congestion at Charity needs to be addressed in the commercial zone as this will be a hazard for development.Charity was one of the main ports on the Essequibo Coast and is ideal for big ships due to the depths of the Pomeroon River, but the heavy siltation of the river mouth has impeded larger ships from traversing the channel, resulting in the entire waterfront being left to deteriorate further.According to a resident living in the area, he can remember the days when the steamer used to come to the Pomeroon and residents used the service to transport all their produce to markets in Georgetown. Presently, the coconut industry is doing well and the Pomeroon can be the gateway once again to the Caribbean and the rest of the world if the river mouth is dredged and the waterfront rehabilitated, the resident said.With the coming of the Pomeroon Oil Mill Inc, which is the brainchild of businessman Alfro Alphonso, it will significantly assist the struggling industry, which has seen farmers giving up, owing to the lack of markets.The oil mill which sits on the Pomeroon River was designed to use the river as a gateway for export markets, but due to the siltation of the river mouth, the mill will have to do all its exporting through Georgetown which is time consuming and costly.The only means to transport goods for local and export markets out of the region is by ferry service, which is some distance away from Charity. This therefore adds to transportation cost.
Healthcare advocates in California this year successfully pushed for medical coverage for kids who are in the country illegally. But they say they’re not satisfied. At a news conference Thursday, state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) outlined his efforts to further expand coverage to Californians who entered the country illegally. (Karlamangla, 7/23) A Dubuque mother says a wrinkle in Iowa’s cannabis oil program is forcing her to take her young son out into the parking lot of his care facility for his twice-daily dose of the medicine. Jennifer McFadden jumped through all the hoops to obtain a new state cannabis oil card. The permit is supposed to allow her to possess the oil for treatment of her 12-year-old son, Liam, who has severe epilepsy. To get the card, McFadden found a University of Iowa neurologist willing to sign a state form giving approval of the treatment. She then found a Colorado firm willing to send her the oil. But the agency that runs the facility where Liam lives says it can’t allow the oil into the place. McFadden said the agency, Hills & Dales, noted that even though state law allows her to possess the oil, federal authorities still consider it a strictly controlled marijuana product. (Leys, 7/23) Washington state can force pharmacies to dispense Plan B or other emergency contraceptives, a federal appeals court said Thursday in a long-running lawsuit brought by pharmacists who said they have religious objections to providing the drugs. The unanimous decision Thursday by the three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a 2012 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Ronald B. Leighton, who had found that the state’s rules violated the religious freedom of pharmacy owners. It was the second time the appeals court reversed Leighton in the case. (Johnson, 7/23) The Associated Press: California Judge To Rule On Right-To-Die Lawsuit The Associated Press: Florida Medicaid Plans Seek Raise From State Amid Losses Private health insurance company Health Net gave the wrong information to nearly 14,000 Medicare customers in Arizona during open enrollment last fall, a miscue that prompted the federal government to fine the health insurer nearly $350,000. (Alltucker, 7/23) WellStar Health System, fresh from abandoning a proposed deal with Emory Healthcare, has now landed a new potential partner. The Marietta-based WellStar is beginning negotiations with Tenet Healthcare to buy Tenet’s five hospitals in Georgia — all in greater metro Atlanta. (Miller, 7/23) The Associated Press: Ruling: Washington Can Require Pharmacies To Dispense Plan B The Associated Press: Coalition To Give Voice To Medical Marijuana Patients In the Los Angeles Police Department manual, the section addressing contact with persons who have a mental illness says the goal is to provide a humane, cooperative, compassionate and effective law enforcement response, reduce the potential for violence, and assess services available to the person involved. That’s easier said than done when an officer encounters a person who’s irrational, disconnected from reality, and threatening himself or someone else — maybe even the officer. (Stephens, 7/23) The costs for basic hip and knee surgeries were staggering, but even more confounding were the wild variations in charges for these common procedures. When analysts at Colorado PERA, the Public Employees Retirement Association, tracked exactly what they and their younger retirees had paid for knee and hip replacement surgeries in 2013, they found stunning variations. (Kerwin McCrimmon, 7/23) Insurers participating in Florida’s new Medicaid managed care program say they’ve lost $542 million through 2014 and want the state to raise their rates. But after losing major federal funding for hospitals, Gov. Rick Scott doesn’t want to use any more state money for the Medicaid program. Scott and the insurers are locked in intense negotiations that could undermine the fledgling program that gives federal funds to private health insurance companies to oversee medical care for poor and disabled people instead of reimbursing doctors and hospitals for each service. (7/23) State Highlights: Calif. Judge To Rule On Right-To-Die Lawsuit; Cleveland Stops Providing Family Benefits For Unmarried Couples Health care stories are reported from California, Ohio, Illinois, Florida, Arizona, Georgia, Washington, Iowa, Colorado, Nebraska and Massachusetts. Arizona Republic: Insurance Company Health Net Fined Nearly $350,000 For Enrollment Miscues Hospital profits have crept up over the past decade, thanks in part to taxpayer support, yet patients continue to struggle to find price and quality information — issues the governor’s healthcare commission vowed to tackle during its meeting in Miami Thursday. “We’ve got to make the costs for procedures available to consumers,” said Carlos Beruff, president of a home building company and chairman of the Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding created by Florida Gov. Rick Scott. “But that needs to be in conjunction with quality.” (Chang, 7/23) More than a dozen groups have formed a statewide coalition to make sure patients can get access to medical marijuana under Illinois’ new pilot program.Organizers have announced the formation of the Cannabis Patient Advocacy Coalition. They say it will seek to remove barriers to care and make sure policymakers hear patients’ personal stories. The coalition will also push for Gov. Bruce Rauner to approve recommendations to add 11 health conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder, to the state’s medical marijuana program. (7/23) The Chicago Tribune: Federal Judge Orders Rauner To Keep Medicaid Money Flowing In Cook County The Miami Herald: Governor’s Health Care Commission Urges Price, Quality Transparency Los Angeles Times: Legislator Vows To Seek More Healthcare Coverage For Immigrants The Associated Press: Winnebago Hospital Loses Medicare Funding For New Patients The Associated Press: Cleveland Abolishes Family Benefits For Unmarried Couples This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey is presenting a plan to divert low-level mentally ill offenders from jail and toward treatment. Among the recommendations: expanding law enforcement training to raise sensitivity and more effectively interact with the mentally ill; adding more urgent care centers to determine what services are needed; and establish detox centers for those with substance abuse issues. (7/23) City employees with domestic partners are now expected to marry if they want to continue receiving benefits, officials said. Cleveland City Council on Wednesday ended the program extending family benefits to employees’ domestic partners, Northeast Ohio Media Group reported Wednesday. The council also introduced legislation to terminate the city’s domestic partner registry. (7/23) Medicare funding for new patients ended Thursday at a troubled Nebraska hospital where, according to a federal report, inadequate treatment resulted in one death this year and harm to at least nine other patients. Spokesman Bob Moos for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said payments may continue for up to 30 days for current patients at the Winnebago Indian Health Service Hospital in Winnebago. (7/23) Georgia Health News: WellStar In Talks To Buy Tenet’s Hospitals In State The Associated Press: Iowa, Federal Rules Differ Over Marijuana Oil Extract Health News Colorado: Fixed-Price Surgeries Come To Colorado Retirees A single mom given only months to live and other California right-to-die advocates are hoping a court will do what the Legislature did not: allow doctors to prescribe fatal medication for terminally ill people who want it. A San Diego Superior Court judge is expected Friday to hear a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against the state by Christy O’Donnell, two other terminally ill Californians and a San Diego doctor seeking such a right. The plaintiffs are backed by Compassion and Choices, an advocacy group that has supported legislative efforts and similar lawsuits in various states. (7/24) California Healthline: Evaluation Trumps Incarceration In L.A. Police Dept. Mental Health Efforts Money to repair highways, rising health care costs and controversies surrounding attempts to combat global warming are among topics the nation’s governors plan to tackle when they gather this week in West Virginia. The National Governors Association summer meeting, which runs Thursday through Saturday at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, comes as states find themselves grappling with an array of issues that defy easy answers. Those include long-range funding for infrastructure upgrades, the effects of prolonged drought, and adequately funding public schools and colleges. (7/23) Kaiser Health News: Having A Baby? Big Differences Noted In Hospital Quality Across Mass. The Associated Press: From Highways To Health Care, Challenges Confront Governors Another pressure point in the Springfield stalemate was relieved Thursday when a federal judge ruled that payments owed to many Cook County health care providers who serve the poor must be made despite the absence of a state budget. The ruling opens the spigot for much of an estimated $8 billion in state taxpayer contributions to the Medicaid program to go out without delay while Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats who control the General Assembly remain locked in a political fight that has stalled agreement on a spending plan for the budget year that began July 1. (Geiger and Venteicher, 7/23) When women prepare to give birth, their choice of a hospital is usually dependent on how close it is to their home, where their doctors practice or where their insurance coverage sends them. What they might not realize is that there are often big differences in quality. In Massachusetts, with a little effort, the 70,000 women who give birth each year can check on those measures that set hospitals apart on a tool developed by Boston public radio station WBUR. (Bebinger, 7/24) The Associated Press: Los Angeles DA Recommends Diverting Mentally Ill From Jails