Department of Health and Human Services

Casa de Salud, a nonprofit clinic in Albuquerque, N.M., provides primary medical care, opioid addiction services and non-Western therapies, including acupuncture and reiki, to a largely low-income population.

And as with so many other health care institutions that serve as a safety net, this clinic's revenue — and its future — are threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Updated at 7:03 p.m. ET

The federal scientist who was ousted last month as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority has filed a whistleblower complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

Updated Wednesday at 4:20 p.m. ET

After a slow initial roll-out, test kits for the new coronavirus are now becoming more widely available in the United States. That means a big surge in testing is coming — one that will likely cause a significant increase in identified cases of the COVID-19 illness.

Here are some things to know about the tests.

What is the current availability of coronavirus testing?

There's no doubt that opioids have been massively overprescribed in U.S. In the haste to address the epidemic, there's been pressure on doctors to reduce prescriptions of these drugs — and in fact prescriptions are declining. But along the way, some chronic pain patients have been forced to rapidly taper or discontinue the drugs altogether.

Now, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a new message for doctors: Abrupt changes to a patient's opioid prescription could harm them.

It's still a mystery — what's causing the cluster of severe respiratory illnesses among people who've used e-cigarettes? The FDA says there have been at least 215 reported cases in 25 states.

Nearly three dozen of those cases are in New York state, and investigators there say they are now zeroing in on vitamin E as a possible culprit. Health officials say state lab tests detected high levels of vitamin E in cartridges of cannabis vaping products used by people who vaped and suffered serious lung damage.

At a time when many insurers and health information technology companies are busily assembling databases of hundreds of millions of medical records, Americans find it difficult to get access to their own.

If you try to get yours, be prepared for confusing policies, ill-informed staff, wasted time and high costs. Even then, you may not get the records you seek. And all of this is at odds with your federal rights.

Most children enrolled in Medicaid who get a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder don't get timely or appropriate treatment afterward. That's the conclusion of a report published Thursday by a federal watchdog agency, the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General.

Susan Stocker / South Florida Sun Sentinel

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz isn’t sure exactly what goes on inside the nation’s migrant detention facilities, but she wants to ability to check without warning that she’s coming.

Wasserman Schultz put forth a bill Monday prohibiting congressional members from being denied entry to any migrant facility operated by the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services or private contractors working on those agencies’ behalf. The bill also would allow congressional members to visit facilities without notice.

WILFREDO LEE / AP

The Homestead detention center is no longer taking in new children at its facility, government officials say.

The hold on the placement of unaccompanied minors began at least two weeks ago alongside the efforts of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to downsize its child population by more than half, to 1,300 from 2,700.

“There are no plans to close Homestead at the moment,” an HHS spokeswoman told the Miami Herald in a text Monday.

We all hope for some peace and comfort at the end of life. Hospices are designed to make that possible, relieving pain and providing emotional and spiritual support. But two new government studies released Tuesday morning find that the vast majority of hospices have sometimes failed to do that.

And there's no easy way for consumers to distinguish the good hospices from the bad.

Feds Send Unaccompanied Immigrant Girls To Lake Worth-Area Facility

Jul 2, 2019
Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post

The federal government has begun sending immigrant girls to a facility west of Lake Worth Beach, bringing the immigration crisis that has been roiling the U.S. southern border to Palm Beach County.

As many as 141 children described in zoning documents as “unaccompanied minors” can be placed into the facility, located at 4445 Pine Forest Drive off of Military Trail south of Lake Worth Road.

News Service Florida

Governor Ron DeSantis signed his first piece of legislation earlier this week: a bill allowing smokable medical marijuana in the state of Florida. It's been one of the top priorities of his administration.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has this pen. It's not all that remarkable looking, but he held it up multiple times Monday at a briefing with reporters.

"This pen," he said, "has a lot of power."

And he said he is prepared to use it.

Azar was making the point that in the area of drug prices, the head of HHS — which runs the Medicare and Medicaid programs and buys about $130 billion in prescription drugs each year — can make a lot of changes in the pharmaceutical market. And he doesn't need congressional approval to do it.

The Trump administration is embarking on a sweeping effort to redefine civil rights in health care, with critics accusing the Department of Health and Human Services of sidestepping the rights of patients to soothe a far smaller constituency: conservative nurses, hospitals and other caregivers.

Updated at 1:48 p.m. ET

President Trump is nominating a former pharmaceutical executive to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency that, among other things, regulates prescription drugs.

The nomination comes at a time when rising drug prices have become a hot political issue.

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