Saturday, December 3, 2022

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Group wants rollbacks of some IA voting restrictions; RSV, Flu, COVID: KY faces "Triple Threat" this winter; Appeals court halts special master review of documents seized at Mar-a-Lago.

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The Senate passes a bill forcing a labor agreement in an effort to avoid a costly railway worker strike. The House Ways and Means Committee has former President Trump's tax returns in hand. The Agriculture Committee is looking at possible regulations for cryptocurrency following the collapse of cryptocurrency giant FTX. The Supreme Court will be reviewing the legality of Biden s student debt relief program next year. Anti-semitic comments from Ye spark the deletion of tweets from the the House Judiciary Committee GOP's Twitter account.

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The first-ever "trout-safe" certification goes to an Idaho fish farm, the Healthy Housing Initiative helps improve rural communities' livability, and if Oklahoma is calling to you, a new database makes it easier for buyers and builders to find available lots.

Union: CT Must Address Staffing at Addiction Treatment Centers

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Wednesday, February 2, 2022   

A Connecticut health-care workers' union is raising concerns over what it calls a "staffing crisis" in addiction services that led the state to close treatment admissions at two hospitals for the first time.

Members of SEIU District 1199 New England said the closures in late December at Connecticut Valley Hospital in Middletown and Blue Hills Treatment Center in Hartford, disconnected people from medically managed detoxification services, the highest level of addiction care.

Thomas Burr, community and affiliate relations manager for NAMI Connecticut, said that, combined with flat funding for the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, people have been unable to get the help they need.

"The entire behavioral health system in Connecticut is gridlocked. And too many end up in crisis and wind up in overcrowded emergency rooms, waiting sometimes days for an inpatient bed to open - or worse, end up in a jail or in prison."

The union is asking DMHAS to fill 330 already funded positions at the two health facilities. A DMHAS spokesperson says admissions have resumed at the hospitals. The department has hired for nearly 700 positions since 2019, and continues to recruit for vacancies.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health reported a 14.3% increase in overdoses in 2020, with preliminary numbers for this year also increasing.

Brian Williams, a certified addictions counselor at Connecticut Valley, said it's concerning to see the reduced capacity for services during the pandemic, particularly for people who are incarcerated or on probation and need substance-use treatment.

"The human cost to these individuals and their families when treatment is delayed or denied is incalculable," he said. "While prolonged incarceration is severe enough, unfortunately, loss of life is also along this continuum."

Williams said capacity at Connecticut Valley's Middletown campus has been reduced from 110 beds to 30. The union also is calling on DMHAS to fill another 110 positions in addiction services. That would double treatment capacity by July, and cost the state an estimated $6.6 million.


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