Provider News Fall 2016


Gun violence called a ‘public health crisis’ by American Medical Association

Marijuana exposure in children increases

Screen your patients: Syphilis outbreak continues in Shasta County

In brief: 

Dierdre mugIntroducing Dierdre Amaro, MD, Shasta County Forensic Pathologist: Hello, Shasta County! As the new Forensic Pathologist for Shasta County, I look forward to collaborating with my fellow physicians and health care professionals to improve the overall health of our community. I come to Shasta County having previously completed general pathology residency training and a neuropathology fellowship at the University of California, San Diego, as well as a forensic pathology fellowship in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For death certification questions, follow-up on a shared patient, or other forensic pathology-related queries, please contact me at the Shasta County coroner’s office at 225-5551 or via email.

Flu shots - get yours now: By Health Officer order starting in 2013, healthcare providers are required to have flu shots. This includes people who work in licensed health care facilities and ambulance services in Shasta County, and it requires employees, licensed independent practitioners (physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners with hospital privileges), volunteers, and contractors to receive an annual influenza vaccination or, if they decline, to wear a mask during each influenza season, November 1- March 30, while working in patient care areas. Learn more here.

End of Life Option Act now in effect: California’s End of Life Option Act, effective June 9, 2016, allows an adult in sound mental capacity diagnosed with a terminal disease who meets certain qualifications, including visits to two doctors, to request aid-in-dying drug from their attending physician. The Act requires participating physicians to submit specified forms to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). This information is available here.

Help available for problem gamblers: A simple screening tool can help you assess whether a patient has a gambling addiction. Ask these three questions:Have you ever tried to cut down or control your gambling?Have you ever lied to family members, friends or others about how much you gamble or how much money you lost gambling?Have there ever been periods lasting two weeks or longer when you spent a lot of time thinking about your gambling experiences or planning out future gambling ventures or bets? If your patient answers “yes” to any of these three questions, a more complete self-assessment tool is available here. You also direct them to 1-800-GAMBLER for no-cost help.

Electronic smoking devices now prohibited for people under 21: Beginning June 9, 2016, a new law raised the minimum age of sale for tobacco products in California from 18 to 21, except for active duty military personnel in the U.S. Armed Forces. Electronic smoking devices are included in the definition of tobacco products. This includes e-cigarettes, e-hookah, vape pens, vaping devices, mods, e-liquids, hookah, cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos/little cigars, chewing tobacco, snus and pipe tobacco. You can learn more about this law here.

Secure and dispose of unused medication: Only one-third of parents said their child’s doctor had discussed what to do with leftover medicine, according to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health – but this percentage can be strongly influenced by a forward-thinking medical professional. When providers talked to parents about how to dispose of any excess drugs, only a quarter of those parents still had leftover pills in the home. Conversely, in homes where doctors didn’t give guidance on what to do with the excess pills, more than half of parents kept the extra pills at home, the survey found. NoRxAbuse is a local coalition of medical professionals and others whose mission is to improve patient safety and prevent prescription drug abuse by providing tools to healthcare professionals, increase public awareness and develop viable solutions for local communities. If your patients need to dispose of unused medication, direct them to, which includes a list of local 24/7 medication disposal kiosks.