Blogs from Center MD - Center Maryland - Maryland’s leading source of aggregated and original news and opinion on government, politics, business and more. Fri, 24 Nov 2017 17:07:26 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Gene M. Ransom III: Marylanders of All Ages Should Talk to Their Doctors About Getting Vaccinated As we enter fall, parents around Maryland have sent their children into the school year with everything they need to succeed, including their required school vaccinations. But immunizations aren’t just for our children – they are a lifelong, year-round medical necessity, and a critical public health tool for protecting against a broad range of dangerous and potentially deadly illnesses.

The practice of getting vaccinated should and does start at an early age. MedChi plays an official role in the review and release of the official Maryland Department of Health Child immunization schedule.  That schedule is approved and has been released on the Department of Health and MedChi web site.

The classroom environment makes Maryland students and their classmates susceptible to contracting and spreading a range of dangerous illnesses. In school communities, vaccines play an important role in creating “herd immunity” – when a high enough percentage of people are vaccinated so the entire community can be protected from disease, including those who aren’t medically able to be immunized.

In Maryland alone, thousands of kids go unvaccinated every year, putting themselves and their classmates at risk. Maryland knows firsthand the effects of children not having proper vaccinations: in 2015, the Anne Arundel health department had to notify residents of an increase in whooping cough in school-age children.

And it is not only young children who should be vaccinated at the start of the school year. As Maryland teenagers and young adults prepare to return to college – and as students from all over the country return to Maryland colleges and universities – parents should make sure their children have a conversation with their healthcare provider about how to be protected from diseases such as meningitis. Unfortunately, incidents of meningitis have become all too common on America’s college campuses, including locally. Maryland saw twenty cases of viral meningitis reported at the University of Maryland in the fall of 2014.

Meningitis, whether viral or bacterial, can spread quickly in close quarters, like college dorms. The bacterial form of the disease is particularly dangerous and although fast treatment has proven to save the lives of many individuals, the CDC estimates the fatality rate is between 10 and 15 percent. In addition, 19 percent of survivors suffer permanent complications, such as loss of limbs, injury to the nervous system, deafness, or brain damage.

Thankfully, there are now vaccines available to protect against all types of meningococcal disease that are most common in the United States. The best way to stop the spread of meningitis is by preventing it in the first place, which is why it is so important to make sure our college students are up-to-date with their vaccines.

Although often overlooked, vaccines are a critical part of prenatal care: before a baby even takes a breath they should be protected from disease. It is essential for pregnant women to get vaccinated to protect their babies from diseases such as whooping cough or the flu, which are particularly common among newborns and can be deadly.

Finally, there are a broad range of vaccine-preventable diseases that threaten adults. Pneumococcal disease, which can lead to serious illnesses like pneumonia, blood infection, or bacterial meningitis, causes approximately 22,000 deaths every year. Adults living with chronic conditions such as heart disease, liver disease, asthma and other lung disease, as well as adults making certain lifestyle choices, such as smoking, should be vaccinated against pneumococcal disease.

The back to school season is not only an opportunity to get our kids the shots they need to return to school – it is also an ideal time to help protect the entire community through vaccinations. I encourage you to have a conversation with your doctor about the most appropriate vaccine schedule for you and your family.

About MedChi
MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society, is a non-profit membership association of Maryland physicians.  Formed in 1799, it is still the largest physician organization in Maryland today.  The mission of MedChi is to serve as Maryland's foremost advocate and resource for physicians, their patients and the public health of Maryland.  For more information, please visit

Gene M. Ransom III, CEO MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society, Twitter @generansom, Email Gransom [AT] medchi [DOT] org 

info [AT] centermaryland [DOT] com (Center MD) Blog Wed, 04 Oct 2017 00:23:36 -0400
Wendy Davis Interview Series: Episode 2

In this second of a two-part interview, Wendy Davis shares with KOFA Managing Partner Jamie Fontaine her thoughts on Betsy DeVos’ proposed dismantling of Title IX.

Wendy Davis is the former Texas State Senator and founder of the women’s advocacy initiative Deeds Not Words. She was propelled to national prominence in 2013 when she took to the Texas Senate floor for a 13-hour filibuster on an abortion restriction bill.

While addressing the cumulative effect of so much anti-woman policy and rhetoric at the federal level, she answers the question: Is the administration sending a message to women that our government isn’t on their side, or are there necessary adjustments that should be made to current policy? 

info [AT] centermaryland [DOT] com (Center MD) Blog Sun, 24 Sep 2017 23:40:44 -0400
Dr. Leana S. Wen: Graham-Cassidy Health Care Proposal Is Detrimental to Nation’s Health The Graham-Cassidy bill scheduled to be voted by the Senate next week is even more detrimental than previous attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It will take away health insurance coverage from millions of people, devastate Medicaid, and eliminate protections for patients, including coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Cloaked under auspices of giving autonomy and flexibility to the states, this bill proposes to reallocate funding from the federal government to states. Such a block grant approach sounds good in theory, but when there is $299 billion less federal support, states will have far less funding. Maryland alone stands to lose more than $2 billion in state and federal funding in FY2020 through this proposal, and would lose $4.8 billion in federal Medicaid dollars by 2026. States will have to make difficult choices about which programs to cut, and will be on the hook for all unexpected costs, including hikes in prescription drug prices and public health emergencies such as outbreaks and natural disasters.

Independent analyses predict disastrous effects on Medicaid, which covers 1.3 million children in Maryland and provides 40 percent of the cost for long-term care for seniors. Maryland, along with the 30 other states that have taken advantage of Medicaid expansion under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), will be particularly affected with a sharp increase in costs and loss of coverage. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicinefound that expanded Medicaid coverage for low-income adults translates to a 6.1 percent reduction in mortality while saving costs. These gains will be rolled back if Graham-Cassidy passes.

In addition, Graham-Cassidy creates huge uncertainty for millions of Americans. It will harm insurance markets and increase costs by eliminating subsidies that help consumers purchase policies and provide reimbursements to insurers for offering price discounts. What’s worse is that it cuts core consumer protection provisions in the ACA. States will be able to remove protections for people with pre-existing illnesses such that people with chronic conditions will no longer be able to obtain insurance. They can force older residents to pay much higher premiums. Essential health benefits such as preventive care, emergency services, reproductive care, and mental health—which are called essential for a reason—may no longer be covered. Annual and lifetime caps—banned under the ACA—could come back, causing families to choose between survival and bankruptcy.

As a physician who practiced medicine before and after the ACA, I have seen how the ACA safeguards health and life. There is a reason why every major medical and patient advocacy organization opposes proposals to repeal it, including this most recent attempt through Graham-Cassidy. This bill endangers the health and well-being of millions of Americans. It is unconscionable to price people out of the ability to obtain the basic human right to health.

Dr. Leana Wen is the Baltimore City Health Commissioner. Twitter: @DrLeanaWen and @BMore_Healthy.

info [AT] centermaryland [DOT] com (Center MD) Blog Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:59:05 -0400
Wendy Davis Interview Series: Episode 1

KOFA Managing Partner Jamie Fontaine talks with Wendy Davis, former Texas State Senator and founder of the women’s advocacy initiative Deeds Not Words, about the opportunities and challenges facing today’s young women.

Davis was propelled to national prominence in 2013 when she took to the Texas Senate floor for a 13-hour filibuster on an abortion restriction bill.

In this first of a two part series, Wendy shares her story of overcoming adversity to achieve greatness; the mission of Deeds Not Words, an advocacy organization focused on providing the tools and information to help women engage in the process; and about her primary focus today: economic justice for women.

Next week in part two, they discuss Betsy DeVos’ proposed dismantling of Title IX.

info [AT] centermaryland [DOT] com (Center MD) Blog Wed, 20 Sep 2017 16:01:34 -0400
Cory McCray's Story is Baltimore's Story
Baltimore has shaped Cory since the day he was born. Now Cory is working hand-in-hand with our neighborhoods to shape Baltimore. Cory is running for Senate so that he can continue expanding our opportunities, listening to our needs, and figuring out how to serve them. He asks for your support, as he continues to work on our behalf in Annapolis.]]>
info [AT] centermaryland [DOT] com (Center MD) Blog Sun, 17 Sep 2017 20:43:32 -0400