‘WE’RE GOING TO HOLD': DNC chief says party will keep control of Senate

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the leader of the Democratic National Committee, said Sunday that her party will keep control of the Senate next month, suggesting that a GOP effort to drag President Obama into races is a failed strategy.

“We are going to hold the Senate,” the Florida lawmaker told “Fox News Sunday.” “The president is not on the ballot.”

Her remarks come weeks after Obama argued that he indeed was “not on the ballot this fall” but that “every single one” of his policies are.

Since the start of the 2014 election cycle, Republicans have tried to tie incumbent Democrats to some of the Obama administration’s policies and actions that have alienated many voters — including ObamaCare and the IRS targeting of conservative political groups.

Those efforts have been a centerpiece of tight Senate races such as the one in Kentucky, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has continuously tried to tie Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes to ObamaCare and the president’s efforts to put tighter regulations on the coal industry — a key part of the state’s economy.  

“Republicans are desperate to put him on the ballot because they’re trying to turn away from their own terrible record,” Wasserman-Schultz said.

She made her prediction amid a majority of polls that give Republicans at least a 60 percent chance of retaking the upper chamber, including a Washington Post forecast that gives the GOP a 93 percent chance.

Republicans need to win a net total of six seats to take the Senate.

Wasserman Schultz also argued Democrats will keep control of the chamber because Republicans have let down Americans by taking away their health care and opposing minimum-wage increases.

“One question voters will ask is: Who has your back?” she said.

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, told Wasserman Schultz that Obama is “taking the country in the wrong direction and (Democratic) candidates are following him off the plank.”

“I don’t know whose back he has, but it’s not the American people’s,” Priebus continued.

Early in the election cycle, Wasserman Schultz faced criticism from within her party for saying Democrats would win some seats in the GOP-control House, but that retaking control of the chamber was less predictable.

Now with about two weeks before Election Day, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the group largely responsible for winning House races, is shifting money to defend incumbents, not defeat vulnerable Republicans. And political analysts largely expect Democrats to lose a handful of House seats.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/19/wasserman-schultz-predicts-are-going-to-hold-senate/

‘IT WAS ALL POLITICAL’ Wis. teachers leave union in droves under tough law

generic classroom shot.jpg

 (AP)

Teachers in Wisconsin’s public schools have learned a major lesson from the state’s landmark 2011 law neutering public sector unions, with more than a third dropping out of their labor organization.

Given no choice but to join and pay dues to the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) for decades, teachers have for the last three years been able to opt out. And that is what tens of thousands have done as a result of Gov. Scott Walker’s Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill, also known as Act 10.

“Given the evidence, it shows that the union’s hold is softening,” Patrick Wright, vice president of legal affairs for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, told FoxNews.com

The bill essentially requires the WEAC to mount a recertification drive every year to ensure that a majority wants its representation. The Act also prevents public sector employers from automatically collecting dues and passing them along to unions. Since June 2011, teacher enrollment in the WEAC has dropped nearly a third from nearly 100,000 members, and the smaller union AFT-Wisconsin has fallen more than half from its peak membership of 16,000.

“As soon as I was given the choice, I left,” Amy Rosno, a teacher with the virtual class program at the Waukesha school system, told FoxNews.com. “I never really understood the union anyway.”

Rosno said she had a better understanding once she was asked to be a representative for her department and attended her first WEAC meeting.

“I realized that it was all political and not about teaching,” she said. 

Teachers who spoke to the nonprofit education think tank EAGnews.org said they were glad to be free of the union’s grip, especially because of the perception their dues were spent on political contributions.

“It’s important to have a choice, because we are all professionals,” Michelle Uetz, a special education teacher at Prescott High School told the education news site. “We shouldn’t be pigeon-holed into contributing to politics we don’t believe in.”

WEAC has been accused of having a partisan political alliance with the Democratic Party in the state and backed a failed recall against Walker. Despite losing the policy battle, the union still pressures teachers to join, according to some interviewed by EAG.

“I worked with a young teacher who was thinking of leaving the union and she was actually scared to leave,” Deena Ferguson, a teacher at Fox Prairie Elementary, in Stilton, told the site, adding that WEAC often uses fear to recruit new teachers, suggesting they need protection from administrators.

“If the union is so beneficial and good, people will want to join on the principle and the merits and not be forced to join,” she said.

Rosno agreed, telling Foxnews.com that many teachers are left in a precarious position.

“There’s still a lot of fear,” she said. ‘A lot of teachers are afraid to admit that they support [Gov.] Walker. Many of them felt a lot of backlash. It still continues and they are afraid to show public support for the governor.

“Whether it is school funding reform, health care reform, licensure and professional development, working together to close achievement gaps or organizing for fairer contracts – we are strongest when we stand together,” reads a mission statement from the WEAC’s website.

Many teachers who dropped their union joined other groups, such as the Association of American Educators, a non-union trade association that provides some benefits but does not engage in collective bargaining.

“I think it’s interesting the union hasn’t chosen to change its business model, even though teachers are leaving in droves,” Kristi LaCroix regional membership director for AAE said. “It’s just business as usual with them, so I see more and more professionals leaving.”

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/10/19/one-third-wisconsin-teachers-have-dropped-union-since-gov-walker-ended/

TRICKED BY TREATS? Police warn of pot-laced candy for Halloween

potcandy.jpg

Oct. 17, 2014: Marijuana-infused sour gummy bear candies, left, are shown next to regular ones at right in a photo illustration in Golden, Colorado. (REUTERS)

Colorado parents are being told to be on the lookout this Halloween for marijuana-laced candy, NBC News reported.

The Facebook page of the Denver Police Department is warning that mass-produced candy can by sprayed with hash oil, and once the spray dries, there is no way to tell that the candy has been infused.

The station reported that the Denver PD Facebook page features Patrick Johnson, owner of marijuana shop Urban Dispensary. In the film, Johnson urges parents to inspect any candy their children bring home after trick-or-treating on Halloween to make sure it hasn’t been tampered with.

According to Children’s Hospital Colorado, accidental exposures of marijuana products to children in Colorado have increased in the past three years, based on the rate of emergency department visits and admissions at the hospital

“Since 2005, states that allow some form of legal marijuana have seen a 30 percent annual increase in calls to poison control centers for marijuana ingestion, relative to a 1 percent increase in non-legal states,” the hospital states on its website.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/10/19/halloweed-police-warn-pot-spiked-candy/

‘WE’RE GOING TO HOLD': DNC chief says party will keep control of Senate

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the leader of the Democratic National Committee, said Sunday that her party will keep control of the Senate next month, suggesting that a GOP effort to drag President Obama into races is a failed strategy.

“We are going to hold the Senate,” the Florida lawmaker told “Fox News Sunday.” “The president is not on the ballot.”

Her remarks come weeks after Obama argued that he indeed was “not on the ballot this fall” but that “every single one” of his policies are.

Since the start of the 2014 election cycle, Republicans have tried to tie incumbent Democrats to some of the Obama administration’s policies and actions that have alienated many voters — including ObamaCare and the IRS targeting of conservative political groups.

Those efforts have been a centerpiece of tight Senate races such as the one in Kentucky, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has continuously tried to tie Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes to ObamaCare and the president’s efforts to put tighter regulations on the coal industry — a key part of the state’s economy.  

“Republicans are desperate to put him on the ballot because they’re trying to turn away from their own terrible record,” Wasserman-Schultz said.

She made her prediction amid a majority of polls that give Republicans at least a 60 percent chance of retaking the upper chamber, including a Washington Post forecast that gives the GOP a 93 percent chance.

Republicans need to win a net total of six seats to take the Senate.

Wasserman Schultz also argued Democrats will keep control of the chamber because Republicans have let down Americans by taking away their health care and opposing minimum-wage increases.

“One question voters will ask is: Who has your back?” she said.

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, told Wasserman Schultz that Obama is “taking the country in the wrong direction and (Democratic) candidates are following him off the plank.”

“I don’t know whose back he has, but it’s not the American people’s,” Priebus continued.

Early in the election cycle, Wasserman Schultz faced criticism from within her party for saying Democrats would win some seats in the GOP-control House, but that retaking control of the chamber was less predictable.

Now with about two weeks before Election Day, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the group largely responsible for winning House races, is shifting money to defend incumbents, not defeat vulnerable Republicans. And political analysts largely expect Democrats to lose a handful of House seats.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/19/wasserman-schultz-predicts-are-going-to-hold-senate/

‘WE’RE GOING TO HOLD': DNC chief says party will keep control of Senate

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the leader of the Democratic National Committee, said Sunday that her party will keep control of the Senate next month, suggesting that a GOP effort to drag President Obama into races is a failed strategy.

“We are going to hold the Senate,” the Florida lawmaker told “Fox News Sunday.” “The president is not on the ballot.”

Her remarks come weeks after Obama argued that he indeed was “not on the ballot this fall” but that “every single one” of his policies are.

Since the start of the 2014 election cycle, Republicans have tried to tie incumbent Democrats to some of the Obama administration’s policies and actions that have alienated many voters — including ObamaCare and the IRS targeting of conservative political groups.

Those efforts have been a centerpiece of tight Senate races such as the one in Kentucky, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has continuously tried to tie Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes to ObamaCare and the president’s efforts to put tighter regulations on the coal industry — a key part of the state’s economy.  

“Republicans are desperate to put him on the ballot because they’re trying to turn away from their own terrible record,” Wasserman-Schultz said.

She made her prediction amid a majority of polls that give Republicans at least a 60 percent chance of retaking the upper chamber, including a Washington Post forecast that gives the GOP a 93 percent chance.

Republicans need to win a net total of six seats to take the Senate.

Wasserman Schultz also argued Democrats will keep control of the chamber because Republicans have let down Americans by taking away their health care and opposing minimum-wage increases.

“One question voters will ask is: Who has your back?” she said.

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, told Wasserman Schultz that Obama is “taking the country in the wrong direction and (Democratic) candidates are following him off the plank.”

“I don’t know whose back he has, but it’s not the American people’s,” Priebus continued.

Early in the election cycle, Wasserman Schultz faced criticism from within her party for saying Democrats would win some seats in the GOP-control House, but that retaking control of the chamber was less predictable.

Now with about two weeks before Election Day, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the group largely responsible for winning House races, is shifting money to defend incumbents, not defeat vulnerable Republicans. And political analysts largely expect Democrats to lose a handful of House seats.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/19/wasserman-schultz-predicts-are-going-to-hold-senate/

‘WE’RE GOING TO HOLD': DNC chief says party will keep control of Senate

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the leader of the Democratic National Committee, said Sunday that her party will keep control of the Senate next month, suggesting that a GOP effort to drag President Obama into races is a failed strategy.

“We are going to hold the Senate,” the Florida lawmaker told “Fox News Sunday.” “The president is not on the ballot.”

Her remarks come weeks after Obama argued that he indeed was “not on the ballot this fall” but that “every single one” of his policies are.

Since the start of the 2014 election cycle, Republicans have tried to tie incumbent Democrats to some of the Obama administration’s policies and actions that have alienated many voters — including ObamaCare and the IRS targeting of conservative political groups.

Those efforts have been a centerpiece of tight Senate races such as the one in Kentucky, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has continuously tried to tie Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes to ObamaCare and the president’s efforts to put tighter regulations on the coal industry — a key part of the state’s economy.  

“Republicans are desperate to put him on the ballot because they’re trying to turn away from their own terrible record,” Wasserman-Schultz said.

She made her prediction amid a majority of polls that give Republicans at least a 60 percent chance of retaking the upper chamber, including a Washington Post forecast that gives the GOP a 93 percent chance.

Republicans need to win a net total of six seats to take the Senate.

Wasserman Schultz also argued Democrats will keep control of the chamber because Republicans have let down Americans by taking away their health care and opposing minimum-wage increases.

“One question voters will ask is: Who has your back?” she said.

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, told Wasserman Schultz that Obama is “taking the country in the wrong direction and (Democratic) candidates are following him off the plank.”

“I don’t know whose back he has, but it’s not the American people’s,” Priebus continued.

Early in the election cycle, Wasserman Schultz faced criticism from within her party for saying Democrats would win some seats in the GOP-control House, but that retaking control of the chamber was less predictable.

Now with about two weeks before Election Day, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the group largely responsible for winning House races, is shifting money to defend incumbents, not defeat vulnerable Republicans. And political analysts largely expect Democrats to lose a handful of House seats.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/19/wasserman-schultz-predicts-are-going-to-hold-senate/

QUARANTINE TO END Friends, family of Ebola patient reach milestone

As her boyfriend Thomas Eric Duncan lay dying of Ebola in a Dallas hospital bed, Louise Troh battled loneliness and fear that she too had contracted the disease while confined to a stranger’s home under armed guard.

Troh’s confinement was ending Sunday night, along with several friends, family and others who had contact with Duncan after he first became infectious. Ebola has a 21-day incubation period, and the people who interacted with Duncan after he first arrived in Dallas from Liberia will be in the clear.

It’s an important milestone in the nation’s efforts to contain the outbreak and a cause for celebration for Troh. After three long weeks, she will be able to have a clean bill of health, leave the house and be done with twice-daily temperature readings by government health care workers. She likened the period to being a prisoner.

“I want to breathe, I want to really grieve, I want privacy with my family,” Troh told The Associated Press on Friday, lamenting that she was missing Duncan’s memorial service at his mother’s church in North Carolina because of the quarantine. Troh says she and Duncan planned to get married later in the week.

Duncan arrived in Dallas from Liberia in late September and went to the hospital complaining of headache and stomach pain. He was sent home with a prescription for antibiotics to treat a misdiagnosed sinus infection. He returned two days later, was diagnosed with Ebola and died Oct. 8.

The day Duncan tested positive for Ebola, Troh, her 13-year-old son, Duncan’s nephew and a family friend were ordered by a Dallas court to stay inside the apartment among Duncan’s used linens and any lingering virus. The unusual confinement order was imposed after the family failed to comply with a request not to leave the apartment, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. The four were later taken to an undisclosed gated community.

Jenkins and Troh’s pastor George Mason delivered the news of Duncan’s death to her during the confinement period.

The other people who will have their quarantine period end at midnight include Youngor Jallah, Troh’s daughter, a nurse’s assistant who checked Duncan’s vital signs before calling for an ambulance.

For nearly three weeks, Jallah has not left the cramped, second-story apartment she shares with her partner, Aaron Yah, their three children, ages 2, 4 and 6, and Yah’s 10-year-old son.

Unlike Troh, Jallah is not prevented from leaving by an armed guard, but Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials have come by daily to check everyone’s temperature.

“I’m telling you, just to step outside will be so great. To hug my mom and grieve for Eric, not over the phone like we’ve been doing but in the flesh,” Jallah said.

Mason said he is coordinating efforts with the city, county and philanthropic community to help Troh and the family recover. Because of the Ebola infection risk, crews stripped Troh’s apartment down to the carpeting, saving only a few personal documents, photographs and a Bible.

“They were left with nothing. They are completely devastated by this, so there’s need to have their lives rebuilt,” Mason said.

Troh plans to partially recover financially with a book written about her life, from growing up in Liberia, meeting Duncan in a refugee camp in Ivory Coast, Duncan’s years-long quest to come to America to be reunited with his girlfriend and their 19-year-old son, and his death in an isolation ward.

“It will be a love story,” she said.

Troh also issued a statement Sunday asking for privacy as she comes through the ordeal while thanking everyone who came to their side.

At Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas on Sunday, associate pastor Mark Wingfield said the congregation was eager to welcome Troh back.

“We look forward to welcoming Louise and her family members back to church after the quarantine is lifted and we want you to know that when that happens we will be glad to receive each one of them,” he said.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/10/19/friends-family-ebola-patient-reach-milestone/

‘IT WAS ALL POLITICAL’ Wis. teachers leave union in droves under tough law

generic classroom shot.jpg

 (AP)

Teachers in Wisconsin’s public schools have learned a major lesson from the state’s landmark 2011 law neutering public sector unions, with more than a third dropping out of their labor organization.

Given no choice but to join and pay dues to the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) for decades, teachers have for the last three years been able to opt out. And that is what tens of thousands have done as a result of Gov. Scott Walker’s Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill, also known as Act 10.

“Given the evidence, it shows that the union’s hold is softening,” Patrick Wright, vice president of legal affairs for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, told FoxNews.com

The bill essentially requires the WEAC to mount a recertification drive every year to ensure that a majority wants its representation. The Act also prevents public sector employers from automatically collecting dues and passing them along to unions. Since June 2011, teacher enrollment in the WEAC has dropped nearly a third from nearly 100,000 members, and the smaller union AFT-Wisconsin has fallen more than half from its peak membership of 16,000.

“As soon as I was given the choice, I left,” Amy Rosno, a teacher with the virtual class program at the Waukesha school system, told FoxNews.com. “I never really understood the union anyway.”

Rosno said she had a better understanding once she was asked to be a representative for her department and attended her first WEAC meeting.

“I realized that it was all political and not about teaching,” she said. 

Teachers who spoke to the nonprofit education think tank EAGnews.org said they were glad to be free of the union’s grip, especially because of the perception their dues were spent on political contributions.

“It’s important to have a choice, because we are all professionals,” Michelle Uetz, a special education teacher at Prescott High School told the education news site. “We shouldn’t be pigeon-holed into contributing to politics we don’t believe in.”

WEAC has been accused of having a partisan political alliance with the Democratic Party in the state and backed a failed recall against Walker. Despite losing the policy battle, the union still pressures teachers to join, according to some interviewed by EAG.

“I worked with a young teacher who was thinking of leaving the union and she was actually scared to leave,” Deena Ferguson, a teacher at Fox Prairie Elementary, in Stilton, told the site, adding that WEAC often uses fear to recruit new teachers, suggesting they need protection from administrators.

“If the union is so beneficial and good, people will want to join on the principle and the merits and not be forced to join,” she said.

Rosno agreed, telling Foxnews.com that many teachers are left in a precarious position.

“There’s still a lot of fear,” she said. ‘A lot of teachers are afraid to admit that they support [Gov.] Walker. Many of them felt a lot of backlash. It still continues and they are afraid to show public support for the governor.

“Whether it is school funding reform, health care reform, licensure and professional development, working together to close achievement gaps or organizing for fairer contracts – we are strongest when we stand together,” reads a mission statement from the WEAC’s website.

Many teachers who dropped their union joined other groups, such as the Association of American Educators, a non-union trade association that provides some benefits but does not engage in collective bargaining.

“I think it’s interesting the union hasn’t chosen to change its business model, even though teachers are leaving in droves,” Kristi LaCroix regional membership director for AAE said. “It’s just business as usual with them, so I see more and more professionals leaving.”

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/10/19/one-third-wisconsin-teachers-have-dropped-union-since-gov-walker-ended/

NIH chief admits inadequate Ebola protocols, gov’t overstated readiness

America’s top infectious disease expert on Sunday again acknowledged that the safety protocols used for the country’s first Ebola patient were inadequate and that the Obama administration overstated the country’s readiness for the deadly virus, amid concern that Americans have already lost faith in the government.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told “Fox News Sunday” that the adopted World Health Organization protocol for handling an Ebola patient was better suited for field work than confined hospital care.

As a result, two nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, in Dallas, were infected with Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian national who arrived from West Africa with the virus and later died.

“It was very clear … that is not the optimal way,” Fauci said.  

Fauci said he wasn’t sure how nurse Nina Pham became infected, but it was “likely” because “she was not completely covered” by protective gear.

As many as 4,500 people in West Africa so far this year have died from Ebola.

Fauci also tried to quell some of the fear and criticism over President Obama and other administration officials overstating U.S. readiness, including White House adviser Lisa Monaco suggesting every U.S. hospital is fully prepared to treat an Ebola patient.

“It was very clear … that is not the optimal way.”

- Dr. Anthony Fauci

“Nothing is risk free,” Fauci told Fox News. He said that what U.S. health officials need to do now is not talk about things in “absolutes.”

Fauci also announced revised guidance for health care workers treating Ebola patients, which will include using protective gear “with no skin showing.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working on revisions to safety protocols.

Ebola’s incubation period is 21 days, and Fauci noted that mark was being reached Sunday for the other Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital workers who first treated Duncan.

Duncan was seen at the hospital on Sept. 26 and sent home with antibiotics. He returned by ambulance on Sept. 28, was admitted and died of Ebola on Oct. 8.

Judge Clay Jenkins, the chief executive in Dallas County, said that the protective order that has kept Duncan’s family isolated expires Sunday at midnight.

“That’s going to be a good thing for those families. They’ve been through so much, and we’re very happy about that,” Jenkins said.

But, Jenkins continued, “At the same time, we’re extremely concerned about these health care workers, and we continue to make contingency in the event that there are more cases.”

Rep. Tim Murphy, a psychologist and founding member of the GOP Doctors Caucus, said the hysteria about Ebola reaching the epidemic level in the U.S. that President Obama is trying to calm is the result of people wanting answers and getting wrong information, which is typical in such situations.

“So many of those assurances have been inaccurate,” the Pennsylvania lawmaker told Fox News. “What creates panic is when people are given information that is proven to be false.”

Murphy, as chairman of a House subcommittee on oversight and investigations, led a hearing last week on Ebola.

He supports a proposed travel ban on West African countries that the administration opposes, saying some of its arguments are “absurd.”

Murphy also said the so-called Ebola czar that the president appointed to oversee the federal response, Ron Klain, will not calm fears.

“The American people are looking for knowledge and expertise,” he told Fox News. “He has none in these fields.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/19/fauci-tries-to-calm-us-after-missteps-on-ebola-amid-concerns-americans-have/

‘WE’RE GOING TO HOLD’ DNC chief says her party will keep control of Senate

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the leader of the Democratic National Committee, said Sunday that her party will keep control of the Senate next month, suggesting that a GOP effort to drag President Obama into races is a failed strategy.

“We are going to hold the Senate,” the Florida lawmaker told “Fox News Sunday.” “The president is not on the ballot.”

Her remarks come weeks after Obama argued that he indeed was “not on the ballot this fall” but that “every single one” of his policies are.

Since the start of the 2014 election cycle, Republicans have tried to tie incumbent Democrats to some of the Obama administration’s policies and actions that have alienated many voters — including ObamaCare and the IRS targeting of conservative political groups.

Those efforts have been a centerpiece of tight Senate races such as the one in Kentucky, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has continuously tried to tie Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes to ObamaCare and the president’s efforts to put tighter regulations on the coal industry — a key part of the state’s economy.  

“Republicans are desperate to put him on the ballot because they’re trying to turn away from their own terrible record,” Wasserman-Schultz said.

She made her prediction amid a majority of polls that give Republicans at least a 60 percent chance of retaking the upper chamber, including a Washington Post forecast that gives the GOP a 93 percent chance.

Republicans need to win a net total of six seats to take the Senate.

Wasserman Schultz also argued Democrats will keep control of the chamber because Republicans have let down Americans by taking away their health care and opposing minimum-wage increases.

“One question voters will ask is: Who has your back?” she said.

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, told Wasserman Schultz that Obama is “taking the country in the wrong direction and (Democratic) candidates are following him off the plank.”

“I don’t know whose back he has, but it’s not the American people’s,” Priebus continued.

Early in the election cycle, Wasserman Schultz faced criticism from within her party for saying Democrats would win some seats in the GOP-control House, but that retaking control of the chamber was less predictable.

Now with about two weeks before Election Day, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the group largely responsible for winning House races, is shifting money to defend incumbents, not defeat vulnerable Republicans. And political analysts largely expect Democrats to lose a handful of House seats.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/19/wasserman-schultz-predicts-are-going-to-hold-senate/

‘IT WAS ALL POLITICAL’ Wis. teachers leave union in droves under tough law

generic classroom shot.jpg

 (AP)

Teachers in Wisconsin’s public schools have learned a major lesson from the state’s landmark 2011 law neutering public sector unions, with more than a third dropping out of their labor organization.

Given no choice but to join and pay dues to the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) for decades, teachers have for the last three years been able to opt out. And that is what tens of thousands have done as a result of Gov. Scott Walker’s Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill, also known as Act 10.

“Given the evidence, it shows that the union’s hold is softening,” Patrick Wright, vice president of legal affairs for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, told FoxNews.com

The bill essentially requires the WEAC to mount a recertification drive every year to ensure that a majority wants its representation. The Act also prevents public sector employers from automatically collecting dues and passing them along to unions. Since June 2011, teacher enrollment in the WEAC has dropped nearly a third from nearly 100,000 members, and the smaller union AFT-Wisconsin has fallen more than half from its peak membership of 16,000.

“As soon as I was given the choice, I left,” Amy Rosno, a teacher with the virtual class program at the Waukesha school system, told FoxNews.com. “I never really understood the union anyway.”

Rosno said she had a better understanding once she was asked to be a representative for her department and attended her first WEAC meeting.

“I realized that it was all political and not about teaching,” she said. 

Teachers who spoke to the nonprofit education think tank EAGnews.org said they were glad to be free of the union’s grip, especially because of the perception their dues were spent on political contributions.

“It’s important to have a choice, because we are all professionals,” Michelle Uetz, a special education teacher at Prescott High School told the education news site. “We shouldn’t be pigeon-holed into contributing to politics we don’t believe in.”

WEAC has been accused of having a partisan political alliance with the Democratic Party in the state and backed a failed recall against Walker. Despite losing the policy battle, the union still pressures teachers to join, according to some interviewed by EAG.

“I worked with a young teacher who was thinking of leaving the union and she was actually scared to leave,” Deena Ferguson, a teacher at Fox Prairie Elementary, in Stilton, told the site, adding that WEAC often uses fear to recruit new teachers, suggesting they need protection from administrators.

“If the union is so beneficial and good, people will want to join on the principle and the merits and not be forced to join,” she said.

Rosno agreed, telling Foxnews.com that many teachers are left in a precarious position.

“There’s still a lot of fear,” she said. ‘A lot of teachers are afraid to admit that they support [Gov.] Walker. Many of them felt a lot of backlash. It still continues and they are afraid to show public support for the governor.

“Whether it is school funding reform, health care reform, licensure and professional development, working together to close achievement gaps or organizing for fairer contracts – we are strongest when we stand together,” reads a mission statement from the WEAC’s website.

Many teachers who dropped their union joined other groups, such as the Association of American Educators, a non-union trade association that provides some benefits but does not engage in collective bargaining.

“I think it’s interesting the union hasn’t chosen to change its business model, even though teachers are leaving in droves,” Kristi LaCroix regional membership director for AAE said. “It’s just business as usual with them, so I see more and more professionals leaving.”

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/10/19/one-third-wisconsin-teachers-have-dropped-union-since-gov-walker-ended/

NIH chief admits inadequate Ebola protocols, gov’t overstated readiness

America’s top infectious disease expert on Sunday again acknowledged that the safety protocols used for the nation’s first Ebola patient were inadequate, and that the Obama administration overstated the country’s readiness for the deadly virus, amid concern that Americans have already lost faith in the government.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told “Fox News Sunday” that the adopted World Health Organization protocol for handling an Ebola patient was better suited for field work than confined hospital care.

As a result, two nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas were infected with Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian national who arrived from West Africa with the virus and later died.

“It was very clear … that is not the optimal way,” Fauci said.  

Fauci said he wasn’t sure how nurse Nina Pham became infected, but it was “likely” because “she was not completely covered.”

As many as 4,500 people in West Africa so far this year have died from Ebola.

Fauci also tried to quell some of the fear and criticism over President Obama and other administration officials overstating U.S. readiness, including White House adviser Lisa Monaco suggesting every U.S. hospital is fully prepared to treat an Ebola patient.

“It was very clear … that is not the optimal way.”

- Dr. Anthony Fauci

“Nothing is risk free,” Fauci told Fox News. He said that what U.S. health officials need to do now is not talk about things in “absolutes.”

Fauci also announced revised guidance for health care workers treating Ebola patients, which will include using protective gear “with no skin showing,”

Fauci said those caring for an Ebola patient in Dallas were left vulnerable because some of their skin was exposed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working on revisions to safety protocols.

Ebola’s incubation period is 21 days, and Fauci noted that mark was being reached Sunday for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital workers who first treated Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who later died of the disease.

“The ones now today that are going to be ‘off the hook’ are the ones that saw him initially in the emergency room,” Fauci said.

Duncan was seen at the hospital on Sept. 26 and sent home with antibiotics. He returned by ambulance on Sept. 28, was admitted and died of Ebola on Oct. 8.

Judge Clay Jenkins, the chief executive in Dallas County, said that the protective order that has kept Duncan’s family isolated expires Sunday at midnight.

“That’s going to be a good thing for those families. They’ve been through so much, and we’re very happy about that,” Jenkins said.

But, Jenkins continued, “At the same time, we’re extremely concerned about these health care workers and we continue to make contingency in the event that there are more cases.”

Rep. Tim Murphy, a psychologist and founding member of the GOP Doctors Caucus, said the hysteria about Ebola reaching the epidemic level in the U.S. that President Obama is trying to calm is the result of people wanting answers and getting wrong information, which is typical in such situations.

“So many of those assurances have been inaccurate,” the Pennsylvania lawmaker told Fox News. “What creates panic is when people are given information that is proven to be false.”

Murphy, as chairman of a House subcommittee on oversight and investigations, led a hearing last week on Ebola.

He supports a proposed travel ban on West African countries that the administration opposes, saying some of its arguments are “absurd.”

Murphy also said the so-called Ebola czar that the president appointed to oversee the federal response, Ron Klain, will not calm fears.

“The American people are looking for knowledge and expertise,” he told Fox News. “He has none in these fields.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/19/fauci-tries-to-calm-us-after-missteps-on-ebola-amid-concerns-americans-have/

‘IT WAS ALL POLITICAL’ Wis. teachers leave union in droves under tough law

generic classroom shot.jpg

 (AP)

Teachers in Wisconsin’s public schools have learned a major lesson from the state’s landmark 2011 law neutering public sector unions, with more than a third dropping out of their labor organization.

Given no choice but to join and pay dues to the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) for decades, teachers have for the last three years been able to opt out. And that is what tens of thousands have done as a result of Gov. Scott Walker’s Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill, also known as Act 10.

“Given the evidence, it shows that the union’s hold is softening,” Patrick Wright, vice president of legal affairs for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, told FoxNews.com

The bill essentially requires the WEAC to mount a recertification drive every year to ensure that a majority wants its representation. The Act also prevents public sector employers from automatically collecting dues and passing them along to unions. Since June 2011, teacher enrollment in the WEAC has dropped nearly a third from nearly 100,000 members, and the smaller union AFT-Wisconsin has fallen more than half from its peak membership of 16,000.

“As soon as I was given the choice, I left,” Amy Rosno, a teacher with the virtual class program at the Waukesha school system, told FoxNews.com. “I never really understood the union anyway.”

Rosno said she had a better understanding once she was asked to be a representative for her department and attended her first WEAC meeting.

“I realized that it was all political and not about teaching,” she said. 

Teachers who spoke to the nonprofit education think tank EAGnews.org said they were glad to be free of the union’s grip, especially because of the perception their dues were spent on political contributions.

“It’s important to have a choice, because we are all professionals,” Michelle Uetz, a special education teacher at Prescott High School told the education news site. “We shouldn’t be pigeon-holed into contributing to politics we don’t believe in.”

WEAC has been accused of having a partisan political alliance with the Democratic Party in the state and backed a failed recall against Walker. Despite losing the policy battle, the union still pressures teachers to join, according to some interviewed by EAG.

“I worked with a young teacher who was thinking of leaving the union and she was actually scared to leave,” Deena Ferguson, a teacher at Fox Prairie Elementary, in Stilton, told the site, adding that WEAC often uses fear to recruit new teachers, suggesting they need protection from administrators.

“If the union is so beneficial and good, people will want to join on the principle and the merits and not be forced to join,” she said.

Rosno agreed, telling Foxnews.com that many teachers are left in a precarious position.

“There’s still a lot of fear,” she said. ‘A lot of teachers are afraid to admit that they support [Gov.] Walker. Many of them felt a lot of backlash. It still continues and they are afraid to show public support for the governor.

“Whether it is school funding reform, health care reform, licensure and professional development, working together to close achievement gaps or organizing for fairer contracts – we are strongest when we stand together,” reads a mission statement from the WEAC’s website.

Many teachers who dropped their union joined other groups, such as the Association of American Educators, a non-union trade association that provides some benefits but does not engage in collective bargaining.

“I think it’s interesting the union hasn’t chosen to change its business model, even though teachers are leaving in droves,” Kristi LaCroix regional membership director for AAE said. “It’s just business as usual with them, so I see more and more professionals leaving.”

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/10/19/one-third-wisconsin-teachers-have-dropped-union-since-gov-walker-ended/

‘WE’RE GOING TO HOLD’ DNC chief says her party will keep control of Senate

Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, leader of the Democratic National Committee, said Sunday that her party will keep control of the Senate next month, suggesting that GOP efforts to drag President Obama into races is a failed strategy.

“We are going to hold the Senate,” the Florida lawmaker told “Fox News Sunday.” “The president is not on the ballot.”

Her remarks come weeks after Obama argued that he indeed was “not on the ballot this fall” but that “every single one” of his policies are.

Since the start of the 2014 election cycle, Republicans have tried to tie incumbent Democrats to some of the Obama administration’s policies and actions that have alienated many voters — including ObamaCare and the IRS targeting of conservative political groups.

Those efforts have been a centerpiece of tight Senate races such as the one in Kentucky where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has continuously tried to tie Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes to ObamaCare and the president’s efforts to put tighter regulations on the coal industry — a key part of the state economy.  

“Republicans are desperate to put him on the ballot because they’re trying to turn away from their own terrible record,” Wasserman-Schultz said.

She made her prediction amid a majority of polls that give Republicans at least a 60 percent chance of retaking the upper chamber, including a Washington Post forecast that gives the GOP a 93 percent chance.

Republicans need to win a net total of six seats to take the Senate.

Wasserman-Schultz also argued Democrats will keep control of the chamber because Republicans have let down Americas by taking away their health care and opposing minimum-wage increases.

“One question voters will ask is: Who has your back?” she said.

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, told Wasserman-Schultz that Obama is “taking the country in the wrong direction and (Democratic) candidates are following him off the plank.”

“I don’t know whose back he has, but it’s not the American people’s,” Priebus continued.

Early in the election cycle, Wasserman-Schultz faced criticism from within her party for saying Democrats would win some seats in the GOP-control House but that retaking control of the chamber was less predictable.

Now with about two weeks before Election Day, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the group largely responsible for winning House races, is shift money to defend incumbents, not defeat vulnerable Republicans. And political analysts largely expect Democrats to lose a handful of House seats.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/19/wasserman-schultz-predicts-are-going-to-hold-senate/

MAJOR BREAK IN CASE Remains found in search for missing UVA student

Police say human remains found Saturday in Virginia could be those of missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham – who was last seen on Sept. 13.

Further forensic tests are needed to confirm whether the remains are those of Hannah Graham, Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo told a news conference. The remains were found on an abandoned property in southern Albemarle County by a search team from the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office, Longo said. They are being transported to Richmond for identification.

“Right now we have the discovery of human remains and a great deal of work ahead of us,” said Col. Steve Sellers, Albemarle County Police chief. “We cannot and will not jump to any conclusions regarding today’s discovery. I ask for the public’s patience as we move forward and pursue what is now a new, ongoing death investigation.”

Authorities are asking anyone who recalls seeing any suspicious activity or vehicles in the area of Old Lynchburg Road in Charlottesville – where the remains were found – to contact the Albemarle County Police Department at 434-296-5807.

Thousands of volunteers had searched for the 18-year-old Graham in the weeks since her disappearance.

Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., 32, has been charged with abduction with intent to defile Graham. A preliminary hearing is set for Dec. 4 on the charge. In the meantime, Matthew is being held in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.

Police officials Saturday afternoon had blocked the road leading to the site where the remains were found.

Surveillance videos captured some of what Graham did the night she vanished. Authorities say she met friends at a restaurant for dinner Sept. 12 before stopping by two parties at off-campus housing units. She left the second party alone and eventually texted a friend saying she was lost, authorities said.

She can be seen walking unsteadily and even running at times, past a pub and a service station and then onto a seven-block pedestrian strip that includes the Tempo Restaurant.

Tempo Restaurant owner Brice Cunningham has said Graham appeared to be incapacitated as she walked away with Matthew. Police have said they have no reason to believe she and Matthew knew each other before their encounter.

Matthew, an operating room technician at the university’s hospital who sometimes drives a taxi, had been drinking at the bar earlier that night before he encountered Graham, Cunningham has said.

A week after Graham went missing, Longo publicly described Matthew in detail without naming him, saying investigators wanted to talk to the “person of interest” and had searched his apartment because he was the last person to see her.

Matthew showed up at police headquarters, asked for a lawyer, and then sped away, according to a police account. His exit prompted a warrant for “reckless driving,” a charge that Longo cited as he named the suspect and appealed for information from anyone who saw him with Graham the night she disappeared.

Matthew was arrested a few days later in Galveston, Texas.

While Matthew was a fugitive in Texas, Virginia police added a charge of abduction with intent to defile, a violent felony that under Virginia law compels suspects to submit to DNA testing.

Very quickly thereafter, Virginia State Police announced a “forensic link” to Harrington’s killing. That case, in turn, has been linked by DNA evidence since 2012 to the rape of a woman in Fairfax, Virginia, who survived after a passer-by startled her attacker, the FBI has said.

Following Matthew’s arrest, Christopher Newport University released a statement noting that he had been named in a police file involving a Sept. 7, 2003 sexual assault on the Newport News campus. Matthew was a student there from January 2003 through Oct. 15, 2003.

Matthew had transferred to CNU after three years at Liberty University, where he also was briefly on the football team.

When he was at Liberty University, he was accused of raping a student on campus. That charge was dropped when the person declined to move forward with prosecution, Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Doucette said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/10/19/police-find-human-remains-in-search-for-missing-university-virginia-student/

NIH chief admits inadequate Ebola protocols, gov’t overstated readiness

America’s top infectious disease expert on Sunday again acknowledged that the safety protocols used for the nation’s first Ebola patient were inadequate, and that the Obama administration overstated the country’s readiness for the deadly virus, amid concern that Americans have already lost faith in the government.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told “Fox News Sunday” that the adopted World Health Organization protocol for handling an Ebola patient was better suited for field work than confined hospital care.

As a result, two nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas were infected with Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian national who arrived from West Africa with the virus and later died.

“It was very clear … that is not the optimal way,” Fauci said.  

Fauci said he wasn’t sure how nurse Nina Pham became infected, but it was “likely” because “she was not completely covered.”

As many as 4,500 people in West Africa so far this year have died from Ebola.

Fauci also tried to quell some of the fear and criticism over President Obama and other administration officials overstating U.S. readiness, including White House adviser Lisa Monaco suggesting every U.S. hospital is fully prepared to treat an Ebola patient.

“It was very clear … that is not the optimal way.”

- Dr. Anthony Fauci

“Nothing is risk free,” Fauci told Fox News. He said that what U.S. health officials need to do now is not talk about things in “absolutes.”

Fauci also announced revised guidance for health care workers treating Ebola patients, which will include using protective gear “with no skin showing,”

Fauci said those caring for an Ebola patient in Dallas were left vulnerable because some of their skin was exposed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working on revisions to safety protocols.

Ebola’s incubation period is 21 days, and Fauci noted that mark was being reached Sunday for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital workers who first treated Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who later died of the disease.

“The ones now today that are going to be ‘off the hook’ are the ones that saw him initially in the emergency room,” Fauci said.

Duncan was seen at the hospital on Sept. 26 and sent home with antibiotics. He returned by ambulance on Sept. 28, was admitted and died of Ebola on Oct. 8.

Judge Clay Jenkins, the chief executive in Dallas County, said that the protective order that has kept Duncan’s family isolated expires Sunday at midnight.

“That’s going to be a good thing for those families. They’ve been through so much, and we’re very happy about that,” Jenkins said.

But, Jenkins continued, “At the same time, we’re extremely concerned about these health care workers and we continue to make contingency in the event that there are more cases.”

Rep. Tim Murphy, a psychologist and founding member of the GOP Doctors Caucus, said the hysteria about Ebola reaching the epidemic level in the U.S. that President Obama is trying to calm is the result of people wanting answers and getting wrong information, which is typical in such situations.

“So many of those assurances have been inaccurate,” the Pennsylvania lawmaker told Fox News. “What creates panic is when people are given information that is proven to be false.”

Murphy, as chairman of a House subcommittee on oversight and investigations, led a hearing last week on Ebola.

He supports a proposed travel ban on West African countries that the administration opposes, saying some of its arguments are “absurd.”

Murphy also said the so-called Ebola czar that the president appointed to oversee the federal response, Ron Klain, will not calm fears.

“The American people are looking for knowledge and expertise,” he told Fox News. “He has none in these fields.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/19/fauci-tries-to-calm-us-after-missteps-on-ebola-amid-concerns-americans-have/

‘WE’RE GOING TO HOLD’ DNC chief says her party will keep control of Senate

schultz_debbie_073011.jpg

FILE: July, 30, 2011: Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz speaks to reporters following a Democratic Caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, leader of the Democratic National Committee, said Sunday that her party will keep control of the Senate next month, suggesting that GOP efforts to drag President Obama into races is a failed strategy.

“We are going to hold the Senate,” the Florida lawmaker told “Fox News Sunday.” “The president is not on the ballot.”

Her remarks come weeks after Obama argued that he indeed was “not on the ballot this fall” but that “every single one” of his policies are.

Since the start of the 2014 election cycle, Republicans have tried to tie incumbent Democrats to some of the Obama administration’s policies and actions that have alienated many voters — including ObamaCare and the IRS targeting of conservative political groups.

“Republicans are desperate to put him on the ballot because they’re trying to turn away from their own terrible record,” Wasserman-Schultz said.

She made her prediction amid a majority of polls that give Republicans at least a 60 percent chance of retaking the upper chamber, including a Washington Post forecast that gives the GOP a 93 percent chance.

Republicans need to win a net total of six seats to take the Senate.

Wasserman-Schultz also argued Democrats will keep control of the chamber because Republicans have let down Americas by taking away their health care and opposing minimum-wage increases.

“One question voters will ask is: Who has your back?” she said.

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, told Wasserman-Schultz that Obama is “taking the country in the wrong direction and (Democratic) candidates are following him off the plank.”

“I don’t know whose back he has, but it’s not the American people’s,” Priebus continued.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/19/wasserman-schultz-predicts-are-going-to-hold-senate/

NIH chief admits inadequate Ebola protocols, gov’t overstated readiness

America’s top infectious disease expert on Sunday again acknowledged that the safety protocols used for the nation’s first Ebola patient were inadequate, and that the Obama administration overstated the country’s readiness for the deadly virus, amid concern that Americans have already lost faith in the government.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told “Fox News Sunday” that the adopted World Health Organization protocol for handling an Ebola patient was better suited for field work than confined hospital care.

As a result, two nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas were infected with Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian national who arrived from West Africa with the virus and later died.

“It was very clear … that is not the optimal way,” Fauci said.  

Fauci said he wasn’t sure how nurse Nina Pham became infected, but it was “likely” because “she was not completely covered.”

As many as 4,500 people in West Africa so far this year have died from Ebola.

Fauci also tried to quell some of the fear and criticism over President Obama and other administration officials overstating U.S. readiness, including White House adviser Lisa Monaco suggesting every U.S. hospital is fully prepared to treat an Ebola patient.

“It was very clear … that is not the optimal way.”

- Dr. Anthony Fauci

“Nothing is risk free,” Fauci told Fox News. He said that what U.S. health officials need to do now is not talk about things in “absolutes.”

Fauci also announced revised guidance for health care workers treating Ebola patients, which will include using protective gear “with no skin showing,”

Fauci said those caring for an Ebola patient in Dallas were left vulnerable because some of their skin was exposed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working on revisions to safety protocols.

Ebola’s incubation period is 21 days, and Fauci noted that mark was being reached Sunday for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital workers who first treated Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who later died of the disease.

“The ones now today that are going to be ‘off the hook’ are the ones that saw him initially in the emergency room,” Fauci said.

Duncan was seen at the hospital on Sept. 26 and sent home with antibiotics. He returned by ambulance on Sept. 28, was admitted and died of Ebola on Oct. 8.

Judge Clay Jenkins, the chief executive in Dallas County, said that the protective order that has kept Duncan’s family isolated expires Sunday at midnight.

“That’s going to be a good thing for those families. They’ve been through so much, and we’re very happy about that,” Jenkins said.

But, Jenkins continued, “At the same time, we’re extremely concerned about these health care workers and we continue to make contingency in the event that there are more cases.”

Rep. Tim Murphy, a psychologist and founding member of the GOP Doctors Caucus, said the hysteria about Ebola reaching the epidemic level in the U.S. that President Obama is trying to calm is the result of people wanting answers and getting wrong information, which is typical in such situations.

“So many of those assurances have been inaccurate,” the Pennsylvania lawmaker told Fox News. “What creates panic is when people are given information that is proven to be false.”

Murphy, as chairman of a House subcommittee on oversight and investigations, led a hearing last week on Ebola.

He supports a proposed travel ban on West African countries that the administration opposes, saying some of its arguments are “absurd.”

Murphy also said the so-called Ebola czar that the president appointed to oversee the federal response, Ron Klain, will not calm fears.

“The American people are looking for knowledge and expertise,” he told Fox News. “He has none in these fields.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/19/fauci-tries-to-calm-us-after-missteps-on-ebola-amid-concerns-americans-have/

‘WE’RE GOING TO HOLD’ DNC chief says her party will keep control of Senate

schultz_debbie_073011.jpg

FILE: July, 30, 2011: Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz speaks to reporters following a Democratic Caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, leader of the Democratic National Committee, said Sunday that her party will keep control of the Senate next month, suggesting that GOP efforts to drag President Obama into races is a failed strategy.

“We are going to hold the Senate,” the Florida lawmaker told “Fox News Sunday.” “The president is not on the ballot.”

Her remarks come weeks after Obama argued that he indeed was “not on the ballot this fall” but that “every single one” of his policies are.

Since the start of the 2014 election cycle, Republicans have tried to tie incumbent Democrats to some of the Obama administration’s policies and actions that have alienated many voters — including ObamaCare and the IRS targeting of conservative political groups.

“Republicans are desperate to put him on the ballot because they’re trying to turn away from their own terrible record,” Wasserman-Schultz said.

She made her prediction amid a majority of polls that give Republicans at least a 60 percent chance of retaking the upper chamber, including a Washington Post forecast that gives the GOP a 93 percent chance.

Republicans need to win a net total of six seats to take the Senate.

Wasserman-Schultz also argued Democrats will keep control of the chamber because Republicans have let down Americas by taking away their health care and opposing minimum-wage increases.

“One question voters will ask is: Who has your back?” she said.

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, told Wasserman-Schultz that Obama is “taking the country in the wrong direction and (Democratic) candidates are following him off the plank.”

“I don’t know whose back he has, but it’s not the American people’s,” Priebus continued.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/19/wasserman-schultz-predicts-are-going-to-hold-senate/

NIH chief admits inadequate Ebola protocols, gov’t overstated readiness

America’s top infectious disease expert on Sunday again acknowledged that the safety protocols used for the nation’s first Ebola patient were inadequate, and that the Obama administration overstated the country’s readiness for the deadly virus, amid concern that Americans have already lost faith in the government.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told “Fox News Sunday” that the adopted World Health Organization protocol for handling an Ebola patient was better suited for field work than confined hospital care.

As a result, two nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas were infected with Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian national who arrived from West Africa with the virus and later died.

“It was very clear … that is not the optimal way,” Fauci said.  

Fauci said he wasn’t sure how nurse Nina Pham became infected, but it was “likely” because “she was not completely covered.”

As many as 4,500 people in West Africa so far this year have died from Ebola.

Fauci also tried to quell some of the fear and criticism over President Obama and other administration officials overstating U.S. readiness, including White House adviser Lisa Monaco suggesting every U.S. hospital is fully prepared to treat an Ebola patient.

“It was very clear … that is not the optimal way.”

- Dr. Anthony Fauci

“Nothing is risk free,” Fauci told Fox News. He said that what U.S. health officials need to do now is not talk about things in “absolutes.”

Fauci also announced revised guidance for health care workers treating Ebola patients, which will include using protective gear “with no skin showing,”

Fauci said those caring for an Ebola patient in Dallas were left vulnerable because some of their skin was exposed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working on revisions to safety protocols.

Ebola’s incubation period is 21 days, and Fauci noted that mark was being reached Sunday for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital workers who first treated Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who later died of the disease.

“The ones now today that are going to be ‘off the hook’ are the ones that saw him initially in the emergency room,” Fauci said.

Duncan was seen at the hospital on Sept. 26 and sent home with antibiotics. He returned by ambulance on Sept. 28, was admitted and died of Ebola on Oct. 8.

Judge Clay Jenkins, the chief executive in Dallas County, said that the protective order that has kept Duncan’s family isolated expires Sunday at midnight.

“That’s going to be a good thing for those families. They’ve been through so much, and we’re very happy about that,” Jenkins said.

But, Jenkins continued, “At the same time, we’re extremely concerned about these health care workers and we continue to make contingency in the event that there are more cases.”

Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., a psychologist and founding member of the GOP Doctors Caucus, said the hysteria about Ebola reaching the epidemic level in the U.S. that President Obama is trying to calm is the result of people wanting answers and getting wrong information, which is typical in such situations.

“So many of those assurances have been inaccurate,” he told Fox News.

Murphy also said the so-called Ebola czar that the president appointed to oversee the federal response, Ron Klain, will not calm such fears.

“The American people are looking for knowledge and expertise,” he told Fox News. “He has none in these fields.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/19/fauci-tries-to-calm-us-after-missteps-on-ebola-amid-concerns-americans-have/

‘WE’RE GOING TO HOLD’ DNC chief says her party will keep control of Senate

schultz_debbie_073011.jpg

FILE: July, 30, 2011: Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz speaks to reporters following a Democratic Caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, leader of the Democratic National Committee, said Sunday that her party will keep control of the Senate next month, suggesting that GOP efforts to drag President Obama into races is a failed strategy.

“We are going to hold the Senate,” the Florida lawmaker told “Fox News Sunday.” “The president is not on the ballot.”

Her remarks come weeks after Obama argued that he indeed was “not on the ballot this fall” but that “every single one” of his policies are.

Since the start of the 2014 election cycle, Republicans have tried to tie incumbent Democrats to some of the Obama administration’s policies and actions that have alienated many voters — including ObamaCare and the IRS targeting of conservative political groups.

“Republicans are desperate to put him on the ballot because they’re trying to turn away from their own terrible record,” Wasserman-Schultz said.

She made her prediction amid a majority of polls that give Republicans at least a 60 percent chance of retaking the upper chamber, including a Washington Post forecast that gives the GOP a 93 percent chance.

Republicans need to win a net total of six seats to take the Senate.

Wasserman-Schultz also argued Democrats will keep control of the chamber because Republicans have let down Americas by taking away their health care and opposing minimum-wage increases.

“One question voters will ask is: Who has your back?” she said.

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, told Wasserman-Schultz that Obama is “taking the country in the wrong direction and (Democratic) candidates are following him off the plank.”

“I don’t know whose back he has, but it’s not the American people’s,” Priebus continued.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/19/wasserman-schultz-predicts-are-going-to-hold-senate/

‘Not the optimal way': Doctor admits inadequate protocols in Ebola care

America’s top infectious disease expert on Sunday again acknowledged that the safety protocols used for the nation’s first Ebola patient were inadequate, and that the Obama administration overstated the country’s readiness for the deadly virus, amid concern that Americans have already lost faith in the government.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told “Fox News Sunday” that the adopted World Health Organization protocol for handling an Ebola patient was better suited for field work than confined hospital care.

As a result, two nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas were infected with Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian national who arrived from West Africa with the virus and later died.

“It was very clear … that is not the optimal way,” Fauci said.  

Fauci said he wasn’t sure how nurse Nina Pham became infected, but it was “likely” because “she was not completely covered.”

As many as 4,500 people in West Africa so far this year have died from Ebola.

Fauci also tried to quell some of the fear and criticism over President Obama and other administration officials overstating U.S. readiness, including White House adviser Lisa Monaco suggesting every U.S. hospital is fully prepared to treat an Ebola patient.

“It was very clear … that is not the optimal way.”

- Dr. Anthony Fauci

“Nothing is risk free,” Fauci told Fox News. He said that what U.S. health officials need to do now is not talk about things in “absolutes.”

Fauci also announced revised guidance for health care workers treating Ebola patients, which will include using protective gear “with no skin showing,”

Fauci said those caring for an Ebola patient in Dallas were left vulnerable because some of their skin was exposed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working on revisions to safety protocols.

Ebola’s incubation period is 21 days, and Fauci noted that mark was being reached Sunday for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital workers who first treated Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who later died of the disease.

“The ones now today that are going to be ‘off the hook’ are the ones that saw him initially in the emergency room,” Fauci said.

Duncan was seen at the hospital on Sept. 26 and sent home with antibiotics. He returned by ambulance on Sept. 28, was admitted and died of Ebola on Oct. 8.

Judge Clay Jenkins, the chief executive in Dallas County, said that the protective order that has kept Duncan’s family isolated expires Sunday at midnight.

“That’s going to be a good thing for those families. They’ve been through so much, and we’re very happy about that,” Jenkins said.

But, Jenkins continued, “At the same time, we’re extremely concerned about these health care workers and we continue to make contingency in the event that there are more cases.”

Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., a psychologist and founding member of the GOP Doctors Caucus, said the hysteria about Ebola reaching the epidemic level in the U.S. that President Obama is trying to calm is the result of people wanting answers and getting wrong information, which is typical in such situations.

“So many of those assurances have been inaccurate,” he told Fox News.

Murphy also said the so-called Ebola czar that the president appointed to oversee the federal response, Ron Klain, will not calm such fears.

“The American people are looking for knowledge and expertise,” he told Fox News. “He has none in these fields.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/19/fauci-tries-to-calm-us-after-missteps-on-ebola-amid-concerns-americans-have/

Hospital group CEO apologizes for lapses in Ebola treatment, training

The CEO of the parent company of the Dallas hospital where two nurses have contracted Ebola from a patient who died there earlier this month has apologized for some aspects of the hospital’s response to the deadly virus. 

Texas Health Resources CEO Barclay Berdan issued the apology in the form of a full-page letter published in Sunday’s editions of The Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  

In the letter, Berdan thanks the staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital for their “dedication, compassion, and tireless work” before acknowledging that “as an institution, we made mistakes in handling this very difficult challenge.” Among those mistakes are hospital staff not communicating that Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan had recently traveled to Texas from African when he made his initial visit to the hospital’s emergency room on the night of Sept. 25-26. Berdan also says that the hospital’s Ebola training and education programs had not been fully deployed at the time of Duncan’s visit. 

“In short, despite our best intentions and skilled medical teams, we did not live up to the high standards that are the heart of our hospital’s history, mission and commitment,” Berdan said.

Berdan’s letter comes one day after it was revealed that the hospital did not initially keep a watch list of workers who may have had contact with Duncan, and had asked nurses to take their own temperature and self-report symptoms of Ebola.  

According to the Associated Press, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins only ordered the creation of a watch list on Oct. 12, the same day nurse Nina Pham tested positive for the disease, Hospital officials told potentially exposed hospital workers to stop seeing patients other than Pham.

But the next day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allowed another nurse who cared for Duncan, Amber Vinson, to get on a plane in Ohio and fly to Dallas with a mild fever. She was later diagnosed with Ebola, and CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden has conceded that she “should not have traveled on a commercial airline.”

The inconsistent response by health officials in monitoring and limiting the movement of health workers has been one of the critical blunders in the Ebola outbreak. Friends and family who had contact with Duncan before he was hospitalized were confined to homes under armed guard, but nurses who handled his contagious bodily fluids were allowed to treat other patients, take mass transit and get on airplanes.

“I don’t think the directions provided to people at first were as clear as they needed to be, and there have been changes in the instructions given to people over time,” said Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, a doctor who did his residency in Dallas.

Local health authorities have said repeatedly throughout the response that their guidance and direction can change.

“Please keep in mind the contact list is fluid, meaning people may fall off the list or new people may be added to the list depending on new information that could arise at any time on any given day,” said Dallas County health department spokeswoman Erikka Neroes on Friday when asked how many people are even being monitored.

On Thursday, Jenkins announced stricter restrictions that require hospital staffers who had been potentially exposed to stay away from the public for 21 days and check their temperature twice a day, once in person with a public health worker. It was the first written order anyone being monitored has been asked to sign.

“They can walk their dog, but they can’t go to church; they can’t go to schools; they can’t go to shopping centers,” said Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Public health epidemiologists were notifying the health care workers of the directions Friday, said Texas Department of State Health Services spokeswoman Carrie Williams.

But even those medical agreements allow some wiggle room. For example, they say public transit isn’t outright banned but “should be discussed with the public health authority.”

Officials say 125 friends, family, doctors, nurses, technicians, ambulance drivers and others may have been exposed in the days before Duncan died. Since then, the two nurses have tested positive and at least 18 other people in Texas and Ohio have been identified as secondary contacts who also merit watching.

At first, the monitoring sounded relatively simple: track down the contacts, monitor them with least twice daily temperature records and test people who develop symptoms for Ebola. State officials would be in charge, working with the CDC and Dallas County authorities.

But for a time after Pham was diagnosed with Ebola, different hospital workers had different levels of monitoring, based in part on their exposure risk. Some self-reported their temperatures. Some continued to care for patients. Hospital spokesman Wendell Watson on Saturday referred all questions about the facility’s monitoring practices to county officials.

The county moved Duncan’s girlfriend, Louise Troh, her 13-year-old son, Duncan’s nephew, and a family friend from their apartment to a guarded house in an undisclosed location, where a health official comes by twice a day and takes their temperatures. The unusual confinement order was imposed after the family failed to comply with a request not to leave their apartment, Jenkins said.

Pham and Vinson have been taken to medical centers with isolation units in Maryland and Atlanta. There are four such centers in the U.S.

At the National Institutes of Health medical center in Bethesda, Maryland, spokeswoman Amanda Fine says staff involved in caring for people with Ebola are given thermometers and instructions and must measure and submit body temperatures twice daily.

Taylor Wilson, a spokesman for the Nebraska isolation unit, which has also been treating Ebola patients, said that every time health care workers go into the unit, they must stop and take their temperature and other vital signs and log the results. They are also advised to keep an eye out for any symptoms.

He said that there are no restrictions on the staff’s movements outside of work.

In Washington, President Barack Obama presided at a rare Saturday evening meeting of Cabinet officials and advisers on health and security to receive an update on domestic Ebola cases and the status of tracing, contacting and monitoring people who may have come into contact with Ebola patients in Dallas. The meeting included a discussion of broader steps to increase the preparedness of the nation’s health sector, the White House said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/10/19/nurses-at-dallas-hospital-were-initially-asked-to-self-monitor-for-signs-ebola/

RUNNING ON FUMES Beijing marathoners wear masks to combat smog

APTOPIX China Beijing_Cham640360.jpg

October 19, 2014: Runners wearing masks to protect themselves from pollutants jog past Chang’an Avenue near Tiananmen Square shrouded in haze while taking part in the 2014 Beijing International Marathon. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Despite heavy pollution blanketing Beijing on Sunday, an international marathon went ahead, with face masks and sponges among the equipment used by competitors to battle the smog.

The 34th Beijing International Marathon began at Tiananmen Square with many of the tens of thousands of participants wearing face masks. The 26-mile course ended at the Chinese capital’s Olympic Park.

An update Saturday night on the official microblog of the marathon, which is hosted by the Chinese Athletic Association and the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports, said “there might be slight or moderate smog.” It asked competitors to pay attention to the conditions and to take measures according to their own health, and advised the elderly and people with respiratory diseases to carefully consider whether to participate.

About 30,000 people were expected to take part in the marathon and the half-marathon. The organizing committee made 140,000 sponges available at supply stations along the marathon route so runners could “clean their skin that is exposed to the air,” the Beijing News reported.

The air Sunday was deemed severely polluted, according to the real-time monitoring of Beijing’s environmental center. It was the most serious level on China’s air quality index, and came with a warning for children, the elderly and the sick to stay indoors, and for everyone to avoid outdoor activities.

The U.S. Embassy, which tracks the Beijing air from a monitoring station on its roof and uses a different air quality index, said the air was hazardous. It gave a reading of 344 micrograms per cubic meter of PM2.5 particulate matter. The World Health Organization considers 25 micrograms within a 24-hour period a safe level.

China’s pollution is notorious following years of rapid economic development. Combating the problem has shot up the agenda of the ruling Communist Party, which is under pressure from citizens who are tired of breathing smog.

The marathon’s organizing committee said late Saturday that postponing the event would be difficult because of all the planning that had gone into it, and asked competitors to understand, the Beijing News reported. It said 46 percent of the competitors had traveled from abroad and other parts of China to take part.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/10/19/beijing-marathon-runners-wear-masks-to-combat-smog-from-pollution/

‘AMERICAN IDOL’ DEAD Former contestant, 32, succumbs to cancer

joanne borgella fox.jpg

Joanne Borgella performs in front of the judges on ‘American Idol.’ (Frank Micelotta/Fox)

Former “American Idol” contestant Joanne Borgella died on Saturday at the age of 32 from cancer.

Borgella’s family announced the sad news on the singer’s Facebook page, saying, “At an early age, Joanne made a choice to serve and trust the Lord; and since her diagnosis over a year ago, Joanne made a choice to also be a fighter and share her journey with the world.”

“Her faith, courage and strength were unshaken throughout every obstacle she encountered. Although our family is suffering with this great loss, we find comfort in the closeness Joanne shared with the Lord. We know her spirit still shines and will continue to live on in heaven.”

In 2008, Borgella was a contestant on Season 7 of “American Idol” and made it to the top 12 girls category. She also appeared in 2005 on “Mo’Nique’s Fat Chance,” which she won using the name “Miss F.A.T.” 

Last year Borgella described her cancer as rare because it had spread to her chest. In the family’s posting on Facebook they said she suffered from endometrial cancer, which attacks the lining of the womb.

The last time Borgella updated her social media pages was in September, when she said she was going to have radiation for two more procedures.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2014/10/19/american-idol-contestant-joanne-borgella-dead-at-32/

Hospital parent’s CEO apologizes for lapses in Ebola treatment, training

The CEO of the parent company of the Dallas hospital where two nurses have contracted Ebola from a patient who died there earlier this month has apologized for some aspects of the hospital’s response to the deadly virus. 

Texas Health Resources CEO Barclay Berdan issued the apology in the form of a full-page letter published in Sunday’s editions of The Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  

In the letter, Berdan thanks the staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital for their “dedication, compassion, and tireless work” before acknowledging that “as an institution, we made mistakes in handling this very difficult challenge.” Among those mistakes are hospital staff not communicating that Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan had recently traveled to Texas from African when he made his initial visit to the hospital’s emergency room on the night of Sept. 25-26. Berdan also says that the hospital’s Ebola training and education programs had not been fully deployed at the time of Duncan’s visit. 

“In short, despite our best intentions and skilled medical teams, we did not live up to the high standards that are the heart of our hospital’s history, mission and commitment,” Berdan said.

Berdan’s letter comes one day after it was revealed that the hospital did not initially keep a watch list of workers who may have had contact with Duncan, and had asked nurses to take their own temperature and self-report symptoms of Ebola.  

According to the Associated Press, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins only ordered the creation of a watch list on Oct. 12, the same day nurse Nina Pham tested positive for the disease, Hospital officials told potentially exposed hospital workers to stop seeing patients other than Pham.

But the next day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allowed another nurse who cared for Duncan, Amber Vinson, to get on a plane in Ohio and fly to Dallas with a mild fever. She was later diagnosed with Ebola, and CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden has conceded that she “should not have traveled on a commercial airline.”

The inconsistent response by health officials in monitoring and limiting the movement of health workers has been one of the critical blunders in the Ebola outbreak. Friends and family who had contact with Duncan before he was hospitalized were confined to homes under armed guard, but nurses who handled his contagious bodily fluids were allowed to treat other patients, take mass transit and get on airplanes.

“I don’t think the directions provided to people at first were as clear as they needed to be, and there have been changes in the instructions given to people over time,” said Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, a doctor who did his residency in Dallas.

Local health authorities have said repeatedly throughout the response that their guidance and direction can change.

“Please keep in mind the contact list is fluid, meaning people may fall off the list or new people may be added to the list depending on new information that could arise at any time on any given day,” said Dallas County health department spokeswoman Erikka Neroes on Friday when asked how many people are even being monitored.

On Thursday, Jenkins announced stricter restrictions that require hospital staffers who had been potentially exposed to stay away from the public for 21 days and check their temperature twice a day, once in person with a public health worker. It was the first written order anyone being monitored has been asked to sign.

“They can walk their dog, but they can’t go to church; they can’t go to schools; they can’t go to shopping centers,” said Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Public health epidemiologists were notifying the health care workers of the directions Friday, said Texas Department of State Health Services spokeswoman Carrie Williams.

But even those medical agreements allow some wiggle room. For example, they say public transit isn’t outright banned but “should be discussed with the public health authority.”

Officials say 125 friends, family, doctors, nurses, technicians, ambulance drivers and others may have been exposed in the days before Duncan died. Since then, the two nurses have tested positive and at least 18 other people in Texas and Ohio have been identified as secondary contacts who also merit watching.

At first, the monitoring sounded relatively simple: track down the contacts, monitor them with least twice daily temperature records and test people who develop symptoms for Ebola. State officials would be in charge, working with the CDC and Dallas County authorities.

But for a time after Pham was diagnosed with Ebola, different hospital workers had different levels of monitoring, based in part on their exposure risk. Some self-reported their temperatures. Some continued to care for patients. Hospital spokesman Wendell Watson on Saturday referred all questions about the facility’s monitoring practices to county officials.

The county moved Duncan’s girlfriend, Louise Troh, her 13-year-old son, Duncan’s nephew, and a family friend from their apartment to a guarded house in an undisclosed location, where a health official comes by twice a day and takes their temperatures. The unusual confinement order was imposed after the family failed to comply with a request not to leave their apartment, Jenkins said.

Pham and Vinson have been taken to medical centers with isolation units in Maryland and Atlanta. There are four such centers in the U.S.

At the National Institutes of Health medical center in Bethesda, Maryland, spokeswoman Amanda Fine says staff involved in caring for people with Ebola are given thermometers and instructions and must measure and submit body temperatures twice daily.

Taylor Wilson, a spokesman for the Nebraska isolation unit, which has also been treating Ebola patients, said that every time health care workers go into the unit, they must stop and take their temperature and other vital signs and log the results. They are also advised to keep an eye out for any symptoms.

He said that there are no restrictions on the staff’s movements outside of work.

In Washington, President Barack Obama presided at a rare Saturday evening meeting of Cabinet officials and advisers on health and security to receive an update on domestic Ebola cases and the status of tracing, contacting and monitoring people who may have come into contact with Ebola patients in Dallas. The meeting included a discussion of broader steps to increase the preparedness of the nation’s health sector, the White House said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/10/19/nurses-at-dallas-hospital-were-initially-asked-to-self-monitor-for-signs-ebola/

Hospital parent’s CEO apologizes for lapses in Ebola treatment, training

The CEO of the parent company of the Dallas hospital where two nurses have contracted Ebola from a patient who died there earlier this month has apologized for some aspects of the hospital’s response to the deadly virus. 

Texas Health Resources CEO Barclay Berdan issued the apology in the form of a full-page letter published in Sunday’s editions of The Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  

In the letter, Berdan thanks the staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital for their “dedication, compassion, and tireless work” before acknowledging that “as an institution, we made mistakes in handling this very difficult challenge.” Among those mistakes are hospital staff not communicating that Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan had recently traveled to Texas from African when he made his initial visit to the hospital’s emergency room on the night of Sept. 25-26. Berdan also says that the hospital’s Ebola training and education programs had not been fully deployed at the time of Duncan’s visit. 

“In short, despite our best intentions and skilled medical teams, we did not live up to the high standards that are the heart of our hospital’s history, mission and commitment,” Berdan said.

Berdan’s letter comes one day after it was revealed that the hospital did not initially keep a watch list of workers who may have had contact with Duncan, and had asked nurses to take their own temperature and self-report symptoms of Ebola.  

According to the Associated Press, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins only ordered the creation of a watch list on Oct. 12, the same day nurse Nina Pham tested positive for the disease, Hospital officials told potentially exposed hospital workers to stop seeing patients other than Pham.

But the next day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allowed another nurse who cared for Duncan, Amber Vinson, to get on a plane in Ohio and fly to Dallas with a mild fever. She was later diagnosed with Ebola, and CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden has conceded that she “should not have traveled on a commercial airline.”

The inconsistent response by health officials in monitoring and limiting the movement of health workers has been one of the critical blunders in the Ebola outbreak. Friends and family who had contact with Duncan before he was hospitalized were confined to homes under armed guard, but nurses who handled his contagious bodily fluids were allowed to treat other patients, take mass transit and get on airplanes.

“I don’t think the directions provided to people at first were as clear as they needed to be, and there have been changes in the instructions given to people over time,” said Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, a doctor who did his residency in Dallas.

Local health authorities have said repeatedly throughout the response that their guidance and direction can change.

“Please keep in mind the contact list is fluid, meaning people may fall off the list or new people may be added to the list depending on new information that could arise at any time on any given day,” said Dallas County health department spokeswoman Erikka Neroes on Friday when asked how many people are even being monitored.

On Thursday, Jenkins announced stricter restrictions that require hospital staffers who had been potentially exposed to stay away from the public for 21 days and check their temperature twice a day, once in person with a public health worker. It was the first written order anyone being monitored has been asked to sign.

“They can walk their dog, but they can’t go to church; they can’t go to schools; they can’t go to shopping centers,” said Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Public health epidemiologists were notifying the health care workers of the directions Friday, said Texas Department of State Health Services spokeswoman Carrie Williams.

But even those medical agreements allow some wiggle room. For example, they say public transit isn’t outright banned but “should be discussed with the public health authority.”

Officials say 125 friends, family, doctors, nurses, technicians, ambulance drivers and others may have been exposed in the days before Duncan died. Since then, the two nurses have tested positive and at least 18 other people in Texas and Ohio have been identified as secondary contacts who also merit watching.

At first, the monitoring sounded relatively simple: track down the contacts, monitor them with least twice daily temperature records and test people who develop symptoms for Ebola. State officials would be in charge, working with the CDC and Dallas County authorities.

But for a time after Pham was diagnosed with Ebola, different hospital workers had different levels of monitoring, based in part on their exposure risk. Some self-reported their temperatures. Some continued to care for patients. Hospital spokesman Wendell Watson on Saturday referred all questions about the facility’s monitoring practices to county officials.

The county moved Duncan’s girlfriend, Louise Troh, her 13-year-old son, Duncan’s nephew, and a family friend from their apartment to a guarded house in an undisclosed location, where a health official comes by twice a day and takes their temperatures. The unusual confinement order was imposed after the family failed to comply with a request not to leave their apartment, Jenkins said.

Pham and Vinson have been taken to medical centers with isolation units in Maryland and Atlanta. There are four such centers in the U.S.

At the National Institutes of Health medical center in Bethesda, Maryland, spokeswoman Amanda Fine says staff involved in caring for people with Ebola are given thermometers and instructions and must measure and submit body temperatures twice daily.

Taylor Wilson, a spokesman for the Nebraska isolation unit, which has also been treating Ebola patients, said that every time health care workers go into the unit, they must stop and take their temperature and other vital signs and log the results. They are also advised to keep an eye out for any symptoms.

He said that there are no restrictions on the staff’s movements outside of work.

In Washington, President Barack Obama presided at a rare Saturday evening meeting of Cabinet officials and advisers on health and security to receive an update on domestic Ebola cases and the status of tracing, contacting and monitoring people who may have come into contact with Ebola patients in Dallas. The meeting included a discussion of broader steps to increase the preparedness of the nation’s health sector, the White House said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/10/19/nurses-at-dallas-hospital-were-initially-asked-to-self-monitor-for-signs-ebola/

OBAMACARE WOES Maryland delays effort to regain $55M for failed site

web_site.jpg

FILE: Oct. 2, 2013: A man looks over the Affordable Care Act signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York. (REUTERS)

Maryland officials reportedly have agreed to delay court action seeking $55 million from the primary contractor for the state’s problematic ObamaCare website.

Officials from Maryland’s health care exchange in April fired the contractor, Noridian Healthcare Solutions, and vowed to seek court actions to recoup the money.

Both sides have struck a temporary deal so state officials can focus on the second year of ObamaCare enrollment that starts Nov. 15, according to The Baltimore Sun.  

A spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley told The Sun that officials are still “evaluating claims that we may pursue in litigation.”

The first ObamaCare enrollment, on Oct. 1, 2013, got off to a disastrous start, marked by an overwhelming public response that crashed the federal site, HealthCare.gov, and several state-run sites.

President Obama, angry and “frustrated” by the start of arguably his biggest legislative accomplishment, made sure the software problems were essentially fixed after the first several weeks by hiring industry experts to work around the clock to write better computer code and fix software bugs.

But at least two state-run sites — Maryland and Oregon’s — had to scrap their failed, multi-million dollar, online projects.

Oregon has moved online customers to the federal site after software bugs and other technical problems kept the state from fully enrolling a single customer online.

The problems and transition is estimated to cost state and federal taxpayers at least an additional $85 million — including $50 million to manually enroll thousands of customers and $35 million to Deloitte Consulting to salvage the faulty technology.

Maryland officials have decided to replace their technology, instead of fixing the system or like Oregon joining the federal exchange system.

They have hired Deloitte Consulting, which has successfully run the Connecticut exchange. The effort is expected to cost $43 million.

The decision also comes just weeks before Election Day for Democratic nominee for governor Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who was O’Malley’s point man for ObamaCare.

Maryland and contractor Noridian have blamed each other and subcontractors, including IBM, for the problems.

The decision to delay action also came amid an ongoing inspector general’s probe, which was requested in February by Maryland GOP Rep. Andy Harris.

“Millions of dollars were wasted because of a lack of oversight by Lieutenant Governor Brown, and now the state must try to recoup some of the money he allowed to be sent to companies who couldn’t deliver,” Harris told The Sun. “The federal investigation should provide critical information about how taxpayer dollars were wasted and whether fraud occurred.”

Justin Schall, Brown’s campaign manager, said: “It’s disappointing that congressman Harris would mislead the people of Maryland and play political games with a federal investigation.”

Thirty-six states are part of the federal exchange, and there are 14 state-run sites.

The president crafted the legislation to help an estimated 30 million uninsured Americans get coverage.

The administration reached its goal of enrolling 6 million people by its self-imposed March 31 deadline. And right now, 7.3 million people have enrolled in marketplace plans, paid their premiums and have access to insurance, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/19/maryland-to-delay-legal-effort-to-recoup-55-million-on-state-failed-obamacare/

OBAMACARE WOES Maryland delays effort to regain $55M for failed site

web_site.jpg

FILE: Oct. 2, 2013: A man looks over the Affordable Care Act signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York. (REUTERS)

Maryland officials reportedly have agreed to delay court action seeking $55 million from the primary contractor for the state’s problematic ObamaCare website.

Officials from Maryland’s health care exchange in April fired the contractor, Noridian Healthcare Solutions, and vowed to seek court actions to recoup the money.

Both sides have struck a temporary deal so state officials can focus on the second year of ObamaCare enrollment that starts Nov. 15, according to The Baltimore Sun.  

A spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley told The Sun that officials are still “evaluating claims that we may pursue in litigation.”

The first ObamaCare enrollment, on Oct. 1, 2013, got off to a disastrous start, marked by an overwhelming public response that crashed the federal site, HealthCare.gov, and several state-run sites.

President Obama, angry and “frustrated” by the start of arguably his biggest legislative accomplishment, made sure the software problems were essentially fixed after the first several weeks by hiring industry experts to work around the clock to write better computer code and fix software bugs.

But at least two state-run sites — Maryland and Oregon’s — had to scrap their failed, multi-million dollar, online projects.

Oregon has moved online customers to the federal site after software bugs and other technical problems kept the state from fully enrolling a single customer online.

The problems and transition is estimated to cost state and federal taxpayers at least an additional $85 million — including $50 million to manually enroll thousands of customers and $35 million to Deloitte Consulting to salvage the faulty technology.

Maryland officials have decided to replace their technology, instead of fixing the system or like Oregon joining the federal exchange system.

They have hired Deloitte Consulting, which has successfully run the Connecticut exchange. The effort is expected to cost $43 million.

The decision also comes just weeks before Election Day for Democratic nominee for governor Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who was O’Malley’s point man for ObamaCare.

Maryland and contractor Noridian have blamed each other and subcontractors, including IBM, for the problems.

The decision to delay action also came amid an ongoing inspector general’s probe, which was requested in February by Maryland GOP Rep. Andy Harris.

“Millions of dollars were wasted because of a lack of oversight by Lieutenant Governor Brown, and now the state must try to recoup some of the money he allowed to be sent to companies who couldn’t deliver,” Harris told The Sun. “The federal investigation should provide critical information about how taxpayer dollars were wasted and whether fraud occurred.”

Justin Schall, Brown’s campaign manager, said: “It’s disappointing that congressman Harris would mislead the people of Maryland and play political games with a federal investigation.”

Thirty-six states are part of the federal exchange, and there are 14 state-run sites.

The president crafted the legislation to help an estimated 30 million uninsured Americans get coverage.

The administration reached its goal of enrolling 6 million people by its self-imposed March 31 deadline. And right now, 7.3 million people have enrolled in marketplace plans, paid their premiums and have access to insurance, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/19/maryland-to-delay-legal-effort-to-recoup-55-million-on-state-failed-obamacare/

Hospital parent’s CEO apologizes for lapses in Ebola treatment, training

The CEO of the parent company of the Dallas hospital where two nurses have contracted Ebola from a patient who died there earlier this month has apologized for some aspects of the hospital’s response to the deadly virus. 

Texas Health Resources CEO Barclay Berdan issued the apology in the form of a full-page letter published in Sunday’s editions of The Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  

In the letter, Berdan thanks the staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital for their “dedication, compassion, and tireless work” before acknowledging that “as an institution, we made mistakes in handling this very difficult challenge.” Among those mistakes are hospital staff not communicating that Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan had recently traveled to Texas from African when he made his initial visit to the hospital’s emergency room on the night of Sept. 25-26. Berdan also says that the hospital’s Ebola training and education programs had not been fully deployed at the time of Duncan’s visit. 

“In short, despite our best intentions and skilled medical teams, we did not live up to the high standards that are the heart of our hospital’s history, mission and commitment,” Berdan said.

Berdan’s letter comes one day after it was revealed that the hospital did not initially keep a watch list of workers who may have had contact with Duncan, and had asked nurses to take their own temperature and self-report symptoms of Ebola.  

According to the Associated Press, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins only ordered the creation of a watch list on Oct. 12, the same day nurse Nina Pham tested positive for the disease, Hospital officials told potentially exposed hospital workers to stop seeing patients other than Pham.

But the next day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allowed another nurse who cared for Duncan, Amber Vinson, to get on a plane in Ohio and fly to Dallas with a mild fever. She was later diagnosed with Ebola, and CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden has conceded that she “should not have traveled on a commercial airline.”

The inconsistent response by health officials in monitoring and limiting the movement of health workers has been one of the critical blunders in the Ebola outbreak. Friends and family who had contact with Duncan before he was hospitalized were confined to homes under armed guard, but nurses who handled his contagious bodily fluids were allowed to treat other patients, take mass transit and get on airplanes.

“I don’t think the directions provided to people at first were as clear as they needed to be, and there have been changes in the instructions given to people over time,” said Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, a doctor who did his residency in Dallas.

Local health authorities have said repeatedly throughout the response that their guidance and direction can change.

“Please keep in mind the contact list is fluid, meaning people may fall off the list or new people may be added to the list depending on new information that could arise at any time on any given day,” said Dallas County health department spokeswoman Erikka Neroes on Friday when asked how many people are even being monitored.

On Thursday, Jenkins announced stricter restrictions that require hospital staffers who had been potentially exposed to stay away from the public for 21 days and check their temperature twice a day, once in person with a public health worker. It was the first written order anyone being monitored has been asked to sign.

“They can walk their dog, but they can’t go to church; they can’t go to schools; they can’t go to shopping centers,” said Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Public health epidemiologists were notifying the health care workers of the directions Friday, said Texas Department of State Health Services spokeswoman Carrie Williams.

But even those medical agreements allow some wiggle room. For example, they say public transit isn’t outright banned but “should be discussed with the public health authority.”

Officials say 125 friends, family, doctors, nurses, technicians, ambulance drivers and others may have been exposed in the days before Duncan died. Since then, the two nurses have tested positive and at least 18 other people in Texas and Ohio have been identified as secondary contacts who also merit watching.

At first, the monitoring sounded relatively simple: track down the contacts, monitor them with least twice daily temperature records and test people who develop symptoms for Ebola. State officials would be in charge, working with the CDC and Dallas County authorities.

But for a time after Pham was diagnosed with Ebola, different hospital workers had different levels of monitoring, based in part on their exposure risk. Some self-reported their temperatures. Some continued to care for patients. Hospital spokesman Wendell Watson on Saturday referred all questions about the facility’s monitoring practices to county officials.

The county moved Duncan’s girlfriend, Louise Troh, her 13-year-old son, Duncan’s nephew, and a family friend from their apartment to a guarded house in an undisclosed location, where a health official comes by twice a day and takes their temperatures. The unusual confinement order was imposed after the family failed to comply with a request not to leave their apartment, Jenkins said.

Pham and Vinson have been taken to medical centers with isolation units in Maryland and Atlanta. There are four such centers in the U.S.

At the National Institutes of Health medical center in Bethesda, Maryland, spokeswoman Amanda Fine says staff involved in caring for people with Ebola are given thermometers and instructions and must measure and submit body temperatures twice daily.

Taylor Wilson, a spokesman for the Nebraska isolation unit, which has also been treating Ebola patients, said that every time health care workers go into the unit, they must stop and take their temperature and other vital signs and log the results. They are also advised to keep an eye out for any symptoms.

He said that there are no restrictions on the staff’s movements outside of work.

In Washington, President Barack Obama presided at a rare Saturday evening meeting of Cabinet officials and advisers on health and security to receive an update on domestic Ebola cases and the status of tracing, contacting and monitoring people who may have come into contact with Ebola patients in Dallas. The meeting included a discussion of broader steps to increase the preparedness of the nation’s health sector, the White House said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/10/19/nurses-at-dallas-hospital-were-initially-asked-to-self-monitor-for-signs-ebola/