CDC data released Wednesday shows a record 93,331 drug overdose deaths occurred in 2020—an almost 30% increase from 2019, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Georgia, Ohio, and Oregon.
- Georgia: CDC on Wednesday released provisional data showing a record 93,331 drug overdose deaths occurred in 2020—an almost 30% increase from 2019. The majority of overdose deaths involved opioids, particularly illegal synthetic fentanyl, with these overdose deaths increasing from 50,963 in 2019 to 69,710 in 2020. Deaths from other drugs, such as methamphetamine and cocaine, also increased, CDC found. Experts say complications from the pandemic, including increased stress and isolation and limited access to anti-addiction medications, likely helped fueled the increase in overdose deaths, the Washington Post reports. (Bernstein/Achenbach, Washington Post, 7/14; Doherty, Axios, 7/14; Sullivan, The Hill, 7/14)
- Ohio: Gov. Mike DeWine (R) on Wednesday signed a bill that includes a provision banning public schools, colleges, and universities from requiring people get vaccines that have not received full approval from FDA. The Covid-19 vaccines are currently only authorized for emergency use by FDA. The provision also prohibits schools from discriminating against those have not been vaccinated, which includes requiring them to refrain from certain activities. According to Statehouse News Bureau, DeWine cited the current emergency use status of the vaccines as a cause of hesitancy and said that it is "past time" for FDA to fully approve the vaccines. (Vakil, The Hill, 7/14; Chow, Statehouse News Bureau, 7/14)
- Oregon: The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, which represents 62 community hospitals in the state, is urging an end to a law banning health care employers from enacting vaccine mandates for their employees. Although more than 30 health systems across the country have enacted vaccine mandates, Becky Hultberg, president and CEO of the hospital association, said in Oregon, they "can't even have the conversation." According to the hospital association, the ban could be ended with a new rule from Oregon Health Authority or a new law from the state legislature. Data from the Oregon Health Authority has found that 70% of the state's health care workers have received Covid-19 vaccinations, with the highest rate being among dentists at 94% and the lowest rate being among chiropractors at 50%. (Hayes, Portland Business Journal, 7/14)