CDC released new guidelines for diagnosing high lead exposure in children, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Georgia, and North Carolina.
- District of Columbia: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Thursday announced that fatal traffic accidents increased 18.4% during the first six months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. Approximately 20,160 people were killed in car accidents from January to June 2021—which reflects the largest six-month increase ever observed by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. According to NHTSA, Americans drove less frequently during the pandemic but engaged in more high-risk behaviors, such as speeding and not wearing a seatbelt. "This is a crisis," Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. "We cannot and should not accept these fatalities as simply a part of everyday life in America." (Frazier, Axios, 10/28)
- Georgia: CDC on Thursday lowered the threshold used to diagnose lead poisoning in children. Under the new guidelines, the blood level reference value has been lowered from five micrograms per deciliter of blood to three and a half micrograms. As a result, the number of children diagnosed with high lead exposure between the ages of one and five will rise from 200,000 to almost 500,000. Notably, CDC reports children in low-income households, children of color, and immigrants or refugees are "more likely to live in communities where lead is pervasive." According to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, "No level of lead is safe and yet, more than half of our nation's children are at risk of lead exposure, often in their own home." (Frazier, Axios, 10/28)
- North Carolina: Duke University Health System announced that Craig Albanese will assume the role of EVP and COO, effective Jan. 17, 2022. At NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital—where Albanese currently serves as group SVP and CMO—Albanese oversaw the redesign of the organization's service line strategy. He has also served in leadership positions at Stanford University and Stanford Health Care. (Jensik, Becker's Hospital Review, 10/28)