County of Marin Health and Human Services

Public Health Officer Newsletter - January 2018

Public Health Officer Newsletter - January 2018
Marin County Public Health Newsletter Volume 6 - Issue 1 - January 2018
In this Issue: Flu | Naloxone | MMRC | Cannabis | Integration | Message from the Public Health Officer
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A message to physicians and other health care providers from Marin County's Public Health Officer.

Flu Surge:  Stemming the Tide 

Emergency Departments (ED) in Marin County and across the state are continuing to experience surges related to respiratory illness.  As of January 27th, 470 out of 2,217 tests performed in all three Marin hospitals were positive for influenza, with one reported death under age 65.  Clinicians can help protect ED resources for patients who require emergency response by managing lower risk illness on an outpatient basis.  The vast majority of patients evaluated for flu-like illness in EDs are sent home.  Refer to these guidelines to triage flu-like symptoms and visit for local resources and information on latest flu activity in Marin.

Opioid Overdose Reversals in the Community

Opioid overdose remains the leading cause of accidental death in Marin County.  The RxSafe Marin coalition and the Department of Health & Human Services (Marin HHS) are promoting naloxone (Narcan) availability at the community level.   We began training first responders last year.  Police officers in Novato, Fairfax and Mill Valley have revived victims of opioid overdose.  Marin Emergency Medical Services (911) data show increases in bystander administration of naloxone prior to ambulance arrival.  Clinicians should consider prescribing naloxone for patients prescribed opioids, particularly with opioid doses above 90 mg morphine equivalents per day.

Marin Medical Reserve Corps (MMRC) Answers the Call

The North Bay fires deeply impacted our families, friends, and colleagues.  A regional medical surge required the deployment of health care volunteers across the region.  The Marin Medical Reserve Corps (MMRC) and other medical volunteers stepped forward to provide medical care at the Marin Center shelter.  Our response to future emergencies depends on a roster of active, licensed and credentialed health care providers.   The MMRC is recruiting Marin County doctors, nurses, behavioral health professionals, social workers, EMTs and clerical/administrative people.  Join our team and be part of our next response.   Learn more and register here.

Let's Talk Cannabis 

On January 1, 2018, California's new recreational marijuana laws went into effect.  The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has launched a health information and education campaign about what's legal in California and potential health impacts of cannabis use.  On CDPH's website, you can find information about legal, safe and responsible use, and health information for youth, pregnant and breast-feeding women, parents and mentors.

Public Health Clinic Integration

For decades, Marin HHS offered clinical services in communicable diseases and dental care for low income and uninsured clients.  Expanded access through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has created opportunities for this care to be fully integrated into Marin's primary care community health centers.  Our community health centers provide comprehensive primary and specialty care, dental and behavioral health care plus support services to meet the needs of our most vulnerable residents.  Following the unanimous vote of the Marin County Board of Supervisors, in January, HHS will be completing the closure of the HHS medical clinics and the transfer of care to Marin Community Clinics.  Visit our clinics integration website for more information.

Message from the Public Health Officer

Matthew Willis Marin County PHO Headshot2017 was a remarkable year in public health in Marin County.  The response of the Marin County medical community to the North Bay wild fires was inspiring and reassuring.  Our health care providers accommodated surges of patients displaced by the fires into our hospitals and clinics, and staffed shelters for evacuees.  This event also highlighted the value of preparedness and planning for future events, which is work for 2018. In 2017, we also moved closer to an integrated care system for Marin's most vulnerable residents, with HHS transferring safety net clinical services to Marin Community Clinics.  This newsletter is resuming its monthly schedule and your suggestions for topics is always welcome. 
Warm Regards,
Matt Willis
HHS Website
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Copyright (c) 2018
Matthew Willis MD, MPH
Marin County Public Health Officer
(415) 473-4163
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