eMed Tool Turns At-Home Rapid Tests into Actionable Results

With the federal government phasing out paying for PCR COVID testing, home rapid tests will become more important for diagnosis & treatment as well as satisfying travel & visa COVID testing requirements.

For the first time, at home rapid tests can now provide results that are actionable for diagnosis & treatment while also satisfying administrative travel testing requirements. The process that turns a home rapid test into actionable information was created under a partnership between eMed and Abbott Labs. 

The eMed tool is pretty simple. Even I was able to do it. The package insert gives you a step-by-step process to use with your cell phone. I think it even works with those android phones. It’s a ‘virtually proctored test’ and produces verified results within about 20 minutes.

If you follow all the directions, you get a CLIA-waived laboratory result that’s accepted by CMS & CDC… meaning the results can be used for diagnostic purposes and to prescribe antiviral medications. Negative test results satisfy international travel requirements because the results are accepted by CDC and CMS.

Visit the eMed website

Here’s a bullet list of what the tool does:

  • Individuals receive a CLIA-waived laboratory report accepted by the CDC, meaning the results can be used to prescribe antiviral medications.
  • The lab report is also accepted by major airlines when COVID-related travel restrictions are in place (for certain international travel destinations).
  • Testing data & reports can be made available through a customizable dashboard to public health agencies, employers, schools.
  • Previously purchased FDA-authorized testing kits can be transformed into a Test-to-Treat enabled experience by simply adding an eMed QR code.

eMed says they’re expanding their model to include testing for influenza, HIV, STDs/STIs, a women’s health package (including UTIs, yeast infections, etc.), drug testing, Monkeypox etc.

Visit the eMed website

Note: This isn’t a sponsored post or anything. I just put it up because it looks like a useful tool especially now that the fed’s are phasing out paying for PCR testing.

Arizona Has a COVID-19 Exposure Notification Tool Now (and It’s Free)!

Wehealth Arizona is an exposure notification app that notifies you if you have been exposed to Covid-19 and helps connect you with trusted resources. It enables everyone to help keep each other and their families safe while maintaining full privacy and personal liberty.

Download the Wehealth Arizona app

If anyone tests positive for Covid-19, they can choose to anonymously share that with the app. Other app users who came in contact with that person in the last 14 days automatically receive an anonymous notification of their level of exposure. As more people get tested using self-test kits rather than at a lab, these anonymous reports also help everyone understand the true prevalence and burden of infections in a community in addition to the official case counts.

This app is the fastest and most scalable way to quickly notify people of exposure, helping people make informed decisions to slow down the spread and seek timely treatment to reduce the risk of severe disease. This link can be used to report a positive result https://wehealth.org/arizona or if you don’t already have the app you can use the same link to install the app.

The app works even when you travel outside of Arizona. It’s fully anonymous, doesn’t collect any personal data or location data and there’s no way to know who is getting notified and no way to know where the notification came from. It is built on the Google Apple Exposure Notification (GAEN) protocol and the open source key server and verification server.

The app is integrated with the national key server maintained by Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), and is fully interoperable with all other exposure notification apps in other states.

Wehealth Arizona was the first Covid-19 exposure notification app to pilot in the United States in August 2020. It was called Covid Watch Arizona at the time. It is the result of continued collaboration between the University of Arizona, Arizona Department of Health Services and WeHealth (a Public Benefit Corporation). The app is proven to work.

study at the end of the pilot analysts estimated that it may have helped reduce the average number of people infected by 12%.

Expunging Cannabis Possession Convictions Made Easier in AZ 

One conviction can lead an individual or family into a downward spiral. With the passage of 2020’s Prop 207 (Smart & Safe Arizona Act) people with marijuana possession convictions (for less than one ounce) can now have the charges expunged through Reclaim Your Future with the AZ Justice Project: Reclaim Your Future, Free Arizona Marijuana Expungement.

Expunging a previous conviction can be a game changer as it can open jobs, housing and even restore rights or lessen sentences/fines. It is a great opportunity and could make a major impact on someone’s life and improve the health status of an entire family.

AZ Justice Project is also willing to present on this opportunity or host a table at an event.  If you’re interested in them doing so, please email Lenna at lenna.ortega@azjusticeproject.org.

The List of Ballot Measures is Set: At Least 5 of Them Will Influence Public Health

The list of ballot measures is now set. The challenges to the voter initiatives have been settled, and the language that’ll be on the ballot is settled. In all, there will be 10 propositions on your ballot. Eight were proposed by the legislature and 2 are voter initiatives.

Five of them are constitutional amendments including changes to how elections are handled, how voter initiatives need to be crafted (and the threshold needed to pass them), property tax exemptions, and one that creates the office of Lieutenant Governor. These are all 100 Series measures because they change the constitution. Here’s the ballot language for Propositions 128, 129, 130, 131, and 132. You can also view the propositions here.

There will be 3 legislative referrals on your ballot. These are 300-series propositions because they were referred to the ballot by the legislature that modify earlier voter initiatives. These are about allowing Dreamers graduating from AZ schools to get in-state tuition at public AZ colleges & universities, changing what’s required in order to vote, and modifying how rural fire districts are funded. These are Propositions 308, 309 and 310. You can view those propositions here.

There are 2 voter initiatives on the ballot, the Predatory Debt Collection Protection Act and the Voter Right to Know Act. The courts threw out the Free and Fair Elections Act because they said they were 1,500 short of the number of valid signatures it needed (the full supreme court ruling isn’t published yet). These will be Propositions 209 (Predatory Debt Collection Protection Act) and Prop 211, the Voter Right to Know Act (the attorney general hasn’t approved that ballot language yet).

So far, AZPHA has only taken a position on one of the measures…  we are urging a Yes vote on Proposition 209: the Predatory Debt Collection Protection Act. The AZPHA Board will be deliberating whether to ask membership to endorse or oppose an additional 4 (and maybe 5) measures. Below are the write-ups that I submitted that’ll be in the voter publicity pamphlet. So far, these are only my opinions, not those of AZPHA.

View this fabulous summary of all 10 propositions including arguments for & against & disclosing who is supporting and opposing each measure. This is a must-see resource brought to you by Rachael Leingang & Hank Stephenson from the Arizona Agenda.

Initiatives

Vote YES On Proposition 209: The ‘Predatory Debt Collection Protection Act’

Vote for Transparency. Vote ‘YES’ On Proposition 211 the ‘Voters Right to Know Act’

 

Legislative Referendum

Vote the Golden Rule: YES on Prop 308

Proposition 310 May Save Your Life, Vote YES

‘Keep Your Power: Vote No on Proposition 132’ 

 

The Board will be reviewing Prop 210 (Voters Right to Know Act) and Propositions 308 (Dreamers), 310 (rural EMS), and 132 (supermajority for voter initiatives with a fee) to potentially ask membership to support 308 and 310 & oppose 132.

We’re also looking at whether we should oppose Prop 128,  Prop 129, & Prop 309.     

Prop 128 would allow the legislature to repeal voter-approved measures in its entirety if any part of the law is declared unconstitutional or ‘illegal’. Initiatives and laws are declared partially unconstitutional all the time.  For example, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the matching funds provision of the Arizona Clean Elections Act unconstitutional, but the broader law is still valid. If voters approve Prop 128, the legislature could scrap the whole Clean Elections Act with a simple majority vote. 

Prop 129 would limit future voter initiatives to a single subject. That would eliminate initiative backers’ ability to propose initiatives that touch on several aspects of the law, as the Free and Fair Elections Act would have, and the Clean Elections Act did.

Proposition 309, a legislative referral born from SCR1012.  This one would require identification to drop off your early ballot at an early voting site or Election Day polling place and require more proof that you are who you say if you mail back your early ballot.

Over the last several years, AzPHA has become an increasingly credible source of information for Arizona residents… as such, we can play an important role in informing the electorate about the potential public health impacts of the various voter initiatives and referenda (good and bad).

You can view all 10 propositions here

 Climate Change & Human Health in Arizona: What Health Professionals Need to Know

COMMUNITY GRAND ROUNDS:

 Climate Change and Human Health in Arizona:
What Health Professionals
Need to Know

 Wednesday, September 7th, 12-1pm AZ

Presenters:

Edward Maibach, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center of Climate Change Communication, George Mason University

Ronda Seifert, RN BSN IBCLC
Public Health Nurse, Chair of Arizona Health Professionals for Climate Action

Brian Drummond, MD FAAEM
Clinical Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, University of Arizona

Click Here to Register Now

Climate and Health Advocacy Boot Camp

DATES: RUNNING THURSDAYS SEPTEMBER 29 – OCTOBER 27, 2022

TIME: 12 – 1:30 P.M. AZ Time 

Health professionals are the most trusted voices in society and our collective voices are needed to prepare communities to effectively respond to the climate crisis.

Through this 5-week bootcamp, you will grow your network by joining colleagues around the country to learn strategies to effectively channel your voice and action as a health professional to address the “greatest health threat” of the 21st Century.

Video recordings will be available for asynchronous view following each session.

Register Here

Public Investments in Electric Charging Infrastructure Makes Economic Sense: Here’s Why

There are many rational reasons why the government should invest in emerging markets especially when their products have tangible public health benefits. Some people argue we shouldn’t invest public dollars in electric charging infrastructure – that the private sector should take care of it- like with gas stations. 

Here’s a summary of how gas stations and electric charging are different from the dispassionate point of view of an economist: former AzPHA Board member Dr. Matt McCullough:

  • Gas stations are a mature market while electric charging stations are a very new/emerging market. Government involvement in new or emerging markets is far more common—and economically rational—than government involvement in mature markets.
  • first-mover disadvantage exists where consumers shy away from EVs due to “range anxiety” since relatively few EV charging stations exist. This leads to a smaller EV market share, which leads to fewer EV charging stations being built. Which leads to more “range anxiety.” Basically, if you don’t build it, they won’t come.
  • EV charging stations face a first mover disadvantage (nobody has much incentive to build the first EV charging station but once others exist the incentive changes/grows). This means that we should not necessarily expect the private market alone to quickly create a robust charging network.
  • Compared to electric-powered vehicles, gasoline-powered vehicles impose much different societal costs in terms of externalities. When there are externalities—meaning the full costs of consumption of a product are not borne by the producer/consumer—there is some rationale for government involvement in the market. This is especially true when the mature market has externalities that the emerging market can help reduce.
  • Simple market forces won’t necessarily produce a coordinated network of charging stations. The tragedy of the commons suggests that while overall EV producers (and society) will recognize the value of a robust, coordinated network of chargers, there’s little incentive for any one EV company to build this on their own. It makes more sense for any given company to sit on the sidelines while the other companies pay for things.

ADOT Turns in Strong Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan

It’s not often that we have an opportunity to praise state agencies during the Ducey administration… but this week we’re happy to be able to praise the Arizona Department of Transportation.

A couple weeks ago ADOT turned in their draft Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan to the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation. It took our consortium to couple of weeks to dive into the details and assess how good a job ADOT had done using the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program to help Arizonans. The Joint Office will review the draft plan and supply comments by Sept. 30. Changes may be made before the Sept. 30 approval date. 

We’re delighted to report that ADOT did a good job- a remarkable statement to be able to make about a state agency during the Ducey administration.

ADOT’s plan includes annual goals and an annual assessment that can lead to revisions as the agency believes necessary. In the first year, ADOT’s plan includes upgrading existing DC fast charging stations within one mile of Alternative Fuel Corridors and closing charging gaps with new stations.

Their plan also recommends that the Arizona Corporation Commission craft utility rates to offset the lifetime cost of the charging station. That’s important because utility rate plans that incentivize charging during off-peak hours can benefit both the EV owner through reduced costs and Arizona utilities through improved electrical grid utilization.

The ADOT plan ADOT has six goals:

  • Reduce range anxiety by closing gaps in the EVSE network along Arizona’s Alternative Fuel Corridors.
  • Support the development of an EVSE network that is resilient, fair, accessible, and reliable.
  • Engage stakeholders and the public in the planning, development, and installation of EVSE.
  • Find potential new Alternative Fuel Corridor locations during the outreach process.
  • Use efficient contracting and procurement mechanisms to maximize the amount of infrastructure that can be built, consider future needs, and reduce risk to support the EVSE network’s long-term viability.
  • Use data and performance metrics to evaluate EVSE installation and operations to inform the development of program improvements

The bottom line is that ADOT’s plan sets the stage for the next administration to be successful in using National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure funds, helping more infrastructure to support faster market uptake of electric vehicles in Arizona.

Pima County Judge Hears Planned Parenthood v. Brnovich Reproductive Health Case

Outcome Will Determine Whether Arizonans Will Have Access to Abortion Services

Arizona is one step closer to learning whether access to abortion is legal in Arizona and if so, under what circumstances. Pima Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson heard the Planned Parenthood v. Brnovich case last Friday afternoon but didn’t make a ruling. She said she’ll make a decision within 60 days but not before September 20.

The case involves Brnovich’s motion to lift a 1973 injunction staying the implementation of a territorial-era law [ARS 13-3603] which is still on the books:

13-3603. Definition; punishment A person who provides, supplies or administers to a pregnant woman, or procures such woman to take any medicine, drugs or substance, or uses or employs any instrument or other means whatever, with intent thereby to procure the miscarriage of such woman, unless it is necessary to save her life, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than two years nor more than five years.

The injunction he’s trying to lift is from a case filed in Superior Court in 1971 by Planned Parenthood of Tucson who had challenged the law. After the federal court in Arizona wouldn’t take the case, Planned Parenthood sued then-Arizona Attorney General Gary Nelson in Pima County Superior Court.

Planned Parenthood made many arguments including an implied right to privacy in the U.S. Constitution, an overreach of police power and that low-income people were unfairly impacted because they couldn’t afford to go to another state for an abortion.

Superior Court judge ruled for Planned Parenthood in 1972 saying that that the 1864/1901 laws were unconstitutional and placed an injunction against enforcing it. Nelson appealed to the Arizona Court of Appeals, who initially overturned the Superior Court decision in January 1973. A few weeks later the U.S. Supreme Court made its landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade and the appellate court then reversed their decision and modified the injunction.

That’s the injunction that our illustrious Attorney General is trying to lift, and that Judge Johnson heard arguments about last week.

See this paper to read Planned Parenthood’s arguments in the landmark 1971 lawsuit

AzPHA Special Report: Restrictions on Women’s Reproductive Freedom in Arizona: 1884-2022

Regardless of whether Judge Johnson rules for Planned Parenthood or Brnovich – the loser will appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court – which is now packed full of Ducey appointees.

An Evidence Review: Does Withholding Abortion Services Harm Public Health?
Arizona Abortion Statistics & Clinic Regulations
Here’s a good 7-minute interview with AzPHA member Jen Piatt, JD by Ted Simons painting a clear picture of the legal lay of the land

Several Measures Directly & Indirectly Impacting Public Health Will Be on the Ballot: It’s Time to Get Up to Speed

There are several high profile and very important election races that’ll be on the ballot this fall, none more important than the race for governor. With the state legislature sure to be even further to the right that the last one (with the loss of people like Speaker Bowers and Senators Boyer and Pace), and the state supreme court now packed with Ducey appointees, the only check and balance in the system we’ll have will be the governor.

The Secretary of State race is of course important because it goes to the core of our democracy (the SoS oversees elections). The Attorney General is also a very important position – although it has been badly politicized over the last 7.6 years. And then there’s the all-important US Senate race and all of the races for county attorneys, state legislators, school boards and many other positions.

It can be overwhelming for voters. On top of all of that, there will be at least 8 and maybe as many as 11 propositions on your ballot.

There will be 5 constitutional amendments including changes to how elections are handled, how voter initiatives need to be crafted and the threshold needed to pass them, property tax exemptions, and one that creates the office of Lieutenant Governor. These are all 100 Series measures because they change the constitution.

There will be 3 legislative referrals on your ballot. These will be 300 Series propositions because they were referred to the ballot by the legislature and then modify earlier voter initiatives. Those are about allowing Dreamers graduating from AZ schools to get in-state tuition at public AZ colleges & universities, changing what’s required in order to vote, and modifying how rural fire districts are funded.

On top of that, there may be 3 voter initiatives on the ballot (if they survive legal challenges by deep-pocketed special interests). Those cover transparency regarding campaign contributions, election laws, and guardrails for debt collection.

Over the last several years, AzPHA has become an increasingly credible source of information for Arizona residents… as such, we can play an important role in informing the electorate about the potential public health impacts of the various voter initiatives and referenda (good and bad).

[Because of our 501 c3 nonprofit status we’re not supposed to weigh in on candidates- but we can weigh in on ballot measures]

So far, AZPHA has only taken a position on the Predatory Debt Collection Act (Yes)… but our Board of Directors is open to taking a position on other measures. The first step in the process is to have our public health policy committee make recommendations to the board. The board then decides whether to ask AzPHA members whether we should accept the Board’s recommendation to support or oppose a measure.

AzPHA Public Health Policy Committee Meets Friday to Discuss Support/Opposition to Several Voter Initiatives & Referenda

We’ll be having a special AZPHA Policy Committee meeting next Friday (August 26) at 2pm to discuss several voter initiatives and referenda that may impact public health. By the end of the meeting, we hope to be able to make a recommendation to the AZPHA Board whether to support/oppose/or be neutral on 5 different initiatives or referenda.

Note: If you’re not a member of the Public Health Policy Committee, send me an email at willhumble@azpha.org and I’ll add you to our policy committee basecamp.

If you plan on attending, please do some homework first. You can start by reviewing the following blog posts. There are links to the actual initiative or referenda language inside each post:

Initiatives
Legislative Referendum

You should also review the Publicity Pamphlet Summaries below. On Friday we’ll be focusing on the Initiatives and Referenda in bold. We may go further later and review other ballot measures, but we’re starting with the ones in bold below.

Voter Initiatives

Prop I-4-2022 – Voters’ Right to Know Act

Prop I-5-2022 – Predatory Debt Collection Protection Act

Prop I-16-2022 – Arizona Fair Elections Act

Legislatively Referred Initiatives

Constitutional Amendments

  • Proposition 128 – Voter Protection Act Fiscal Note
  • Proposition 129 – Initiatives; Single Subject; Title Fiscal Note
  • Proposition 130 – Constitutional Property Tax Exemptions Fiscal Note
  • Proposition 131 – Lieutenant Governor; Joint Ticket Fiscal Note
  • Proposition 132 – Initiatives; Supermajority Vote; Fiscal Note

Legislative Referrals (things that would change a previous voter initiative)

  • Proposition 308 – Tuition; Postsecondary Education Fiscal Note
  • Proposition 309 – Voter Identification; Affidavit; Fiscal Note
  • Proposition 310 – Fire Districts; Funding; Fiscal Note

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