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Tips for achieving good emotional and mental health

As uncertainty seems to be the “norm” in this ever-increasing fast paced society, wouldn’t it be great to have some strategies and tips for achieving good mental health, and improving our emotional well-being?  

Emotionally healthy individuals have better outcomes when they are in control of their emotions and their behavior. Such people are able to build strong relationships, recover from setbacks and handle life’s challenges. However, you may be asking yourself, “How can I improve my own emotional health?”

What is emotional or mental health?

Emotional or mental health refers to your overall psychological well-being. Having good mental health is not just the absence of mental health problems. It refers to the presence of positive characteristics.  

Not feeling bad is not the same as feeling good. Although you may not necessarily have negative feelings, you still need to do things that make you feel positive in order to achieve mental and emotional health.

 Individuals who are mentally and emotionally healthy possess:
• A sense of contentment
• The ability to confront stress and bounce back from adversity
• The flexibility to learn new things and adapt to change
• The ability to build and maintain relationships that are fulfilling
• A sense of meaning and purpose, in both their activities and their relationships
• The ability to find a balance between work and play, rest and activity, etc.
• A passion for life and the ability to laugh and have fun
• Self-confidence and high esteem

Now that we’ve defined what emotional health is and looked as some of the characteristics of individuals who have good mental health we can summarize some major components that can assist us in achieving this state. To summarize, some important components follow with a reference for more in-depth content:

Role of physical health

Improving your physical health leads to experiencing greater mental and emotional well-being. Exercise (physical activity) for example, does not only have the potential to strengthen your heart and lungs but also releases endorphins, chemical substances that can energize us and improve our mood and outlook. 

Consider the following recommendations:

• Get enough rest
• Learn about good nutrition (and practice it)
• Exercise to relieve stress and improve your mood
• Get a dose of sunlight every day (10 to 15 minutes per day)
• Limit alcohol and avoid cigarettes and other drugs


Take care of yourself

Pay attention to your own needs and feelings to maintain and strengthen your mental and emotional health. Try to maintain a balance between undertaking daily responsibilities and doing things you enjoy so that it is less likely that stress and negative emotions will build up.

Taking care of yourself will give you the preparation to deal with challenges if and when they arise.  Consider the following:

• Do things that have a positive impact on others.
• Practice self-discipline.
• Learn or discover new things.
• Focus on enjoying the beauty of art or nature.
• Manage your stress levels (stress management strategies can help bring things back into balance such as meditation or yoga).
• Limit unhealthy habits like worrying.

Supportive relationships as foundation

As humans, we are social creatures and have an emotional need for relationships and positive connections with others.

Finding social interaction with someone who is a good listener will foster a supportive relationship as they can “hear” the feelings behind your words and not interrupt or judge or criticize you.

Develop a relationship with someone who you can talk to regularly which can lead to a supportive relationship of listening to each other. Some possible ways to connect to others:

• Get away from your computer/TV screen.
• Take daily time to spend with people you like, face-to-face (make it a priority).
• Volunteer (doing something that helps others).
• Be a joiner (join networking, social action, conservation, special interest groups).

Mark Mahoney, Ph.D., has been a registered dietitian nutritionist for over 32 years and completed graduate studies in Public Health at Columbia University.  He can be reached at

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Summer Health Tips

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The Very Best Health and Wellness Deals in Today’s Amazon Prime Day Sale

Prime Day 2018 is here! Tons of items are on sale today, from Instant Pots and NutriBullets to retinol cream and toothbrushes. So many items are discounted, though, that identifying the truly great deals can be confusing. We’re here to help: Below, some of the best deals in the health and wellness category we’ve spotted in today’s annual big Amazon sale. (For more Prime Day shopping guides from Health, check out our roundups of the best beauty deals and best home deals.)

Best Prime Day activewear deals

Up to 50% off athleisure shoes and apparel on brands like adidas, Champion, PUMA, New Balance, and more

• Save up to 40% on Under Armour apparel, shoes and accessories

• Up to 50% off summer essentials from brands like Chicos, Reebock, Herschel, Joe Fresh, and adidas

• Reebok Women’s Legging Performance Compression Pants for $14

Best Prime Day fitness tracker deals

• Up to 30% Off Garmin Wearable GPS Devices 

• 40% off Fitbit Alta HR

Best Prime Day headphones deals

• Sony Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones in black and blue: $98 (marked down from $198)

• Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones: $125 (marked down from $279)

Best Prime Day sneaker deals

adidas Cloudfoam Advantage Sneakers: $35

• Cole Haan Women’s Grandpro Tennis Stitchlite Sneaker in Chalk Vapor Grey: $76

• Franco Sarto Women’s Kaine Sneaker in Black and Magenta: $31-$36

• New Balance Women’s Version v1 Cushioning Running Shoe in Grey: $36

• Reebok Classic Harman Run Sneaker in Black/Gum: $24

• Superga 2750 Cotu Classic in White: $45

• Under Armour Women’s Micro G Assert 7 in White/Steel: $42

Best Prime Day grocery deals

• 30% off coffee, household essentials, snacks, vitamins, baby essentials 

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With grant, Oasis expands health reach

ALLY MESSIER is the new nutritionist at Oasis Free Clinics. She meets with patients one-on-one to give advice, help them set goals and make plans. “My whole goal was to work with diabetic patients,” said Messier, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 4. EMILY COHEN / THE TIMES RECORD

ALLY MESSIER is the new nutritionist at Oasis Free Clinics. She meets with patients one-on-one to give advice, help them set goals and make plans. “My whole goal was to work with diabetic patients,” said Messier, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 4. EMILY COHEN / THE TIMES RECORD


Ally Messier was just four years old when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Now, 21 years later, she is the new nutritionist at Oasis Free Clinics, focused on counseling patients with diabetes, one part of the clinic’s ongoing efforts to fight the disease among its patients.

In January, Oasis was awarded a $20,000 grant from the CVS Health Foundation to bolster the clinic’s existing resources to treat diabetics or pre-diabetics, or people whose blood sugar levels are not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetics but are at risk for developing the disease.

Nationally and locally, diabetes is one of the most pressing public health issues.

This year in Maine, 11.5 percent of the adult population had diabetes, and 37.2 percent had pre-diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. The most recent figures for diabetes diagnoses in Cumberland and Sagadahoc counties, which are mostly served by Oasis, were 7.9 percent and 9.4 percent, respectively, according to a 2015 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The most common form of diabetes among adults is type 2, which is associated with excess weight and obesity. Only 5 percent of diabetics have type 1 diabetes. Both types, however, require that patients monitor blood sugar and insulin levels.

Among Oasis patients — who do not have health insurance and tend to be lower-income — the rates are even higher. Oasis’s Clinical Director Rebecca Brown estimates that more than 15 percent of Oasis patients have been diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes, and the figure is always increasing.

“It’s one of the top diagnoses that we have at the clinic,” said Brown.

But it’s not a disease that can be easily cured with medication alone.

“It’s a lifestyle and med management program that we try to get involved with,” Brown said. “But it’s harder sometimes to squeeze that in to your 20-minute office visit.”

Oasis doctors and nurses do screen all incoming patients for diabetes and pre-diabetes, but it’s difficult to provide the comprehensive care that diabetes demands in their primary care practice. The disease, if left unchecked, could lead to serious complications, such as heart disease, nerve damage, kidney failure or blindness.

“The last thing we would want is someone to lose a limb or go blind or have kidney issues because they had unchecked diabetes,” said Executive Director of Oasis Anita Ruff, “when we know that there are things that we could have done earlier to help them … from getting to that place.”

That’s where Messier comes in: The grant allowed Oasis to hire a specialist to meet one-on-one with diabetic and pre-diabetic patients, to address specific concerns related to diabetes and to give nutrition and general health advice.

The goal is to educate patients and encourage them to make lifestyle changes so that, even if they move away or stop coming to the clinic, they have the proper knowledge to make good decisions for their health.

“It seems to be working,” Messier said. “They take pictures of the foods that they’ve made and they’re so proud that they made a meal at home rather than going to McDonald’s or whatever.

“It just seems to be — little changes make a big deal, make a big difference,” she continued.

Having met with a dietician practically her whole life, Messier knew that she wanted to become a nutritionist when she was a junior in high school. She studied nutrition at the University of Maine at Orono, then went on to receive her master’s degree in public health at Southern New Hampshire University.

Her work at Oasis is only part-time because as she also works as a nutrition educator at Access Health, a community health coalition that partners with local nonprofits and organizations, including Oasis, to tackle public health challenges. She also teaches free nutrition classes in low-income communities through Maine SNAP-Ed.

“My whole goal was to work with diabetic patients, kind of like myself,” she said.

Though many of the patients she meets at Oasis have been diagnosed with or are at risk for type 2 diabetes, Messier believes that she can relate to them, and they to her, because she, too, has to keep an eye her insulin levels and maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle.

“She’s able to really help them focus in on a couple things that could make a huge impact on their life,” said Brown.

Also integral to Oasis’s diabetes program is supplies. Resources from the grant allow Oasis to build take-home kits for patients, complete with glucometers and test strips that allow them to monitor their blood sugar levels at home.

Usually, having these materials at home is cost-prohibitive, explained Brown. Test strips can cost up to $1 per strip, and diabetics are supposed to check their blood sugar three times a day.

“You’re looking at 90 bucks a month,” said Brown. “It’s completely impossible for most people, let along folks with no insurance.

“So the fact that we’re able to give somebody a box of 100 test strips, a glucometer,” she added, “everything they need to do this so there’s no more excuses, is incredible.”

Ruff said the organization was appreciative of the support it gets from organizations and businesses like CVS that set aside money specifically to help free clinics.

“We wouldn’t be doing this project without that support,” she said. “It’s one of those things we’ve wanted to do for a long time, but without the specific resources to do it, it just wouldn’t have happened.”

THIS YEAR in Maine, 11.5 percent of the adult population had diabetes, and 37.2 percent had pre-diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. The most recent figures for diabetes diagnoses in Cumberland and Sagadahoc counties, which are mostly served by Oasis, were 7.9 percent and 9.4 percent, respectively.

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There is good health and fitness advice on the web—here’s how to find it


What you get: After a diagnosis, it’s time to treat your problem. If you need more information on a medication, head to The site and its associated apps describe more than 24,000 prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, and natural remedies, explaining how these substances work, how much to take, and known side effects. That said, is not an online pharmacy, and it can’t tell you what to take or provide prescriptions.

On top of general information, offers a few handy tools. A pill identifier lets you work out what that random medication might be based on its imprint, shape, or color. In addition, the Interactions Checker helps you spot the medications and food that might not play well together.

Why we trust it: Despite its name, is not funded by pharmaceutical companies, just by clearly-marked advertising. This long-running and independent resource pulls its information from experts like the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, the Mayo Clinic, and Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. website (free), Android app (free), iOS app (free)

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My Health Record systems collapse under more opt-outs than expected

Australians attempting to opt out of the government’s new centralised health records system online have been met with an unreliable website. Those phoning in have faced horrendous wait times, sometimes more than two hours, often to find that call centre systems were down as well, and staff unable to help.

The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA), which runs the My Health Record system, is reportedly telling callers that they weren’t expecting the volume of opt-outs.

“On hold with @MyHealthRec for over 1.5 HOURS to opt out without providing my drivers license/passport number. Turns out their entire backed system has crashed and they are telling support staff to just punch peoples details into the website. Confidence inspiring!” tweeted one caller.

“The person i’m speaking to is stressed as f***. Its their first day. I feel bad for her but she also has no idea what’s going on and puts me on hold every time I ask something that’s not on the script.”

The problems started early on Monday, the first day of the three-month opt-out period before digital health records are created automatically.

“Call operator Laura answers. Pleasantly politely tells me she can help. Uses my Medicare number to locate my record. But can’t change alter my record as system down. She apologizes, guesses this is why I’m having trouble online and suggests I try again later,” tweeted Dr Leslie Cannold at 7.29am.

Cannold, a research ethicist and health regulator, said she’d like to see government prove the value of My Health Record, as well as their capacity to keep it secure, before she opts in to have one. The system should also be designed to allow users to withdraw their record at any time. Currently, opting out merely marks your data as “unavailable”, while actually keeping it on the system until 30 years after your death.

Must read: The Australian government and the loose definition of IT projects ‘working well’

Those opting out have cited a wide range of privacy and security concerns — something this writer thinks is completely understandable. The ADHA’s Dr Steve Hambleton has downplayed the risks.

“I can absolutely categorically state that none of the apps and none of the use of the My Health Record data will be able to be sold to third parties — that’s absolutely prohibited,” he said.

And yet earlier this month, the My Health Record partner app HealthEngine was caught doing exactly that.

We know full well that prohibiting something doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Some of those opting out were concerned that the ADHA website used Google’s reCAPTCHA, which works by sending data offshore for analysis, potentially including personal data.

“The Privacy Policy linked from the opt-out page says ‘We will not disclose or store overseas any personal information you give us, but that’s not how reCAPTCHA works,” wrote consultant Justin Warren.

“reCAPTCHA watches what you do on the page via injected JavaScript controlled by Google, which sends info to ‘an Advanced Risk Analysis backend for reCAPTCHA that actively considers a user’s entire engagement with the CAPTCHA — before, during, and after’ …

“Personally I think the devs just wanted to use modern web tools to prevent bots from spamming the page, and it didn’t occur to them to think about the privacy concerns because they never do on other, less sensitive, websites. Which is just the kind of careful handling of sensitive data you want from a centralised national database of the entire population’s health information.”

Others were concerned that their health records could be disclosed in court under section 69 of the My Health Records Act 2012, or to law enforcement agencies without a warrant under section 70.

Law enforcement access can be provided if the ADHA “reasonably believes that the use or disclosure is reasonably necessary” for “the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution, or punishment of criminal offences” or “the protection of the public revenue”, among other reasons. The “enforcement bodies” with access are defined in the Privacy Act 1988, and are much broader than those authorised under the telecommunications data retention legislation.

“[The Australian public service] needs to understand that statutory interpretations aren’t just for days in court, proper governance of your interpretation means stating it openly and legitimating it,” tweeted Darren O’Donovan, senior lecturer in administrative law at La Trobe University.

“The objective criteria are key because ‘reasonable belief’ of ‘reasonable necessity’ is [a] pretty forgiving standard.”

So far, the government has spent more than AU$4 billion on the digital health records system, which started life as the “personally controlled e-health records” (PCEHR) project in the 2010-2011 federal Budget.

Only 1.9 percent opted out of the initial trial involving 1 million people. The ADHA therefore projected that around 500,000 Australians would opt out during the three-month window.

The system was originally planned to be opt-in, but poor adoption rates led to the government flipping it to an opt-out system. Victoria’s then privacy commissioner David Watts called that a fundamental breach of trust.

“I actually designed the regulatory system for e-health in Australia, and I swore black and blue … that we would never be an opt-out system, and always be an opt-in. And of course it’s now an opt-out system in order to drive take-up of e-health, because AU$4 billion had been spent on it and very few people had registered,” Watts told a privacy conference in 2016.

One might think that after a series of Australian government IT disasters, they’d have planned more carefully for an unexpected overload and have a strategy in place for crisis communications.

But as of 16:00 AEST on Monday, the ADHA’s social media accounts were showing nothing but a generic promo, and even that wasn’t posted until lunchtime.

The Australian government still seems to have a real problem with computers. Those opting out of My Health Record would seem wise to be doing so.

Previous Coverage

Cancelled My Health Record data to be kept in limbo

Those choosing to opt-out of the My Health Record service will still have their data visible if they reactivate their account.

Less than 2 percent of My Health Record trial users opted out

Perhaps more worryingly, the use of privacy controls is sitting under the 0.1 percent mark.

My Health Record stands up cybersecurity centre to monitor access

Those who choose to keep their My Health Record will also have a real-time log of who has accessed their information.

My Health Record opt-out period from July 16 to October 15, 2018

The window for Australians to opt out of an electronic health record has been announced by the government.

My Health Record secondary data must stay in Australia and not be used for ‘solely commercial’ reasons

The Australian government’s My Health Record data use guidelines require the data governance board to make case-by-case decisions on how the data can be used.

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Gubernatorial candidates criticize health board’s medical marijuana rules

Gubernatorial candidates from the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties say the Oklahoma Board of Health thwarted the will of voters last week by approving rules for medical marijuana that bar smoking pot and require pharmacists to staff dispensaries.

Drew Edmondson, the Democratic nominee for governor, said the rules represent “yet another failure of government” and blamed Gov. Mary Fallin for the chaos surrounding the rules.

He said, “State Question 788 passed by an overwhelming majority of Oklahoma voters, who recognize the benefits medical marijuana could provide for veterans, cancer patients and others suffering from a host of treatable ailments … Our best hope is that the tide in Oklahoma turns in November, and that when it does, the people’s voice will finally be heard and respected.”

Edmondson, who served as Oklahoma attorney general for 16 years, said a ban on smokable marijuana has been ruled unconstitutional in one state.

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The Health 202: Trump White House finds new reason to target Medicaid


The Trump administration is trying out a new argument to defend its support of work requirements for social safety net programs like Medicaid: The Johnson-era “War on Poverty” was victorious and now most Americans don’t need the aid. 

The White House, in a lengthy report released at the end of last week, focuses on Medicaid, food stamps and housing assistance data to make its case for why non-disabled, working-age, low-income Americans should meet some employment eligibility thresholds to qualify for the government assistance. 

As our colleagues Jeff Stein and Tracy Jan wrote over the weekend, it’s the same old Republican position with a new twist. Whereas for years the GOP’s reason for overhauling the safety net programs was because they didn’t work to bring people out of poverty, the Trump White House is now essentially saying the decades-old efforts were a success, so are no longer needed. 

The White House Council of Economic Advisers argues that “a dramatic reduction in material poverty” has “coincided with a substantial reduction in self-sufficiency of the non-disabled working-age population.” 

“Non-disabled working-age adults have become increasingly reliant on welfare and experienced stalled employment growth, in part because of the disincentives welfare programs impose on increasing one’s own income,” they write. ”Program work requirements, which require recipients to work or engage in work-related activities in order to maintain benefits, can help overcome this problem.”

But critics have long countered that “work requirements impose additional barriers to receiving health care and food for those who need such assistance,” our colleagues write. “And [critics] accuse the administration of underestimating the difficulty of climbing out of poverty, even in a robust economy.”

Let’s focus here on what this debate means for Medicaid. 

Earlier this year, President Trump signed an executive order giving states more autonomy over their Medicaid programs by allowing them to request waivers from the federal government to add parameters like work requirements. So far, four states’ applications have been approved by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services: Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky and New Hampshire, while seven other states have applications pending: Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Utah, Ohio and Wisconsin. 

Kentucky was primed to be the first to implement the requirements before a federal judge ruled just a few weeks ago that the government hadn’t fully considered the implications and sent the plan back for further consideration. CMS Administrator Seema Verma, in a meeting with reporters last week, said she couldn’t talk about the specific case, but that the administration was committed to lifting people on Medicaid out of poverty. 

“This administration is committed to giving states flexibility . . . states are trying to do inventive things and we’re trying to be supportive of that,” she said. “[Medicaid] has evolved and changed. It was intended to be for a very vulnerable population and with the ACA it’s serving able-bodied individuals. We should give them a pathway out of poverty.”

Groups that advocate for the poor that brought the suit against Kentucky contend, among other reasons, that such substantial changes to Medicaid should go through Congress. 

If it were up to the House GOP, that wouldn’t be a problem. Adding work requirements to safety-net programs has been a long-time goal. In fact, the majority party recently released a proposal it says will balance the budget in nine years with large cuts to entitlement programs, including a work requirement for Medicaid. 

This new report from the White House doubles down on that effort by trying to paint a rosier picture of poverty in America. It points out that Medicaid, which costs $566 billion to cover 71 million people, grew from 6 percent in 1969 to 22 percent in 2017, but that poverty had fallen 90 percent since the program began. 

Suzanne Mettler, a political scientist at Cornell University, told our colleagues that the Trump officials’ take on the government’s anti-poverty efforts is “an opportunistic frame to try to advance the same end.”

“It is ironic,” she added. ”For ages [Republicans have] been saying it’s a failure, and suddenly they are trying to declare victory and call it all off.”

To underscore it’s position that Medicaid disincentivizes healthy, low-income Americans from working, the administration says that 61 percent of recipients on Medicaid are non-disabled, working-age adults, yet 60 percent of that group work less than 20 hours per week. 

But the Kaiser Family Foundation has a completely different set of statistics for the Medicaid population that shows 43 percent of recipients work full-time and 19 percent work part-time. And in the states that did expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, low-wage, part-time work would not be sufficient to even afford ACA marketplace health coverage, Kaiser researchers write.

In an article titled, “Implications of Medicaid Work Requirements, they wrap up what’s at stake this way:

These data points show that even among those working full-time, work can be fragile, unpredictable, and may not help people rise out of poverty. Even a temporary illness or emergency situation for those working in hourly jobs could result in failure to meet new hourly work requirements. The subsequent loss of health coverage could exacerbate financial insecurity. Finally, workers will need to verify work status regularly, and many Medicaid adults may face barriers in complying with reporting requirements due to limited experience with or access to computers. Three in ten Medicaid adults say they never use a computer, but Arkansas is requiring use of on-line accounts to verify work status, and other states may rely on online reporting.

And Eliot Fishman, senior director of Health Policy at FamiliesUSA and former head of the government’s work with states on Medicaid waivers at CMS, tweeted last night a thread about the White House’s new report, writing there’s no evidence from job numbers that Medicaid, or the expansion of it, led to less people entering the workforce. In fact, he counters, “you could make the case that extending health coverage to low income people helped them to re-enter the workforce, for example by accessing mental illness or substance use treatment.”

So, where does this all leave Medicaid? For now, exactly as its long been: A partisan football to be lobbed back and forth when politically expedient.

But President Trump’s Supreme Court nomination gives conservatives an advantage in its quest to make Medicaid access contingent on factors like employment. If a case questioning states’ right to make changes to its Medicaid program comes before the highest court, a rightward turn of the bench could result in a fragmented program wherein eligibility limits are based on where a person lives. 

This 1975 microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a cluster of smallpox viruses. (Fred Murphy/CDC via AP)

AHH: The Food and Drug Administration late last week approved the first drug to treat smallpox, an anti-viral pill that could potentially stop the spread of a deadly pandemic, the New York Times’s Donald G. McNeil Jr. reports.

Most people under the age of 40 have not been vaccinated for smallpox because routine administration of the vaccine stopped after it was eradicated in 1980. The approved pill, known as Tpoxx, has not yet been tested on humans with the eradicated disease. “But it was very effective at protecting animals deliberately infected with monkeypox and rabbitpox, two related diseases that can be lethal,” Donald writes. “It also caused no severe side effects when safety-tested in 359 healthy human volunteers, the F.D.A. said.”

FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the advancement “affords us an additional option should smallpox ever be used as a bioweapon.” Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told the TImes the FDA’s approval  of the drug is “definitely a good thing.”

“Research on tecovirimat — originally designated ST-246 — began at the institute after the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center,” Donald reports. “The research accompanied efforts to stretch the national stockpile of smallpox vaccine by safely diluting it.”

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. (Michael Reynolds/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

OOF: The Department of Health and Human Services’s internal iatchdog concluded in a 58-page report that former secretary Tom Price wasted at least $341,000 in government funds over the course of his tenure amid a failure to follow federal travel requirements, our Post colleagues Mark Berman and Amy Goldstein report.

Price resigned in September following criticism over his extensive use of charter flights.

“Our rigorous review of [Price]‘s use of chartered, military, and commercial aircraft found that 20 out of 21 trips did not comply with applicable federal regulations and HHS policies and procedures, resulting in waste of at least $341,000 in federal funds,” a spokesman from the inspector general’s office said in a statement. “We recommend the Office of the Secretary review the lack of compliance with federal requirements and determine appropriate actions to recoup the travel costs.”

The report found Price’s office did not compare charter flight costs with commercial travel costs, or for certain chartered flights, did not choose cheaper alternatives.

In a statement, a spokesman for Price criticized media coverage of the report, stating it “inaccurately states the report takes issue with Dr. Price’s actions… In fact, the report addresses overall functions of Department staff charged with administering travel.”

A McDonald’s in Brandon, Miss. (Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press)

OUCH: McDonald’s has stopped selling salads at 3,000 of its restaurants nationwide over a parasite outbreak that sickened dozens of customers in multiple states, mainly in the Midwest, according to The Post’s Lindsey BeverThe salads were removed from the restaurants until McDonald’s can get a new supplier, the chain said in a statement.

“The announcement comes after public health authorities in Illinois and Iowa warned that a number of recent cyclospora infections in those states appear to be linked to the salads,” Lindsey writes. She wrote the cyclospora cayetanensis parasite can contaminate food and water and can lead to a non-life-threatening intestinal illness called cyclosporiasis, per the CDC.

“McDonald’s is committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality control,” the company said in a statement, adding it was cooperating with the outbreak investigation.

Detainees are seen inside a facility where tent shelters are being used to house separated family members at the Port of Entry in Fabens, Tex., on June 21. (Matt York/AP)

— The federal judge involved in the ongoing reunification of migrant families called out the Trump administration late last week for suggesting that expediting the process would be risky for children.

“U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw in San Diego called an unscheduled, after-hours hearing via conference call Friday after a key federal official filed a sworn statement with the court saying that Sabraw’s deadlines for reuniting children were forcing the government to shorten the vetting process,” The Post’s Maria Sacchetti reports. “The statement implied that the deadlines could result in the government placing as many as 175 children with people who were not their biological parent, among other risks.”

During the call, Sabraw chided the administration for the “parade of horribles” it listed to portray the order as potentially hazardous. “That is on the government,” Sabraw said, per Sacchetti. “And that’s a failure of the process and it is inconsistent with the court’s order.”

Sabraw had also on Friday praised the administration for its “substantial” effort to reunite by last week’s deadline more than half of the 103 children in U.S. custody that had been separated.

Now, the government faces a July 26 deadline to reunify children between the ages of 5 and 17. HHS said it has identified 2,551 migrant children in that age group who are “potentially” eligible to be reunified with their parents, but officials will now have to determine whether the parents are able and fit to take the children.

Officials said they are set to return up to 200 kids a day to their parents, per our colleague. “Officials also signaled late Friday that not every family will be reunited; the same occurred with the smaller group of some 100 children age 5 or younger,” she added.

In a Friday night court filing, the Trump administration said it plans to expedite the reunification process for those 2,551 children, specifically noting it would adjust some of the methods used when reunifying children under age 5, including no longer using fingerprint and DNA testing to confirm parent identities, Politico’s Dan Diamond reports.

According to Politico’s Ian Kullgren, Sabraw also called for a 9:30 am status hearing today with attorneys for the federal government and the ACLU.

— Families who fled to the United States seeking asylum and were separated by U.S. officials may face another difficult choice once they are reunited. After migrant children are returned to their parents, parents will have to decide whether to work toward staying in the country legally, navigating a complex immigration system, or turn the children over to U.S. authorities so the kids will be allowed to stay even if parents are deported, Bloomberg’s ­­Kartikay Mehrotra explains.

“On Friday, the American Civil Liberties Union and U.S. government attorneys disclosed an agreement that leaves it up to immigrant parents to decide whether their children will stay with them in detention or be placed with social service workers,” Kartikay reports. “For the government, the agreement ensures its authority to detain adults in federal custody remains intact while families are reunified. The ACLU, meanwhile, got an assurance that if families consent to being held in custody, they aren’t waiving other legal rights going forward.”

Our Post colleague Michael Miller spoke with some of the migrant kids who have been kept in shelters after they were separated from their families.

“Experts warn that many of these children may be deeply traumatized by their experiences,” Michael writes. “Their voices have seldom been heard during the frenzied debate over family separation.”

“They always kept the boys and the girls separate,” said an 8-year-old girl from Guatemala. “And they punished us if we went near each other.”

One 11-year-old boy from Guatemala said he had to ask permission to hug his sister.

A 9-year-old boy from Brazil said: “I felt like a prisoner … I felt like a dog.”

President Trump speaks as Judge Brett Kavanaugh his Supreme Court nominee, listens in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 — In an interview with the Daily Mail’s Piers Morgan, Trump said he understood the concern that abortion-rights supporters have with his Supreme Court nominee. But he suggested it would be a “long time” before the Supreme Court may hear a case that could lead to a reversal of Roe v. Wade.

“I do understand, but I also understand that you know, that’s a 50/50 question in this country,” Trump said about the debate over Roe.

“I think he is going to be confirmed and someday in the distant future there could be a vote,” Trump added, referring to nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh. “There’s also a very good chance there won’t be a vote. We’ll have to see what happens. A case has to get up there. It could be a long time before a case ever gets up there.”

Meanwhile, our Post colleagues Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow detail Kavanaugh’s “first judicial hero” — the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who had a conservative record on issues including abortion.

Last year, Kavanaugh told the American Enterprise Institute in a Constitution Day speech that Rehnquist was his hero for his rejection of a “wall of separation between church and state” in his Roe v. Wade dissent. “Liberal groups, abortion rights activists and antiabortion organizations all have seized on the speech, as well as Kavanaugh’s rulings involving a undocumented teenage immigrant seeking an abortion while in federal custody,” our colleagues write.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks during a Senate Finance Committee hearing. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

— HHS is set to delete two decades of medical resources currently maintained by its Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, also known as the National Guideline Clearinghouse.

It’s a key collection of medical guidelines and evidence-based research used by doctors and researchers, according to the Daily Beast‘s Jon Campbell, and the “” site is set to go offline after today. 

“ was our go-to source, and there is nothing else like it in the world,” Oregon Health Science University professor Valerie King told Jon. “It is a singular resource.”

“When doctors want to know when they should start insulin treatments, or how best to manage an HIV patient in unstable housing — even something as mundane as when to start an older patient on a vitamin D supplement — they look for the relevant guidelines,” Jon writes. “The documents are published by a myriad of professional and other organizations, and NGC has long been considered among the most comprehensive and reliable repositories in the world.”

“AHRQ agrees that guidelines play an important role in clinical decision making, but hard decisions had to be made about how to use the resources at our disposal,” AHRQ spokesperson Alison Hunt told Jon in an email. “The operating budget for the NGC last year was $1.2 million, Hunt said, and reductions in funding forced the agency’s hand.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks about healthcare during a news conference. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

— The Obamacare tables have turned for Democrats who are centering their campaigns around defending the same health-care law once used to target and defeat them, our Post colleague Sean Sullivan reports.

Now, Democratic candidates are pointing their fingers at Republicans’ failure to rescind the health-care law last year, and looking to rally voters around the ACA and convince them supporting Trump’s Supreme Court nominee would increase the likelihood that the high court would dismantle Obamacare.

“The strategy marks a dramatic turnabout from the previous two midterms when many Democrats avoided defending Obamacare, and illustrates the extent to which the law has taken root as millions of Americans have come to depend on it,” Sean writes “Republicans, who relentlessly attacked Democrats for supporting the ACA in 2010 and 2014, are now largely steering their campaigns toward different topics.”

“We’ve learned a lesson,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), the second-ranking Democratic senator said. “The American people are tuned in to the failure of the Republicans to come up with an alternative to Obamacare.”

Chris Wilson, a Republican pollster, told Sean Obamacare was “something to fire up our base. Now ‘protect Obamacare’ is a rallying cry for Democratic enthusiasm.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez takes a moment between interviews in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are heading to Kansas on July 20 to rally for Democratic congressional candidates running in red states.

“I’ve believed for years that the Democratic Party has committed political malpractice by writing off half the states in this country,” Sanders told our Post colleague Dave Weigel. “They’ve got to fight for every state in this country.”

Sanders and New York City congressional nominee Ocasio-Cortez will rally for James Thompson in the state’s 4th Congressional District and for Brent Welder in the state’s 3rd Congressional District.

Our colleague previously reported that Kansas’s 3rd district is the only one in the Great Plains that voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Welder has been endorsed by Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez and is running on a platform that includes a $15 minimum wage and a push for “Medicare for all,” Dave wrote.

“All over this country, you have people who understand that we need to [change] the minimum wage to a living wage; that health care is a right; that we need to rebuild our infrastructure,” Sanders said. “Those are popular issues in the Bronx. These are popular issues in Vermont. In Kansas, they’ve gone through the [former governor Sam] Brownback agenda, and they do not believe you should give tax breaks to the rich and cut Social Security.”

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, walks along a sidewalk in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

— A new report from Senate Democrats reveals the link between Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis and Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen may have been broader than what the company disclosed in previous and perhaps misleading statements, Stat’s Ed Silverman and Ike Swetlitz report.

“Novartis explicitly sought to hire Cohen to gain access to ‘key policymakers’ and provided him with ideas for lowering drug costs, which later appeared in the Trump administration blueprint that was developed to address the issue,” they write. “With the findings, the report highlights a sensational series of events that have underscored concerns about the extent to which the pharmaceutical industry has attempted to influence the Trump administration. And the conclusions place Novartis in a very unflattering light, as the documents indicate the company saw the arrangement as a golden opportunity to buy access to the White House.”

Novartis said in a statement that it “disagree[s] with the report’s conclusion that we issued a misleading public statement regarding the extent of our engagement with Mr. Cohen,” according to Stat.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

— In a report requested by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the New York State Department of Health recommended legalizing marijuana, noting that “the positive effects of a regulated marijuana market in NYS outweigh the potential negative impacts.”

Cuomo had asked for a report assessing the health, criminal justice, public safety, economic and educational impacts of a marijuana program by the state, our Post colleague Christopher Ingraham reports.

“It found that the legal regime of marijuana prohibition has ‘not curbed marijuana use and has, in fact, led to unintended consequences,’ like the disproportionate criminalization and incarceration of minorities,” Christopher writes. He adds such a program could be worth between $1.7 billion and $3.5 billion and bring in from $248 million to $677 million in tax revenue a year for New York. The report also acknowledges that pot is not as harmful as alcohol and tobacco and that legalization would lessen any limited harm.

“The report is notable for its full-throated adoption of arguments that have been put forth by legalization supporters for years,” Christopher writes.

— And here are a few more good reads from The Post and beyond: 

Coming Up

  • The House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations holds a joint hearing with the House Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations on “Achieving Government-wide Verification of Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses” on Tuesday.
  • The House Veterans Affairs Committee holds a hearing on “The VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act: One Year Later” on Tuesday.  
  • The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee holds a hearing on health care costs on Tuesday.
  • The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight holds a hearing on combating Medicare fraud on Tuesday.
  • The House Ways and Means Subcomittee on Health holds a hearing on “Modernizing Stark Law to Ensure the Successful Transition from Volume to Value in the Medicare Program” on Tuesday.
  • PhRMA holds an event on “The State of Care: Innovation Access” on Tuesday.
  • Politico holds its second Pro Summit on Tuesday.
  • The Senate Special Committee on Aging holds a hearing on “Supporting Economic Stability and Self-Sufficiency as Americans with Disabilities and their Families Age” on Wednesday.
  • Brookings Institution holds a event with FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on Wednesday.
  • The FDA’s Blood Products Advisory Committee holds an open session on Wednesday.
  • The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine holds a workshop on the integration of health care and social services on Thursday.
  • The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health holds a hearing on “21st Century Cures Implementation: Examining Mental Health Initiatives” on Thursday.
  • The Alliance for Health Policy holds an event on “State Responses to the Evolving Individual Health Insurance Market” on Friday.

Protesters clash with officers outside an ICE facility in Portland: Trump blames Obama for Russia’s DNC hack

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Debenhams insists it’s in good health despite credit insurer worries

Debenhams has insisted it has a “healthy” cash position despite some credit insurers reducing their cover. The retailer, which has issued three profit warnings so far this year, is under further pressure after Euler Hermes, a leading insurer, scaled back the cover it offers to Debenhams’ suppliers.

Suppliers to retailers take out credit insurance to cover against the risk that the retailer goes out of business before it pays them for their goods. If credit insurance is not available, suppliers can demand payment up front, putting extra strain on the retailer’s cash position or ultimately jeopardising its ability to stock its stores.

Two other credit insurers, Atradius and Coface, have both refused to cover some new shipments, according to The Sunday Times, which first reported…

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Police: Missing 12-year-old girl recovered ‘in good health’

Police: Missing 12-year-old girl recovered 'in good health'Copyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Jayonna Briggs was last seen with an uknown man in an Instagram video recorded in a motel room (photo courtesy: Columbus Police)

Police: Missing 12-year-old girl recovered 'in good health'Copyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Jayonna Briggs was last seen with an uknown man in an Instagram video recorded in a motel room (photo courtesy: Columbus Police)

COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH) – Columbus Police say a 12-year-old girl who went missing Saturday has been found and is “in good health.”

According to Columbus Police, Jaynonna Briggs went missing from the area of East Maynard Avenue and Ontario Street on Saturday. Investigators say Briggs was in contact with an unknown male on social media and that she was seen with the male in an Instagram video recorded in a motel room.

A neighbor told investigators that Briggs was seen getting into a gray Chevrolet Camaro with two different colored headlights.   

Briggs was recovered just before 10am Sunday. Investigators say she was found to be in good health. 

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