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Viewpoints: ‘Precision health’ rather than ‘precision medicine’; The curious idea of guns in hospitals

A collection of public health opinions from around the country.

Fortune: Why ‘Precision Medicine’ Isn’t Precise Enough
Every time I talk with Lloyd Minor, the Dean of Stanford University School of Medicine, I come away with a sharper, fresher, more illuminated perspective on one topic or another. And such was the effect of our conversation on Thursday. This time, Dean Minor made a good case that the goal of “precision medicine” — the meme célèbre in healthcare circles today — is the wrong one. The right goal is “precision health.” (Clifton Leaf, 4/10)

The Kansas City Star: Why Do Kansas Lawmakers Think Guns In Hospitals Are A Good Idea?
Nearly 20 years ago, the Kansas Legislature had the foresight to take steps that would save what was then known as the University of Kansas Hospital from impending ruin. By allowing it to split from state control, they gave the now sprawling health care system a competitive edge. It has flourished ever since. … Today, the same political body’s lack of vision is threatening to undermine the massive institutional improvements that lawmakers’ predecessors made possible. Talk about coming full circle. The state’s senators and representatives have failed to exempt the University of Kansas Health System from a law that will allow concealed weapons to be carried in the state’s public buildings starting in July. (4/10)

The New York Times: How Many Pills Are Too Many?
The point of prescription drugs is to help us get or feel well. Yet so many Americans take multiple medications that doctors are being encouraged to pause before prescribing and think about “deprescribing” as well. The idea of dropping unnecessary medications started cropping up in the medical literature a decade ago. In recent years, evidence has mounted about the dangers of taking multiple, perhaps unnecessary, medications. (Austin Frakt, 4/10)

Cincinnati Enquirer: Drug Addiction Is A Disease, Not A Personal Failing
Cincinnati needs a stronger and more comprehensive response if we are ever going to get our arms around our decades-long struggle with drug abuse and the toll it takes on social services, health care, law enforcement, and criminal justice systems. The opiate epidemic dominates our headlines and is now recognized as the public health crisis that it is. (Tamie Sullivan, 4/10)

The Baltimore Sun: Is Md. Ready For ‘Heroin Assisted Therapy’?
The idea of giving heroin addicts heroin to keep them from crime and other dangers has never been popular with American politicians. Yet several Western European countries routinely provide pharmaceutical-grade heroin to high-risk users in medically-supervised facilities with minimal problems; the patients in these programs are much less likely to use street heroin when compared with patients in methadone programs. Given the tripling in heroin-related deaths in the last five years, it is time to give this innovation prompt consideration. (Bryce Pardo and Peter Reuter, 4/10)

San Jose Mercury News: How California Should Spend Tobacco Tax Revenues
While Californians wait for President Trump and Republicans in Congress to decide what, if anything, to do about the future of health care in the United States, a battle is brewing in California: How the money generated by the state’s $2-a-pack increase in the tobacco tax will be spent. (4/10)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. 

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