NJ Health Commissioner Examines Crititcal Issues NJ
As part of our Future of Healthcare series, Steve Adubato and Dr. Shereef Elnahal, Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Health, discuss a variety of issues including: the impact of the adenovirus and the DOH’s ability to contain the virus; the prevalence of autism in NJ, the importance of pediatric care in the diagnosis of autism; and the use of medical marijuana to combat the opioid crisis in NJ.
"State of Affairs is pleased to welcome, once again, Doctor Shereef Elnahal, who is Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health. Dood to see you Commissioner. Thanks for having me Steve. We're taping on the 13th of November, things will evolve quickly. Our partners here at NJTV News will cover this story on a regular basis. It is the adenovirus outbreaks up at the Wanaque Center. Ten children, as we are speaking right now, have lost their lives. The role the Department of Health here is? Well, it's really a tragic situation Steve, and our role is to assist the facility as much as possible, in making sure that they contain the virus as much as they can. We don't have as many tools for adenovirus as we do for other types of outbreaks. There's no cure medicinally, there's no vaccine, it really depends on every staff member for every patient. Following all the protocols, having gowns, gloves, washing hands thoroughly for every patient. And that's what we're making sure they do, both in assistance, but also enforcing those standards through our mechanisms. One more follow-up question. Is there a reason why the rest of the state of New Jersey, particularly those of us with children, need to be worried? Not this, this is not a risk to the general public Steve. Thankfully this is not normally a virus that causes severe illness, and folks with normal immune systems. Unfortunately at this facility, you have a lot of medically fragile children. Their systems compromised? Their immune systems? Exactly. The immune system, the part of your body that fights infections, and these children, it's compromised relative to the general population. And so they're particularly at risk, which is why you're seeing a lot of the bad outcomes. If you're listening to us on the radio side, Steve Adubato here, this is State of Affairs with the Commissioner of Department of Health. Doctor Elnahal. Let me ask you this. Let's talk about the whole question of, and again, timing is interesting here as well. There are these open enrollment in periods. Periods as it relates to the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. There's an initiative we'll put up on the screen right now. It is called Get Covered NJ. What is it and what does it have to do with getting covered? I really appreciate you asking about that Steve. It's a really critical time for people to get coverage. Especially for those who are uninsured. We..."