Improving Overall Health & Mental Health Awareness in NJ
Steve Adubato speaks with Cathleen Bennett, President & CEO, New Jersey Hospital Association, about improving overall health in New Jersey, the vaping crisis, and raising mental health awareness.
"Welcome to State of Affairs. I'm Steve Adubato. We're coming to you from the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio in Newark. It is our honor to introduce Cathy Bennett, who is the President and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association. Formerly, in the state of New Jersey, held a significant role Which was? The Commissioner of Health. Oh yeah. That role? Yes. [laughter] How different is this role? This one's pretty different. In the role as Commissioner, you worry about regulating hospitals and other licensed health facilities, and you worry about public health. Those are the two really significant roles. And here at NJHA, you know, I'm now looking at not just what are the roles of licensed facilities? Because we have hospitals, we have... in the whole post-acute continuum, we have behavioral health providers... we're also thinking, you know, more broadly. What's our role in terms of promoting health overall? Improving the health of New Jerseyans? And let's get right into it. If you're listening on the audio side, Cathleen Bennett is the President and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association Vaping? You can't go anywhere without hearing it, seeing it, the media covering it, you and I were just talking, before we got on the air. First of all, how bad is the problem? Oh, it's pretty significant. I think it's our next, you know major public health crisis. Because? So if you take a look at vaping, you know, here in the country, we're seeing vaping related illnesses that are creating serious lung injury. You know. We're watching the CDC say that they have 40 people that died from vaping. They're investigating hundreds of cases. Here in New Jersey alone, we have one person that's died and we have 30-plus cases under investigation. This is a real, significant issue. Cathy, how young are kids? Because I just told you, our daughter is nine, and I can't even comprehend it. And you said? Gosh. You know, we... our Center for Health Analytics, Research and Transformation just finished doing a study, and we're on track this year to see 16,000 people present in the hospital. And having said that they actually vape as young as ten years old. Ten? Ten. How? How are they getting access to it? You know, I think that's a really good question. Because, you know, we have the New Jersey Smoking Act, which says that you have to be 21 to buy tobacco products, including vapes and e-cigarettes. So how are, you know, those as young as ten getting their hands on it? It's clearly, you know, coming through, you know, getting somebody else to acquire it for them. From your perspective, do you believe that... and there are efforts to do this. Do you believe vaping should be banned? So, you know, I think it's a little..."