Health Secretary Levine: The 3 questions COVID-19 patients need to ask their doctors | Friday Morning Coffee

October 23, 2020 7:10 am

Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

There’s no doubt that a COVID-19 diagnosis can be unnerving. To help with that, state health officials shared the three questions that you should be asking your healthcare provider to help you navigate your illness and make appropriate decisions about your care.

They are:

  • What is my main problem;
  • what do I need to do;
  • and why is it important for me to do this?

“Many patients feel embarrassed about their health literacy level, causing them to not speak up to their provider when they don’t understand something,” state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said Thursday. ” … These three questions can help you better understand your health and what you need to do to stay healthy.”

Through midday Thursday, the state Health Department had confirmed 180,483 cases in all 67 counties, with 8,592 confirmed fatalities. Health officials said Thursday that it’s critical for Pennsylvanians to get educated about their healthcare, noting that many “are at greater risk for poor health outcomes because they don’t know what questions to ask or understand the answer.”

A statewide body, the Pennsylvania Health Literacy Coalition, is charged with connecting patients with the information they need, officials said.

“Low health literacy leads to increased use of health care services, greater risk for hospitalization, and higher utilization of expensive services, such as emergency care and inpatient admissions,” the Health Department said in a statement. “Vulnerable populations have a lower likelihood of getting their flu shots, are less likely to use preventative care, and are less likely to take and understand how to use their medicine correctly. Low health literacy bears significant economic consequences, upwards of $238 billion annually.”

Pennsylvania State Capitol Building. (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller.)

Our Stuff.
The Legislature left major pieces of work — including voting reforms and fixes to the state’s rental assistance program — undone when it skedaddled out of town for an election season break on Wednesday. Elizabeth Hardison and Stephen Caruso have the details on what did — and did not — get done.

Hardison and Caruso also have what you need to know about a newly-filed federal lawsuit that’s once again challenging the extended deadline for mail-in ballots. Added bonus: The suit could eventually be heard by a conservative U.S. Supreme Court that will likely include newly minted Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

The Wolf administration says it’s working with the Pa. Liquor Control Board to waive license fees and deliver financial relief to bars and restaurants. The announcement comes a day after the Legislature failed to muster the votes to override Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto of a bill lifting restaurant occupancy limits — which are driving much of the hardship in the first place. Your humble newsletter author has the details

One more from your correspondent: A Michigan-based extremist group that’s calling for the arrest of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over her management of the COVID-19 pandemic, has put Gov. Tom Wolf on a ‘criminal watch list,’ for the same reason.

En la Estrella-Capital: ‘Ya no somos una minoría’: Cómo las mujeres latinas de Pa. están demostrando su poder políticoPerry y DePasquale se enfrentan por Obamacare y QAnon en el segundo debate.

On our Commentary Page this morning, with the nation about to elect its oldest president, Americans deserve to have the full picture on the chief executive’s health, opinion regular Ray E. Landis argues. And while the Census fails to capture the full diversity of Black and Brown Americans, it’s still critical for them to participate, opinion regular Ana White says.

Gov. Tom Wolf speaks at a Middletown child care center Tuesday, August 25 to roll out his fall agenda, including legal weed. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

With cases on the rise, Gov. Tom Wolf is considering targeted coronavirus restrictions, the Inquirer reports.
Vice President Mike Pence returns to Pennsylvania today with a rally at Allegheny County Airport, the Tribune-Review reports.
Former Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden will visit Luzerne County on SaturdayPennLive reports (paywall).
Unemployment claims are on the wane in Lancaster CountyLancasterOnline reports.
The Allentown School District will remain virtual through January with COVID-19 cases on the rise, the Morning Call reports.
Wilkes-Barre City Council have approved the purchase of 70 body cameras for city police, the Citizens-Voice reports.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

A former SEPTA police officer has been charged with assault for allegedly beating a protester with a baton, WHYY-FM reports.
Pennsylvanians who owe court fees could have their records automatically sealed under a bill now before the General Assembly, WITF-FM reports.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Susan Wild leads Republican challenger Lisa Scheller 43-36 percent in the Lehigh Valley’s 7th Congressional District, a new LehighValleyLive/F&M poll, PoliticsPA reports.
Joe Biden’s proposed court packing commission has drawn the ire of supporters and critics alike, Roll Call reports.
NYMag’s Intelligencer 
gives three reasons that Donald Trump lost an otherwise conventional debate on Thursday night. 

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
Helping you plan your weekend, Rep. Meghan Schroeder, R-Bucks, holds a 5 p.m. ‘Bonfire Bash‘ at a farm in lovely Furlong, Pa., on Saturday. If you have money to burn, this is your joint: Admission runs $200 to $5,000.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to Mike Connolly, in the office of state Treasurer Joe Torsella, who celebrates today. Hopefully, he’ll tear himself away from running the most snarkily amusing feed on Twitter that isn’t ours to see this. Congrats, and enjoy the day, sir.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s a mellow way to ease into your Friday. From singer/songrwriter, Hozier, it’s ‘Would That I.’

Friday’s Gratuitous Soccer Link.
Aston Villa have a chance to take the top spot in the Premier League this weekend. That’s right, our Aston Villa, as the Guardian runs down the 10 things to look for during Premier League play over the next 48 hours.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.