Army veteran seeks House seat

An Army veteran has announced she is seeking the appointment to House District 28. Michelle Peacock, who served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army Nurse Corps Officer, has joined the list of two other women who are seeking to replace U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury for her former seat. Peacock is now a nurse practitioner supervisor for ambulatory care in the state of New Mexico. She said that health care will be a priority for her if the Bernalillo County Commissioners choose her to replace Stansbury. The Bernalillo County Commission meets at 4 p.m. next Tuesday in a special meeting to decide who will replace Stansbury in the state Legislature.

VA hospitals are rationing protective gear, emails show. Congress wants to know why.

A group of eight House lawmakers fired off a letter to Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday accusing the White House of withholding vital information from Congress related to conditions inside the Department of Veterans Affairs’ sprawling health care system.

The lawmakers said they decided to write to Pence, along with Russell Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, because it was clear that the White House was “holding up” the release of documents detailing protocols covering the VA’s use of masks, gloves and other protective gear during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This VA hospital cited “misleading” data to restrict mask use for healthcare workers

Hospital employees across the country have been blocked from wearing surgical masks in certain situations to protect against infection by the new coronavirus — including those they bring to work themselves. Workers at the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have been told not to wear face masks unless they have lingering respiratory symptoms after an illness, are under surveillance following COVID-19 exposure or are treating patients showing signs of COVID-19. 

The restriction on wearing masks comes amid widespread shortages of personal protective equipment for health workers and confusion over shifting guidelines from federal officials. Such restrictions are in place at other hospitals, but there’s no indication yet that the practice is widespread. “There is little data that wearing surgical masks in general protect[s] the wearer from becoming infected with COVID-19, while giving the wearer a false sense of protection,” Andrew M. Welch, medical center director for the New Mexico VA Health Care System, noted in a Wednesday email obtained by New Mexico In Depth and ProPublica. On Friday morning, Welch sent staff another email responding to workers’ concerns about the mask ban.