August 4, 2017

Meet Jerome Adams, the new surgeon general

Daily Briefing

The Senate on Thursday voted to confirm four of President Trump's nominees for health care positions in his administration.

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The Senate confirmed Jerome Adams as the United States' new surgeon general, as well as:

  • Robert Kadlec as HHS' assistant secretary for preparedness and response;
  • Elinore McCance-Katz as HHS' assistant secretary for mental health and substance use; and
  • Lance Robertson as HHS' assistant secretary for aging.

The Senate did not vote on Brett Giroir's nomination for HHS assistant secretary for health, though the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee advanced his nomination earlier this week. According to CQ News, five Democrats have said they oppose his nomination. The Senate likely will hold a floor vote on Giroir's nomination once the chamber returns from recess in September, CQ News reports.

Adams' background

Adams, the newly confirmed U.S. surgeon general, graduated from the Indiana University School of Medicine and is a staff anesthesiologist at Eskenazi Health. He served as Indiana's health commissioner for about two and half years.

During his time as health commissioner, Adams oversaw the state's response to its ongoing opioid misuse epidemic. Adams supported the use of needle exchanges to stem the spread of disease among intravenous drug users and worked to expand the availability of the anti-overdose medication naloxone in the state.

Adams succeeds Vivek Murthy, who was nominated by former President Barack Obama and dismissed from his post in April after he refused to comply with a request from Trump to resign. Rear Adm. Sylvia Trent-Adams, who served as Murthy's deputy, has been serving as acting surgeon general (Firth, MedPage Today, 8/3; Lee, Modern Healthcare, 8/3; Nather/Baker, "Vitals," Axios, 8/4; Siddons, CQ News, 8/3 [subscription required]).

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Opioid misuse and abuse is one of the most pressing public health issues in the U.S., and hospitals and health systems are on the front lines. Currently, most health systems focus their opioid management efforts on select medical specialties.

This report outlines three imperatives to guide hospitals and health systems in their efforts to reduce the impact of inappropriate opioid prescribing and misuse.

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