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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 229)

As Rising Heat Bakes U.S. Cities, The Poor Often Feel It Most

Westlake Legal Group shakira_franklin-61_custom-42cd043b9a798f187cf0343579cf7457d725fa3c-s1100-c15 As Rising Heat Bakes U.S. Cities, The Poor Often Feel It Most

Baltimore’s Franklin Square neighborhood is hotter than about two thirds of the neighborhoods in the city. It’s also in one of Baltimore’s poorest areas. Ian Morton for NPR hide caption

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Ian Morton for NPR

Westlake Legal Group  As Rising Heat Bakes U.S. Cities, The Poor Often Feel It Most

Baltimore’s Franklin Square neighborhood is hotter than about two thirds of the neighborhoods in the city. It’s also in one of Baltimore’s poorest areas.

Ian Morton for NPR

When Shakira Franklin drives from West Baltimore to her job by the city’s Inner Harbor, she can feel the summer heat ease up like a fist loosening its grip.

“I can actually feel me riding out of the heat. When I get to a certain place when I’m on my way, I’ll turn off my air and I’ll roll my windows down,” says Franklin. “It just seems like the sun is beaming down on this neighborhood.”

Franklin isn’t imagining that: Her neighborhood, Franklin Square, is hotter than about two thirds of the neighborhoods in Baltimore – about six degrees hotter than the city’s coolest neighborhood. It’s also in one of the city’s poorest communities, with more than one third of residents living in poverty.

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Across Baltimore, the hottest areas tend to be the poorest and that pattern is not unusual. In dozens of major U.S. cities, low-income neighborhoods are more likely to be hotter than their wealthier counterparts, according to a joint investigation by NPR and the University of Maryland’s Howard Center for Investigative Journalism.

Those exposed to that extra heat are often a city’s most vulnerable: the poorest and, our data shows, disproportionately people of color. And living day after day in an environment that’s literally hotter isn’t just uncomfortable, it can have dire and sometimes deadly health consequences – a fact we found reflected in Baltimore’s soaring rates of emergency calls when the heat index spiked to dangerous levels.

According to a Howard Center analysis of U.S. Census data and air temperature data obtained from Portland State University and the Science Museum of Virginia, the hottest neighborhoods in Baltimore can differ by as much as 10 degrees from the coolest.

And Baltimore is not an extreme case. NPR analyzed 97 of the most populous U.S. cities using the median household income from Census data and NASA’s thermal satellite images. In more than three quarters of those cities, we found where it’s hotter, it also tends to be poorer. And at least 69 had an even stronger relationship than Baltimore, the first city we mapped.

This means that as the planet warms, the urban poor in dozens of large U.S. cities will actually experience more heat than the wealthy, simply by virtue of where they live. And not only will more people get sick from rising temperatures in the future, we found they likely already are.

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‘Before I Knew It, I Was Gasping For Air’

In the summer of 2018 in Baltimore, when the heat index reached 103 degrees — the threshold deemed dangerous by the National Weather Service — EMS calls increased dramatically citywide for potentially fatal heat stroke. But calls increased for chronic conditions too: EMS calls for chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) increased by nearly 70 percent. Calls for respiratory distress increased by 20 percent. Calls for cardiac arrest rose by 80 percent and those for high blood pressure more than doubled. Other conditions also spiked: Psychiatric disorders, substance abuse and dehydration, among others.

Westlake Legal Group howard-center-logo-1-_custom-115ab70d3173611437cb1ed1ccd46e872692293e-s1100-c15 As Rising Heat Bakes U.S. Cities, The Poor Often Feel It Most

This story was reported and produced in partnership with the Howard Center For Investigative Journalism at the University Of Maryland.

Student and professional journalists at the Center spent a year examining the effects of climate change-driven temperature extremes on the health and lives of people in Baltimore.

To read the Howard Center’s stories on heat, health and poverty in Baltimore, visit their series website at cnsmaryland.org/code-red.

The heat affected residents citywide, but even when controlling for income by only looking at the patterns of Medicaid patients, there were differences across the city. From 2013 to 2018, Medicaid patients in Baltimore’s hottest areas visited the hospital at higher rates than Medicaid patients in the city’s coolest areas. The low-income patients in the city’s hot spots visited more often with several conditions, including asthma, COPD and heart disease, according to hospital inpatient and emergency room admissions data from the state’s Health Services Cost Review Commission.

In the Franklin Square neighborhood of West Baltimore, Shakira Franklin knows the link between heat and health all too well. She says her asthma is triggered by heat.

On a Saturday in July, Franklin says she was making the same drive she often makes: from her home to the city’s harbor. A heat wave was gripping the city, with temperatures reaching 100 degrees and above. Franklin says she normally tries to stay inside on days like that, but she had to get to work. That’s when she had her first asthma attack in nearly five years.

“Before I knew it, I was gasping for air. It doesn’t even take me ten minutes to get from home to my other job. Just like that,” says Franklin, who says an attack feels like drinking water through a pinched straw.

Westlake Legal Group dsc_0069_wide-81a8da273057843aa5e1037347e363afb147e368-s1100-c15 As Rising Heat Bakes U.S. Cities, The Poor Often Feel It Most

Shakira Franklin sits in a lot near her home, where she often takes breaks from her nearby job. Franklin is working to build a splash park in the lot for neighborhood residents to cool off in the summer heat. Meg Anderson/NPR hide caption

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Meg Anderson/NPR

Westlake Legal Group  As Rising Heat Bakes U.S. Cities, The Poor Often Feel It Most

Shakira Franklin sits in a lot near her home, where she often takes breaks from her nearby job. Franklin is working to build a splash park in the lot for neighborhood residents to cool off in the summer heat.

Meg Anderson/NPR

“Your windpipe is that straw and that water is the breaths you can take,” Franklin says. “You’re trying to bring your air through as much as you can.”

Doctors in emergency departments near Baltimore’s hotter neighborhoods say they prepare each summer for an increase in heat-related conditions.

“A lot of times the heat played a factor in making a chronic condition acutely worse,” says Dr. Amit Chandra, chief of emergency medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus. He says that’s especially true for cardiovascular conditions.

“The worse your circulatory system is, the worse you are at getting cool,” Chandra says. A weak or damaged heart might struggle to pump extra blood to the skin, so heat can radiate off the body. Even sweating, which also gets rids of heat by evaporation, can put stress on the heart.

Respiratory conditions can become aggravated too, in part because heat can actually worsen air quality and because conditions like asthma and COPD can be triggered by high heat and humidity.

Westlake Legal Group shakira_franklin-1_custom-db0de383beca29c27a7a337c105a96b138a26d2f-s1100-c15 As Rising Heat Bakes U.S. Cities, The Poor Often Feel It Most

The Franklin Square neighborhood is hotter than about two thirds of the neighborhoods in Baltimore. Citywide, low-income neighborhoods tend to be hotter than wealthier neighborhoods. Ian Morton for NPR hide caption

toggle caption

Ian Morton for NPR

Westlake Legal Group  As Rising Heat Bakes U.S. Cities, The Poor Often Feel It Most

The Franklin Square neighborhood is hotter than about two thirds of the neighborhoods in Baltimore. Citywide, low-income neighborhoods tend to be hotter than wealthier neighborhoods.

Ian Morton for NPR

Chandra says even looking at a patient’s medical records wouldn’t necessarily tell the full story of how heat could be harming their health.

“We wouldn’t diagnose them at the end of the day with heat exhaustion or heat stroke necessarily unless their temperature went up,” Chandra says. “So there’s probably quite a few folks that are affected by the heat, and we’re not really tracking or measuring.”

Regardless of where they live, people in poverty are more vulnerable to many chronic conditions, including some made worse by heat, like asthma and heart disease.

“Our patients are plagued by poverty, substance abuse and unfortunately some of the patients don’t have great access to health care,” says Dr. Reginald Brown, chair of emergency medicine at Bon Secours Baltimore Hospital in West Baltimore. “As far as the impact [of heat] to our patients, it’s just another thing that complicates their lives.”

The Urban Heat Island

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The way cities are designed can actually make them hotter than their rural surroundings. It’s called the urban heat island effect.

NPR YouTube YouTube

Cities in general tend to be hotter than their natural surroundings, thanks to a phenomenon known as the urban heat island.

“If you have less green cover, you will almost always have higher temperatures, and greater exposure to heat,” says Brian Stone, director of the urban climate lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Trees provide shade, but they also cool the environment down through the evaporation of water from their leaves – a process similar to how humans sweat to cool down.

“When you pave over an area, particularly if it had green plants, you have interrupted that cycle,” Stone says. “Not only have you sealed the surface, you have put a lid on it, so evaporation cannot happen.”

Pavement – particularly if it’s black – absorbs heat and holds it in. At night, a city of more than one million people can be as much as 22 degrees warmer than its surroundings. Even the buildings themselves, Stone says, can create a sort of canyon that traps heat.

Given these elements, Stone says it makes sense that many low-income areas are hotter than richer areas.

“Lower-income parts of the city tend to have less green cover,” Stone says. “That’s something that we see across a lot of cities.”

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It’s also not unusual, Stone says, for poorer areas to be located near “undesirable land uses,” like nearby highways or industrial areas, which create even more heat.

The pattern of who lives closer to those sources of heat is not just a matter of poor versus rich, it is also often a matter of black and brown versus white. Nationwide, many of the low-income communities NPR found to be hotter — often with fewer trees, more concrete and closer to highways and factories — are also communities of color.

“It wasn’t just a coincidence that communities of color end up in some of the most undesirable places,” says Miya Yoshitani, executive director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, which focuses on environmental justice issues affecting working-class Asian and Pacific Islander immigrant and refugee communities.

Yoshitani explains that policies like redlining — a practice, beginning in the 1930s and banned by the Fair Housing Act in 1968, in which neighborhoods were marked high-risk for mortgage lenders in large part based on their racial makeup — forced people of color into less desirable areas. In Baltimore, the city’s hottest neighborhoods, many of which are predominantly African-American, still line up fairly consistently with the neighborhoods marked “hazardous” on a 1937 map created by the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation.

“People of color, African-American communities, indigenous communities in the beginning and then immigrant communities as they came to the United States were not given a choice about where they could live, where they could raise their families, where they could work,” Yoshitani says. “Those choices were made for them and that legacy continues today.”

‘They Can’t Escape It’

In the majority of the cities NPR mapped, poverty was linked to heat, adding a second layer of risk to an already at-risk population. This is not only because poverty itself is a health hazard, but because poverty is also tied to other factors that can make it harder to get cool.

“People with money of course can do that a lot better than people with less money,” says Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association.

Westlake Legal Group tj-handh564_custom-6aa9b01773c316f9f06628da625eeb42a9b4a1f9-s1100-c15 As Rising Heat Bakes U.S. Cities, The Poor Often Feel It Most

Boisey Neal, 12, sells bottled water to passing motorists in Baltimore’s McElderry Park neighborhood on July 1, 2019. McElderry Park is the city’s hottest neighborhood. Timothy Jacobsen/University of Maryland Photo hide caption

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Timothy Jacobsen/University of Maryland Photo

Westlake Legal Group  As Rising Heat Bakes U.S. Cities, The Poor Often Feel It Most

Boisey Neal, 12, sells bottled water to passing motorists in Baltimore’s McElderry Park neighborhood on July 1, 2019. McElderry Park is the city’s hottest neighborhood.

Timothy Jacobsen/University of Maryland Photo

He says no one is immune to climate change, but wealthier people can more easily control their exposure to heat by using air conditioning — which on its own contributes to climate change — or even by moving to a cooler part of the city.

“On the other hand, the folks with less money, they’re going to be in their one home. And they’re going to have to deal with the conditions in their one home,” Benjamin says. “If they’re going to be in an area where it’s real hot, they’re going to have to find other ways to adapt, but they can’t escape it.”

The urban poor, already often in hotter environments and already at higher risk for health problems, will have a harder time escaping climate change.

“It is the most significant public health problem that we have. It’s going to be here for a long time. And it’s getting worse,” says Benjamin.

‘This is Ours’

There are strategies to cool down a city: investing in public transit, designing roofs that reflect sunlight and planting more trees, among others.

In Baltimore, the city is working to combat urban heat. The government has installed cool roofs, turned vacant lots into community green space and strategically planted and maintained trees in low-income neighborhoods, among other initiatives. But the city’s own arborist told the Howard Center that Baltimore is not on track to meet its goal of increasing the tree canopy to 40 percent by 2037.

“We’re doing a lot with a little,” says Anne Draddy, the city’s sustainability coordinator.

The neighborhood where Shakira Franklin lives has increased its tree canopy over time. But by 2015, it still was among the city’s lowest. Franklin says she’s not optimistic the city will be able to cool down her neighborhood anytime soon.

“The city has a lot of responsibility. And I think that we would be close to the bottom of the list to be honest,” she says.

Westlake Legal Group new-triptych-shakira_franklin-31_custom-13e6807f5a71f606ce4c557d46d33ec2f85b557f-s1100-c15 As Rising Heat Bakes U.S. Cities, The Poor Often Feel It Most

Top, children in Franklin Square play in a temporary splash park. Far left, Jami (left), Louis (center), and Shakira Franklin (right) joke with their neighbors. Right, Thelma Terrell (left) and Daniel Greenspan (right) discuss park design proposals. Ian Morton for NPR hide caption

toggle caption

Ian Morton for NPR

Westlake Legal Group  As Rising Heat Bakes U.S. Cities, The Poor Often Feel It Most

Top, children in Franklin Square play in a temporary splash park. Far left, Jami (left), Louis (center), and Shakira Franklin (right) joke with their neighbors. Right, Thelma Terrell (left) and Daniel Greenspan (right) discuss park design proposals.

Ian Morton for NPR

There’s a grassy vacant lot near her apartment where Franklin often takes a break from her job as a landscaping crew supervisor at Bon Secours Community Works, a nearby community organization owned by Bon Secours Health System.

It’s one of the few places in the neighborhood with a lot of shade — mainly from a large tree Franklin calls the mother shade. She helped come up with the idea to build a free splash park in the lot for residents to cool down in the heat. Now Bon Secours is taking on the project.

“This was me taking my stand,” Franklin says. “I didn’t sit around and wait for everybody to say, ‘Well, who’s going to redo the park?'”

Daniel Greenspan, an architectural fellow working on the project, says they’re about halfway to their current fundraising goal – with plans to buy the lot from the city.

On a hot Saturday this summer, Bon Secours and the neighborhood’s community association threw a party in the lot. Children ran through streams of water from a pop-up fountain, while adults discussed and voted on potential designs of the new park.

“Our kids, they deserve it,” says Franklin, who has two children. “I just feel like it’s a long time coming to just have something to say that we built this here for us. This is ours.”

Franklin says the park would become a refuge for people who can’t escape the heat – and it will indeed be a place to cool off in this neighborhood. But worldwide, heat waves are getting hotter and more frequent, and the last five years have been the hottest ever recorded.

Methodology

To determine the link between heat and income in U.S. cities, NPR used NASA satellite imagery and U.S. Census American Community Survey data. An open-source computer program developed by NPR downloaded median household income data for census tracts in the 100 most populated American cities, as well as geographic boundaries for census tracts. NPR combined these data with TIGER/Line shapefiles of the cities.

The software also downloaded thermal imagery for each city from NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite, looking for days since 2011 in June, July and August when there was less than 4 percent cloud cover. NPR reviewed each of the satellite images and removed images that contained clouds or other obscuring features over the city of interest. In cases when there were multiple clear images of a city, we used the thermal reading that showed a greater contrast between the warm and cool parts of the area of interest. In cases where there were no acceptable images, we manually searched for additional satellite images, and found acceptable images from Landsat 8 for every city except for Hialeah and Miami, Fla., and Honolulu, which are frequently covered by clouds.

For each city, NPR aligned the satellite surface temperature data with the census tracts. For each census tract, the software trimmed the geography to only what is contained within the city of interest’s boundaries, then removed any lakes, rivers, ocean, etc. It calculated a median temperature reading for each census tract. When all the tracts in a city were completed, it calculated a correlation coefficient (R) of the tracts to find the relationship between income and heat.

The satellite data measures temperature at a surface, like the ground or a rooftop. We used this measurement rather than ambient temperature, which measures the air about two meters above the ground. Measuring air is a more accurate measure of how people experience heat, but satellite data is more widely available than air temperature data. Using it allowed us to provide a more complete snapshot of temperature trends across many cities.

View NPR’s full data and code on Github.

To determine the relationship between heat and poverty in Baltimore, the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism used block-by-block temperature data showing variations in Baltimore’s urban heat island captured by researchers at Portland State University and the Science Museum of Virginia on August 29, 2018. For each “community statistical area” in Baltimore, the Howard Center computed a median temperature and joined it to a U.S. Census American Community Survey data set with the poverty rate for each area, and then calculated the correlation coefficient (R).

NPR’s Nora Eckert and Nick Underwood; and the Howard Center’s Sean Mussenden, Roxanne Ready and Theresa Diffendal contributed to this report.

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WH Spokesperson Argues Pence Isn’t Anti-Gay In The Worst Possible Way

Westlake Legal Group 5d6e1ed0250000550001c153 WH Spokesperson Argues Pence Isn’t Anti-Gay In The Worst Possible Way

White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere was getting backlash Tuesday after he argued Vice President Mike Pence can’t be anti-LGBTQ because he is set to have lunch with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who is gay.

“For all of you who still think our @VP is anti-gay, I point you to his and the @SecondLady’s schedule tomorrow where they will join Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar and his partner Dr. Matthew Barrett for lunch in Ireland,” tweeted Deere, who is gay.

Varadkar is Ireland’s first openly gay leader.

Pence, a conservative Christian, has argued previously that same-sex marriage is a sign of “societal collapse” and, as governor of Indiana, signed legislation that could legalize discrimination against LGBTQ individuals.

He is in Ireland with second lady Karen Pence.

Twitter users mocked Deere over his argument:

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This Day in History: Sept. 3

On this day, Sept. 3 …

1995: The online auction site eBay is founded in San Jose, Calif., by Pierre Omidyar under the name “AuctionWeb.”

Also on this day:

  • 1783: Representatives of the United States and Britain sign the Treaty of Paris, which officially ends the Revolutionary War.
  • 1943: Allied forces invade Italy during World War II, the same day Italian officials sign a secret armistice with the Allies.
  • 1962: Poet E.E. Cummings dies in North Conway, N.H., at age 67.
Westlake Legal Group lombardipic This Day in History: Sept. 3 fox-news/us/this-day-in-history fox news fnc/us fnc article 5aa42421-a211-56c3-bd5d-588b2573a5ac

Legendary Packers Coach Vince Lombardi would win the Super Bowl again in 1968, but died just two years later. (AP)

  • 1970: Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi, 57, dies in Washington, D.C.
  • 1976: America’s Viking 2 lander touches down on Mars to take the first close-up, color photographs of the red planet’s surface.
  • 1978: Pope John Paul I is installed as the 264th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.
  • 1999: A French judge closes a two-year inquiry into the car crash that killed Princess Diana, dismissing all charges against nine photographers and a press motorcyclist, and concluding the accident was caused by an inebriated driver.
  • 2003: Paul Hill, a former minister who said he murdered an abortion doctor and his bodyguard to save the lives of unborn babies, is executed in Florida by injection, becoming the first person put to death in the United States for anti-abortion violence.
  • 2005: President George W. Bush orders more than 7,000 active duty forces to the Gulf Coast as his administration intensified efforts to rescue Katrina survivors and sends aid to the hurricane-ravaged region in the face of criticism it did not act quickly enough. 
  • 2005: U.S. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist dies in Arlington, Va., at age 80, after more than three decades on the Supreme Court.
Westlake Legal Group 231e414c-ebay This Day in History: Sept. 3 fox-news/us/this-day-in-history fox news fnc/us fnc article 5aa42421-a211-56c3-bd5d-588b2573a5ac   Westlake Legal Group 231e414c-ebay This Day in History: Sept. 3 fox-news/us/this-day-in-history fox news fnc/us fnc article 5aa42421-a211-56c3-bd5d-588b2573a5ac

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Mike Pence Goes 3 Hours Out Of His Way To Stay At Trump’s Irish Golf Resort He’s got official business in Dublin, not across the country in Doonbeg.

Westlake Legal Group mXdpixxorlDxJBs2K5a3k0iiFgdMy5LwQgIo71DqHqg Mike Pence Goes 3 Hours Out Of His Way To Stay At Trump’s Irish Golf Resort He’s got official business in Dublin, not across the country in Doonbeg. r/politics

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Lee Carter: The biggest crisis facing America is incredibly important, but you seldom hear it discussed

Westlake Legal Group debate Lee Carter: The biggest crisis facing America is incredibly important, but you seldom hear it discussed Lee Carter fox-news/politics/defense/conflicts fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 4929a7e7-167d-549e-ba73-99b87b71b96a

Suffolk University and USA Today recently released a poll showing that while 9 in 10 Fox News viewers support President Trump, only 1 in 10 NPR listeners support him. America is a divided country indeed.

We all intuitively know how divided we are. But it’s even worse than that. The poll asked voters: “If your candidate for President were to lose, how confident would you be that the 2020 presidential election had been conducted in a ‘fair-and-square’ way?”

Some 60 percent of respondents said they would not be confident, instead questioning the legitimacy of the 2020 election if their candidate doesn’t win. That is staggering.

FOX NEWS POLL: MOST BACK GUN RESTRICTIONS AFTER SHOOTINGS, TRUMP RATINGS DOWN

Think about what that means. We are living in an age when most of us can’t even imagine that a majority of voters might support someone we don’t.

More from Opinion

And so I pose a question: Is the biggest threat to our democracy a foreign government? Or is it something much closer to home?

I believe the real crisis we are facing as a country is a crisis of empathy.

Without empathy we will continue to try to convince others they are wrong by shouting louder from our soapboxes. We will continue to traffic in hate and disgust.

Let me be clear about what I mean by empathy and why it’s so important. I define it as the ability to understand someone’s behaviors, beliefs and emotions.

And make no mistake about it; having empathy does not mean you have to agree with the behavior, beliefs and emotions of others. It simply means you must be willing to suspend your own judgment long enough to be able to see the world from their perspective.

The reason empathy is so important is that without it, nothing will change. There will be no coming together. There will be no unity. There will be no persuasion, meaning we won’t change anyone’s mind about anything.

Without empathy we will continue to try to convince others they are wrong by shouting louder from our soapboxes. We will continue to traffic in hate and disgust.

On the other hand, if we operate with empathy we will speak smarter across party lines and more folks will reach out to engage with and understand the other side. The question is how.

In my book “Persuasion: Convincing Others When Facts Don’t Seem to Matter,” I teach a practice called active empathy. It is a three-step process and here is what it covers.

Emotions

What emotions will make it possible or impossible for me to have a meaningful conversation and how can I address those emotions?

So, for example, imagine you support President Trump and the person you are trying to talk to is a never-Trumper who has suggested that anyone who supports the president is a racist.

At first glance, you might think that person is being judgmental and condescending. But what if you dug just a bit deeper?

You would find that the person was truly afraid of what is happening in this country. That he or she despises racism, hates division, and is terrified that we are returning to a time in our history when these things were more prevalent.

The funny thing is that you likely feel the same way. And you can empathize with the other person’s feelings. Once you understand this, you would likely make a language shift – from talking about racists to talking about racism. Something you can both agree on.

Values

How can I better understand the values that are most important so that I can communicate about what matters to me in language that resonates with others?

There are primary values that drive a lot of our belief systems – especially our political beliefs.

Consider gun control as an example. Nine out of 10 Americans believe we need to do something to address gun violence in our country. However, if you are an advocate for gun control speaking to a Second Amendment supporter who wants no change at all, I would urge you to look at the values of the other person.

As someone who wants stronger gun control your primary value is harm versus care. You would likely say that people should not have to fear for their lives when they go to school, the store, or the movies.

People who want things to stay as they are might agree with you. But they also believe that liberty is a primary value. They believe that they – not the government – will make the best decisions and that they shouldn’t have their freedoms curtailed because of a few very bad actors.

Once you understand this, you could engage in a conversation about how we can keep our freedoms and keep the guns out of the hands of the wrong people, rather than having a heated argument about how the Second Amendment advocate could care so little about people.

Behaviors

How can I better understand others by looking at what they actually do in addition to what I think they do or what they say they do?

In this example, I want you to think about Election Day and voter turnout. Many folks agree that the 2020 presidential election will be the most important election of their lives. Polling tells us so. The Democratic presidential hopefuls tell us so. And President Trump has told us so.

So why then are more folks not tuning in to the Democratic debates? Why are 2 in 3 Americans not able to engage politically? Why is voter turnout just at 55 percent in presidential elections?  Is it because people don’t care?

NO!

I think most people care deeply. It’s just that they are busy. And politics is stressful and upsetting to most. So given the choice, how are most folks going to spend their time?

And so instead of taking for granted that everyone will go out and vote in the most important election of their lives, you can make sure to address how to help people find the time to engage.

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While each component of active empathy isn’t necessarily new, when people think of empathy they usually focus on only one of the three.

What is important here is to go through all three as a unit. You will notice some overlap among the three types. That’s intentional. How you feel, what drives you, and how you behave are all interrelated.

But if you look at these components one by one in a disciplined manner, you will emerge with a full view of the other side. Only then will you be able to develop a message and a plan on how to begin to change hearts and minds.

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In these times what we need isn’t more polarization. What we need is persuasion. Does that seem counterintuitive? It shouldn’t.

I can’t underscore this point enough: true persuasion is an act of empathy. It takes total commitment and focus. It takes discipline and energy. But if you do it right, it will be worth it, because once you really understand the other person, you will be able to engage and move the needle.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY LEE CARTER

Westlake Legal Group debate Lee Carter: The biggest crisis facing America is incredibly important, but you seldom hear it discussed Lee Carter fox-news/politics/defense/conflicts fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 4929a7e7-167d-549e-ba73-99b87b71b96a   Westlake Legal Group debate Lee Carter: The biggest crisis facing America is incredibly important, but you seldom hear it discussed Lee Carter fox-news/politics/defense/conflicts fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 4929a7e7-167d-549e-ba73-99b87b71b96a

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Diving company owner missing after Southern California boat fire: report

Westlake Legal Group boat-fire Diving company owner missing after Southern California boat fire: report fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/disasters/fires fox news fnc/us fnc Danielle Wallace c2fdd343-8713-53d6-994d-8d5c3a00e8e2 article

The co-owner of a Santa Cruz-based diving company is missing after a scuba boat caught on fire early Monday and sunk off the coast of Southern California, leaving at least 25 dead and nine people missing as of Tuesday morning.

Kristy Finstad, 41, is a diving instructor and marine biologist who operates Worldwide Diving Adventures with her husband Dan Chua. She was aboard the Conception when it caught fire early Monday, according to a Facebook post by her brother, Brett Harmeling.

“She’d be the person who could make it if it’s possible. She could hold her breath for an insane amount of time. It just doesn’t sound like there was a chance for anyone to get out,” Harmeling, 31, told the New York Daily News in a phone interview. “She’s done this trip hundreds of times.”

25 BODIES FOUND AFTER CALIFORNIA SCUBA BOAT FIRE, COAST GUARD SAYS

The diving company chartered the 75-foot vessel owned and operated by Truth Aquatics in Santa Barbara for a three-day diving excursion off the Channel Islands, Harmeling said. Finstad’s husband was leading a diving trip off the coast of Costa Rica when the blaze broke out, The Mercury News reported.

The excursion was advertised on Worldwide Diving Adventures’s website as a $665-per-person voyage to get a glimpse at octopi, colorful anemones, crabs, halibut, wolf eels and bioluminescent zooplankton in the waters around the Channel Islands.

There were six crew members and 33 passengers aboard the Conception when it became engulfed in flames early Monday morning. Officials believe the majority of the passengers were asleep below deck in a single room lined with bunk beds when the fire first broke out. A man who’s traveled on the Conception and two other boats owned by Truth Aquatics told The Associated Press coming to the top deck to get off requires navigating a narrow stairway with only one exit.

As of late Monday evening, the U.S. Guard said 25 bodies were found. Nine others still remain missing, as authorities search through the night. Only five people—all crew members—are known to have survived the fire after they jumped into an inflatable lifeboat and were rescued by a nearby vessel.

Bob and Shirley Hansen— who own a 60-foot fishing vessel called The Grape Escape—told the New York Times they were asleep when they woke up around 3:30 a.m. Monday to the sound of the five crewmembers pounding the side of their boat desperate to be rescued from their life raft.

“When we looked out, the other boat was totally engulfed in flames, from stem to stern,” Bob Hansen said, estimating it was no more than 100 yards from his craft. “I could see the fire coming through holes on the side of the boat. There were these explosions every few beats. You can’t prepare yourself for that. It was horrendous.”

The couple said at least some of the men fled the fire in only their underwear. One was crying that his girlfriend was still on board and he was unable to reach her before fleeing. Another said the crew had just helped passengers celebrate three birthdays the previous evening.

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Bob Hansen said two of the crewmembers went back toward the Conception looking for survivors but no one was found. The names of the deceased have not been released. Investigators have not confirmed what caused the fire.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group boat-fire Diving company owner missing after Southern California boat fire: report fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/disasters/fires fox news fnc/us fnc Danielle Wallace c2fdd343-8713-53d6-994d-8d5c3a00e8e2 article   Westlake Legal Group boat-fire Diving company owner missing after Southern California boat fire: report fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/disasters/fires fox news fnc/us fnc Danielle Wallace c2fdd343-8713-53d6-994d-8d5c3a00e8e2 article

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Today on Fox News, Sept. 3, 2019

STAY TUNED

Stay with Fox News for continuing coverage of Hurricane Dorian on all platforms.

On Fox News: 

Fox & Friends, 6 a.m. ET: Special guests include: Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis gives the inside story on his new book, “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead.” Dan Bongino, Fox News contributor. Rachel Campos-Duffy on her new book, “Paloma Wants to be Lady Freedom.”

On Fox Business:

Mornings with Maria, 6 a.m. ET: Robert Ray, former Whitewater independent counsel; Stew Leonard, founder of Stew Leonard’s supermarket chain.

Varney & Co., 9 a.m. ET: Lawrence Jones, Fox News contributor and Campus Reform editor-in-chief.

On Fox News Radio:

The Fox News Rundown podcast: “Can the Polls Be Trusted?” – The 2020 field of Democrats vying for the chance to go up against President Trump continues to winnow as we inch closer to the third primary debate. Arnon Miskin, director of the Fox News Decision Desk, explains where the remaining candidates stand in the field.

FOX Business’ Gerri Willis was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. After a mastectomy, months of chemotherapy, breast reconstruction surgery and five weeks of daily radiation she was declared cancer-free and has since spent much of her time and energy raising awareness about the disease. Willis joins Fox News’ Lisa Brady to discuss her battle and why she is encouraging people to take part in this year’s Susan G. Komen Greater NYC Race for the Cure.

Commentary from Mike Huckabee, Fox News contributor and former Arkansas governor.

Want the Fox News Rundown sent straight to your mobile device? Subscribe through Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Stitcher.

The Brian Kilmeade Show, 9 a.m. ET:  Special guests include: Fox News contributor Rachel Campos-Duffy on her new book, “Paloma Wants to be Lady Freedom.” Allen West, former Florida congressman; Chris Stirewalt, Fox News political editor.

Westlake Legal Group 7e2d5925-hurricane-dorian-1 Today on Fox News, Sept. 3, 2019 fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 234328dc-1ce9-5cc9-a9f7-105e228e59f8   Westlake Legal Group 7e2d5925-hurricane-dorian-1 Today on Fox News, Sept. 3, 2019 fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 234328dc-1ce9-5cc9-a9f7-105e228e59f8

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Lee Carter: The biggest crisis facing America is incredibly important, but you seldom hear it discussed

Westlake Legal Group debate Lee Carter: The biggest crisis facing America is incredibly important, but you seldom hear it discussed Lee Carter fox-news/politics/defense/conflicts fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 4929a7e7-167d-549e-ba73-99b87b71b96a

Suffolk University and USA Today recently released a poll showing that while 9 in 10 Fox News viewers support President Trump, only 1 in 10 NPR listeners support him. America is a divided country indeed.

We all intuitively know how divided we are. But it’s even worse than that. The poll asked voters: “If your candidate for President were to lose, how confident would you be that the 2020 presidential election had been conducted in a ‘fair-and-square’ way?”

Some 60 percent of respondents said they would not be confident, instead questioning the legitimacy of the 2020 election if their candidate doesn’t win. That is staggering.

FOX NEWS POLL: MOST BACK GUN RESTRICTIONS AFTER SHOOTINGS, TRUMP RATINGS DOWN

Think about what that means. We are living in an age when most of us can’t even imagine that a majority of voters might support someone we don’t.

More from Opinion

And so I pose a question: Is the biggest threat to our democracy a foreign government? Or is it something much closer to home?

I believe the real crisis we are facing as a country is a crisis of empathy.

Without empathy we will continue to try to convince others they are wrong by shouting louder from our soapboxes. We will continue to traffic in hate and disgust.

Let me be clear about what I mean by empathy and why it’s so important. I define it as the ability to understand someone’s behaviors, beliefs and emotions.

And make no mistake about it; having empathy does not mean you have to agree with the behavior, beliefs and emotions of others. It simply means you must be willing to suspend your own judgment long enough to be able to see the world from their perspective.

The reason empathy is so important is that without it, nothing will change. There will be no coming together. There will be no unity. There will be no persuasion, meaning we won’t change anyone’s mind about anything.

Without empathy we will continue to try to convince others they are wrong by shouting louder from our soapboxes. We will continue to traffic in hate and disgust.

On the other hand, if we operate with empathy we will speak smarter across party lines and more folks will reach out to engage with and understand the other side. The question is how.

In my book “Persuasion: Convincing Others When Facts Don’t Seem to Matter,” I teach a practice called active empathy. It is a three-step process and here is what it covers.

Emotions

What emotions will make it possible or impossible for me to have a meaningful conversation and how can I address those emotions?

So, for example, imagine you support President Trump and the person you are trying to talk to is a never-Trumper who has suggested that anyone who supports the president is a racist.

At first glance, you might think that person is being judgmental and condescending. But what if you dug just a bit deeper?

You would find that the person was truly afraid of what is happening in this country. That he or she despises racism, hates division, and is terrified that we are returning to a time in our history when these things were more prevalent.

The funny thing is that you likely feel the same way. And you can empathize with the other person’s feelings. Once you understand this, you would likely make a language shift – from talking about racists to talking about racism. Something you can both agree on.

Values

How can I better understand the values that are most important so that I can communicate about what matters to me in language that resonates with others?

There are primary values that drive a lot of our belief systems – especially our political beliefs.

Consider gun control as an example. Nine out of 10 Americans believe we need to do something to address gun violence in our country. However, if you are an advocate for gun control speaking to a Second Amendment supporter who wants no change at all, I would urge you to look at the values of the other person.

As someone who wants stronger gun control your primary value is harm versus care. You would likely say that people should not have to fear for their lives when they go to school, the store, or the movies.

People who want things to stay as they are might agree with you. But they also believe that liberty is a primary value. They believe that they – not the government – will make the best decisions and that they shouldn’t have their freedoms curtailed because of a few very bad actors.

Once you understand this, you could engage in a conversation about how we can keep our freedoms and keep the guns out of the hands of the wrong people, rather than having a heated argument about how the Second Amendment advocate could care so little about people.

Behaviors

How can I better understand others by looking at what they actually do in addition to what I think they do or what they say they do?

In this example, I want you to think about Election Day and voter turnout. Many folks agree that the 2020 presidential election will be the most important election of their lives. Polling tells us so. The Democratic presidential hopefuls tell us so. And President Trump has told us so.

So why then are more folks not tuning in to the Democratic debates? Why are 2 in 3 Americans not able to engage politically? Why is voter turnout just at 55 percent in presidential elections?  Is it because people don’t care?

NO!

I think most people care deeply. It’s just that they are busy. And politics is stressful and upsetting to most. So given the choice, how are most folks going to spend their time?

And so instead of taking for granted that everyone will go out and vote in the most important election of their lives, you can make sure to address how to help people find the time to engage.

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While each component of active empathy isn’t necessarily new, when people think of empathy they usually focus on only one of the three.

What is important here is to go through all three as a unit. You will notice some overlap among the three types. That’s intentional. How you feel, what drives you, and how you behave are all interrelated.

But if you look at these components one by one in a disciplined manner, you will emerge with a full view of the other side. Only then will you be able to develop a message and a plan on how to begin to change hearts and minds.

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In these times what we need isn’t more polarization. What we need is persuasion. Does that seem counterintuitive? It shouldn’t.

I can’t underscore this point enough: true persuasion is an act of empathy. It takes total commitment and focus. It takes discipline and energy. But if you do it right, it will be worth it, because once you really understand the other person, you will be able to engage and move the needle.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY LEE CARTER

Westlake Legal Group debate Lee Carter: The biggest crisis facing America is incredibly important, but you seldom hear it discussed Lee Carter fox-news/politics/defense/conflicts fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 4929a7e7-167d-549e-ba73-99b87b71b96a   Westlake Legal Group debate Lee Carter: The biggest crisis facing America is incredibly important, but you seldom hear it discussed Lee Carter fox-news/politics/defense/conflicts fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 4929a7e7-167d-549e-ba73-99b87b71b96a

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When Apps get Your Medical Data, Your Privacy May go With It

Americans may soon be able to get their medical records through smartphone apps as easily as they order takeout food from Seamless or catch a ride from Lyft.

But prominent medical organizations are warning that patient data-sharing with apps could facilitate invasions of privacy — and they are fighting the change.

The battle stems from landmark medical information-sharing rules that the federal government is now working to complete. The rules will for the first time require health providers to send medical information to third-party apps, like Apple’s Health Records, after a patient has authorized the data exchange. The regulations, proposed this year by the Department of Health and Human Services, are intended to make it easier for people to see their medical records, manage their illnesses and understand their treatment choices.

Yet groups including the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists warned regulators in May that people who authorized consumer apps to retrieve their medical records could open themselves up to serious data abuses. Federal privacy protections, which limit how health providers and insurers may use and share medical records, no longer apply once patients transfer their data to consumer apps.

The American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and other groups said they had recently met with health regulators to push for changes to the rules. Without federal restrictions in place, the groups argued, consumer apps would be free to share or sell sensitive details like a patient’s prescription drug history. And some warned that the spread of such personal medical information could lead to higher insurance rates or job discrimination.

“Patients simply may not realize that their genetic, reproductive health, substance abuse disorder, mental health information can be used in ways that could ultimately limit their access to health insurance, life insurance or even be disclosed to their employers,” said Dr. Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, an anesthesiologist who is the chair of the American Medical Association’s board. “Patient privacy can’t be retrieved once it’s lost.”

Enabling people to use third-party consumer apps to easily retrieve their medical data would be a milestone in patient rights.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159509988_d979d0b6-f747-4581-baae-d3ba332596d9-articleLarge When Apps get Your Medical Data, Your Privacy May go With It Smartphones Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Privacy Mobile Applications Health and Human Services Department Electronic Health Records American Medical Assn

“Patient privacy can’t be retrieved once it’s lost,” said Dr. Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, the chair of the American Medical Association’s board.CreditDavid Kasnic for The New York Times

Dr. Don Rucker, the federal health department’s national coordinator for health information technology, said that allowing people convenient access to their medical data would help them better manage their health, seek second opinions and understand medical costs. He said the idea was to treat medicine as a consumer service, so people can shop for doctors and insurers on their smartphones as easily as they pay bills, check bus schedules or buy plane tickets.

“This is major, major, major,” he said. “The provision of health care will be brought into the app economy and, through that, to a much, much higher degree of patient control.”

The new rules are emerging just as Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft are racing to capitalize on health data and capture a bigger slice of the health care market. Opening the floodgates on patient records now, Dr. Rucker said, could help tech giants and small app makers alike develop novel consumer health products.

The regulations are part of a government effort to push health providers to use and share electronic health records. Regulators have long hoped that centralizing medical data online would let doctors get a fuller, more accurate picture of patient health and help people make more informed medical choices, with the promise of better health outcomes.

In reality, digital health records have been cumbersome for many physicians to use and difficult for many patients to retrieve.

Americans have had the right to obtain copies of their medical records since 2000 under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA. But many health providers still send medical records by fax or require patients to pick up paper or DVD copies of their files.

The new regulations are intended to banish such bureaucratic hurdles.

Dr. Rucker said it was self-serving for physicians and hospitals, which may benefit financially from keeping patients and their data captive, to play up privacy concerns.

“All we’re saying is that patients have a right to choose as opposed to the right being denied them by the forces of paternalism,” he said.

Dr. Don Rucker of the Department of Health and Human Services said it was self-serving for doctors and hospitals to play up privacy concerns.CreditDepartment of Health and Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services proposed two new data-sharing rules this year to carry out provisions in the 21st Century Cures Act, a 2016 law designed to speed medical innovation.

Dr. Rucker’s office developed the one that would allow patients to send their electronic medical information, including treatment pricing, directly to apps from their health providers. It will require vendors of electronic health records to adopt software known as application programming interfaces, or A.P.I.s. Once the software is in place, Dr. Rucker said, patients will be able to use smartphone apps “in an Uber-like fashion” to get their medical data.

To foster such data-sharing, a coalition of tech giants — including Amazon, Google and Microsoft — has committed to using common standards to categorize and format health information. Microsoft, for instance, has developed cloud services to help health providers, insurers and health record vendors make data available to patients.

“What that lets an individual consumer do is to connect an app or service of their own choice into their health care records and pull down data about their historical lab tests, about their medical problems or condition, about medication prescription,” said Josh Mandel, chief architect for Microsoft Healthcare.

The other proposed rule, developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, would require Medicare and Medicaid plans, and plans participating in the federal health insurance marketplace, to adopt A.P.I.s so people could use third-party apps to get their insurance claims and benefit information.

The regulations are expected to become final this year. Health providers and health record vendors will have two years to comply with the A.P.I. requirements. Electronic health record vendors that impede data-sharing — a practice called “information blocking” — could be fined up to $1 million per violation. Doctors accused of information blocking could be subject to federal investigation.

Brett Meeks, vice president of policy and legal for the Center for Medical Interoperability, a nonprofit that works to advance data sharing among health care technologies, said it would be better for regulators to help foster a trustworthy data-sharing platform before requiring doctors to entrust patients’ medical records to consumer tech platforms.

“Facebook, Google and others are currently under scrutiny for being poor stewards of consumer data,” he said. “Why would you carte blanche hand them your health data on top of it so they could do whatever they want with it?”

Tech executives are promoting data-sharing in health care. From left, Taha Kass-Hout of Amazon, Aashima Gupta of Google and Peter Lee of Microsoft attended a conference in July for Medicare’s Blue Button system.CreditMicrosoft

Physicians’ organizations and others said the rules failed to give people granular control over their data. They added that the regulations could require them to share patients’ sensitive medical or financial information with apps and insurers against their better judgment.

The current protocols for exchanging patients’ data, for instance, would let people use consumer apps to get different types of information, like their prescription drug history. But it is an all-or-nothing choice. People who authorized an app to collect their medication lists would not be able to stop it from retrieving specific data — like the names of H.I.V. or cancer drugs — they might prefer to keep private.

Dr. Rucker said that current information-sharing standards could not accommodate granular data controls and that privacy concerns needed to be balanced against the benefits of improved patient access to their medical information.

In any case, he said, many people are comfortable liberally sharing personal health details — enabling, say, fitness apps to collect their heart rate data — that are not covered by federal protections. Patients, he said, have the right to make similar choices about which apps to entrust with their medical data.

“A lot of this actually will be enforced by people picking apps they trust from brand names they trust in exactly the same way that people don’t let their banking data and their financial data just go out randomly,” he said.

Apple’s Health Records app, for instance, lets people send a subset of their medical data directly to their iPhones from more than 300 health care centers. Apple said it did not have access to that information because it was encrypted and stored locally on people’s personal devices.

But even proponents of the new regulations are calling for basic privacy and security rules for tech platforms that collect and use people’s medical information.

“The moment our data goes into a consumer health tech solution, we have no rights,” said Andrea Downing, a data rights advocate for people with hereditary cancers. “Without meaningful protections or transparency on how data is shared, it could be used by a recruiter to deny us jobs,” or by an insurer to deny coverage.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Getting Your Medical Records Through an App? There’s a Catch. And a Fight.

Americans may soon be able to get their medical records through smartphone apps as easily as they order takeout food from Seamless or catch a ride from Lyft.

But prominent medical organizations are warning that patient data-sharing with apps could facilitate invasions of privacy — and they are fighting the change.

The battle stems from landmark medical information-sharing rules that the federal government is now working to complete. The rules will for the first time require health providers to send medical information to third-party apps, like Apple’s Health Records, after a patient has authorized the data exchange. The regulations, proposed this year by the Department of Health and Human Services, are intended to make it easier for people to see their medical records, manage their illnesses and understand their treatment choices.

Yet groups including the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists warned regulators in May that people who authorized consumer apps to retrieve their medical records could open themselves up to serious data abuses. Federal privacy protections, which limit how health providers and insurers may use and share medical records, no longer apply once patients transfer their data to consumer apps.

The American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and other groups said they had recently met with health regulators to push for changes to the rules. Without federal restrictions in place, the groups argued, consumer apps would be free to share or sell sensitive details like a patient’s prescription drug history. And some warned that the spread of such personal medical information could lead to higher insurance rates or job discrimination.

“Patients simply may not realize that their genetic, reproductive health, substance abuse disorder, mental health information can be used in ways that could ultimately limit their access to health insurance, life insurance or even be disclosed to their employers,” said Dr. Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, an anesthesiologist who is the chair of the American Medical Association’s board. “Patient privacy can’t be retrieved once it’s lost.”

Enabling people to use third-party consumer apps to easily retrieve their medical data would be a milestone in patient rights.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159509988_d979d0b6-f747-4581-baae-d3ba332596d9-articleLarge Getting Your Medical Records Through an App? There’s a Catch. And a Fight. Smartphones Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Privacy Mobile Applications Health and Human Services Department Electronic Health Records Computers and the Internet American Medical Assn

“Patient privacy can’t be retrieved once it’s lost,” said Dr. Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, the chair of the American Medical Association’s board.CreditDavid Kasnic for The New York Times

Dr. Don Rucker, the federal health department’s national coordinator for health information technology, said that allowing people convenient access to their medical data would help them better manage their health, seek second opinions and understand medical costs. He said the idea was to treat medicine as a consumer service, so people can shop for doctors and insurers on their smartphones as easily as they pay bills, check bus schedules or buy plane tickets.

“This is major, major, major,” he said. “The provision of health care will be brought into the app economy and, through that, to a much, much higher degree of patient control.”

The new rules are emerging just as Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft are racing to capitalize on health data and capture a bigger slice of the health care market. Opening the floodgates on patient records now, Dr. Rucker said, could help tech giants and small app makers alike develop novel consumer health products.

The regulations are part of a government effort to push health providers to use and share electronic health records. Regulators have long hoped that centralizing medical data online would let doctors get a fuller, more accurate picture of patient health and help people make more informed medical choices, with the promise of better health outcomes.

In reality, digital health records have been cumbersome for many physicians to use and difficult for many patients to retrieve.

Americans have had the right to obtain copies of their medical records since 2000 under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA. But many health providers still send medical records by fax or require patients to pick up paper or DVD copies of their files.

The new regulations are intended to banish such bureaucratic hurdles.

Dr. Rucker said it was self-serving for physicians and hospitals, which may benefit financially from keeping patients and their data captive, to play up privacy concerns.

“All we’re saying is that patients have a right to choose as opposed to the right being denied them by the forces of paternalism,” he said.

Dr. Don Rucker of the Department of Health and Human Services said it was self-serving for doctors and hospitals to play up privacy concerns.CreditDepartment of Health and Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services proposed two new data-sharing rules this year to carry out provisions in the 21st Century Cures Act, a 2016 law designed to speed medical innovation.

Dr. Rucker’s office developed the one that would allow patients to send their electronic medical information, including treatment pricing, directly to apps from their health providers. It will require vendors of electronic health records to adopt software known as application programming interfaces, or A.P.I.s. Once the software is in place, Dr. Rucker said, patients will be able to use smartphone apps “in an Uber-like fashion” to get their medical data.

To foster such data-sharing, a coalition of tech giants — including Amazon, Google and Microsoft — has committed to using common standards to categorize and format health information. Microsoft, for instance, has developed cloud services to help health providers, insurers and health record vendors make data available to patients.

“What that lets an individual consumer do is to connect an app or service of their own choice into their health care records and pull down data about their historical lab tests, about their medical problems or condition, about medication prescription,” said Josh Mandel, chief architect for Microsoft Healthcare.

The other proposed rule, developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, would require Medicare and Medicaid plans, and plans participating in the federal health insurance marketplace, to adopt A.P.I.s so people could use third-party apps to get their insurance claims and benefit information.

The regulations are expected to become final this year. Health providers and health record vendors will have two years to comply with the A.P.I. requirements. Electronic health record vendors that impede data-sharing — a practice called “information blocking” — could be fined up to $1 million per violation. Doctors accused of information blocking could be subject to federal investigation.

Brett Meeks, vice president of policy and legal for the Center for Medical Interoperability, a nonprofit that works to advance data sharing among health care technologies, said it would be better for regulators to help foster a trustworthy data-sharing platform before requiring doctors to entrust patients’ medical records to consumer tech platforms.

“Facebook, Google and others are currently under scrutiny for being poor stewards of consumer data,” he said. “Why would you carte blanche hand them your health data on top of it so they could do whatever they want with it?”

Tech executives are promoting data-sharing in health care. From left, Taha Kass-Hout of Amazon, Aashima Gupta of Google and Peter Lee of Microsoft attended a conference in July for Medicare’s Blue Button system.CreditMicrosoft

Physicians’ organizations and others said the rules failed to give people granular control over their data. They added that the regulations could require them to share patients’ sensitive medical or financial information with apps and insurers against their better judgment.

The current protocols for exchanging patients’ data, for instance, would let people use consumer apps to get different types of information, like their prescription drug history. But it is an all-or-nothing choice. People who authorized an app to collect their medication lists would not be able to stop it from retrieving specific data — like the names of H.I.V. or cancer drugs — they might prefer to keep private.

Dr. Rucker said that current information-sharing standards could not accommodate granular data controls and that privacy concerns needed to be balanced against the benefits of improved patient access to their medical information.

In any case, he said, many people are comfortable liberally sharing personal health details — enabling, say, fitness apps to collect their heart rate data — that are not covered by federal protections. Patients, he said, have the right to make similar choices about which apps to entrust with their medical data.

“A lot of this actually will be enforced by people picking apps they trust from brand names they trust in exactly the same way that people don’t let their banking data and their financial data just go out randomly,” he said.

Apple’s Health Records app, for instance, lets people send a subset of their medical data directly to their iPhones from more than 300 health care centers. Apple said it did not have access to that information because it was encrypted and stored locally on people’s personal devices.

But even proponents of the new regulations are calling for basic privacy and security rules for tech platforms that collect and use people’s medical information.

“The moment our data goes into a consumer health tech solution, we have no rights,” said Andrea Downing, a data rights advocate for people with hereditary cancers. “Without meaningful protections or transparency on how data is shared, it could be used by a recruiter to deny us jobs,” or by an insurer to deny coverage.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com