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5 things you need to know for Thursday, April 22

Posted at 5:41 AM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 07:41:14-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Good morning southern Colorado and here's what you need to know on your Thursday, April 22.

If you'd like to read the full story, be sure to click on the story headline.
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Doctor, or nurse? Understanding the complexities of medical titles

Even though Dr. Sylvienash Moma's COVID-19 vaccination clinic was enrolled under the title of "Dr. Moma's LLC," she is actually an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse. That is not the same as a physician.

The clinic is being investigated by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for allegedly mishandling thousands of COVID-19 vaccine doses. CLICK HERE to read the suspension letter from CDPHE.

The President of Physicians for Patient Protection is Rebekah Bernard MD, who spoke to News5 virtually from Fort Myers, Florida. Physicians for Patient Protection is a grassroots organization made up of physicians, retired physicians, medical students, and residents who advocate for physician-led care for patients and promote transparency.

She explained the intricacies of differing medical titles. "It's not easy enough anymore just to look for someone that calls themselves a doctor. We have doctors of all sorts of other things that are not necessarily physicians... But the truth is that we're trained very differently. We have a different level of education," said Bernard.

She said the first thing a patient should look for is whether or not a doctor is a physician, or a doctor of something else, like nursing practice. "There's not always transparency about what doctor really means, and many times, the public is confused," said Bernard. CLICK HERE to read through Dr. Moma's CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement.

When asked specifically about the investigation at Dr. Moma's clinic, Bernard stressed that "most nurses are extremely meticulous, and most good nurses are actually going to hold a doctor's feet to the fire and make sure that we're doing everything right. So, I believe that this is an outlier."

CLICK HERE to read through emails released by CDPHE regarding this investigation.

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Budget booster: Sales tax makes big rebound in Colorado Springs

There is a significant rebound happening with sales and use tax revenue in Colorado Springs. February collections recorded by the city in March 2021 are up over 18% compared to the previous year. A jump like that has not happened in close to four years.

A year ago when COVID-19 forced a shutdown there were concerns over what it would do to the economy. Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said the city saw tax revenue drop 14% the first month, then more than 20% percent the next month.

Hiring freezes happened and city departments had to trim budgets. "Then we monitored every month, do we need to make more cuts, do we need to make more?

The revenue surge a year later is welcome. “We obviously are rebounding very quickly," said Suthers.

There are a couple of key areas driving the sales tax revenue bump. “We are having record commercial and residential construction,” said Suthers, “On-line purchasing is off the charts.” Tax from retail sales is also big.

There are sectors dealing with numbers lower than normal due to the pandemic. “The only major component of our economy not running on all cylinders is tourism,” said Suthers. There are indicators of that also making a rebound come summer.

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Colorado bill would give children free mental health screenings, therapy sessions

After a difficult school year for children across Colorado, state lawmakers are working to provide free mental health screenings and therapy to help them rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

House Bill 21-1258 would require the state to create a temporary youth mental health services program in the office of behavioral health within the department of human services by May 31. The initial funding allocation is $9 million.

With students experiencing enormous disruptions to school, social activities, and support networks, both girls say more mental health resources are needed more than ever before.

According to the bill, the Colorado crisis services hotline has experienced a thirty percent increase in calls and texts, and Children’s Hospital Colorado has seen a ten percent increase in the number of kids who visit the psychiatric emergency department due to thoughts of suicide. Mental Health advocates across the state have shown support for the bill, including Mental Health Colorado.

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Polar Plunge benefitting local track & field special Olympics athletes

The 2021 Polar Plunge is taking place this weekend, Saturday April 24. All the money raised at the event will benefit nearly 6,000 Special Olympics athletes in the Pikes Peak region.

Among them are the 200 athletes who are part of track and field teams in the area. Their season kicked off in April, and they practice two days a week. There are more than 20 sports to participate in, like swimming, soccer, golf, and tennis. Sports are offered year-round. It costs about $200 for one athlete to participate in three sports a year, which many of the athletes do.

"My favorite part is making friends, and my favorite part is running and playing," said Cyrus Prater, 9 years old. "Before COVID-19 started, I used to do basketball and I was pretty good at it."

For more information about Special Olympics or the Polar Plunge, click here.

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Get your latest First Alert 5 Weather forecast

The weather looks to be a little less active today across the Front Range compared to what happened yesterday, especially up around Denver.

We'll start dry and even a little sunny today with highs moving into the 50s and 60s this afternoon. We'll see windy conditions late today as a cold front pushes in from the north, bringing gusty winds and temperatures in the 30s.

Scattered showers are likely over the mountains and Palmer Divide today, but little rain is expected along or east of I-25.

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