The Pulse

The Pulse is written by Kristin Gourlay, an award winning health care reporter for Rhode Island Public Radio.

Full archive of The Pulse can be found here.

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The Pulse
12:24 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

How Are Other States Funding Health Exchanges?

States in black run their own health insurance exchanges.
Credit The Commonwealth Fund

Looks like a mixed bag. Check out this interactive map from the Commonwealth Fund. Of the states with their own, state-run marketplaces, some plan to raise revenue for their exchanges with taxes or "assessments" on health insurance premiums, for instance. Others, like Rhode Island, seem to be still undecided.

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Health Care
11:55 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Tuesday: Policy & Pinot On "Killer Drugs: Opioid Addiction And Overdose"

Tomorrow night! Join Rhode Island Public Radio for Policy & Pinot, our ongoing public discussion series held in conjunction with the Providence Athenaeum.

When: Tuesday, March 11, 2014. Reception at 5:30 PM, program begins shortly after.

Where: The Providence Athenaeum, 251 Benefit Street, Providence, RI. Some street parking available.

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The Pulse
12:58 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

What Happens To Kids After They Get In Trouble?

That's the gist of the question a Bradley Hasbro Research Center scientist is asking as she embarks on a project to study 400 Rhode Island teens after their first brush with the law.

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The Pulse
12:35 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Reading The Labels On Drugs And Food

Example of the FDA's proposed new food label
Credit US Food and Drug Administration

Do you read the labels on food before you buy it? How about on pill bottles, supplements, and other drugs? If some Rhode Island lawmakers have their way, you could be seeing "country of origin" labels on your pharmaceuticals. But would that change your mind about taking a drug, or make you ask your doctor for a different brand?

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The Pulse
3:29 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

FY '15 Budget Aims To Rein In Medicaid Spending, Add Integrated Health Services

I'm combing through a Rhode Island Senate Fiscal Office summary of Governor Lincoln Chafee's FY 2015 budget proposal - a handy document that summarizes the item in question and analyzes its potential impacts. In health care, there's lots to digest.

But here are a few items that have caught my eye so far. And keep in mind, these are all still up for debate.

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The Pulse
2:43 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Marijuana Debate Heats Up; Lifespan, Kennedy At Odds

A bill is making its way through Rhode Island's General Assembly that would legalize marijuana and regulate and tax it like alcohol. Possessing small amounts has already been decriminalized here. And interest has been growing in legalization for a while.

Proponents say that legalizing the drug would keep harmless people out of jail. Opponents say marijuana is just as dangerous as any other drug and should remain illegal.

The arguments are heating up.

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The Pulse
11:22 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Fluoridated Water Reaches Just 84% Of RI Homes

Credit Pew Charitable Trusts

Check out this new graphic from the Pew Charitable Trusts on the percentage of homes served by fluoridated public water water systems. Public health agencies have long recommended fluoridated water, especially for kids' dental health. In Rhode Island, just 83.9% of homes are served by such treated water.

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The Pulse
12:51 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Who Needs A Mammogram?

That's a question only you and your doctor can answer. But news that a major, long-term study found no link between early screening (i.e., mammograms) and reduced deaths from breast cancer may have muddied the waters. So here are a few thoughts and resources to help shed some light.

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The Pulse
1:21 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Insurers Spending More On Primary Care

News from the state's health insurance commissioner (OHIC): insurers are making good on their commitment to invest more of their premium revenue in primary care. OHIC directed insurers to raise the amount they spend on their members' primary care by one percentage point every year for four years. And in a new report the agency says they're going to hit those targets.

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The Pulse
12:49 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Hearing Heroin Everywhere

Has heroin abuse reached epidemic proportions? What about painkiller abuse? Or are we just hearing more about it?

The academic jury is still out on this, as far as I can tell. Of course, it doesn't really matter what you call it if you've lost a loved one to heroin overdose.

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