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
3:02 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Medical Education Adapts To New Needs In RI

RIC nursing students participate in a simulation.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island College announced a new graduate certificate program in nursing care management today. In a statement, the college explained what nurse care managers do and why they decided to offer this program now:

"Nurse care managers provide patient assessment, treatment planning, health care facilitation and advocacy within all health care settings, including private practices and hospitals.

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The Pulse
4:09 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

To Find Health Care Cost Savings, Follow The Money. Or Rather, The Data.

It's pretty basic: in order to save a little money, most people have to stick to a budget. But before you can sketch out that spending plan, you need to know where your money's been going and how much you've been spending on everything. Then you can look for places to trim and skimp.

So too goes the theory with health care spending. Or at least, that's the idea behind several new efforts:

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The Pulse
1:44 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Keeping The Spotlight On Overdose, Addiction

Several weeks ago, I wrote a blog post titled "Hearing Heroin Everywhere." If I were to rewrite that title today, it'd be "Hearing Narcan Everywhere." It seems the conversation has changed a bit from "Houston, we have a problem," to "Houston, how do we stop this thing?" But I'm confident most health care providers and people affected by addiction and overdose would agree that the fact that we're still having the conversation - publicly, in the media, in public forums, at city halls - is a good thing.

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Health Care
5:00 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Sorting Through Shifting Advice On Mammography

Mammogram showing a small lesion.
Credit National Institutes Of Health

Recently, the results of a study that followed Canadian women for 25 years cast some doubt on the value of mammography in helping to reduce deaths from breast cancer. Add to that news the recently updated recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that women should get a mammogram every other year from age 50 to 74, and you’ve got a recipe for confusion

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The Pulse
4:43 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

What's Next For HealthSource RI?

As you may know, today is the deadline for individuals and families to sign up for health insurance coverage through HealthSource RI, if you don't already have coverage. But what happens tomorrow?

Well, if you're an individual or a family without coverage now, and you can't get it through your employer or via Medicaid, you'll have to wait until the next open enrollment period, November 15, 2014. Also, you might face a tax penalty.

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The Pulse
2:30 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Hospital Infections Rise In Rhode Island

Progress report for Rhode Island on preventing hospital-acquired infections.
Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The CDC released an update today on the nation's and individual state's progress toward reducing the rate of infections acquired in hospitals. The headline, nationwide, is that we're making progress. In Rhode Island, not as much.

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The Pulse
12:53 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Match Day Sees More Primary Care Residencies

Students gather in the lobby of the Brown medical school building to learn their fates on Match Day 2014.
Credit David Orenstein / Brown University

Match Day was Friday for fourth year medical students around the country. It's an annual rite, the moment when students find out whether and where they'll be doing their residency. It's a big deal because where you do your residency matters on so many levels - from the number of years you'll spend there, to the quality of the doctors who train you, to the opportunities you'll have to deepen your specialty. And many residents end up staying where they train.

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The Pulse
12:08 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Does Having Health Insurance Boost ER Visits?

Another study seems to suggest that, contrary to previous assumptions, it does.

Researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston have just published the results of a study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine that looked at all emergency department visits at 69 hospitals between the fall of 2006 and the fall of 2009. In 2006, Massachusetts expanded access to health insurance to nearly everyone in the state.

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The Pulse
10:53 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Miss Our Policy & Pinot On Overdose? Listen Here.

The Providence Center's Jim Gillen, Warwick police dept. Captain Joe Coffey, and Rhode Island Public Radio health care reporter Kristin Gourlay talk overdose and addiction at Tuesday night's Policy & Pinot, our ongoing discussion series at the Providence Athenaeum.
Credit Garry Bliss / The Providence Center

We had a full house at the Providence Athenaeum last week. If you weren't able to join us, not to worry. You can listen to the full program right here.

Rhode Island Public Radio, in concert with the lovely Providence Athenaeum, hosted a stellar group of panelists for this one hour radio show taped in front of a live audience. Guests included a recovering addict and overdose survivor, an addiction medicine and infectious disease specialist, a drug abuse epidemiologist, a Warwick police captain trained in mental health first aid, and an addiction treatment specialist.

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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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