Michael Fine

Health Care
5:00 am
Wed August 13, 2014

To Stop Overdose Deaths, RI Tracks Painkiller Prescriptions

Rhode Island now tracks opioid painkillers prescribed to patients, in an effort to clamp down on addiction and overdoses.
Credit Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Island’s health department has started tracking the number of prescriptions written for opioid painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin. Agency head Dr. Michael Fine says that’s because those drugs are addictive. And four out of five people who use heroin got started on prescription painkillers. In July, he says, 118,000 Rhode Islanders got prescriptions for opioid painkillers.

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The Pulse
3:52 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Ebola In RI? Not Likely. But We're Ready Anway.

Rhode Island health department officials do not expect to see any Ebola cases in the state. But they’re preparing anyway.

Rhode Island’s health department director Dr. Michael Fine says his agency knows how to handle an infectious disease outbreak. And one of the first lines of defense against Ebola includes health care workers and hospitals.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure that everyone understands what they have to do should a traveler come here from an endemic area," said Fine.

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Health Care
1:32 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

RI Launches New Programs To Treat Addicts, Prevent Overdoses

From left to right: State police chief Col. Stephen O'Donnell, Governor Lincoln Chafee, Health department director Dr. Michael Fine, Dept. of Behavior Health head Craig Stenning, and the Providence Center's Jim Gillen at a press conference Thursday at the Anchor Community Recovery Center in Pawtucket, discuss a reporter's question.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

State leaders have announced some new steps in the fight against prescription painkiller and heroin addiction. The news accompanies the release of the latest grim numbers of drug overdose deaths.  

Rhode Island health department head Michael Fine told a standing-room-only crowd at the Anchor Community Recovery Center in Pawtucket that 85 people have died since January from suspected drug overdoses, mostly heroin. Hundreds more have overdosed but survived, he said, thanks to an antidote called Narcan, which first responders carry.

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Health Care
5:00 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

To Flu Shot, Or Not To Flu Shot?

Flu Vaccine
Credit Vaccine News Daily

It’s flu season already and that means you’ll be reminded to get a flu vaccine at seemingly every turn.

Should you listen? Is this year any different?

Rhode Island Public Radio’s health care reporter Kristin Gourlay sat down with the head of Rhode Island’s health department, Dr. Michael Fine, for some answers.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic?  Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@ripr.org

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Health Care
3:58 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

State Lawmakers: Close Gaps In Rx Monitoring Program

State lawmakers are looking at ways to strengthen Rhode Island’s prescription drug monitoring program. They say there are too many gaps in the current system that allow people to abuse prescription drugs.

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The Pulse
3:47 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Reducing Overtreatment, Overtesting, And Overdiagnosis

Dr. Michael Fine, director of Rhode Island's Department of Health
Credit Rhode Island Department of Health

I had a chance to speak to Department of Health director Dr. Michael Fine this morning as he traveled to a conference in Boston. The gathering, put on by the Lown Institute, is "From Avoidable Care to Right Care," convenes "...clinicians, patient advocates, and civic leaders to deepen our mutual understanding of the cultural, scientific, and ethical issues surrounding the overuse of medical services." (Dr.

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Health Care
4:13 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Kilmartin, Fine Urge United Healthcare To Reinstate Doctors

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and Health Department director Michael Fine have sent a letter to the CEO of United Healthcare New England expressing their concern over the insurer’s dropping of dozens of doctors from its managed Medicare plan in the state. They want United to reinstate doctors until they submit a plan to handle the transition.

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Health Care
5:00 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Landmark's New Owner Must Use Rx Monitoring Program, Invest In Primary Care

Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

California-based Prime Healthcare Services won approval earlier this week to buy Woonsocket’s Landmark Medical Center. But the approval came with conditions. One is that the company keep Rhode Island regulators abreast of a federal investigation it’s under for allegedly over-billing Medicare. Another is that Prime invest in primary care and in preventing hospital re-admissions. The Department of Health expressed some concern about Prime’s practices at other hospitals, but department head Michael Fine said the terms of the deal to acquire Landmark should allay those concerns.

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The Pulse
3:04 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

The Doctor Is In...Central Falls

Central Falls City Hall
Credit Ryan T. Conaty

Last night I attended one of what could be the first of 39 more public forums, put on by the state's health department, around Rhode Island. And it wasn't what I thought it would be.

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Health Care
5:00 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Fighting Prescription Drug Abuse, One Log In At a Time

Prescription bottles
Credit US Marine Corps / via Wikimedia Commons

For Rhode Islanders between 15 and 44 years old, the leading cause of death is accidental drug overdose, usually involving prescription painkillers.  State health leaders are calling it an epidemic. There’s growing evidence that tracking the number of pills doctors prescribe to potential abusers might ease the problem. But Rhode Island’s fledgling prescription drug monitoring program is just getting started.

The dark side of opiates

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