Health Care

U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

Rhode Island’s Department of Health has received confirmation of the first case of West Nile virus in the state this year. The mosquito-borne illness is rare but can be dangerous for some patients.

Kristin Gourlay

U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha will hold a series of town hall meetings about the growing public health crisis of opioid addiction and overdose. The programs kick of today as part of National Heroin and Opioid Awareness week. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A series of hearings about the state of mental health care kicks off Thursday at the Statehouse. Lawmakers are concerned about gaps in the system.

Cranston Senator Josh Miller says he hopes to hold at least four hearings about mental health services in Rhode Island.

“And we hope to hear from providers and patients about the needs that aren’t being met, where those needs are, and what we can do either legislatively or departmentally to better meet some of those needs.”

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

As of Tuesday there’s a new way of applying for state benefits like Medicaid and food stamps, or SNAP. It's an online application for all Department of Human Services benefits, all in one place - Rhode Island's biggest information technology project ever. But some advocates for the poor fear there won’t be enough support to help clients make the transition.

angus mcdiarmid/Flickr Creative Commons License

 

It's standard medical care: Newborn babies are routinely given a shot of vitamin K to help clot their blood. But some parents are declining the shots, in a move that some doctors disagree with.

Aaron Read / RIPR

There’s new federal funding to help Rhode Island fight the opioid addiction and overdose epidemic. The money is going toward better data collection, first responders and an overdose hotline.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development agency is proposing lowering its threshold for childhood lead poisoning to match recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

International Overdose Awareness Day / Pennington Institute (Australia)

International Overdose Awareness Day is being observed around the globe Wednesday. New Englanders are marking the occasion with several events.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning states about an uptick in the availability of counterfeit painkillers. These drugs are contributing to the ongoing opioid addiction and overdose epidemic.

The pills are labeled as OxyCodone or Xanax, for example, but could contain varying amounts of a much stronger opioid painkiller called fentanyl. These are illicit drugs, sold outside of pharmacies. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Vermont officials announced new measures Thursday to expand the availability of a drug that can counteract the effects of an opiate overdose. The drug can now be sold by any Vermont pharmacy without a prescription.

The drug is naloxone, which is often sold under the brand name Narcan, and it's already saving lives in Vermont. Health Commissioner Harry Chen said his department is distributing more and more doses.

“The health department now gives out about 700 doses per month throughout 12 distribution sites,” said Chen.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Vaccination rates for Human Papillomavirus, or HPV, are up among teen boys and girls across the U.S., and particularly in Rhode Island. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that from 2014 to 2015, HPV vaccination rates among teen boys climbed several percentage points, with about half of all teen boys receiving the vaccine. For girls, who started with higher vaccination rates, the increase was smaller. Roughly 62 percent of teenage girls received the vaccine.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

70 employees at the state Department of Human Services have received layoff notices because of a system-wide reorganization. It's part of a shift to online applications for benefits like food stamps.

Aaron Read / RIPR


Aaron Read / RIPR

The Rhode Island Medical Society and state health officials are partnering with the American Medical Association on a new effort to train doctors who prescribe addictive opioid medications. The groups will develop a toolbox full of resources for prescribers.

Dr. Patrice Harris, chair of the board of the American Medical Association, says doctors and nurses want to curb the epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose.  But they often lack the resources and knowledge to act.

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