Health Care

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Anya Rader Wallack took the position as head of Medicaid, the state’s health insurance program for low income residents, in October. Before that she led the state’s health insurance exchange, HealthSource RI. 

In an email sent to staff, Wallack wrote she accepted the Medicaid position during an especially difficult time, about a week after her husband passed away. She wrote the job has been “a rewarding challenge and a welcome distraction.”

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

For the first time, Rhode Island has one of the most complete pictures of the extent of the hepatitis C epidemic. More people are infected, and more are dying from the viral disease than previously known, finds a new study. But  more people are also getting treated – and cured.

Rhode Island Keeps Tabs on Zika

Aug 5, 2016
Cynthia Goldsmith / CDC

The Rhode Island Health Department has confirmed 18 cases of Zika virus -- a disease linked to a severe birth defect called microcephaly. 

The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report all of the Rhode Island cases were contracted outside of state lines. 

The mosquito known to carry Zika in Florida is not established in Rhode Island. However, the state may be at risk for another mosquito which also carries the virus. 

The Pulse: Scurvy Cropping Up In New England

Aug 4, 2016
Elisabeth Harrison

Poverty often leads to a poor diet, and poor diets can lead to a host of health problems. Doctors in Springfield, Massachusetts, think they've identified a diet-related condition that many thought disappeared hundreds of years ago.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

CVS Health and pharmaceutical company Adapt Pharma have struck a deal to offer Narcan discounts to patients without insurance. Narcan is the opioid overdose rescue drug. 

Executive Office of Health and Human Services

Rhode Island’s prison system is offering drug treatment to more inmates. Until now, only inmates who entered prison on medication for opioid addiction were allowed to continue that medication. And only for 60 days. Now, the Adult Correctional Institutions will continue medication for six months or longer, thanks to an infusion of cash in this year’s state budget. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

State health officials say we’re spending too much on nursing homes. Instead, they say, we could be caring for people, for less money, at home.

Courtesy RI Department of Human Services

  Rhode Island’s new online portal for programs like Medicaid and food stamps is set to go live mid-September. The new system will streamline the process for people seeking services. It could also impact some DHS employees.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A Brown University medical student wants to register every med student in the country to vote. And the group he founded is gaining momentum.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The Obama administration has announced new rules that would let doctors treat more patients addicted to opioids. That could help Rhode Island, where access to treatment is limited.

Johnson and Wales Goes Cold Turkey

Jul 1, 2016
Creative Commons

Johnson and Wales celebrated a new tobacco-free policy today over cold turkey sandwiches. The policy makes JWU the first institution of higher learning in Rhode Island to ban tobacco from their campus. Former student government President Ray Nuñez  says the new policy will focus on encouragement rather than punishment.

"This isn’t a (sic) anti-smoking police system. We’re not going to have people going around giving citations for smoking. It’s going to be a culture movement, where people are going to be respectfully telling people ‘hey, we’re no longer a smoking campus.’"

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

New research from the Pew Charitable Trusts shows Rhode Island is leading the nation when it comes to reducing painkiller prescriptions. State officials attribute the drop to education for doctors and patients about the risk of opioid overdose.

Rhode Island Dept. of Health, Brown University School of Public Health

State health officials are expanding efforts to tackle the opioid overdose epidemic. They’ve launched a web site – preventoverdoseri.org - to track overdose, addiction, and treatment statistics. And the state is re-launching a $100,000 public awareness campaign about getting help for addiction. 

Kids Count

More of Rhode Island’s children are living in poverty this year than last. That’s one of the highlights of a new report from Kids Count – a project of the children’s think tank The Annie E. Casey Foundation. But some measures of child well-being have improved.

Office of Governor Gina Raimondo

Governor Gina Raimondo has announced that the state employee health plan will now cover gender transition services. 

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