Health Care

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
4:14 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Flu Declared Widespread A Second Time This Season

Syringes filled with flu vaccine
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

For the second time this season, the Rhode Island health department has declared flu widespread. That means that any unvaccinated health care workers must wear surgical masks around patients until the declaration of “widespread” is lifted. Flu was declared widespread in Rhode Island for most of January and February this year. But the health department says this time is more intense than the first.

The dominant strain now affects the elderly, in particular. 13 people have died from flu in Rhode Island this season, all of them in their 80s and 90s.

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Health Care
3:51 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

House Committee Considers Bills to Legalize Pot, Expand Medical Marijuana

State lawmakers are scheduled to consider several marijuana-related bills this evening. At issue is expanding access to medical marijuana and, once again, legalizing the drug for anyone over the age of 21.

Seven marijuana-related bills are before the House Committee on Judiciary. One would legalize marijuana for all adults, regulating it like alcohol and taxing sales. That’s been proposed before and failed, but other states have since legalized it.

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Health Care
9:17 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Rhode Island Set To Begin Health Insurance Claims Database

Rhode Island is beginning an all-payer claims database to better known how much residents are spending on healthcare, and on what.
Credit Aaron Read / RIPR

You may have gotten a letter in the mail recently from your health insurance company asking whether you wanted to opt out of something called an “all payer claims database.”

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Health Care
2:48 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Medicare Advantage Plan Members Can Opt Out If Plans Drop Doctors Without Cause

Seniors with Medicare Advantage have more flexibility to opt out of plans, thanks to new rules.
Credit Aaron Read / RIPR

New rules for Medicare Advantage plan members give seniors more flexibility to opt out of plans that drop their doctors from the network.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced that Medicare Advantage plan members will be able to switch plans if those plans drop doctors mid-year without cause. These are Medicare plans offered by private insurance companies and often operate like HMOs.

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Your Health
9:52 am
Wed April 9, 2014

The Forgotten Childhood: Why Early Memories Fade

Eight-year-old Francis Csedrik pauses mid-swing in his backyard in Washington, D.C. Like most kids, he's gradually losing his memories of things that happened when he was 3 years old.
Credit Meg Vogel / NPR

Francis Csedrik, who is 8 and lives in Washington, D.C., remembers a lot of events from when he was 4 or just a bit younger. There was the time he fell "headfirst on a marble floor" and got a concussion, the day someone stole the family car ("my dad had to chase it down the block"), or the morning he found a black bat (the furry kind) in the house.

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Health Care
5:00 am
Tue April 8, 2014

To Manage Chronic Disease, RI Tries A Team

Pano Yeracaris the new co-director of the Chronic Sustainability Initiative

Having a chronic disease like diabetes or asthma can be debilitating. It can also be managed with ongoing medical treatment and taking care of your health. But there's a cost to not managing these conditions - to your health, and to the health care system. That's why health care professionals and public officials have been focusing their efforts on helping patients manage those chronic conditions through better primary care. That's the goal of the "chronic care sustainability initiative" in Rhode Island, or CSI  RI.

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Health Care
4:36 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

RI Hospitals Must Report Overdoses Within 48 Hours

Oxycodone is just one of many highly addictive prescription painkillers.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The Rhode Island health department has issued more emergency regulations to deal with the state’s rising number of deaths from opioid overdoses. The new regulations require hospitals and health care professionals to report any overdoses from prescription painkillers, heroin, or other opioids to the department within 48 hours.

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Health Care
5:00 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Women & Infants Sees Surge In Opioid-Addicted Newborns

These newborns are both being treated for withdrawal from opioids in a nursery at Women & Infants. They've been swaddled tightly to help them feel safe and calm, and these "swings" rock them gently from side to side.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The rising number of Rhode Islanders struggling with an addiction to prescription painkillers and heroin has brought an increase in babies born addicted to these substances. And Women & Infants Hospital is treating a growing number of them.

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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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