Health Care

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy is in town speaking with the addiction and mental health community. 

Kennedy has been advocating for better and more accessible treatment for addiction and mental illness for years. In 2013 he launched the Kennedy Forum to help focus those efforts.

RI Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force

Can Rhode Island cut opioid deaths by a third in three years? That’s the goal of the state’s new strategic plan on addiction and overdose.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s largest provider of hospice care will merge with an Eastern Massachusetts hospice provider. The deal involves Home Care and Hospice of New England, which plans to join Hope Health. 

Home Care and Hospice of New England says in a statement the merger will create the largest nonprofit hospice provider in New England. The parent organization will adopt the Hope Health brand name and operate three nonprofit subsidiaries, two in Rhode Island and one in Massachusetts. That includes a visiting nurse service. 

They expect to finalize the transaction early next year.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A foster home for teenagers is under investigation by the Department of Children, Youth, and Families after an employee was arrested for assaulting a resident. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The governor’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force holds its next public meeting Wednesday morning to present the beginnings of a plan to combat overdose deaths.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo launched the Working Group for Healthcare Innovation earlier this summer to help find a way to lower overall health care spending in Rhode Island. The group’s next public listening session takes place Tuesday.

John Bender / RIPR

Lawmakers continue their oversight of the state’s troubled child welfare agency with a quarterly hearing tomorrow.  

The joint Senate Health and Human Services Committee and Senate Finance Committee has been monitoring the progress of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families since 2014. That’s when budget overruns prompted more scrutiny of the agency, and several reports found the problems ran deeper than money. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The State-run Eleanor Slater Hospital will be overseen by a team of health care management consultants while state officials work to fix numerous problems. A recent report cited numerous patient safety concerns and financial problems at the facility.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

When you walk into a doctor’s office for the first time, you might be asked to fill out a slew of forms. Many include a box to check for your gender: male or female. But what if that’s not an easy—or a comfortable—question to answer? That’s just one example of what keeps many transgender patients from getting the medical care they need. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Throughout October, Visiting Nurses Association of Care New England will host flu vaccine clinics in Rhode Island. As flu season approaches, the VNA will administer flu shots at six locations across the state. 

VNA nurse Paula Foster encourages all who want to be vaccinated to come; regardless of their insurance status.

“The state has allotted us a certain amount of vaccine for the uninsured," said Foster. "So nobody will be turned away, and we want to make sure that everybody that wants a flu shot is getting a flu shot.”

Law enforcement officials are turning to the courts as they look to turn the tide on a drug overdose epidemic. Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin says it will be increasingly common to bring murder charges against drug dealers and manufacturers involved in an overdose death.

“We actually have a case right now regarding a fentanyl death," said Kilmartin. "And that’s in the court process. And we’ll see what the outcome of the case is. It’s the first case ever prosecuted in the state like that so we’re hopeful.”

Komlan Soe

It’s been a year since the height of an Ebola outbreak that ravaged West Africa and kept communities in the United States on high alert.  In Rhode Island, the crisis hit home with a large Liberian and West-African born community.

A group called Ebola Be Gone emerged as a driving force for raising awareness and providing supplies for those affected. One of its leaders, Komlan Soe, joined us in the studio to reflect on how that experience brought his community together and changed his life.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The price of a medication that can reverse a drug overdose has doubled over the past year. Now Rhode Island  will be getting a small break in the price of Narcan (the brand name for naloxone).               

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s Medicaid director, Dr. Deidre Gifford, is stepping down. A search for her replacement is underway.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The United Nurses and Allied Professionals Union has reached a new contract deal. The three-year labor agreement with Rhode Island Hospital affects some 2000 union nurses and technicians.