Health Care

Opioid Conference Draws New England Governors

Jun 6, 2016
RIPR file photo

The International Conference on Opioids is underway in Boston today. Rhode Islanders are well represented at the event dedicated to educating doctors about the dangers and benefits of these painkillers.

BHDDH Director Maria Montanaro Resigns

Jun 2, 2016
Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Maria Montanaro, head of the state’s behavioral health agency, is stepping down at the end of this month. The Executive Office of Health and Human Services announced Montanaro’s resignation today; no reason was given.

Current Deputy Director Rebecca Boss has been tapped to serve as acting director of the department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals while the agency looks for new leadership.

Governor Gina Raimondo appointed Montanaro to lead the behavioral health agency 18 months ago.

Lawmakers are set to consider bills that would require special training for police officers in mental health and substance abuse.

Sponsors of this bill want all police officers to be certified in what's called mental health first aid. It enables them to recognize the signs of mental illness or substance abuse when responding to complaints and emergencies. And it helps first responders de-escalate a crisis.

The Parent Support Network of Rhode Island hosts a conference Wednesday to highlight the challenge for children with severe disabilities, mental health and substance abuse issues as they transition into adulthood. It’s the time when young adults must leave behind many of the services they relied on through childhood and adolescence.

When young people reach the ages of 16 to 25, they may age out of social support programs geared towards children.

Memorial Notifies Patients Birthing Center Will Close

Jun 1, 2016
Memorial Hospital

Memorial Hospital is moving forward with plans to close its birthing unit, but must first meet a number of conditions imposed by the state Department of Health.  One requirement involves notifying patients before the end of the week.

Patients who planned on delivering their babies at Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket will be receiving a letter informing them of their options, and offering shuttle service to appointments at different hospitals, says Memorial president Michael Dacey.

Health insurers have put in their requests for the rates they hope to charge consumers in 2017. Most have asked for increases, but not all.

Every year insurers have to figure out how much it cost them to pay for medical care for all of their members, and how much they think it will cost next year. It’s a complex process, and state regulators don’t always agree with insurers on the numbers. The result directly affects what you pay for health insurance each month.

AGs Ask Congress To Fund Gun Violence Prevention Research

May 24, 2016
Flo Jonic / RIPR

Rhode Island’s Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is joining a group of his peers calling on Congress to fund research into the prevention of gun violence. 

By law, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hasn’t been able to use public funds to research gun violence prevention. Many public health researchers believe that has stymied their ability to find ways to reduce gun violence.

Now, attorneys general from 14 states are asking Congress to lift that ban and direct funding to the CDC immediately.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) met with leaders working to prevent lead poisoning today in Providence. Reed is pushing legislation to better regulate toxic chemicals like lead.

The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 hasn’t been updated in 40 years. It’s the law that regulates harmful chemicals, including lead. And  Reed says an update is in the works. But congressional negotiations over the bill remain contentious.

 A U.S. District Court judge says Rhode Island must speed up its compliance with an order to help developmentally disabled adults– or face fines. The order, or so-called consent decree, requires the state to move the adults into more appropriate work settings.

The ultimate goal of that decree was to end the use of so-called sheltered workshops that paid developmentally disabled adults low wages to do piece work. 

Blue Cross And Blue Shield Of Rhode Island Names Keck CEO

May 19, 2016
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of RI

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island has named a new CEO. Kim Keck comes to Blue Cross most recently from 25 years at insurer Aetna. 

Memorial Hospital

  Advocates for Memorial Hospital are keeping up their fight to stop the closure of the hospital’s birthing center. They’re calling for a halt while the hospital's parent company, Care New England, considers a merger with Southcoast Health System.

JWU Graduates First Class Of Physician Assistants

May 16, 2016
Erica Smith / Flickr

Johnson and Wales University has graduated Rhode Island’s first home grown class of physicians assistants. 

A physician’s assistant is like a cross between a doctor and a nurse. He or she can do much of what a doctor can do and prescribe medication. But a PA works under the supervision of a doctor and trains for just two years after college.

Broad Plan To Combat Opioid Overdose Takes Shape

May 11, 2016
Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The plan, developed by a task force of experts, calls for decreasing the number of overdose deaths by a third in a couple of years. It's broken into four parts: prevention, rescue, treatment, and recovery. Some of it will require legislation, some will require the participation of multiple stakeholders.

Aaron Read / RIPR

State lawmakers will consider a suite of bills Tuesday aimed at fighting opioid addiction and overdose. 

Pages