Health Care

State officials have closed a group home for developmentally disabled adults after “multiple reports of suspected abuse” of residents. A resident died at the facility in February.

The state Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals has ordered the closure of the College Park Apartments in Providence. Officials say the agency has reviewed several incidents at the facility, which houses adults with disabilities. They have referred the matter to state police and the state’s attorney general.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The state health department must approve the proposal, but officials are seeking public input before making a decision.

More than 100 people gathered at a community center in Pawtucket to express their views on the proposed closure. Most urged health department officials to deny Memorial’s request because of their belief that the hospital provides women a birth experience like no other. Stacey Nichols had both of her children at Memorial Hospital.

House Health Committee Hears HPV Bills

Mar 15, 2016
Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

State representatives are considering bills that would require the state Department of Health to hold public hearings before implementing new immunization requirements. That proposal follows protests last year over the new requirement that 7th graders get the HPV, or human papillomavirus, vaccine.

State health officials typically convene a panel of experts and follow guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before making vaccination decisions. Interested citizens can sign up to be notified about proposed new requirements.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

State lawmakers will consider several bills designed to fight opioid addiction and overdose deaths.

The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services has scheduled a suite of bills designed to address the state’s ongoing heroin and prescription drug crisis. One would mandate insurance coverage for at least 90 days of inpatient addiction treatment for patients who meet certain standards. That’s in contrast to the 30 days or less most insurers allow. 

HEALTH Continues To Monitor Pregnant Women For Zika

Mar 14, 2016
Cynthia Goldsmith / CDC

  The Rhode Island Department of Health continues to monitor pregnant women who have traveled to areas of the world affected by the Zika virus.

The agency reports monitoring about eight to 10 women a week on average. That means health care providers keep tabs on whether any symptoms develop, and blood samples are typically collected and sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing.

Coalition to Save Memorial Birthing Center

Protestors gathered outside Care New England headquarters today, opposing plans to close the birthing center at Memorial Hospital. The health care organization announced plans to close the unit to trim costs. But, the state's health department has to approve that plan first.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

There’s a good chance your doctor is working towards creating something called a patient-centered medical home. It’s designed to offer patients more coordination and convenience. But can it make patients healthier?

Memorial Hospital

Reactions continue to the potential shuttering of Memorial Hospital’s birthing center. Nurse midwives who work with the center say they’re concerned about narrowing options for pregnant women.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Memorial Hospital plans to shut down several units at its Pawtucket location. Hospital officials announced births will move either to Kent Hospital or Women and Infants. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Brown University researchers have established a link between new cases of HIV and the use of online hook-up sites among men who have sex with men. The researchers are calling on sites like Grindr to help curb the spread of the disease.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Philip Chan and public health researcher Amy Nunn, Ph.D suspected a link between apps like Grindr and new cases of HIV, but until now they didn’t have the data to back that claim.

City To Embed Behavioral Health Specialists In Schools

Feb 25, 2016
Jake Bissaro / The Providence Center

Mental health services for children can be difficult to access in Rhode Island. But a new public-private partnership is trying to make those services easier to access at some Providence public schools.

 

Behavioral health clinicians from the nonprofit Providence Center will be on hand at two elementary schools and four middle schools in Providence. Clinicians from a company called Behavioral Health Services, Inc. will also provide clinical and technical support to make the program work.

Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Island health officials are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to warn consumers about the danger of combining prescription painkillers with anti-anxiety medications. That combination has fueled a rising number of accidental drug overdose deaths.

Hasbro Study: Cyber-Bullying May Be Causing PTSD In Teens

Feb 20, 2016
Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Hasbro Children’s Hospital researcher Dr. Megan Ranney says nearly a quarter of the teens in a recent study reported signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. Ranney surveyed more than 350 teenagers who landed in Hasbro’s emergency room for various reasons. She says she was surprised by the high rate of PTSD symptoms, and she believes it relates to cyber-bullying.

Second State Sued Over Hepatitis C Medication Access

Feb 19, 2016
From the Annals of Internal Medicine article: Restrictions for Medicaid Reimbursement of Sofosbuvir for the Treatment of Hepatitis C Virus Infection in the United States / Authors: Soumitri Barua; Robert Greenwald, JD; Jason Grebely, PhD; Gregory J. Dore, MBBS, PhD; Tracy Swan; and Lynn E. Taylor, MD

Medicaid patients in Washington state (a similar suit is underway in Indiana) have sued the state's Medicaid agency claiming they were denied treatment for hepatitis C because of the high cost of the drugs. Litigation director Kevin Costello with the Harvard Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation says his organization has joined the lawsuit.

Missed Our Live Twitter #Zikachat? Here's A Recap.

Feb 18, 2016
U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

Women & Infants Hospital maternal-fetal medicine expert Brenna Hughes answered questions from RIPR listeners and twitter followers about Zika virus in a live twitter chat Thursday at noon.

Some of the biggest questions involved the risk of transmission, whether mosquito repellent is safe for pregnant women and how the virus has been linked to the brain defect known as mircocephaly.

Here's a recap (scroll down to see the "Storified" version of our live chat).

Many thanks to everyone who sent in questions and to Dr. Hughes and the staff at Women & Infants Hospital for making this possible!

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