Health Care

Health Care
7:44 am
Thu June 27, 2013

DOMA Ruling Won't Change Much For RI's Largest Health Insurer

It’s unclear how exactly Wednesday's Supreme Court decision on DOMA will affect health care coverage for same-sex spouses. But Rhode Island’s largest health insurer has already been extending such benefits.

As an employer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island has been offering health coverage to its employees’ same-sex spouses since 2010, said Blue cross compliance officer Martha Holt Castle.

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Health Care
1:29 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Rhode Island Health Insurer Reacts to DOMA Decision

It’s unclear how exactly Wednesday's U.S. Supreme Court decision on DOMA will affect health care coverage for same-sex spouses. But Rhode Island’s largest health insurer has already been extending such benefits.

As an employer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island has been offering health coverage to its employees’ same-sex spouses since 2010, said Blue Cross compliance officer Martha Holt Castle.

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Health Care
5:23 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Westerly Hospital Settles with DOJ Over Doctor-Hospital Deal

Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Westerly Hospital has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice over agreements it made with doctors not to compete for business. Westerly officials haven’t admitted wrongdoing, but the hospital’s arrangement with doctors may have contributed to higher patient costs.

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Health Care
1:51 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

RI Hospital Cuts Infection Rate; More Hospitals to Track C. Diff.

Rhode Island Hospital
Credit Flo Jonic / RIPR

Rhode Island Hospital officials say they have reduced the incidence of a potentially deadly infection patients can acquire in the hospital by 70 percent. Hospitals around the country are battling the infection called C. difficile , but tracking their progress has been difficult.

C. difficile causes infectious diarrhea, and you’re most likely to pick it up in a contaminated hospital or long-term care facility. 14,000 people die from it every year nationwide. What’s more, it resists most antibiotics, so it’s hard to treat.

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Health Care
5:00 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Fighting Prescription Drug Abuse, One Log In At a Time

Prescription bottles
Credit US Marine Corps / via Wikimedia Commons

For Rhode Islanders between 15 and 44 years old, the leading cause of death is accidental drug overdose, usually involving prescription painkillers.  State health leaders are calling it an epidemic. There’s growing evidence that tracking the number of pills doctors prescribe to potential abusers might ease the problem. But Rhode Island’s fledgling prescription drug monitoring program is just getting started.

The dark side of opiates

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Health Care
4:20 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Hittner Nominated as Next Health Insurance Commissioner

Kathleen Hittner, MD
Credit Rhode Island Foundation

Governor Lincoln Chafee has nominated Dr. Kathleen Hittner as Rhode Island’s next Health Insurance Commissioner. Hittner must be confirmed by the senate.

Hittner has been tapped to replace outgoing commissioner Chris Koller, who is stepping down to become president of the Milbank Memorial Fund in New York City.

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Health Care
3:24 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Officials Seek Input on Alzheimer's State Plan

State officials want to make it easier for people living with Alzheimer’s and those who care for them. Nearly 25,000 Rhode Islanders suffer from the disease, and an estimated 60,000 are their unpaid caregivers.

A work group spearheaded by Lt Gov Elizabeth Roberts and Division of Elderly Affairs chief Catherine Taylor has issued a set of recommendations in the state’s first comprehensive Alzheimer’s plan.

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Health Care
12:37 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Thundermist, Kent Partner on Family Medicine Residency Program

Kent Hospital and Thundermist Health Center have teamed up to train new physicians in family medicine and a new kind of health care model called a patient-centered medical home. It's the first community health center-based training of its kind in the state

When medical students graduate, they go on to do a residency program for more on-the-job training. Most residencies take place in hospitals. But that’s changing. This new program will place family medicine residents from Kent Hospital in Warwick’s Thundermist community health center.

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Health Care
4:24 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

RI Health Dept. Identifies Killer Synthetic Drug

State health officials say they have solved the mystery of a synthetic drug that’s now killed 12 people.

Department of Health officials say those who died appear to have been intravenous drug users. Most came from northern Rhode Island. It took the department’s own scientists, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and an independent testing lab to identify the drug the deceased were injecting. It’s a synthetic opioid called acetyl fentanyl, similar to morphine. It’s man-made, illegal, and doctors don’t prescribe it.

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Health Care
5:00 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Medical Marijuana Stores: More Spa, Less Pharmacy

Seth Bock, owner of the Greenleaf compassion center.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

In April, Rhode Island’s first medical marijuana dispensary – the Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center - opened for business in Providence. This weekend, the second is scheduled to open in Portsmouth. We visited the Greenleaf compassion center as workers rushed to finish the stylish interior.

The marijuana might be medical, but the retail space is anything but.

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