Health Care

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.

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. 

RIPR file

  A fluorescent yellow softball sails out of the in-field, toward woods that border Ponaganset High School in Scituate. The left fielder runs forward and catches the ball. This is home field for Ponaganset’s Lady Chieftains. Turns out, the team is not all ladies.

Justin Bonoyer is an outfielder for the Lady Chieftains. There’s a lot evolving in the life of this 16-year-old with a shock of bleached blonde hair.  Until a few weeks ago, coaches knew Justin Bonoyer as Elise Bonoyer:

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Evidence is mounting that Prince may have died of a drug overdose. While the medical examiner hasn’t given definitive proof of that, drug overdose in middle age is actually more common than some of us might think. Here's why this group is at high risk.

Gilead Sciences

Rhode Island Medicaid is revisiting its policy for determining who receives pricey hepatitis C drugs. Current policy limits who gets treated and when, but those restrictions could be loosened.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Care New England, the parent organization of Women and Infants, Memorial, Butler, and Kent Hospitals, as well as The Providence Center, has announced it’s pursuing a formal alliance with Southcoast Health. The two health systems face several hurdles before their partnership can be official.

The boards of both organizations approved the proposed affiliation today  after announcing its possibility last November. What happens next is a regulatory review process in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, where Southcoast has a chain of community hospitals.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) convenes federal and state public health experts today to talk about Rhode Island’s Zika prevention plan. One of the goals is to prepare as mosquito season approaches.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A nonprofit that makes nutritional supplements for malnourished children is expanding operations in Rhode Island. Edesia has cut the ribbon on a new 83,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Quonset Business Park.

Edesia makes packets of what’s called ready-to-use food - essentially a heavily fortified peanut butter meant to treat severe malnutrition in children.

The company says packets were distributed to nearly a million children in 2015, most recently to Syrian refugees and victims of the Ethiopian drought.

Memorial Hospital

A nurses’ union has sued Memorial Hospital’s parent company, Care New England, to try to maintain obstetrics and other services at the Pawtucket-based community hospital. They're asking regulators to look for more alternatives to maintaining the hospital as it is.

Welcome to Central Falls sign
RIPR file

A new healthcare effort in Central Falls is getting a boost. A program called the Neighborhood Health Station has won a grant to pay for outreach workers to prevent overdose deaths and reduce emergency room use.

RIPR file photo

Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange says UnitedHealthcare will stop offering plans in 2017. That means health insurance consumers will have fewer options in the coming open enrollment period.

Cynthia Goldsmith / CDC

The Rhode Island Department of Health says the first case of Zika virus has been confirmed in the state. The state health agency says the man is in his 60s and recently traveled to Haiti. That’s one of the countries where Zika transmission is active.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

New data from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid brings greater insight into health disparities at the local level.

RIPR FILE

Just two decades ago, the vast majority of Rhode Island children had elevated levels of lead in their blood when they were tested at the start of Kindergarten. Today, the percentage has dropped into the single digits, according to Rhode Island Kids Count Executive Director Elizabeth Burke Bryant, whose organization started tracking blood lead statistics in the mid-1990s.

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