Health Care

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.

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 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.

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.

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