Health Care

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo launched the Working Group for Healthcare Innovation earlier this summer to help find a way to lower overall health care spending in Rhode Island. The group’s next public listening session takes place Tuesday.

John Bender / RIPR

Lawmakers continue their oversight of the state’s troubled child welfare agency with a quarterly hearing tomorrow.  

The joint Senate Health and Human Services Committee and Senate Finance Committee has been monitoring the progress of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families since 2014. That’s when budget overruns prompted more scrutiny of the agency, and several reports found the problems ran deeper than money. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The State-run Eleanor Slater Hospital will be overseen by a team of health care management consultants while state officials work to fix numerous problems. A recent report cited numerous patient safety concerns and financial problems at the facility.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

When you walk into a doctor’s office for the first time, you might be asked to fill out a slew of forms. Many include a box to check for your gender: male or female. But what if that’s not an easy—or a comfortable—question to answer? That’s just one example of what keeps many transgender patients from getting the medical care they need. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Throughout October, Visiting Nurses Association of Care New England will host flu vaccine clinics in Rhode Island. As flu season approaches, the VNA will administer flu shots at six locations across the state. 

VNA nurse Paula Foster encourages all who want to be vaccinated to come; regardless of their insurance status.

“The state has allotted us a certain amount of vaccine for the uninsured," said Foster. "So nobody will be turned away, and we want to make sure that everybody that wants a flu shot is getting a flu shot.”

Komlan Soe

It’s been a year since the height of an Ebola outbreak that ravaged West Africa and kept communities in the United States on high alert.  In Rhode Island, the crisis hit home with a large Liberian and West-African born community.

A group called Ebola Be Gone emerged as a driving force for raising awareness and providing supplies for those affected. One of its leaders, Komlan Soe, joined us in the studio to reflect on how that experience brought his community together and changed his life.

Law enforcement officials are turning to the courts as they look to turn the tide on a drug overdose epidemic. Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin says it will be increasingly common to bring murder charges against drug dealers and manufacturers involved in an overdose death.

“We actually have a case right now regarding a fentanyl death," said Kilmartin. "And that’s in the court process. And we’ll see what the outcome of the case is. It’s the first case ever prosecuted in the state like that so we’re hopeful.”

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The price of a medication that can reverse a drug overdose has doubled over the past year. Now Rhode Island  will be getting a small break in the price of Narcan (the brand name for naloxone).               

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s Medicaid director, Dr. Deidre Gifford, is stepping down. A search for her replacement is underway.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The United Nurses and Allied Professionals Union has reached a new contract deal. The three-year labor agreement with Rhode Island Hospital affects some 2000 union nurses and technicians.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A $12.5 million dollar donation from toy maker Hasbro’s founding family will help launch a new institute at Brown University to study children’s health. The collaboration with local hospitals will focus on new approaches to kids’ most urgent health problems.

The early focus of the new institute will be to dig deeper into the drivers behind asthma, autism, and obesity. Hasbro Children’s Hospital pediatrician-in-chief Dr. Phyllis Dennery will help lead the effort.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

There are a couple of medications on the market now to help people who are addicted to heroin or prescription painkillers – methadone and Suboxone (the trade name for buprenorphine). But obtaining the latter can sometimes be a challenge. A community discussion planned for tonight delves into efforts to improve access.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

State health data shows that rates of bladder, lung, and colon cancer have edged up among Latinos in Rhode Island compared to whites. A conference hosted by the statewide Latino Cancer Control Task Force this week aimed to explore some of the reasons. Task force member Doctor Joseph Diaz is investigating screening rates for colon cancer.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A Brown University psychiatrist plans to test an intervention to prevent suicide among hundreds of Rhode Island inmates. 

Brown and Michigan State Universities are sharing a $6.8 million dollar federal grant to test the idea that developing a safety plan with an inmate before leaving jail can reduce the risk of suicide. Brown psychiatrist Lauren Weinstock says people behind bars are already more likely to struggle with mental illness or substance abuse.

National Institutes of Health

A new $1.6 million dollar federal grant will help the University of Rhode Island train more nurse practitioners. The idea is to help community health centers, in particular, care for more patients.

URI will use the money to hire new teachers and give students more practice in community clinics and patient homes. The goal is to graduate 109 new nurse practitioners in three years.