Health Care

Health Care
5:34 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

New agreement with Blue Cross could make health costs transparent

The Rhode Island Business Group on Health says it has struck an agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island that will increase transparency about health care costs. What insurers pay health care providers for the services they cover has, until now, been kept private.

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Health Care
2:54 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Residents to protest Westerly Hospital maternity ward closure

Some local residents say they plan to protest Westerly Hospital’s recent decision to stop delivering babies later this summer.

Westerly resident Susan Kenyon has organized the Thursday evening candlelight vigil to take place at Westerly Middle School, right before a community meeting about Westerly Hospital’s future. She says she and other local residents are worried that shutting down the maternity ward could be dangerous for pregnant women.

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Health Care
3:52 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

New tick-borne disease causes recurring fever, flu

Deer ticks in test tubes, full after a blood meal.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

There’s a new tick-borne disease in town.

It’s like Lyme disease and has recently been spotted in the Northeastern United States, as well as in a few parts of the Upper Midwest.

The bacteria that causes this new disease is called Borrelia miyamotoi, and, like Lyme, it hitches a ride in ticks. It can cause something like the flu, or a fever that just keeps coming back. Scientists first identified it in Japan. But a couple of years ago, Yale researchers discovered it in deer ticks in New England.

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Health Care
6:12 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

New tick-borne disease discovered in New England

Tick larvae in a vial.
Credit Photo by: KRISTIN GOURLAY

The bacteria is called Borrelia miyamotoi, and, like Lyme disease, it hitches a ride in ticks. I'll have more on this in the coming days, but here's a heads up on some of the more unique features of this bug.

This bacteria can cause something like the flu, or a fever that just keeps coming back. You might have had it and not known it, or had it along side Lyme. Common antibiotics can cure it. But if your immune system is already weak, it could lead to some neurological damage.

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Health Care
1:10 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

RI Medical Society journal now free, online

Looking for a little something to read over the long weekend? Try the Rhode Island Medical Society's Rhode Island Medical Journal, now online and totally free.

Some of the articles are for a scholarly audience, but I found lots of interest and think others who aren't physicians or researchers will, too.

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Health Care
6:21 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

No more babies for Westerly hospital

The Westerly Sun reported earlier this month that the attorney in charge of Westerly Hospital since it entered receivership had declared the struggling hospital’s obstetric services safe. But the paper is now reporting that Westerly Hospital will deliver its last babies by this June. Deliveries at the community hospital have fallen over the years, and the hospital may not be able to sustain a large enough roster of doctors to keep the maternity ward doors open.

Health Care
6:00 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Debrief: Do gun background check databases work?

Rhode Island Public Radio health care reporter joined afternoon host Dave Fallon in the studio to talk about what public health experts and legal scholars have to say about mental health records and the gun background check database. A transcript follows. You can listen to our feature story on Rhode Island's lack of participation in the National Instant Criminal Background Check, or NICS, database here.

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Health Care
5:00 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

No RI records in nat'l gun background check database

(PROVIDENCE, RI) President Obama has just unveiled a set of 23 actions he’ll take to curb gun violence. Among them: encouraging states to share information with a national background check database. While some states are already contributing a significant amount of information, Rhode Island hasn’t submitted a single record.

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Health Care
5:00 am
Wed January 16, 2013

American Lung Association scores RI's tobacco efforts

(PROVIDENCE, RI) Rhode Island’s scores are mixed on a new report card from the American Lung Association.   The grades are based on the state’s efforts to control and prevent tobacco use.

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Health Care
6:00 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Paying for graduate medical education: what experts say

This morning, you might have heard the next in our Future Docs series, which looks at a projected doctor shortage and how graduate medical education funding could staunch or deepen that shortage.

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