Health Care

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.

If you've got the flu, it's bad. Awfully bad. But is this season any worse than unusual? Are hospitals really being overwhelmed by "skyrocketing" cases in an unprecedented outbreak?

(PROVIDENCE, RI) Another compounding pharmacy in Rhode Island has been shuttered and the pharmacist in charge barred from practicing. And once again, cleanliness and record-keeping played a part.

(PROVIDENCE, RI) A new report from the Pew Center on the States finds that Rhode Island is falling behind when it comes to meet children’s dental health needs.

(PROVIDENCE, RI) Rhode Island’s hospital emergency rooms are coping with an unusually high surge of patients suffering from the flu. But what’s driving that increase?

Most people who catch this season’s flu will spend several uncomfortable days shivering in bed. But those who get hit particularly hard can end up in the hospital, needing fluids or suffering from a high fever. And right now, says Dr. Brian Zink, head of emergency medicine for Rhode Island and The Miriam Hospitals, those hit hard by the flu are making for very busy emergency rooms. The reason? The season.

(PROVIDENCE, RI) State Sen. Josh Miller has been named chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The senator representing Cranston and Providence is anticipating a full agenda for health-related legislation.

Josh Miller takes the helm of the health and human services committee from former chairwoman Rhoda Perry, who didn’t run for reelection. As the new chair, Miller will wield influence over the senate’s health legislation agenda. He says he hopes to consider, in particular, legislation to address disparities in hospital payments.

Memorial Hospital is set to join Care New England, one of Rhode Island’s multi-hospital health care systems.

The two institutions signed an affiliation agreement but must receive further state and federal regulatory approvals before their partnership is official.

The organizations said in a statement today that the affiliation would help reduce overall operational costs and improve patient access to a range of health care services across the network.

Memorial joins Care New England’s three other Rhode Island hospitals, including Kent, Butler, and Women and Infants.

Winter weather driving advice

Jan 1, 2013

As we dig out from this past weekend’s snow storm, a state official is warning there is still a danger from ice on the roads.  Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency spokesperson Annemarie Beardsworth says this can make driving dangerous.

If you want to keep those New Year’s resolutions, one University of Rhode Island professor says the best way is to create a plan. URI kinesiology  professor Bryan Blissmer says break the big goal into manageable steps and monitor yourself to help stay on track.

“What that does is make something that might have been an unconscious process before and put it in your conscious brain. So rather than operating on automatic pilot in doing these things, by writing it having to write it down, record it, it makes it so that it’s now a conscious thing.”

PROVIDENCE, RI - Monday is the deadline for Rhode Island's Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals to come up with a proposal to address a sticky problem: substance abusers who frequently end up in the emergency room.

PROVIDENCE, RI - State representative Patricia Morgan is calling on Attorney General Peter Kilmartin to step up efforts to restrict gun ownership by people with mental illness.

A recent report from Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that Rhode Island had not submitted any mental health records to a federal registry for gun background checks. That’s despite federal regulations requiring states to submit such records on anyone who should be prohibited from owning a gun. State representative Patricia Morgan says officials don’t need to reinvent the wheel in order to comply.

If you’re feeling a bit of back pain this holiday season, one University of Rhode Island professor says a few changes in habits and a bit of mindfulness can help.
If you’re planning to spend a day at the mall, returning gifts maybe, URI physical therapist John McLinden says make sure you’re wearing the right shoes. The wrong shoes … ones that don’t provide arch support … can wreak havoc from tip to toe.

PROVIDENCE, RI - Rhode Island health inspectors found that Bayview pharmacy had illegally distributed certain medications, failed to keep some records, and not properly maintained a sterile mixing area. A recent Health department order shows the pharmacy has been allowed to resume compounding as long as it follows procedures. But as public attention on compounding pharmacies continues, University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy dean Ronald Jordan says he hopes any new regulations won't squelch patient access to the drugs they need.

We’re all still reeling from the Newtown, CT tragedy. Reeling…and trying to make sense of what happened and why. And that’s where health care professionals and scientists are often able to help. We’ve got some of the best right here in Rhode Island, who would probably love to be able to answer questions like: Could we get better at predicting who is likely to commit a crime with a gun? Does having access to a gun in the house make you more likely to commit a crime with a gun?

But here’s the thing. We don’t really know. And it’s not exactly their fault.

Interesting story from the American Medical Association’s news wire today about the growing number of medical students who are opting to pursue careers in family medicine. Students matched with family medicine residencies are up 14%this year from 2008, the writer reports (based on information from the national residency matching program).