Health Care

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.

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.

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.

(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.

(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.

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.