Health Care

A place to sober up, instead of ER, for "frequent fliers"

Feb 14, 2013

A proposal is taking shape to divert frequent users of emergency rooms into a substance abuse treatment facility, instead. Rhode Island’s Department of Behavioral Healthcare has pitched a pilot program for Providence that would transport drunk or high people to a sobering center. Staff there could then connect them with more treatment or housing and job services. Dale Klatzker heads The Providence Center, one of the state’s largest community mental health organizations. He says marshaling the resources to address this social problem will be difficult.

New program pairs addiction recovery and exercise

Feb 4, 2013
Photo by: Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A new partnership between The Providence Center and the Greater Providence YMCA launches today to help people recovering from drug addiction lead healthier lives. The second Anchor Recovery Community Center is now open for business.

Prime application to buy Landmark deemed incomplete

Feb 1, 2013
Catherine Welch / RIPR

Rhode Island officials say Prime Healthcare’s application to buy Landmark Medical Center is incomplete.

The Rhode Island attorney general’s office and the Department of Health are telling Landmark and its suitor, Prime Healthcare, that Prime’s initial application to buy the struggling hospital is missing "a significant amount of information."

Health director's priorities: end overdose deaths

Jan 30, 2013
Rhode Island Department of Health

Rhode Island Department of Health director Dr. Michael Fine says Rhode Island must address prescription drug abuse. Fine’s comments come as part of a list of priorities he’s shared with lawmakers.

Topping the list: ending deaths from prescription drug overdoses and colorectal cancer, as well as curbing the transmission of new HIV cases in Rhode Island. Fine also wants to reduce the number of premature births and C-section deliveries.

Westerly Hospital is another step closer to being acquired by New London-based L&M Hospital.

Rhode Island’s department of health and the attorney general’s office say they’ve received a complete application from L&M. The state agencies now have 90 days to review it. If they accept L&M’s offer, Westerly could be the first hospital acquired under the state’s new Hospital Conversions Act.

Brown to offer new primary care MD program

Jan 29, 2013

Brown University's medical school plans to launch a new program for medical students who want to focus on primary care. The program also aims to boost the number of primary care doctors in Rhode Island.

Deloitte to build RI's health insurance exchange

Jan 24, 2013

Rhode Island has selected Deloitte Consulting to build its online health insurance exchange. It’s the next step in the state’s effort to get the exchange up and running by October.

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.

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.

New tick-borne disease causes recurring fever, flu

Jan 22, 2013
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.

New tick-borne disease discovered in New England

Jan 18, 2013
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.

RI Medical Society journal now free, online

Jan 18, 2013

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.

No more babies for Westerly hospital

Jan 17, 2013

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.

Debrief: Do gun background check databases work?

Jan 17, 2013

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.

No RI records in nat'l gun background check database

Jan 17, 2013

(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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