Health Care

Affordable Care Act
4:16 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

RI Health Exchange Gets Off to a Bumpy Start

Operators in Providence took hundreds of calls on the launch day of HealthSource RI.
Credit Flo Jonic / RIPR

A crush of users caused the HealthSource RI website to temporarily crash Tuesday morning.  HealthSource RI, Rhode Island’s answer to Obamacare, is an online marketplace where uninsured people and small businesses can buy health insurance. 

HealthSource RI received 4,000 calls in the first hour of business.  During that same time frame, 6,000 people were checking out the HealthSource RI website every minute. It was too much for the system to take.

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Affordable Care Act
11:16 am
Tue October 1, 2013

HealthSource RI Launches in the Ocean State

Sec. of Health Steven Constantino, HealthSourceRI Director Christine Ferguson and Gov. Lincoln Chafee roll out the exchange's advertising campaign.
Credit Catherine Welch / RIPR

HealthSource RI, the state’s health insurance exchange goes online Tuesday. The state is operating its own exchange, offering plans for both uninsured residents and small businesses. Enrollment starts today, with coverage kicking in January 1st. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay sat down with the director of HealthSource RI, Christine Ferguson, about what Rhode Islanders can expect when they log on to the exchange.

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Health Care
10:13 am
Mon September 30, 2013

HealthSource RI Ready For Rollout; Expecting Slow Start

The director of Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange says the state is all ready for tomorrow’s rollout of HealthSource RI; the Rhode Island version of Obamacare.  Officials running the online exchange expect business to be relatively slow the first month.

HealthSource RI director Christy Ferguson says Rhode Island is one of only a handful of states in the country ready to enroll people in Obamacare.  Starting Tuesday, the HealthSource call center and online marketplace will be able to enroll people in health insurance policies, take premiums and answer questions.

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Health Care
8:13 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Legislation Requiring Water Authorities Have Better Alert Systems to Be Introduced Next Year

State Senator Paul Fogarty says he will introduce legislation next year requiring water utilities to have access to automated phone alert systems.  The initiative was prompted by the boil water advisory issued for parts of Kent County Sunday. Several hours elapsed between the time bacteria was found in the system and customers were notified.

Fogarty said water utilities have a unique responsibility. When they have a problem, he says, it’s vital they notify customers immediately.

Health Care
10:05 am
Wed September 25, 2013

UPDATE: Kent County Water Authority Boil Water Advisory Lifted

The Rhode Island Health Department has lifted a boil water advisory for customers of the Kent County Water Authority after a third day of tests showed the water clean of bacteria.   Some 25-thousand customers have had to boil their drinking water since Sunday, when the contamination was discovered in a storage tank. The tank has been taken offline until the source of the contamination is determined.

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Health Care
2:12 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

First Human Case of West Nile Diagnosed in RI

An Exeter man has been treated for the first human case of West Nile in Rhode Island this year.

The Rhode Island Department of Health said the 33-year-old Exeter man first started developing symptoms on September 11.  Two days later he was at South County Hospital, diagnosed with viral meningitis caused by West Nile Virus. He was released a few days later and is recovering at home.

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Health Care
10:24 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Women and Infants Hospital Hosts Party in Celebration of Premature Babies Now Healthy

Patrick and Riley Yeadon were among about 100 premature babies who celebrated their fourth birthdays Sunday at Women and Infants Hospital.
Credit Flo Jonic / RIPR

Women and Infant’s Hospital held a party for four year olds Sunday.

Janessa Padella is a perfectly normal three year old with curly brown hair and big brown eyes. But when she was born in 2009 she weighed just 14 ounces.  She was the smallest of the premature baby class of 2009 invited to Women and Infant’s Hospital yesterday for a birthday party. Only children who weighed less than two pounds, 12 ounces were invited.

Janessa’s mother, Vannesa Rodriguez, remembers the terror she felt that she might lose her severely underdeveloped child.

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Affordable Care Act
2:28 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Explaining the Health Insurance Exchange to RI's Latino Community

A crowd gathered in Pawtucket to hear about HealthSource RI, the state's health insurance exchange
Credit Catherine Welch / RIPR

Representatives of HealthSource RI, the state-run health insurance exchange, are meeting with Latino business owners in Central Falls Wednesday. It’s part of a push to educate the state’s growing Latino community about the upcoming exchange. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Catherine Welch was at a similar meeting last week in Pawtucket, where she learned about the challenges of translating a complex health care system to non-English speakers.

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Health Care
8:45 am
Fri September 13, 2013

National Advocate Praises Nursing Industry In Rhode Island

Nurses need a place at the table as the nation reshapes its healthcare landscape. That’s according to Dr. Susan Hassmiller, the senior advisor for nursing for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Hassmiller has been touring the state this week, discussing the future of nursing.

She said because of the economy, older nurses are working longer, making it harder for recent graduates to land a job. Hassmiller applauds Rhode Island for helping nursing students with its state-wide residency.

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Health Care
9:05 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Kidney Stone Center Opens At Miriam Hospital

The Miriam Hospital has officially announced the opening of its new Kidney Stone Center.

The center had a quiet opening a few months ago, but now The Miriam Hospital is letting the rest of Rhode Island know that its new center combines specialists such as urologists and dietitians to take a comprehensive approach for treating kidney stones.

Kidney stones are crystallized pieces of material that form in the kidney. Their size ranges from granular to the size of a pearl, and are often painful as they pass through the urinary tract.

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