Kristin Gourlay

Health Care Reporter

Kristin Espeland Gourlay joined Rhode Island Public Radio in July 2012. Before arriving in Providence, Gourlay covered the environment for WFPL Louisville, KY’s NPR station. And prior to that, she was a reporter and host for Wyoming Public Radio.

Gourlay earned her MS from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and her BA in anthropology from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR.

She’s won multiple national, regional, and local awards for her reporting, and her work has aired on NPR and stations throughout the country. She’s particularly proud of the variety of protective clothing she’s had to wear on assignment, including helmets, waders, safety goggles, and snowshoes.

Originally from Chicago, IL, Gourlay loves music, cooking, and spending time with her family.

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The Pulse
6:30 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Medicaid Faces Challenges Nationwide, But Few States Cutting Benefits

A working group appointed by Governor Gina Raimondo has just held its first meeting. Their task: to reinvent Medicaid, the state’s health insurance program for the poor. That means finding ways to cut costs as well as improve quality.

It’s a task many other states have taken on. Rhode Island Public Radio health care reporter Kristin Gourlay spoke with Medicaid policy analyst Laura Snyder from The Kaiser Family Foundation to find out what other states are doing. Snyder said they’re not necessarily cutting benefits.

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Health Care
3:14 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Alexander-Scott Nominated To Lead Health Dept.

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, left, is Gov. Gina Raimondo's pick for the state's top public health post.
Credit Office of Gov. Gina Raimondo

Gov. Gina Raimondo has nominated a new leader for the state Dept. of Health.

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott is currently Consultant Medical Director for the state health department’s division of infectious diseases, focusing on HIV and AIDS, viral hepatitis, and other infections. She’s a board-certified specialist in infectious disease in both children and adults. Alexander-Scott is also on the faculty of Brown University’s medical school. She studied medicine at the State University of New York Upstate Medical School and received a Masters in Public Health from Brown.

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The Pulse
12:25 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Group To "Reinvent" Medicaid Kicks Off

Elisabeth Roberts, head of the Exec. Office of Health and Human Services, shows the Governor's Working Group to Reinvent Medicaid the key drivers behind the high cost of health care.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Gov. Gina Raimondo’s working group to "reinvent Medicaid" convened for the first time Monday night. The group’s task is to find savings and rein in spending to help close the state’s budget deficit.  Executive Office of Health and Human Services head Elizabeth Roberts highlighted some of the toughest financial challenges.

“Seven percent of Medicaid members, people we’re currently serving, are about 66 percent of our costs," said Roberts. "That is a truly jaw-dropping number.”

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Health Care
2:01 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

RI Lawmakers Move To Ban Not-Yet-Legal Powdered Alcohol

Rhode Island lawmakers are considering a ban on so-called powdered alcohol. Yes, that’s a thing, and no, it isn’t legal yet in the United States.

A senate committee is scheduled to consider a couple of bills that would ban a substance known as powdered alcohol – a product that isn’t available yet in this country. It’s alcohol in powder form, to which you add water and mix.

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The Pulse
11:21 am
Mon March 2, 2015

How Other States Are Trying To Cut Medicaid Costs

In Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy has proposed deep cuts to Medicaid to help close a $1.3 billion dollar state budget deficit. Arielle Levin Becker reports in the CT Mirror about Malloy's proposal:

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The Pulse
4:10 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Medicaid Reform: What's At Stake

Gov. Gina Raimondo has appointed a working group to "reinvent Medicaid." The group must present the Governor with ideas for trimming costs and improving quality by the end of April. Sounds wonky, perhaps,  but this is a big and important job. The results could affect all of us. How?

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RI News
4:24 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

State Department Of Health Director Michael Fine Resigns

State Department of Health chief Doctor Michael Fine is stepping down. Governor Gina Raimondo announced the state's top public health official's resignation Wednesday. Fine led the department through several crises during his tenure.

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The Pulse
10:46 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Public Health Advocates Call HIV Transmission Bill "Draconian"

Public health advocates are hoping they’ve defeated a House bill that would criminalize the transmission of HIV. The bill, sponsored by Coventry representative Robert Nardolillo III, would have made it a crime for someone to knowingly transmit the disease through sex, sharing drug paraphernalia, or donating blood.

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Health Care
3:54 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

SEIU Taking Women And Infants Hospital To Court Over Layoffs

A union that represents the majority of workers recently laid off at Women and Infants Hospital is challenging the job cuts in federal court.

They get to stay on the job until at least Thursday. That’s when a federal judge will hear the union’s challenge. Women and Infants announced the lay-offs this week for more than 40 employees, including certified nurses assistants, imaging technicians, food and laundry service workers.

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Health Care
3:21 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

15,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield of RI Customers' Info Hacked

About 15,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island members may be among the victims of a massive cyber attack. Health insurance giant Anthem, which offers Blue Cross plans in other states, revealed that hackers had stolen the personal information of nearly 80 million customers earlier this month. Anthem offers Blue Cross plans in other states.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island chief privacy officer Martha Holt Castle said they’re working with Anthem to repair the damage. Meanwhile, a letter will be sent to affected Rhode Islanders.

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