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 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 making music, cooking, and spending time with her husband, daughter, dogs, and cat.

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Health Care
1:14 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

Headed for the Beach? Water Quality's Improving.

Less than 5% of water samples at Misquamicut State Beach exceeded national bacterial standards in 2010, 2011, and 2012.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

A new report about Rhode Island’s beaches finds steady improvements in the water quality since 2008. Health officials closed beaches for fewer days last year than it did in 2011, and more improvements are in the works.

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Health Care
4:28 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Hittner Confirmed as RI's Next Health Insurance Commissioner

Dr. Kathleen Hittner is Rhode Island's next commissioner of health insurance.
Credit Rhode Island Foundation

Kathleen Hittner, MD has been confirmed as Rhode Island’s next commissioner of health insurance. She replaces Chris Koller, who left office last week for a new position in New York. Hittner is a former Lifespan and Miriam hospital executive, as well as a former chief anesthesiologist for two hospitals. She says she intends to carry on Koller’s work.

“I have met with Chris Koller three times, going over his initiatives, so I understand what’s going on," Hittner said. "There isn’t anything Chris was doing that I think shouldn’t be continued.”

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The Pulse
2:09 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Assembly OKs Miller's Health Care Reform Bill

Cranston and Providence Senator Josh Miller headed the senate health committee this session.
Credit joshuamiller.org

What? More health care reform? Isn't the federal government spearheading that? Well, yes, but states are engaged in their own reforms, and Rhode Island's got a particularly big appetite for it.

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The Pulse
2:40 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Assembly OKs Guns & Mental Health Task Force

Guns seized by Providence police
Credit Flo Jonic / RIPR

Is Rhode Island taking steps to join NICS, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System? Perhaps. The General Assembly has passed legislation authorizing the creation of a 20-member task force to explore the "intersection of behavioral health and firearm safety." Here's what it means.

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Health Care
12:12 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Health Insurance Premiums Up for '14, But Less Than Proposed

Rhode Islanders who buy health insurance individually or through a small employer now have an idea how much their monthly premiums will be in 2014. The state’s outgoing commissioner of health insurance approved rates lower than insurance companies requested, although just about everyone’s health insurance bill will be going up.

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Health Care
5:19 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Prime's Application to Buy Landmark Now Complete

Credit Catherine Welch / RIPR

Rhode Island regulators have deemed Prime Healthcare’s application to buy Woonsocket’s Landmark Medical Center complete.

Now the Attorney General and Department of Health can begin their official review of California-based Prime Healthcare’s bid to buy the troubled community hospital. That review begins July 1st and ends October 28th under Rhode Island’s Hospital Conversion Act.

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Environment
4:38 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Invasive Beetle and Borer: "We're Pretty Much Surrounded"

A male Asian longhorned beetle
Credit UVM / USDA

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is once again urging summer campers not to move firewood from outside the state. That’s to keep from spreading a couple of tree-killing invasive insects, which, so far, haven’t shown up in Rhode Island. But this year, they’re closer than ever.

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The Pulse
12:01 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Koller Reflects on Time in Office, Outlook for RI Health Care

Chris Koller
Credit Ryan T. Conaty / RIPR

Chris Koller, Rhode Island’s first commissioner of health insurance, spent his last day in office today. Before he heads to New York City to take over as president of the Milbank Memorial Fund, he stopped by our studios to reflect on his time in office here.

The General Assembly created Koller’s position – a first in the nation, too – in the mid-2000s to help address growing concern over the cost of health insurance and how insurers were paying health care providers.

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Politics
9:05 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Temporary Disability Insurance Program Passes in the Senate

Temporary Caregiver Insurance passed in the General Assembly, and now heads to the Governor's office.
Credit RIPR FILE

A measure that would expand the state’s Temporary Disability Insurance program has passed the Senate and now heads to the House.   The bill could change things for Rhode Island workers who need to take time off from work to care for a family member.

State senator Gayle Goldin from Providence sponsored the bill creating the Temporary Caregiver Insurance program.

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Health Care
5:00 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Last Day on Job for RI's First Health Insurance Commissioner

Today is the last day on the job for Rhode Island’s –and the nation’s—first commissioner of health insurance. Chris Koller is leaving the position to take the helm of a foundation in New York City. He leaves behind some significant changes in the health insurance marketplace.

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