The Pulse

The Pulse is written by Kristin Gourlay, an award winning health care reporter for Rhode Island Public Radio.

Full archive of The Pulse can be found here.

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The Pulse
11:02 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Health Care Reform Still Leaves Some Disenfranchised

The main promise of the Affordable Care Act was - and is - to get more Americans covered by health insurance. But news today about Walmart's dropping coverage for 30,000 part-time workers reminds us there's still a rocky road to coverage for some.

With open enrollment for coverage through the health insurance exchanges right around the corner (Nov. 15), I thought it might be a good time to shine a spotlight on a couple of groups affected.

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The Pulse
6:00 am
Sat October 4, 2014

A Conversation With Liberian Henrietta White-Holder On Fighting Ebola, One Village At A Time

Credit Higher Ground International

Rhode Island has one of the largest Liberian communities in the country. Their homeland is at the center of the Ebola epidemic ravaging West Africa. Many Liberians living in Rhode Island have been working hard to help their compatriots back home with supplies and donations. Rhode Island Public Radio’s health care reporter Kristin Gourlay speaks with one of them, Henrietta White-Holder, founder of an organization called Higher Ground International.

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The Pulse
4:00 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Coming Soon: Open Enrollment For Medicare Advantage, HealthSource RI

October 15 marks the start of open enrollment for anyone who wants to switch Medicare Advantage plans or join Medicare Part D, the prescription drug plan.

November 15 is when open enrollment begins for HealthSource RI, the second time around for Rhode Island's online health insurance marketplace for individuals, families, and small businesses.

Here's what we know so far about the options.

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The Pulse
4:12 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Thoughts On A New Bill To Expand Addiction Treatment

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, along with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), has introduced legislation that's designed to provide some incentives and resources for states to develop more addiction treatment and prevention programs. It's called the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2014, and here are a few of its provisions, according to a news release from the Senator's office:

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The Pulse
3:05 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

RI Medicaid Issues New Hepatitis C Drug Policy

This pill can cost as much as $1000. Each.
Credit Gilead

Rhode Island’s Medicaid program has quietly posted its first guidelines for approving coverage of a new drug for chronic hepatitis C.

If you are enrolled in Medicaid, have hepatitis C, and you’ve been waiting for these new drugs, you might be jumping for joy.

If you’re not, you might be asking, ‘huh?’ or ‘who cares?’

Here’s what this means and why it matters – whether you have hepatitis C or not.

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The Pulse
1:09 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

On The Health Care Agenda For RI's Next Governor

Rhode Island's next governor - whether it's Republican Allan Fung or Democrat Gina Raimondo - will have plenty of challenges to tackle upon taking office. The state's ailing economy will most likely hold the spotlight over the next eight weeks until the general election. But perhaps I could put a few health care items on the agenda for their consideration - and for the general assembly's.

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The Pulse
12:02 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Back To School, For Your Health

It's back to school time for kids, of course (and teachers). But perhaps it's time to head back into the classroom or lecture hall yourself.

Need a refresher course in keeping healthy? Strategies for coping with chronic disease? Or perhaps you'd like to learn more about the vaccinations you need, or how to be a brand new parent. Whatever your curiosity or particular health challenge, there's probably a class, lecture, or program out there to help you.

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The Pulse
2:03 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Health Care: Still One Of Most Dangerous Workplaces

Nurses at Women and Infants Hospital in Providence, RI demonstrate using a lift to move an obese patient. In this photo, the patient is another nurse, wearing a suit made by puppet maker Big Nazo to simulate obesity for a training exercise.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

In honor of Labor Day, I decided to check the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data on workplace injuries. What are the most dangerous industries in Rhode Island?

Health care, beat only by trucking, being a messenger/courier, or working in some retail outlets. Surprised?

Health care includes nursing homes, which seem to have some of the highest number of work days missed because of injury. That's partly because of all the heavy lifting.

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The Pulse
12:16 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Painkiller Rxs Rising, But So Are Deaths From Heroin

Credit Rhode Island Department of Health

The state health department has just published some striking data on numbers of prescription painkillers, stimulants, and other controlled substances prescribed in Rhode Island over a 10 year period.

In January 2014, according to the health department, 1.8 million doses for painkillers were filled in Rhode Island. The numbers have been on a steady incline for 10 years. Check out the red line, below.

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The Pulse
1:36 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Looking For More Asthma Resources?

Here are a few asthma resources in the community to help you or a loved one manage your asthma. Did you know you can attend classes to learn more about managing your or your child's asthma, arrange a home visit to help reduce triggers where you live, and more - often for free?

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