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
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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The Pulse
3:35 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

Family Visiting Program Wins $10 Million To Serve 500 More Families

The Rhode Island family visiting program has launched a recruitment campaign that includes options for texting and calling for more information.
Credit Rhode Island Department of Health

Nurses and social workers will visit more homes across Rhode Island thanks to a two-year, $10 million dollar federal grant aimed at helping pregnant women and young children. The program could soon be serving more than a thousand Rhode Island families.

Congress established this home visiting program a few years ago to help families reduce the risks of pre-term births, low birth weights, and infant mortality. This round of funding marks a big expansion of the program in Rhode Island, said State Health Department Director Doctor Michael Fine.

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The Pulse
12:34 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Timely Approval For New Meningitis Vaccine; Controlling An Outbreak

Photomicrograph of the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis
Credit James Volk / CDC

Three strains of meningococcal bacteria - the critters that can cause meningitis - circulate and cause disease in the U.S. Until recently, we only had vaccines to protect against two of them. But in October 2014, the FDA approved a new vaccine for the strain known as serogroup B; on January 23rd, the agency approved a second vaccine for serogroup B, this one requiring just two doses, rather than three.

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The Pulse
9:20 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Back After This Break

An oblique fracture, more specifically. That's what doctors saw on the X-ray of my son's femur.

My son is a walking, talking, energetic boy of 18 months. But a strange string of events at day care last Friday - a twist, the catching of a foot on a table leg, a toppling over -  has immobilized him. Doctors put him under, and set him in a spica cast. It's a nearly full-body mummification of both legs, down to the toes, and up the torso, to just under his little arm pits. His legs are splayed open, so he looks a bit like a cowboy who's just gotten off a very fat horse.

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The Pulse
2:00 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

At The Crossroads: The Road Ahead For Hep C

Host Kristin Gourlay with panelists Thomas Stopka and Michael Poshkus talk infection rates behind bars.
Credit Aaron Read / RIPR

Our months-long series about hepatitis C, "At the Crossroads: The Rise of Hepatitis C and the Fight to Stop It," has officially come to an end. We had a great public forum ("Hepatitis C: Cost, Cure, and Challenge") last night at Brown University, the audio from which is posted here, and some key takeaways from which I'll share, below.

    

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The Pulse
3:39 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

For Some Child Refugees, A Journey From Food Scarcity To Obesity

Researchers with the Hasbro Children’s Hospital Pediatric Refugee Health Program in Providence have found that the longer child refugees stay in the U.S., the greater the chance they'll become overweight or obese.

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The Pulse
1:20 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Map: Where To Find Free Or Low-Cost Hepatitis C Testing

It's sinister, this virus: hepatitis C can live in the body for decades before causing any noticeable symptoms. By then, the symptoms could be serious: at the worst, cirrhosis or liver cancer. Most people who have hepatitis C don't know it. In this case, what you don't know can hurt you, or even kill you.

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The Pulse
12:08 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

Parsing HealthSource RI Enrollment Data

HealthSource RI is out with its most recent enrollment data.

It looks like the state's online health insurance marketplace kept two-thirds (71%) of enrollees from last year and gained a quarter more (about 5,000 new enrollees). So with total enrollments for 2015 at 22,910, HealthSource RI didn't lose a bunch of customers but didn't gain a whole lot either.

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The Pulse
4:35 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

A Healthy Holiday Wish List

Here's my holiday wish list for all Rhode Islanders:

May you get the health care you need and deserve, at a price you can afford.

May you find the path to a healthier life well-lit and accessible, and begin to or keep trudging it.

And may you (miraculously) not gain any weight while indulging in treats this season.

Happy holidays, and see you next year!

The Pulse
2:20 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

At The Crossroads: Despite More Cases, Funding For Hep C Pales Next To HIV

Graph from the Rhode Island Public Health Association brief "Hepatitis C: Threat and Opportunity."
Credit Rhode Island Public Health Association / Rhode Island Department of Health

A couple of years ago, I read an issue brief written by Brad Brockmann with the Rhode Island Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights. The brief, called "Hepatitis C: Threat and Opportunity," depicted the number of HIV cases against the number of Hepatitis C cases in Rhode Island in 2007 - 2008 in a bar graph. The bar for the number of hep C cases was much, much higher.

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