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
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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The Pulse
4:11 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Help Scientists Find The Origins Of, Treatments For Autism

The Rhode Island Consortium for Autism Research and Treatment (RI-CART) is trying to enroll 2000 kids and adults with autism spectrum disorders in a confidential statewide registry.

Researchers from Brown University, Bradley, and Women and Infants Hospital hope to gather data from registrants to conduct multiple studies over the coming years. Why?

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The Pulse
4:15 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Parkinson Disease, Depression, And Hope

There's news today that the late, great comedian Robin Williams had Parkinson disease. We may never know whether that influenced his decision to take his own life. But I thought I'd take this opportunity to let you know a bit more about the disease - in particular the depression that can accompany it - and the resources available in Rhode Island.

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The Pulse
3:52 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Ebola In RI? Not Likely. But We're Ready Anway.

Rhode Island health department officials do not expect to see any Ebola cases in the state. But they’re preparing anyway.

Rhode Island’s health department director Dr. Michael Fine says his agency knows how to handle an infectious disease outbreak. And one of the first lines of defense against Ebola includes health care workers and hospitals.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure that everyone understands what they have to do should a traveler come here from an endemic area," said Fine.

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The Pulse
11:24 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Home Visiting Program Aims To Prevent Child Abuse

The state health department has announced more funding for a home visiting program for families and children at risk. The Healthy Families America program aims to prevent child maltreatment before it starts.                                                        

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