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
12:17 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

RI Teens Making Healthier Choices? That Depends.

It depends on what you define as progress, or on what you define as an acceptable risk.

Every two years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts out results from its latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey, or YRBS. Teens are surveyed about all kinds of risky and healthy behaviors, from how likely they are to wear a bike helmet to whether or not they've eaten fruits or vegetables in the past week, as well as the usual suspects like smoking and unprotected sex.

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The Pulse
1:58 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Have Your Say About Health Insurance Rates

Health insurers have filed their requests for rate increases (or, in one case, decreases!) for the coming year (effective January 2015). The Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner reviews those requests to make sure they're fair, and then issues a ruling, probably by mid-July. Before then, you have an opportunity to weigh in.

Here are the details on those opportunities, plus OHIC's summary of what insurers have requested.

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The Pulse
3:46 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Do You Want To Know If You're At Risk For Alzheimer's?

And if you were, would you want to know?

That's the ethical dilemma researchers at Butler Hospital and about 60 other sites nationwide will be grappling with as they recruit participants for a new clinical trial.

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The Pulse
1:49 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

"The Pulse" Takes A Break

Esteemed readers - The Pulse, your friendly neighborhood health care blog, is going dark for a few days while I'm on vacation.

You can enjoy previous posts to your heart's content here. And keep up with my colleagues' blogs about education and politics.

California, here I come!

The Pulse
3:28 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

MinuteClinics And The Future Of Primary Care

The Rhode Island Department of Health's recent decision to grant approval, with 22 conditions, to CVS to open seven retail health clinics in pharmacies throughout Rhode Island came down in the form of a 43-page document. In my humble opinion, it's a well-written, even eloquent ode to the importance of primary care and the challenges of regulating health care in a state where for-profit health care is no longer around the corner but setting up shop on it.

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The Pulse
2:29 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

More Medicaid Enrollees: It's Not Just About The Money

As you may know, far more Rhode Islanders signed up for Medicaid than expected recently. And the state is on the hook for millions more dollars than anticipated to care for them. The federal government is picking up the tab for now for people who became newly eligible for the program under the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, which Rhode Island opted to accept (unlike some other states). That allowed childless adults, men and women, earning less than a certain amount a year, to get health insurance, some perhaps for the first time.

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The Pulse
5:20 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Helping Kids Who Witness Trauma

If your kids were at Sunday's Ringling Bros. circus performance in Providence, they might be asking some tough questions now or needing comfort and reassurance. Or it might be too soon to tell how witnessing something so traumatic has affected them. Either way, it can be tough to know what to say, to balance the truth about life - that bad things can happen to anyone without warning - with the protection kids sometimes need from the world's harshest realities.

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The Pulse
3:30 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Latino Elderly Increasingly Isolated In RI

I recently attended a conference at Rhode Island College about the health and social welfare needs of the Latino elderly in Rhode Island. And what struck me is something a couple of presenters focused on: the growing isolation of older Latinos here.

It's not something that was on my radar before, but it seems their numbers and needs are growing (there are nearly 9,000 Latinos in Rhode Island aged 60 and up). And really, their struggles are similar to those of other ethnic communities, even if language, education, and immigration issues compound them.

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The Pulse
1:51 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Breathe Easier, Rhode Island

Asthma inhaler
Credit Wikimedia Commons

For your lungs, some good news and some let's-hope-it's-better-this-time news. 

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The Pulse
2:42 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

In Network, Out-Of-Network: What It Means, Why It Matters

When it comes to health insurance, "in-network" means a provider or facility that's contracted with your insurer to provide services at an agreed-upon rate. "Out-of-network" means a provider or facility that doesn't have an agreement with your insurer. Whether in-network or out-of-network providers and facilities are covered, and to what extent, depends on your particular health insurance plan.

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