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
12:09 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Moving The Needle On Flu Shots

Syringes filled with flu vaccine at a clinic in Providence.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Pun intended.

It's National Influenza Vaccination Week (according to the CDC), which I read as yet one more way to snap us out of complacency and into a clinic for a flu shot.

But it seems no amount of exhortation will move some people closer to the needle (or nasal spray).

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The Pulse
2:46 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Addicts Convicted On Drug Crimes Face Barriers After Release

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse says he hopes legislation to boost funding to treat addiction will move forward this week. Whitehouse and colleagues from both sides of the aisle hosted addiction experts on Capitol Hill this morning to learn more about the challenges that remain for addicts even in recovery.

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The Pulse
3:30 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

At The Crossroads: Hepatitis C Resources In RI

For the past several weeks we've been airing stories from our series, "At the Crossroads: The rise of hepatitis C and the fight to stop it." Maybe you've been wondering, hey, should I get tested? Where can I do that? And what's it like?

Wonder no more. Here's a collection of resources to get you started.

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The Pulse
11:39 am
Fri November 21, 2014

At The Crossroads: How Will Medicare Grapple With Hep C?

My recent story about the high cost of new hepatitis C treatments focused on the difficulty of deciding who gets these new drugs now and who has to wait. That's because, while new drugs like Sovaldi and Harvoni (both made by Gilead) promise to cure a lot of people, they're so expensive we simply couldn't afford to treat everyone who's infected right now.

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The Pulse
11:14 am
Thu November 20, 2014

HealthSource RI Rhetoric Heats Up

HealthSource RI director Christine Ferguson has penned an op-ed in the Providence Journal to plead her case for keeping the health insurance exchange in local hands. Her commentary comes days after a Projo editorial arguing the state should scrap its exchange.

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The Pulse
12:22 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Health Dept. Releases Ebola Emergency Plan

An Ebola prep cart, with personal protective equipment, at Rhode Island Hospital.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island health officials have unveiled the state’s Ebola emergency response plan. The plan spells out the steps state agencies will take to handle potential cases.

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The Pulse
3:50 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Primer: What You Need To Know About HealthSource RI Plans For 2015

Rhode Islanders who signed up with HealthSourceRI will need to renew their coverage on the health insurance exchange by December 23rd.
Credit FILE / RIPR

Individuals and families can enroll in health insurance plans through HealthSource RI starting November 15. If you're new to the exchange or already have coverage through it, here are a few things you should know about what's new for this year.

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Health Care
3:20 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

School Nurses Dealing With Overdose Epidemic, Too

A package of nasal naloxone, or Narcan, doses. The drug can reverse an opioid overdose in seconds, if used in time.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

School nurse teachers in Rhode Island say they need to have an opioid overdose rescue drug called Narcan on hand in schools. That’s one of several findings of a first-ever survey of school nurses about the use of opioids like prescription painkillers in schools and experiences with overdoses in schools. Overdose educator and University of Rhode Island pharmacy professor Jef Bratberg presented the findings. He says it’s not surprising that schools are affected.

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The Pulse
10:30 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Opioid Addiction Crisis Fuels Another: Hep C

Addiction usually leaves a wake of chaos, and all kinds of casualties - marriages, jobs, health. Most tragically, the current crisis of opioid addiction (to prescription painkillers and heroin) in Rhode Island has cost too many lives. Well over 160 Rhode Islanders have died from accidental opioid overdoses so far this year. Hundreds more might have joined them had it not been for the rescue drug naloxone.

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The Pulse
1:00 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Combat Ebola Fear With Knowledge; A Lesson From The AIDS Epidemic

Members of Rhode Island's Liberian community raise awareness on steps of statehouse.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Scan the headlines from around the country, and you might think the nation was under attack, that Ebola is stalking children in classrooms and on school buses, a stowaway on every flight, contaminating neighborhoods.

There’s no doubt of course that Ebola is a horrible, often deadly disease. Thousands of West Africans have been lost to it.

But fears about Ebola seem often unfounded, as they often did about AIDS.

Early AIDS fears
Consider the lead for this article by Judy Foreman in the Boston Globe, Sept. 1985:

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