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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Health Care
9:35 am
Mon March 23, 2015

Price Of Life Saving Anti-Overdose Medication Syrockets

A kit with two doses of naloxone. The drug can be injected in a muscle, or squirted up the nose of someone experiencing an overdose.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The price of naloxone, a drug that can reverse a drug overdose, has skyrocketed. That’s affecting efforts to prevent overdose deaths. Michelle MacKenzie runs an overdose prevention program at the Miriam Hospital. She says when her program started buying and distributing the injectable overdose rescue drug naloxone, in 2006, it cost about a dollar a vial. Today it’s $15 a vial.

“So if we had to pay $15 a vial, I mean, last year we distributed upwards of 800 kits, which is 1600 vials of naloxone. We would have been like, 200. I mean, think about that,” said MacKenzie.

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The Pulse
2:47 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Happy Match Day, Future Docs!

Today, medical students across the country found out where they'll be spending the next several years of their training, as a resident. It's called Match Day, and it's a celebration for many, the culmination of years of hard work.

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The Pulse
12:54 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Kids' Mental Health Hospitalizations Doubled Since Recession

From the EOHHS' latest Health Indicator Data Book, the graph shows what percent of all kids' hospitalizations was for mental health. It's basically doubled since the recession began.
Credit Executive Office of Health and Human Services

Since about 2007, the percent of all hospitalizations of kids 18 and under for a mental health reason has nearly doubled. According to state public health data, there have been a steady number of total hospitalizations - about 20,000 - for kids statewide. In 2002, the percent admitted for a mental disorder was between six and eight percent for kids with private insurance or Medicaid, and quite low for uninsured kids. Today it's between 10 and 12 percent across the board.

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The Pulse
3:53 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Tackling State-Federal Conflicts Over Medical Marijuana

Marijuana plant
Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

In the past few weeks, two medical marijuana patients in Rhode Island have faced legal problems arising from their use of the substance. The cases hinge on a conflict between federal and state laws. Now, new federal legislation seeks to address the problem.

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The Pulse
3:32 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

Experts To Brief Lawmakers On Hep C In RI; Cost Of Treatment Likely To Come Up During Budget Talks

Gilead Sciences' hepatitis C drug Sovaldi costs more than $80,000 for a full course of treatment. Gilead says it's justified because the drug has reportedly high cure rates.
Credit Gilead Sciences

Experts on hepatitis C will present to lawmakers next Tuesday about the disease and how to prevent its spread in the Ocean State. Their presentation comes as state officials look for ways to pay for the growing cost of hepatitis C medications.

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