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.

photo by Megan Hall

Consolidation is the name of the health care game right now – but is it good for patients?

Let's review what's in the works in our state right now:

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Veterans seeking care at the Providence VA can now sign up for acupuncture treatments. It’s just one of several new alternative medical therapies offered at the VA to try to address pain and mental health. 

Cynthia Goldsmith / CDC

The spread of Zika virus may have come as a surprise to some. But not to Julia Gold. The Rhode Island Department of Health’s climate change expert speaks with Rhode Island Public Radio’s Kristin Gourlay for this week’s The Pulse about the future of mosquito and other vector-borne diseases and how the state can prepare and respond. 


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

With the recent suspected outbreaks at an elementary school in Coventry and, now, Wright's Farm restaurant in Burrillville, you might be wondering what's going on. But norovirus is one of the most common stomach bugs. Here are a few facts to put things in perspective.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

There’s a good chance your doctor is working towards creating something called a patient-centered medical home. It’s designed to offer patients more coordination and convenience. But can it make patients healthier?

Kaiser Family Foundation

It's no surprise that politicians play fast and loose with the facts and terms that support their positions. But health care seems to get so jargon-y, so vague in the mouths of candidates it's laughable. So here are the results of my modest attempt to translate just a couple of the leading candidates' proposals into everyday language, with some possible consequences if implemented. In alphabetical order:

Atisha Kadampa Buddhist Center

Hospitals and doctors have made a concerted effort to control their patients’ pain over the past 10 years. That’s led, in part, to epidemic rates of painkiller and heroin addiction. On this week’s The Pulse, we hear from Buddhist teacher Kyle Davis about a different approach to pain and suffering.

Cynthia Goldsmith / CDC

More countries are reporting person-to-person transmission of the Zika virus. And the FDA has just recommended that people returning from Zika-affected areas postpone donating blood for four weeks. Those are just some of the updates about a virus that's leaving more questions than answers.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Concerns are growing about the spread of the Zika virus to the United States. And while the mosquito that carries the virus is primarily found in the southern U.S., the impacts of Zika are already being felt in our region. That’s the focus of The Pulse this week.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s drug overdose epidemic has not abated. But there has been some progress in marshaling more resources to fight it. The General Assembly recently reinstated the Good Samaritan law, which protects people who call 911 for someone who’s overdosing. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Hundreds of Rhode Islanders have died from drug overdoses this year – a number that has barely budged from last year, despite numerous state and other efforts to stop it. One of Governor Raimondo’s initiatives was to convene a task force to tackle this crisis. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A new General Assembly session is underway, and already the House and Senate are casting votes on critical issues. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Kristin Gourlay has been checking in with leaders in both bodies to find out what their health care legislation priorities are. 

US Dept. of Health and Human Services / Food and Drug Administration

Rhode Islanders who want to follow the federal government’s new dietary guidelines may find it a challenge, especially when it comes to sugar. Here’s why.

The guidelines recommend you limit your daily intake of added sugar – ingredients like corn syrup or fructose, not normally found in fresh food – to 10 percent.

(Scroll down for survey)

A new legislative session has begun. And that means health committees on both sides of the General Assembly will no doubt be filling up calendars with legislation to consider. What should be on those calendars? What matters to you? What needs fixing? What was left undone last year but should be tackled again this year? Do some laws need updating, tweaking?

Christophe Dang Ngoc Chan / Wikimedia Commons

Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I like to tie up loose ends before the first of January. What didn't I get to? How can I plan ahead to make it happen in the new year?