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
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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The Pulse
4:37 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Hep C: Who Gets New, Better Drugs, And Who Waits?

A few health care organizations are trying to grapple right now with the great news that, on the one hand, new hepatitis C treatments are more effective and more tolerable for patients; on the other, they're so expensive they can't figure out how to treat everyone who's infected. How expensive? $1000 a pill, one pill a day. One pill a day that doesn't make you sick is music to the ears of people who've been on the older treatments.

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The Pulse
1:55 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

The Warm Hand-Off

Doctors' offices and emergency departments sometimes struggle with how to help someone in active addiction. Where do you send them once they're stabilized? How do you talk to them about their addiction? Often they don't have the resources to arrange the next steps for these patients, and therein lies a missing link for addicts who seek medical help for one reason or another but don't get into treatment for the addiction that probably played a role in their seeking medical help in the first place.

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The Pulse
3:02 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Medical Education Adapts To New Needs In RI

RIC nursing students participate in a simulation.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island College announced a new graduate certificate program in nursing care management today. In a statement, the college explained what nurse care managers do and why they decided to offer this program now:

"Nurse care managers provide patient assessment, treatment planning, health care facilitation and advocacy within all health care settings, including private practices and hospitals.

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The Pulse
4:09 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

To Find Health Care Cost Savings, Follow The Money. Or Rather, The Data.

It's pretty basic: in order to save a little money, most people have to stick to a budget. But before you can sketch out that spending plan, you need to know where your money's been going and how much you've been spending on everything. Then you can look for places to trim and skimp.

So too goes the theory with health care spending. Or at least, that's the idea behind several new efforts:

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The Pulse
1:44 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Keeping The Spotlight On Overdose, Addiction

Several weeks ago, I wrote a blog post titled "Hearing Heroin Everywhere." If I were to rewrite that title today, it'd be "Hearing Narcan Everywhere." It seems the conversation has changed a bit from "Houston, we have a problem," to "Houston, how do we stop this thing?" But I'm confident most health care providers and people affected by addiction and overdose would agree that the fact that we're still having the conversation - publicly, in the media, in public forums, at city halls - is a good thing.

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Health Care
5:00 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Sorting Through Shifting Advice On Mammography

Mammogram showing a small lesion.
Credit National Institutes Of Health

Recently, the results of a study that followed Canadian women for 25 years cast some doubt on the value of mammography in helping to reduce deaths from breast cancer. Add to that news the recently updated recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that women should get a mammogram every other year from age 50 to 74, and you’ve got a recipe for confusion

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The Pulse
4:43 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

What's Next For HealthSource RI?

As you may know, today is the deadline for individuals and families to sign up for health insurance coverage through HealthSource RI, if you don't already have coverage. But what happens tomorrow?

Well, if you're an individual or a family without coverage now, and you can't get it through your employer or via Medicaid, you'll have to wait until the next open enrollment period, November 15, 2014. Also, you might face a tax penalty.

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The Pulse
2:30 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Hospital Infections Rise In Rhode Island

Progress report for Rhode Island on preventing hospital-acquired infections.
Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The CDC released an update today on the nation's and individual state's progress toward reducing the rate of infections acquired in hospitals. The headline, nationwide, is that we're making progress. In Rhode Island, not as much.

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The Pulse
12:53 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Match Day Sees More Primary Care Residencies

Students gather in the lobby of the Brown medical school building to learn their fates on Match Day 2014.
Credit David Orenstein / Brown University

Match Day was Friday for fourth year medical students around the country. It's an annual rite, the moment when students find out whether and where they'll be doing their residency. It's a big deal because where you do your residency matters on so many levels - from the number of years you'll spend there, to the quality of the doctors who train you, to the opportunities you'll have to deepen your specialty. And many residents end up staying where they train.

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