The Pulse

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The Pulse is written by Lynn Arditi.

Full archive of The Pulse can be found here.

Tick-borne diseases and the blood supply

Sep 5, 2012

Tomorrow morning (Thurs., Sept. 6) I’ll be joining our Morning Edition host Chuck Hinman to talk about the rising number of transfusion-acquired babesiosis infections.


Testing blood serum samples at Yale’s School of Public Health

Ticks, disease, and the environment

Sep 4, 2012

This week, we’re all about Block Island here on RIPR. It’s the focus of our annual “One Square Mile” series, where we bring you stories on a variety of angles about one particular part of Rhode Island. As we started exploring this beautiful island, it became clear to me that one of the biggest health stories is how ticks have come to be such a menace. So, I invite you to listen to the three stories I’ve reported about the problem:

How do we talk about obesity?

Aug 28, 2012

One of my first feature stories for Rhode Island Public Radio ran this morning during Morning Edition.(Listen here.) It’s about how a hospital realized its staff were dealing with more and more morbidly obese patients but still training on “standard issue” mannequins. So they asked a local puppet and mask maker, Big Nazo, to design something for them.

You don’t have to take out a loan or pack up your parents’ hatchback to attend college this fall. The University of Rhode Island’s 50th annual fall honors colloquium includes a season of free public lectures on health care policy and politics. The lectures take place at 7:30 pm throughout the season on URI’s Kingston campus, but if you can’t make it, they’ll be streamed live, too.

KHN breaks down Medicare cuts

Aug 21, 2012

Confused by that number you keep hearing from the candidates in connection with Medicare – $716 billion dollars? Who’s cutting what? Which side is right? Kaiser Health News‘ Mary Agnes Carey cuts through the campaign clutter for you with an excellent FAQ.

Comparison shopping for health care in RI

Aug 20, 2012

There are a few new tools out there for comparing and researching health care options in Rhode Island. I don’t recommend basing your decision solely on one of these web tools. I do recommend digging deeper and getting behind the rankings. But I think they might be a helpful starting place for some, especially if you’re looking for care for a loved one.

What’s the Plan for Whooping Cough?

Aug 17, 2012

I blogged earlier this summer about a pertussis (whooping cough) outbreak in Rhode Island and a growing number of cases throughout the country (see the latest from the RI Dept. of Health). There were some indications then that the vaccine was losing its efficacy. But that may not be the full picture.

Sorting through recent Medicare buzz

Aug 15, 2012

There’s a lot of buzz about Medicare, the nation’s health insurance program for seniors and the disabled, right now. I wonder how Rhode Island’s Medicare recipients are reading all of this. Confusion? Concern? Here are some of the stories I’ve been following and my best effort at sorting fact from fiction:

No Deal with Thundermist for Block Island Health Service

Aug 8, 2012

The Block Island Times reports that the island’s health center won’t be partnering with Thundermist, a partnership the health center hoped would help defray costs and boost resources. The news came, according to the BI Times, as a surprise to attendees of a recent town council meeting. BIHS is also reeling after losing its director suddenly – for reasons that aren’t yet public.

Good News for RI Health Businesses?

Aug 8, 2012

Perhaps.

Westerly Hospital is closer to being acquired by the CT-based nonprofit Lawrence & Memorial. That might provide some relief to the financially troubled hospital, which has been in receivership since late last year (see lots of great posts about that by my illustrious predecessor).

Focus on Safety-Net Hospitals

Aug 6, 2012

There’s an interesting new issue out of the journal Health Affairs about the many challenges facing the nation’s “safety net” health care providers (such as big urban hospitals and others providing a  lot of so-called “uncompensated care.”). But, according to the issue’s editor, there are other stories, too:

“Meanwhile, other articles in this issue delineate the great strides that many safety-net providers have made in system integration and care coordination—in essence, preparing themselves to be leaders in delivering care and managing population health.”

Breastfeeding Report Card: RI Behind the Curve

Aug 3, 2012

No pun intended. Well, OK, maybe a little bit intended.

But seriously, folks. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has published its 2012 breastfeeding report card for all 50 states. And Rhode Island seems to be making progress in some areas. But not all. We’re lagging behind on a few key measures. For example, the report shows that about 34% of Rhode Island babies were fed breast milk, exclusively, through the age of three months. The national average is 36%.

First, here’s how the CDC describes what the report aims to tell us and how states play a role:

Tough to get a doctor’s appointment?

Jul 31, 2012

Being new in town, I needed to find a primary care doctor for my daughter, who is almost 11 years old. I used my health insurance’s web site to find a list of providers. Every one I called said they weren’t taking new patients. I called pediatric specialists, family doctors. I called offices close to home, an hour away, and everywhere in between…to no avail.

Finally I found a walk-in clinic about an hour away that could at least update her immunizations and sign some paperwork for the new school she’ll attend at the end of August.

Olympic Medicine and Rhode Island Olympians

Jul 27, 2012

You might think a health care reporter wouldn’t have much interest in covering the Olympics. Think again! (Personally, I can’t wait for the opening ceremonies tonight.)


Thomas Hicks, during 1904 Olympic marathon

Hospital Prices and Payments, In Brief

Jul 26, 2012

This afternoon, I joined RIPR’s All Things Considered host Dave Fallon to talk about what’s happening with hospital prices and something called “payment reform.” You can listen to a recording of that discussion here.

For those of you who want to dig in to the issue, here are links to a few reports, studies, and articles I found helpful. Please feel free to let me know about others.

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