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
5:04 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Debating The Data On Medicaid Spending (Updated)

Is Rhode Island spending more than other states caring for the elderly? Or not enough?

(See update, below, plus a reminder: the final Reinvent Medicaid public town hall meeting is scheduled for tonight at 6 pm at the East Bay Family Health Center in Newport.)

That's a question that's come up for debate at the recent "Reinventing Medicaid" town hall meetings around the state, and in statements from groups with a stake in the outcome of Gov. Gina Raimondo's plans to trim nearly $180 million dollars in state (and federal) Medicaid spending.

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The Pulse
2:22 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

How Healthy Is Your County? Providence Needs Improvement.

Map ranking Rhode Island counties by health outcomes. The lighter colors represent better health outcomes.
Credit County Health Rankings 2015 / Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has released its annual County Health Rankings, and Rhode Island's counties (Providence in particular) seem to be faring worse than the national average on a few measures, and much better on a few, too.

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Health Care
9:35 am
Mon March 23, 2015

Price Of Life Saving Anti-Overdose Medication Skyrockets

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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