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.

Brown University hosts a forum Tuesday on legalizing marijuana. The event will feature doctors and researchers with perspective on the health effects of marijuana. Other experts will discuss public safety issues and the cost of regulating and taxing marijuana.

The forum comes as Rhode Island lawmakers consider once again whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Proponents say it will make marijuana sales safer and reduce unnecessary jail time. Opponents point to the adverse health effects of marijuana, including the potential for addiction.

As Gov. Gina Raimondo's "Reinvent Medicaid" task force rockets toward the finish line, having recently spelled out more details about how the group recommends finding nearly $90 million dollars in savings from the program, they bring with them plenty of vocal feedback from health care stakeholders around the state. One hospital system, Care New England, has been a more dominant voice at the table, with the group's leader, Dennis Keefe, co-chairing the task force. The voice of the state's largest hospital system, Lifespan, has been less audible.

Members of Gov. Gina Raimondo's Reinvent Medicaid task force huddled for hours Wednesday to go over nearly three dozen initiatives designed to save Medicaid money. Their goal: find $90 million dollars in savings for Medicaid, the state's medical assistance program for the poor.

Here's a run down of where the effort is headed, straight from the fourth floor board room at CCRI in Warwick, where the meeting was held.

As anticipated, the biggest savings are projected to come from institutional health care providers.

In honor of Donate Life month (a yearly celebration of organ donors and recipients), I thought I'd offer a few suggestions for helping someone else lead a healthy life in Rhode Island, including how to donate organs and tissue.

But first, some facts:

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the trend in smoking traditional cigarettes among teens is down. That's great news on many levels. But as traditional cigarette smoking has declined, the use of electronic cigarettes has tripled over the past few years.

Wondering whether to worry? Or even what the heck an e-cigarette actually is? I've been combing the latest research to help answer those questions.

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