RIPR health care reporter Kristin Gourlay joined host Dave Fallon in the studio to talk about what United Healthcare's recent decision to drop several hundred doctors from its Medicare Advantage plan means for the 36,0000 or so Rhode Islanders in that plan. Following is a transcript of their conversation, and a link to listen.

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and Health Department director Michael Fine have sent a letter to the CEO of United Healthcare New England expressing their concern over the insurer’s dropping of dozens of doctors from its managed Medicare plan in the state. They want United to reinstate doctors until they submit a plan to handle the transition.

Association of American Medical Colleges

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has released state-by-state profiles of the physician workforce for 2012. And in Rhode Island, here are the highlights (see the full profile here):

The Waiting Room project

Last night I watched the beautifully crafted documentary "The Waiting Room." It captures 24 hours in a single hospital's waiting room, following the stories of a diverse cast of patients and staff. There's no narration except how the characters tell their own stories and how those weave into the larger story this documentary tells.

Wikimedia Commons

United Healthcare has notified an unknown number of Rhode Island doctors that they’re being cut from its Medicare Advantage plan network. The news comes during Medicare’s open enrollment period and could affect thousands of senior citizens in the Ocean State.

You may have heard about United Healthcare's decision to cut a number of doctors from its Medicare Advantage plan in Rhode Island and some surrounding states. That means that, for some seniors, their doctor may no longer be considered "in network" - and, therefore, no longer affordable for some, since "out of network" doctor visits cost more.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Westerly Hospital has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice over agreements it made with doctors not to compete for business. Westerly officials haven’t admitted wrongdoing, but the hospital’s arrangement with doctors may have contributed to higher patient costs.

For the first time, Rhode Island’s insurance commissioner has directed health insurers to disclose what they pay for health care services. But that information won’t necessarily be directly available to patients.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Throughout the school year, we've been following two bright, young, future doctors. Now, we're wrapping up the journey with a one-hour documentary about the crucible of medical school, set against the backdrop of some of the most dramatic changes in health care in a generation. Listen to the full hour or individual segments online, below, or download and listen on the go.

Dr. Stanley Aronson on the Future Docs of America

May 15, 2013

As we celebrate the conclusion of our school-year-long series "Future Docs," guest blogger Dr. Stanley M. Aronson reflects on how far medical education has come since he entered the field 70 years ago.

A bill that would protect doctors from legal action if they tell their patients they’re sorry has been filed once again in the General Assembly. The bill faces an uphill battle.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jan 30, 2013

Things are better in Providence, but there is still work to be done. Ousted head of RIPTA, Charles Odimgbe gets $130,000 as part of a severance package.  These stories and more on the RIPR Morning News Podcast.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.

Brown University's medical school plans to launch a new program for medical students who want to focus on primary care. The program also aims to boost the number of primary care doctors in Rhode Island.

A new study in the Annals of Family Medicine projects the country will need about 52,000 more primary care doctors by 2025. The study’s authors calculated that we currently have about 206,000.They based their projections on the number of patients primary care docs currently see in office visits per year, and how many might be expected based on how much our population is set to grow, how much more an aging population will need primary care, and how many people will have access to a primary care doctor for the first time as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

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.