Rhode Islanders go to the polls in less than a week. Their choices, the state’s new leaders, will have to contend with the state’s budget shortfall. A huge chunk of that budget goes to health care.
So, as part of our Rhody Votes ’14 coverage, Rhode Island Public Radio health care reporter Kristin Gourlay asks some of the state’s top health care stakeholders what steps those newly elected leaders can take to help.
A union representing thousands of nurses in Rhode Island released the results of a member survey about hospital preparedness on Monday. About 360 members responded. And the union says half said they hadn’t received any formal communications about Ebola preparations from their hospitals. 92 percent said they weren’t sure whether they had – or didn’t have - the proper equipment to protect themselves. But hospitals say they’re doing all they can to keep workers safe.
The transmission of Ebola to two Texas nurses has raised concern among health care workers nationwide. And there are concerns as well in Rhode Island.
Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Nurses Association, Donna Policastro, says Rhode Island nurses are worried but well prepared for a potential Ebola outbreak. Policastro says the situation in Dallas has given nurses and hospital officials more reason to plan than panic.
Rhode Island health officials are waiting to find out if enterovirus D68 has hit the Ocean State. The virus has been confirmed in 18 states so far, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health officials in Connecticut confirmed the first case there earlier this week.
That’s the closest state to Rhode Island to have any confirmed cases of the virus, though the Rhode Island Department of Health says it’s seen increases in respiratory problems in emergency rooms across the state.
In the first 9 weeks of this year, 55 Rhode Islanders have died from apparent drug overdoses. Overdose has been the number one cause of accidental death in Rhode Island since 2008, but the problem has been drawing more attention in recent days because of the surprising number of deaths this year alone. Rhode Island Public Radio health care reporter Kristin Gourlay has been at work on a documentary about drug overdose and addiction since well before the flood of recent headlines.
The federal government is edging closer to a government shutdown. President Barack Obama said he'll veto legislation coming out of the House that delays much of the Affordable Care Act for a year. Over in the Democratic-run Senate, it has passed legislation preventing the shutdown and leaving Obamacare untouched. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay sat down with Rhode Island’s senior senator Jack Reed to talk about what could be done to avoid a shutdown.
Women and Infant’s Hospital held a party for four year olds Sunday.
Janessa Padella is a perfectly normal three year old with curly brown hair and big brown eyes. But when she was born in 2009 she weighed just 14 ounces. She was the smallest of the premature baby class of 2009 invited to Women and Infant’s Hospital yesterday for a birthday party. Only children who weighed less than two pounds, 12 ounces were invited.
Janessa’s mother, Vannesa Rodriguez, remembers the terror she felt that she might lose her severely underdeveloped child.
Nurses need a place at the table as the nation reshapes its healthcare landscape. That’s according to Dr. Susan Hassmiller, the senior advisor for nursing for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Hassmiller has been touring the state this week, discussing the future of nursing.
She said because of the economy, older nurses are working longer, making it harder for recent graduates to land a job. Hassmiller applauds Rhode Island for helping nursing students with its state-wide residency.
The Miriam Hospital has officially announced the opening of its new Kidney Stone Center.
The center had a quiet opening a few months ago, but now The Miriam Hospital is letting the rest of Rhode Island know that its new center combines specialists such as urologists and dietitians to take a comprehensive approach for treating kidney stones.
Kidney stones are crystallized pieces of material that form in the kidney. Their size ranges from granular to the size of a pearl, and are often painful as they pass through the urinary tract.
HealthSourceRI, the effort to implement Obamacare in Rhode Island, has hired former state Department of Health spokeswoman Dara Chadwick as its director of communications.
According to a statement, Chadwick "will serve as the primary media contact for HealthSourceRI and will play a key role in public outreach and education efforts around the newly-launched marketplace. She will also have a role in shaping policy for the new entity." HealthSourceRI plans to begin open enrollment on October 1.