rhode island department of health

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A law aimed at protecting children from unsafe levels of lead in their homes is working, according to a new study. But only when landlords comply with it.

The Rhode Island Department of Health's recent decision to grant approval, with 22 conditions, to CVS to open seven retail health clinics in pharmacies throughout Rhode Island came down in the form of a 43-page document. In my humble opinion, it's a well-written, even eloquent ode to the importance of primary care and the challenges of regulating health care in a state where for-profit health care is no longer around the corner but setting up shop on it.

Megan Hall / RIPR

The nation’s largest pharmacy chain has been given the green light to open seven retail health care clinics in Rhode Island. CVS pharmacies’ MinuteClinics would see patients for minor illnesses and perform some routine health screenings. But state health officials' approval comes with several conditions.

A statewide electronic health records program must be more transparent and offer patients more privacy protections. That’s the result of a suit brought by the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The critically-acclaimed documentary “Shored Up” will be playing at Brown University this evening.

The school’s Center for Environmental Studies and the Rhode Island Department of Health are sponsoring the movie screening and a panel discussion after the movie.

The documentary looks at how different coastal communities along the eastern seaboard are trying to deal with rising sea levels.

Policy and environmental science experts will sit on the panel, including the town planner of Westerly, where four natural disasters have hit in the past four years.

The state’s health department is considering updates to its immunization policy for school kids from preschool through college. The proposals would require flu shots for kids up to age five and the HPV vaccine for kids entering ninth grade.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

It was only a matter of time…

The flu is now widespread in Rhode Island.

That means there are outbreaks of the flu in more than half the state. It also kicks into effect a state requirement that health care professionals who have NOT been vaccinated wear surgical masks whenever they’re in contact with patients. The health department reports that flu-related hospitalizations are up as well.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

While the flu is now widespread in Massachusetts, it’s still sporadic in Rhode Island. But 16 Rhode Islanders have already been hospitalized, and officials expect the number of cases to spike.

Health department officials say so far there have been no flu deaths, but in past years flu has killed well over a hundred people in Rhode Island. They say one of this year’s dominant strains in Rhode Island and nationally is H1N1, but that’s also one of the strains this year’s vaccine protects against. 

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The Department of Health has a new report out on how many Rhode Islanders smoke. While the number of adult smokers has declined, nearly one in five Rhode Islanders still smokes.

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.