rhode island department of health

Looking For More Asthma Resources?

Aug 19, 2014

Here are a few asthma resources in the community to help you or a loved one manage your asthma. Did you know you can attend classes to learn more about managing your or your child's asthma, arrange a home visit to help reduce triggers where you live, and more - often for free?

Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Island’s health department has started tracking the number of prescriptions written for opioid painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin. Agency head Dr. Michael Fine says that’s because those drugs are addictive. And four out of five people who use heroin got started on prescription painkillers. In July, he says, 118,000 Rhode Islanders got prescriptions for opioid painkillers.

Ebola In RI? Not Likely. But We're Ready Anway.

Aug 12, 2014

Rhode Island health department officials do not expect to see any Ebola cases in the state. But they’re preparing anyway.

Rhode Island’s health department director Dr. Michael Fine says his agency knows how to handle an infectious disease outbreak. And one of the first lines of defense against Ebola includes health care workers and hospitals.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure that everyone understands what they have to do should a traveler come here from an endemic area," said Fine.

Home Visiting Program Aims To Prevent Child Abuse

Aug 6, 2014

The state health department has announced more funding for a home visiting program for families and children at risk. The Healthy Families America program aims to prevent child maltreatment before it starts.                                                        

A program designed to help Rhode Island's older adult population prepare for climate change threats is one of several projects that will receive federal money as part of the state's disaster recovery action plan.  This program will receive $150,000 over the next two years.

Bart Everson / Flickr

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.

MinuteClinics And The Future Of Primary Care

May 15, 2014

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.

CVS Gets Green Light To Open Retail Clinics In RI

May 15, 2014
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.

CurrentCare Must Spell Out How To Change, Remove Records

Apr 22, 2014

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.

Should Flu & HPV Shots Be Required For School Kids?

Jan 28, 2014

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.

Flu Now Officially Widespread In RI

Jan 8, 2014
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.

Flu Spreads In Rhode Island, Hospitalizations Increase

Dec 31, 2013
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. 

RI Smoking Rates Down, But Costs Still High

Nov 19, 2013
Wikimedia Commons

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.

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