Health

Technology
6:34 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

'Holy Cow' And 'Kangaroo Court': Panel Grills HealthCare.gov Officials

Todd Park, U.S. chief technology officer, answers questions in a House Oversight Committee hearing about problems with the federal HealthCare.gov site. One Democrat on the committee called the hearing "a kangaroo court."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 6:46 pm

A House oversight hearing examining the troubled start of HealthCare.gov was contentious from the start Wednesday, as Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., sought to cut short the opening remarks of one of the first officials to speak, Frank Baitman, the deputy assistant secretary for Information Technology in the Department of Health and Human Services.

Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, asked Baitman to conclude his statement, noting that the panel's time was short. The interruption came as Baitman discussed the work of his agency to save taxpayers money.

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Health Care
10:34 am
Wed November 13, 2013

More People Enroll in Private Insurance Than in Medicaid in Connecticut

Connecticut is the only state in the country to have enrolled more people in private insurance than Medicaid. Above is a picture of the Access Health CT Enrollment Center in New Britain.
Credit CT Mirror

Connecticut is the only state that has so far enrolled more people in private insurance plans than Medicaid since open enrollment began on October 1. Access Health CT has signed up about 6,000 people in private plans, and about 4,700 in government-funded Medicaid coverage, according to the Associated Press.

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The Faith Middleton Show
1:00 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Do Dogs Love Us the Way We Love Them?

Credit saxcubano/flickr creative commons

From Faith Middleton: A neuroscientist has been working on decoding the canine brain, to answer the question of what dogs are thinking and feeling. So, do they love us the way we love them? Does a rescued dog understand you have rescued it, and feel grateful in a specific sense?

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Where We Live
8:00 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Access and Equity: Can We Get Affordable Care to All of Connecticut?

Last week we recorded the 2nd Health Equity Forum in the CPTV studios.
Credit Catie Talarski / WNPR

Last week, we recorded our second “Health Equity Forum” in collaboration with the Connecticut Health Foundation. In our first of these town halls, we began with these sobering statistics: In Connecticut, pregnant black women are 2x more likely to deliver a smaller baby early, black men are 2x more likely to die of prostate cancer than white men, with overall life expectancy for black men significantly shorter than for their white peers.

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Disaster relief
11:38 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Stamford-Based Americares on the Ground in the Philippines

An estimated 10,000 people in the Philippines were killed by Super Typhoon Haiyan. Americares' Garrett Ingoglia says his organization will be providing relief to survivors for "weeks, possibly months"
Credit Erik DeCastro / Reuters

Stamford-based Americares has sent a relief team to the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. The non-profit disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization said days before the typhoon reached landfall, Americares stockpiled relief supplies in the Philippines in anticipation. 

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Disaster Relief
7:40 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Aid Groups Struggle To Reach Survivors Of Typhoon Haiyan

Military personnel from the U.S. and the Philippines unload relief goods at the Tacloban airport, Nov. 11, 2013. Some reports estimate that 10,000 people may have died in the city of Tacloban.
Ted Aljibe AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 8:08 am

Aid agencies are scrambling to try to get water and food to people in the Philippines who've been left homeless or injured by Typhoon Haiyan.

But reaching some of the areas ravaged by the intense storm is proving difficult. Even when aid can make it onto the islands, it's still not clear what supplies are needed the most.

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Guns
1:50 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Movies Rated PG-13 Feature The Most Gun Violence

Gun violence has become increasingly common in PG-13 movies like The Avengers, released in 2012.
Zade Rosenthal AP

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 1:33 pm

Parents who rely on movie ratings to decide what their children can watch may think that PG-13 films have fewer villains flashing guns than R-rated movies.

But they're wrong.

The PG-13 movies actually show more gun violence, a study finds.

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Veterans' Day
8:55 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Homeless Veteran's Makeover Goes Viral: VIDEO

Jim Wolf of Grand Rapids, Mich. The Army veteran was transformed for a video that the maker hopes will convince people to look at the homeless differently.
Screen grabs from the RobBlissCreative video

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 9:18 am

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Health Care
3:18 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Self-Employed And With Lots Of Questions About Health Care

Illustration by Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 2:36 pm

The health care exchanges may be open, but there's no question they're still kind of a mess.

"The rollout has been excruciatingly awful for way too many people," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius conceded to the Senate Finance Committee last week.

But mess or not, the law is going forward, people are trying to use it, and they have questions. Here are some of yours, and our answers.

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Obamacare
4:00 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Malloy Says Federal Health Care Woes Keeping Connecticut Down

A new storefront in New Britain for Access Health CT.
Credit Jeff Cohen/WNPR

At a press conference announcing a new retail health insurance storefront, Governor Dannel Malloy called the rollout of Obamacare in Connecticut a success. But the Democrat said problems with the federal health care website have hurt the state's enrollment.

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Medical Education
7:51 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Medical Students in New Haven Learn How to Deliver Bad News

Periods of silence between doctor and patient can be a sign of respect and care.
Credit National Cancer Institute

Students at the Yale School of Medicine spent time last week delivering bad news to patients. Their task was grim: one student told a woman she had breast cancer while another broke the news to a professional athlete that he blew out his knee and would never play football again.

Except there was one catch. The patients were actors, responding in real time to medical students as part of a "bad news" seminar aimed at teaching the skills of patient-centered interviewing

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The Faith Middleton Show
12:52 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Neuroscience: How Mindfulness Increases Well-Being

Credit Toshimasa Ishibashi/flickr creative commons

From Faith Middleton: Neuroscientists are verifying that practicing mindful awareness promotes neuroplasticity in the human brain, activating the “resonance” circuit that leads to a greater sense of well-being.

Renowned mindfulness teacher Dr. Jack Kornfield explains how mindfulness works quickly to transform neural circuits, enhance inner and interpersonal attunement, and deepen the capacity for empathy and lovingkindness.

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Affordable Care Act
7:52 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Call Centers Got Big Deals Under Health Law, But How Big?

Do you have questions about the bronze plan?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 5:08 am

Before the Affordable Care Act was even open for enrollment, Viviana Alvarado was already taking calls from people who wanted to know more.

She and about 40 of her colleagues are staffing the phones for Maximus, the company Connecticut has contracted to run its call center.

The government contractors running the troubled HealthCare.gov website have been under intense scrutiny in the past month, but those businesses aren't the only ones being paid to rollout Obamacare.

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Health Care Reform
5:20 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Sweeping Changes to Health Care Delivery Disturb Patient Advocates

A patient has his blood pressure measured.
Credit Lipothymia / Creative Commons

It's no secret to say that health care has been undergoing radical change in this country. But what's less well-known is that the state of Connecticut is going beyond the current changes in the Affordable Care Act to address the way we deliver care and pay for medical services. And some consumer advocates are disturbed by the results.

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Connecticut Health I-Team
9:31 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Hospitals Show Financial Gains, But Smaller Facilities Struggle

MidState Medical Center.
Credit Paul Wnek / Creative Commons

Connecticut’s acute-care hospitals ended the last fiscal year in slightly better financial health than in the prior year, with just five of 30 hospitals reporting losses, according to a new state report. 

Data filed with the state Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) shows that six hospitals had operating losses in the 2012 fiscal year – the same number as in 2011, but fewer than in 2010. When non-operating gains and losses are included, five hospitals had negative total margins, or deficits – down from eight in 2011.

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Pingless In Hartford
1:14 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Federal Data Hub Vital for Health Care Enrollment Crashes (Again), Then Recovers

The federal data hub used to verify application information for customers searching for health insurance crashed for the second time this week.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons, rfranklinaz

Update 2:37 pm: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) informed Access Health CT that the outage has been addressed and the system is again operating normally.

1:14 pm: The federal data hub that verifies information for Connecticut residents seeking health care coverage crashed for the second time this week. That meant state customers who were enrolling for health coverage couldn't complete the process. 

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Where We Live
8:31 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Trick or Treat: Battling Childhood Obesity

Dr. Ann Ferris
Chion Wolf

It’s Halloween. Do you know what your kids are eating? Is this one of the few days of the year where maybe it’s okay for kids to have a little bit of candy, or are you one of those parents who skips the treats altogether and hands out toys or toothbrushes instead?!

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Trick or Treat
3:58 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Why Are Kids Who Get Less Candy Happier On Halloween?

Kids might be more satisfied if they get one good treat instead of one good treat and one lesser treat.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 11:03 am

What makes trick-or-treaters happy is candy. And more candy is better, right?

Well, it turns out that might not actually be the case. A few years ago researchers did a study on Halloween night where some trick-or-treaters were given a candy bar, and others were given the candy bar and a piece of bubble gum.

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Affordable Care Act
5:31 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Insurance Cancellations Elbow Out Website Woes At Health Hearing

Marilyn Tavenner was the first Obama administration official to testify before Congress about the troubled launch of HealthCare.gov.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 7:57 pm

When the head of the agency responsible for the troubled Healthcare.gov went before Congress for the first time since its foibles became apparent Oct. 1, she probably didn't expect that many questions would be on something else altogether.

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Where We Live
12:00 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Campus Sexual Assault, Focus on UConn

Jacqueline Rabe-Thomas
Chion Wolf

This hour, we talk about sexual assault on college campuses, following the federal discrimination complaint against UConn. Seven students are alleging that the school failed to protect them. President Susan Herbst responded, saying “The suggestion that the University of Connecticut, as an institution, would somehow be indifferent to or dismissive of any report of sexual assault is astonishingly misguided and demonstrably untrue.”

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Health Care
4:33 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Federal Data Crash Hits Access Health CT

Credit Jason T. Poplin

Connecticut’s health care marketplace is back in business after problems caused by the failure of a federal data hub. The storm of controversy over the federal healthcare exchange has largely left state exchanges like Connecticut’s untouched. Until this weekend.

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Survival
3:48 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Eeek, Snake! Your Brain Has A Special Corner Just For Them

Illustration by Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 5:17 pm

Anthropologist Lynne Isbell was running through a glade in central Kenya in 1992 when something suddenly caused her to freeze in her tracks. "I stopped just in front of a cobra," she says. "It was raised with its hood spread out."

Isbell, who is at the University of California, Davis, says she has spent the past couple of decades trying to understand how she could have reacted before her conscious brain even had a chance to think — cobra!

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Where We Live
7:03 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Organ Donation: Providing Life After Death

Caitlyn Bernabucci, LifeChoice Donor Services
Chion Wolf WNPR

Every day, around 80 people receive organ transplants in the U.S. But an average of 18 people die daily due to a shortage of much-needed organs, like kidneys, livers, hearts and lungs, even corneas.

One body donor can impact the lives of more than 50 people.

This hour, a conversation on organ donation and transplantation. Do you have personal experience with organ donation? Are you a donor or recipient? Why did you choose to be a donor? 

GUESTS: 

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Elder Veteran Care
9:15 am
Sun October 27, 2013

Elderly Veterans Must Move After VA Mistake

Some elderly veterans in Connecticut may not want to move out of a place they've called home for several years, said a Congressional delegation.
Credit SSgt Brittany Jones / Creative Commons

An audit found a big mistake by the VA Connecticut Healthcare System. Twenty-three veterans in Connecticut have been living at retirement homes, and the VA has been paying for them to reside there. But according to the VA, it's only authorized to pay for skilled nursing care. Retirement homes or assisted living facilities are not covered.

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Patience for Patients
8:51 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Murphy Urges Patience for Insurance Enrollment

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy on WNPR's "Where We Live" in 2012.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Despite technical problems plaguing the rollout of the Affordable Care Act nationwide, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy said the launch in Connecticut has gone better than expected.

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Technology
7:03 am
Thu October 24, 2013

What's A 'Glitch,' Anyway? A Brief Linguistic History

Not all glitches are unintentional and problematic. Glitch art introduces, on purpose, digital typos that would otherwise be edited out in an image.
Kevin Wong Flickr

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 11:01 am

HealthCare.gov, the faulty website where people can sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, has become nearly synonymous with the word "glitch" — sometimes defensively, sometimes mockingly.

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Medicine
8:16 am
Wed October 23, 2013

High Rate of C-Sections Cited as "an Epidemic"

Credit Salim Fadhley / Creative Commons

One out of every three women gives birth by Cesarean-section in the United States today. That's up from one in five women in 1996, and one in 20 women in 1970. In a new book, Cut It Out, Trinity College Professor Theresa Morris calls this an "epidemic." 

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Violence Against Women
7:50 am
Wed October 23, 2013

UConn Conference Looks at a Global Issue: Violence Against Women

The United Nations calls violence against women a "global epidemic."
Credit Say No--Unite / Creative Commons

The University of Connecticut held a day-long conference on Violence Against Women on Tuesday. The gathering came just a day after seven women filed a federal discrimination complaint against the school, claiming they were victims of sexual assaults while students at UConn.

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Mental Health
8:06 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Malloy Announces Initiatives Aimed at Children and Teens

Governor Malloy announced a Safe Schools/Healthy Students award to encourage school districts to decrease youth violence while promoting healthy child development.
Credit Office of Governor Dannel Malloy

Governor Malloy announced three new initiatives that will make it easier for families to access mental health services, and to provide better identification and intervention for children and teens with mental health issues. 

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Technology
7:40 am
Tue October 22, 2013

How Long Do They Really Have To Fix That Obamacare Website?

The mood wasn't sunny at the White House Rose Garden on Monday, as President Obama addressed the errors plaguing the computer system for health insurance enrollment.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 8:06 pm

They've got a few weeks.

But if federal officials can't get the new online insurance marketplace running smoothly by mid-November, the problems plaguing the three-week-old website could become a far bigger threat to the success of the health law, hampering enrollment and fueling opponents' calls to delay implementation, analysts say.

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