health care

Hospital Deal
1:25 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Connecticut, Tenet Agree to Renew Talks for Hospital Deal

Credit vichie81/iStock / Thinkstock

Tenet Healthcare said it is open to resuming talks with the state of Connecticut over its failed deal to buy five hospitals. The company pulls no punches in its response to Governor Dannel Malloy’s invitation.

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Health Care
3:34 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Senator 'Astounded' That Nonprofit Hospitals Sue Poorest Patients

Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, Mo., is changing its name to Mosaic Life Care. It was the focus of an NPR and ProPublica investigation into its billing practices.
Steve Hebert for ProPublica

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 2:11 pm

NPR and ProPublica have been reporting about nonprofit hospitals that seize the wages of lower-income and working-class patients. Now, Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says hospitals could be breaking the law by suing these patients and docking their pay. And he wants some answers.

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Health Insurance
2:59 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Tax Preparers Get Ready To Be Bearers Of Bad News About Health Law

Lou Graham prepares taxes in Connecticut and is ready to answer client questions about the Affordable Care Act.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 4:17 pm

Are you thinking about tax day yet? Your friendly neighborhood tax preparer is. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen declared this tax season one of the most complicated ever, partly because this is the first year that the Affordable Care Act will show up on your tax form.

Tax preparers from coast to coast are trying to get ready. Sue Ellen Smith manages an H&R Block office in San Francisco, and she is expecting things to get busy soon.

"This year taxes and health care intersect in a brand-new way," Smith says.

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Disease
9:47 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Diabetes Takes Disproportionate Toll on Hispanics and Blacks in Connecticut

Diabetes continues to be a disease prevalent within minority, immigrant, and, urban communities.
Oscar Annermarken Creative Commons

Connecticut’s diabetes rate ranks lower than the national average, but Hispanics and African-Americans are more than twice as likely to have the disease compared with their white neighbors, and are at greater risk of dying from diabetes-related causes.

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Ebola
9:00 am
Tue January 13, 2015

Massachusetts Doctor Who Survived Ebola Returning To Africa

Dr. Rick Sacra and his wife Debbie discuss his plans to return to Liberia where he was infected with Ebola last August. Sacra was cured and is now immune to the disease

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 6:13 pm

The Massachusetts doctor who was cured of the deadly Ebola virus is going to return later this week to West Africa to work in the missionary hospital where he was infected.             

 Four months after he was declared Ebola-free, and with his strength and stamina now back, Dr. Rick Sacra will leave Thursday for Liberia, where he had spent much of the last two decades working for a missionary organization.

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Hospital Consolidation
4:39 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

State Senate Leaders Raise Hopes for Tenet Deal

The Connecticut State Capitol.
Credit Mamata.mulay / Wikimedia Commons

Leaders in the state senate say there may be hope of reviving the Tenet Healthcare deal to buy five Connecticut hospitals.

The Texas-based hospital company pulled out of the partnerships after the state’s Office of Healthcare Access specified unacceptable conditions for a deal involving Waterbury Hospital. 

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Massachusetts
2:21 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Head Of MA Health Connector Stepping Down

Jean Yang speaking at BMC's Cancer Center in Pittsfield, Mass. in Oct. 2014. Yang is stepping down as executive director of the Massachusetts Health Connector Jan. 16.

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 4:26 pm

The head of the Massachusetts health connector is stepping down after a tumultuous year in which the state's health care exchange failed and was later rebuilt.

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Cassandra C
8:57 am
Wed January 7, 2015

Connecticut Court to Hear Case of Teen Refusing Chemotherapy

Connecticut Supreme Court in Hartford.
Diane Orson WNPR

The Connecticut Supreme Court will decide whether state officials were right to force a 17-year-old girl to undergo chemotherapy against her and her mother's wishes. 

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Hospital Errors
9:07 am
Tue January 6, 2015

Connecticut Hospital Reports Of Surgical, Medication Errors Climb

c-hit.org

Connecticut hospitals reported record numbers of patients killed or seriously injured by hospital errors in 2013, with large increases in the numbers of falls, medication mistakes and perforations during surgical procedures, a new state report shows.

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Affordable Care Act
11:58 am
Tue December 30, 2014

Hospitals Win In States That Chose To Expand Medicaid

When the Affordable Care Act passed, many people focused on the law's creation of marketplaces to help the uninsured buy coverage, often with the help of federal subsidies.

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Birth Control
11:36 am
Tue December 30, 2014

Ethiopians Seeking Birth Control: Caught Between Church And State

Participants sing during a wedding ceremony at Bole Medhane Alem (Savior of the World) Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It's Africa's largest Orthodox church, and its message on contraceptive devices is clear: not permitted.
Allison Shelley for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 2:16 pm

Her head draped with thin white fabric in the Ethiopian Orthodox tradition, Konjit walked to the stately entrance to the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa. But the soft-spoken 26-year-old did not go inside to pray because of her "sin." Days before, she had had an abortion; she had become pregnant after her birth control failed.

Like many women in Ethiopia, Konjit felt caught between two powerful forces when making decisions about reproductive health: the church and the state [note: we are using only her first name to protect her privacy].

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Breastfeeding
9:30 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Breastfeeding Rates on the Rise, as Mother-Baby Support Systems Expand in Connecticut

Amy Devoe breastfeeds Zoe, five months.
Kathleen Schassler

Candid online posts describing the challenges of breastfeeding fill the Facebook page of Breastfeeding USA’s Connecticut chapter. The daily stream of anecdotes, questions and comments alternate in tone from exasperated to celebratory.

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Affordable Care Act
3:34 am
Mon December 29, 2014

A Split View On Obamacare's Past And Future

Kevin Counihan (left) runs HealthCare.gov, and Michael Cannon, of the Cato Institute, is a prominent critic of Obamacare.
Courtesy of Chion Wolf/WNPR ; Courtesy of the Cato Institute

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 10:05 am

Kevin Counihan and Michael Cannon look at the Affordable Care Act and see very different things.

Cannon is part of the brain trust behind a Supreme Court case that could result in the repeal of a part of the exchanges he says is illegal.

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Health Insurance
9:51 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Kevin Counihan Says Affordable Care Act Shares Fundamentals With State Exchange

Kevin Counihan announcing his departure from Access Health CT earlier this year.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

Kevin Counihan began 2014 as the head of Connecticut's health care marketplace under the Affordable Care Act. Now, he's the head of the entire federal Obamacare effort. WNPR checked in with him recently.

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Supreme Court
8:50 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Obama Administration Downplays Court Challenge To Health Law

Elisa Carrero assists Julian Gauiria, of Paterson, N.J., with enrollment in the health insurance exchange in November. Signups continue to be brisk, health officials say.
Tyson Trish North Jersey/Landov

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 10:24 am

This time last year, federal officials were scrambling to get as many people enrolled in health insurance through HealthCare.gov as they could before the start of the program on Jan. 1.

Now, with the technical problems mostly fixed, they're facing a different problem: the possibility that the Supreme Court might rule that the subsidies that help people afford coverage are illegal in the 37 states where the federal government is running the program.

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Health Care
10:27 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Gov. Malloy Sees No Possibility of Saving Tenet Deal

Gov. Dannel Malloy in a WNPR file photo.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy has closed the door on a purchase of Waterbury Hospital and four other non-profit hospitals in Connecticut by Dallas, Texas-based Tenet Healthcare Corporation. 

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Medical Bills
5:03 am
Fri December 19, 2014

When Nonprofit Hospitals Sue Their Poorest Patients

Keith Herie is swamped in debt from medical issues he and his wife encountered starting about a decade ago. Heartland hospital is seizing 10 percent of his paycheck and 25 percent of his wife's wages, and has placed a lien on their home.
Steve Hebert for ProPublica

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 10:13 am

On the eastern edge of St. Joseph, Mo., lies the small city's only hospital, a landmark of modern brick and glass buildings. Everyone in town knows Heartland Regional Medical Center — many residents gave birth to their children here. Many rush here when they get hurt or sick.

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Public Health
8:56 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Does a New Surgeon General Mean a New Conversation About Guns?

Dr. Vivek Murthy testifies at a hearing before the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, February 4, 2014, on the matter of Murthy's nomination to the office of Surgeon General of the United States.
United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
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Insurance
5:13 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

State Officials Pleased With Affordable Care Act Enrollment Numbers

Jim Wadleigh, executive director of Access Health CT.
Credit Twitter

This is the second year of open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act. The state said it has nearly exceeded its goals. 

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Hospitals
5:56 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Waterbury Hospital CEO Calls on Gov. Malloy to Help Salvage Tenet Deal

Darlene Stromstad, CEO of Waterbury Hospital.
Credit Waterbury Hospital

Five hospitals in Connecticut are contemplating their next steps after Texas-based Tenet Healthcare withdrew a bid to buy the hospitals last week.

The CEO of one of the biggest hospitals in the failed deal said they're now looking to Hartford for help. 

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White House
7:31 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

The U.S. Has A Surgeon General, For The First Time In 17 Months

More than a year after he was nominated, Dr. Vivek Murthy was confirmed as the next surgeon general Monday. Back in February, Murthy testified about his nomination before a Senate panel.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 7:14 pm

A job that's been open in President Obama's administration since July of 2013 was finally filled Monday, as the Senate voted to confirm Vivek Murthy as America's new surgeon general.

The tally was 51-43, ending a confirmation process that began after Obama nominated Murthy to the post in November of 2013 — yes, that's one year ago.

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Mental Health
3:08 pm
Sun December 14, 2014

When Focusing on Academics, Not Emotional Health, Isn't Enough

Sarah Eagan, Connecticut's child advocate, in a WNPR file photo.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

It’s been two years since a gunman killed his mother at home and then opened fire at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20 first-graders, six educators, and himself.

But experts are still hashing out just how parents and educators should handle children like Adam Lanza. 

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Substance Abuse
9:29 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Yale Study Considers Treating Addiction as Chronic Disease

Credit Mark Wragg/iStock / Thinkstock

According to a new Yale study, addiction is a chronic disease that is treated like an acute illness. But what if we treated it differently, with longer-term goals? 

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Sexual Assault
3:37 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Study: Just 20 Percent Of Female Campus Sexual Assault Victims Go To Police

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 5:52 pm

Young women who are sexually assaulted are vastly unlikely to report those crimes to police, according to a newly released Justice Department report.

Even more striking, women ages 18 to 24 who are in college or trade school are less likely to report such incidents than those who aren't in school, despite the increasing number of sexual assault advocates and counselors on campus in recent years.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:12 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Botox Isn't Just for Faces Anymore

Dr Robert Krug is a physiatrist and medical director at Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital and Chief of Rehabilitation Medicine at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center
Chion Wolf

Botox was first approved for medical use 25 years ago. It's famous as a quickie cosmetic fix but new uses pop up all the time.

Today, Botox applications are being tried for MS, Parkinson's Disease, migraines, bladder problems, profuse sweating and TMJ.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Connecticut's Response to the Ebola Threat

Dr. Jewel Mullen, Commissioner of CT DPH
Chion Wolf WNPR

The world is facing the largest and most widespread Ebola outbreak in history. On August 8, 2014, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was declared by the World Health Organization to be a "public health emergency of international concern" because it was determined to be an "extraordinary event" with public health risks to countries around the globe.

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New Mothers
2:57 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Checking On New Moms During Baby Check-Ups Is Just as Important

Credit tiptimes.com

Ten to 20 percent of new mothers will experience a mental health issue. A new study indicates that one way to help them is by leaning on pediatricians. 

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Health Care
11:32 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Operating Profits Drop at Connecticut Hospitals: New Report

Windham Hospital in Willimantic.
Credit C-HIT

Connecticut’s acute-care hospitals saw gains from their operations tumble 35 percent in the last fiscal year, with seven of 29 hospitals reporting operating losses, according to a new state report.

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World AIDS Day
2:13 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Syringe Exchange Program in Connecticut Must Operate With Fewer State Funds

Shawn Lang is the Director of Public Policy for the Connecticut AIDS Coalition
Chion Wolf WNPR - Connecticut Public Radio

Earlier this week, countries marked World AIDS Day. In the U.S., 1.2 million people are estimated to be HIV-positive.

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Business of Health Care
12:55 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Small, Independent Connecticut Hospitals Want Legislative Help

The Griffin Hospital emergency department.
Credit Turner Construction

A group of small, independent hospitals in Connecticut said the increasing cost of providing health care coupled with lower reimbursement rates from insurance providers and the government is making it harder for them to survive, and they’re seeking help from state lawmakers.

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