health care

Sweet Tooth
9:06 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Cash For Halloween Candy? Dentists' Buyback Program Is Booming

Dr. Curtis Chan, a dentist in Del Mar, Calif., loads up a truck with 5,456 pounds of candy to deliver to Operation Gratitude during the Halloween Candy Buyback on Nov. 8 last year. Chan personally collected 3,542 pounds of candy from patients.
Courtesy of Curtis Chan

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 9:34 am

If your little ghosts and goblins dump their candy on the living room floor tonight, go ahead: Let them at it. They can sort, then trade, and gorge on their favorites.

But if you're like many parents, by tomorrow morning you may want to get rid of some of this candy glut.

One possible solution? Check out the Halloween Candy Buyback program, which was founded by dentist Chris Kammer in Wisconsin. Kammer's office offers $1 a pound to buy back candy collected by the young trick-or-treaters in his practice.

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Election 2014
7:29 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Tom Foley Fears Push Towards State Health Insurance; Nancy Wyman Says He's Wrong

Tom Foley.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy has made implementing the Affordable Care Act a priority, something not all governors across the nation have done. With the election just a few days away, we spoke with Republican Tom Foley to get his view on the nation's new health care law. 

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Home Care Workers
4:40 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Home Health Workers Struggle For Better Pay And Health Insurance

Home health care workers Jasmine Almodovar (far right) and Artheta Peters (center) take part in a Cleveland rally for higher pay on Sept. 4.
Sarah Jane Tribble WCPN, Ideastream

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 4:09 pm

Holly Dawson believes her job is a calling.

She is one of about 2 million home care workers in the country. The jobs come with long hours and low pay.

Each workday, Dawson drives through the Cleveland suburbs to help people take their medicines, bathe and do the dishes. She also takes time to lend a sympathetic ear.

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Language
4:36 am
Mon October 27, 2014

In The Hospital, A Bad Translation Can Destroy A Life

Dr. Angela Alday talks with Isidro Hernandes, via a Spanish-speaking interpreter, Armando Jimenez. Both patient and doctor say they much prefer an in-person interpreter to one on the phone.
Jeff Schilling Courtesy of Tuality Healthcare

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 8:58 am

Translating from one language to another is a tricky business, and when it comes to interpreting between a doctor and patient, the stakes are even higher.

Consider the story of 18-year-old baseball player Willie Ramirez.

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Medical Research
2:44 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Federal Funding for Cancer Research Plummets in Connecticut

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute.
NCI

Connecticut’s share of funding from the National Cancer Institute has dropped 19 percent since 2010 – a steeper decline than many other states, an analysis of National Institutes of Health data shows.

Federal cancer institute funding to Connecticut fell to $33.4 million in 2014 – down from $41.1 million in 2010. The biggest grantee, Yale University, is receiving $7 million less from the National Cancer Institute, one of the NIH’s most prominent centers.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Fri October 17, 2014

The Nose: Against Football, Petty Debates, and Frozen Eggs

Steve Almond is a reporter and the author of several award-winning books including his most recent work, Against Football: A Reluctant Manifesto
Chion Wolf WNPR

Here on The Nose today, we're at least potentially talking about high-tech employers who offer egg freezing as a benefit for female employees, a proposal to get rid of high school football, the sinking sensation that it's time - or too late - to fight back against Amazon, and the Florida debate that almost broke down because of a candidate's use of a fan at the podium.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:04 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Pssst...We Need To Talk About Sanitation

Sarah Albee is the author of "Poop Happened: A History of the World From the Bottom Up" and more recently, “Bugged: How Insects Changed History” and her newest book, "Why'd They Wear That?" will be published in February
Chion Wolf WNPR

Our show today is a long-planned look at human waste. In other words... Poop. It has taken on a slightly more somber cast now that Connecticut is monitoring the possibility of its first case of Ebola.

But, in some ways, we've got the perfect guests, especially Rose George, whose book about sanitation begins in a small town in Ivory Coast "filled with refugees from next door Liberia." Rose is looking for a toilet and eventually succumbs to the reality that there is no such place. There's a building where people do their business on the floor.

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Public Health
10:54 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Lessons From Ebola School: How To Draw Blood, Wipe Up Vomit

At a CDC training session for clinicians headed to West Africa, a medical worker practices sanitizing hands after drawing blood from a mannequin portraying an Ebola patient.
Brynn Anderson AP

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 3:16 pm

How can health workers stay safe while treating an Ebola patient?

The CDC is embroiled in a controversy over that very question. After the infection of two nurses at a Dallas hospital, the agency is facing criticism about whether initial guidelines provided to U.S. facilities were stringent enough.

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Ebola Outbreak
6:03 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Ebola Volunteers Are Needed — But Signing On Isn't Easy

A licensed clinician is decontaminated before disrobing at the end of a simulated training session by CDC in Anniston, Ala. Training can take a several weeks, making some employers reluctant to encourage their medical workers to volunteer in the Ebola outbreak.
Brynn Anderson AP

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 7:28 pm

As soon as the Ebola outbreak started to spiral out of control in West Africa, Kwan Kew Lai felt obligated to help.

She's a physician who specializes in infectious disease. And for the last decade, she's dedicated herself to volunteering for international health emergencies. She works part-time at one of Harvard's teaching hospital just to have that flexibility.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:04 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

The Threat of a Post-Antibiotic Era

Stewart (Chip) Beckett is the senior veterinarian of Beckett & Associates Veterinary Practices in Glastonbury, Connecticut.
Chion Wolf WNPR

The notion of drug-resistant bacteria has gone from an exotic problem to a common one. If you have even a medium-sized circle of acquaintances you probably know somebody - or an older parent of somebody -battling an infection that ignores standard antibiotics. It's a big problem and today we're going to focus on one chunk of it, the connection between antibiotics given to farm animals and the rise of these diseases.

If we treat ourselves the way we treat pigs, cattle and chickens, we'd be put on antibiotics at birth and pretty much never go off them until we die.

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Health Care
1:22 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Doctors Question Anthem's Market Dominance

Credit Nathan & Jenny / Creative Commons

The American Medical Association says it’s greatly concerned that a single insurance company dominates many health care marketplaces across America. It says the populations of several major cities in Connecticut are overly reliant on Anthem for health insurance.

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Ebola Outbreak
3:25 am
Mon October 13, 2014

On Front Lines Against Ebola, Training A Matter Of Life Or Death

Dr. Patrick Kamara adjusts his googles on the final day of training and the first "dress rehearsal" before being sent out to Ebola treatment units. The World Health Organization is ramping up to train up to 500 new health workers a week as part of the effort to stem the spread of Ebola.
John W. Poole/NPR

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 7:20 pm

One of the biggest roadblocks in West Africa to containing the Ebola outbreak is the lack of isolation wards for people who are infected.

President Obama has announced plans to build 17 new Ebola Treatment Units in Liberia. Those new medical facilities will require thousands of additional workers who are trained and willing to work in them.

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Veterans
3:21 am
Mon October 13, 2014

A Benefit For Rural Vets: Getting Health Care Close To Home

For some rural vets who live far from a VA hospital, getting medical care has meant driving a day or two from home, and missing work.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 7:12 pm

Army veteran Randy Michaud had to make a 200-mile trip to the Veterans Affairs hospital in Aroostook County, Maine, near the Canadian border, every time he had a medical appointment.

Michaud, who was medically retired after a jeep accident in Germany 25 years ago, moved home to Maine in 1991. He was eligible for VA medical care, but the long drive was a problem.

He's one of millions of veterans living in rural America who must travel hundreds of miles round-trip for care.

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Ebola Outbreak
7:45 am
Wed October 8, 2014

One U.S. Hospital's Strategy For Stopping Ebola's Advance

Ideally, the best place to care for someone ill with Ebola is at the end of a hall in a room with its own bathroom, anteroom and entrance, says Dr. Jack Ross of Hartford Hospital.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 12:22 pm

Dr. Jack Ross is used to seeing potentially lethal viruses, and he is used to putting patients into isolation. Still, Ebola is different.

"I think, for any hospital today, Ebola represents one step higher than anything else, if we had to do it," says Ross, who directs infection control for Hartford Healthcare's five hospitals in Connecticut.

On a tour of Hartford Hospital, Ross explains how his Ebola control plan would affect various parts of the facility — from the emergency room, to the intensive care unit, to the floors of rooms where patients stay.

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Affordable Health Care
3:10 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Connecticut Health Care Programs Meet Resistance Among Small Businesses

Credit scyther5/iStock / Thinkstock

The state’s health insurance marketplace has been congratulated for its success in getting individuals enrolled, but insurance brokers say small businesses aren’t signing up. 

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Domestic Violence
8:56 am
Fri October 3, 2014

For Domestic Violence Victims, a New Spanish Language Hotline

Credit Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte / Thinkstock

There's a new statewide hotline for Spanish-speaking victims of domestic violence.

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Affordable Care Act
6:14 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Obamacare's First Year: How'd It Go?

In New Jersey in March, Dianna Lopez of the Center for Family Services (right) speaks with Betsy Cruz, of Camden, N.J., about health insurance coverage during an Affordable Care Act information session.
Lori M. Nichols South Jersey Times/Landov

Exactly one year ago, the Obamacare insurance exchanges stumbled into existence. Consumers struggled to sign up for its online marketplace — and the Obama administration was pummeled. Eventually, HealthCare.gov's problems were mostly fixed, and two weeks ago, the administration announced 7.3 million people have bought insurance through it so far this year.

So, was the health exchanges' first year a success — or something less?

Ask President Obama, and he says you measure the Affordable Care Act's success this way:

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Insurance Reimbursement
9:22 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Five Connecticut Hospitals Leave Anthem Network in Pay Dispute

Hartford Hospital is one of the five that is now out-of-network for Anthem customers
Credit Elipongo / Creative Commons

Five Connecticut hospitals have left the network of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, after they failed to reach an agreement with the insurer. 

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Disease
6:11 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

First U.S. Case Of Ebola Confirmed In Dallas

A patient at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas has a confirmed case of Ebola, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. He is being treated and kept in strict isolation.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 3:10 pm

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Tuesday that the first case of Ebola has appeared in the U.S.

A man in Dallas has tested positive for the virus, the agency said. The man flew to the U.S. from Liberia, arriving on Sept. 20, NPR has learned. He wasn't sick on the flight, and had no symptoms when he arrived.

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Genetics
11:08 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Who Should Get a Genetic Test for Breast Cancer?

Credit Huntstock / Thinkstock

Historically, doctors recommended genetic screenings in certain women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer. This month, Mary-Claire King, an influential the geneticist who discovered links between a gene called BRCA1 and breast cancer, said doctors need to offer genetic tests to all women 30 and older.

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Hospitals
10:46 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Avoid The Rush! Some ERs Are Taking Appointments

Michael Granillo and his wife Sonia await treatment at an emergency room in Northridge, Calif.
Anna Gorman, Kaiser Health News

Originally published on Sat September 27, 2014 12:19 pm

Three times in one week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo returned to the emergency room of the Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Southern California, seeking relief from intense back pain. Each time, Granillo waited a little while and then left the ER without ever being seen by a doctor.

"I was in so much pain, I wanted to be taken care of 'now,' " says Granillo. "I didn't want to sit and wait."

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Civil Rights
8:19 am
Sat September 20, 2014

On 50th Anniversary of Civil Rights Act, What Have We Accomplished?

Panelists talk at the University of Hartford about education and health care access disparities.
Lorraine Greenfield

All week, the University of Hartford hosted events marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. The programs were designed to encourage reflection on what was accomplished back then, as a way to ask ourselves, “What can we do now?”

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Leveling the Playing Field on Education and Health Care

Leveling the Playing Field panel, University of Hartford
Lorraine Greenfield

All this week, the University of Hartford has hosted events marking the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. The programs have been designed to encourage reflection on what was accomplished back then, as a way to ask ourselves, “what can we do now?”

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Newborn Health
2:41 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Listen: For Connecticut Parents in Distress, a Safe Haven

Kelly Pabilonia
Jeff Cohen WNPR

The recent discovery of a dead newborn in trash can in East Hartford has restarted a conversation about the state's Safe Haven law. It allows parents in distress who are unable to care for their infants to leave them at a hospital emergency room. 

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Storm Preparedness
2:09 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Connecticut Hospitals Struggled During Sandy

Credit scantaur/iStock / Thinkstock

A new federal report finds hospitals in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey were not prepared to meet the challenges of Superstorm Sandy. 

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Ebola
8:47 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Will Obama's Plan Bring The Ebola Outbreak Under Control?

President Obama meets with Emory University doctors and health care workers during his visit Tuesday to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 7:50 pm

It is the biggest anti-Ebola effort yet.

After months of calls by aid workers for the global community to do something about the escalating crisis, President Obama has announced plans for a massive international intervention.

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Vermont
7:56 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Governor Temporarily Pulls Plug On Troubled Health Care Exchange

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 6:31 pm

Vermont’s online connection to its health care exchange has been temporarily disconnected. The governor pulled the plug Monday night to fix persistent problems.

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Veterans Affairs
5:16 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

State Veterans Commissioner Is Heading to Federal VA

Linda Schwartz is the outgoing Commissioner of Connecticut's Department of Veterans Affairs.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The state's Veterans Commissioner has waited a long time for this day. On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate approved Linda Schwartz to a high level position at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Medical Education
11:32 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Mentoring Program Works to Attract More Young, Black Nurses

A mentoring program in Connecticut aims to attract more young African Americans to nursing. Pictured is College of DuPage Nursing student Monashay Pertee.
College of DuPage

A mentoring program in Northern Connecticut is working to get more African Americans interested in nursing.

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Veterans Issues
3:51 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Federal VA Holds Town Hall Meetings to Improve Its Image

VA Connecticut held a public meeting at Newington Town Hall on Friday
Credit Lucy Nalpathanchil

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is holding town hall meetings as part of a nationwide effort to hear from the public. It comes after months of bad press about some VA systems hiding the actual amount of time veterans are waiting for care. 

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