health care

Health Equity
3:49 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Obamacare, Doctor Pay, and the Access to Care

Dr. Doug Gerard in his New Hartford office.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

The Affordable Care Act is about insuring the uninsured. Insurance is one thing, but actual access to a doctor or a provider is another.

One variable plays an important role in determining the quality of care that patients will get: how much doctors are paid. 

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Veterans Affairs
9:34 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Blumenthal Pushes Veterans Affairs Reform Bill

Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Senator Richard Blumenthal spoke in Hartford about a bipartisan compromise to reform the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health program, which has been impacted by long patient wait times.

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Child Poverty
8:30 am
Wed July 23, 2014

New Study Reveals Marked Increase in Connecticut Children Living In Poverty

Wade Gibson, director of Connecticut Voices for Children's Fiscal Policy Center.
Credit Ray Hardman / WNPR

The number of Connecticut children living in poverty has increased 50 percent since 1990, according to a new report.

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Affordable Care Act
10:59 am
Tue July 22, 2014

U.S. Appeals Courts Issue Conflicting Decisions On Obamacare Subsidies

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 2:03 pm

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday dealt a significant blow to the Affordable Care Act, when it threw out an IRS regulation that governs subsidies. But before the ink dried on that decision, another three-judge panel hearing a similar case issued a decision that was completely opposite.

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Vaccinations
11:27 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Vaccines Stored at Improper Temperatures Across Connecticut

The affected vaccines were stored in a malfunctioning refrigerator.
Credit Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

The Hartford HealthCare Medical Group is contacting patients who may have received vaccines that were not stored at the proper temperature.

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Contraceptive Coverage
2:39 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Democratic Effort To Override Hobby Lobby Ruling Fails

GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire complained about a Democratic effort to reaffirm a contraceptive mandate at a Tuesday news conference
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 4:34 pm

A Democratic effort to override the Supreme Court's recent ruling on contraceptive coverage failed in the Senate on Wednesday.

Bill sponsors fell four votes short of the 60 votes needed to cut off debate on the measure.

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Medicine
3:17 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Medical Marijuana to Become Available Later This Summer

Various strains of medical marijuana.
Credit AudioVision / Creative Commons

Later this summer, medical marijuana will become legally available to patients in Connecticut.  

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Health Insurance
10:35 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Most Employers See A Benefit In Covering Contraceptives

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 9:32 am

Despite questions raised by the Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case, women in most health plans will still be able to get their birth control covered with no out-of-pocket expenses.

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Contraceptive Coverage
10:20 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Blumenthal Calls on Hobby Lobby to Adhere to Connecticut Law

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal in a WNPR file folder.
Av Harris WNPR

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal released a letter on Monday to the CEO of Hobby Lobby calling on the company to follow Connecticut law and offer its employees in East Haven and Manchester full contraceptive coverage.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Connecticut Prepares for Sale of Medical Marijuana

Later this summer, certain patients will be able to legally purchase medical marijuana in Connecticut.
Credit Rusty Blazenhoff / Creative Commons

Approved patients will soon be able to obtain medical marijuana…legally. The marijuana producers who were approved by the state earlier this year will start to get their product out to dispensaries later this summer.

We talk with Commissioner William Rubenstein from the Department of Consumer Protection about the state’s medical marijuana program. 

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For-Profit Hospitals
1:58 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

St. Mary's Hospital Opts for Tenet Healthcare Deal

Credit Gubcio / iStock / Thinkstock

A fifth hospital in Connecticut has announced plans to give up its not-for-profit status, and join the for-profit Tenet Healthcare group.

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Health care innovation
11:48 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Forum Explores Innovation as a Way to Improve Nation's Health Care System

The speed of sequencing genes has increased by six orders of magnitude in the last 25 years, according to Dr. Edison Liu.
Credit The Jackson Laboratory

Connecticut Congressman John Larson sponsored a health care forum on Monday at the legislative office building in Hartford. 

"Improving Our Health Care System Through Science and Innovation" was a chance for a panel of prominent health care leaders to tout how innovations in their area of expertise are saving lives and pulling down the cost of health care.

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Mental Health
8:25 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Connecticut Hospitals Responding to Psychiatric Restraint Numbers

Pamela Spiro Wagner and her art.
Davis Dunavin WNPR

Pamela Spiro Wagner's apartment is full of art she's made while in psychiatric care. One piece dominates the room. It looks like a painting at first. It shows a threadbare seclusion room and a restraining bed.

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Veterans
4:48 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Wait Times for VA Health Care Growing in Connecticut

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal wants the VA to explain why veterans are waiting longer than 30 days to be seen in Connecticut and nationwide.

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RX: Take a Chill Pill
7:07 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Stressed Out: Americans Tell Us About Stress In Their Lives

Aly Hurt/NPR

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 7:57 am

Everyone seems to talk about feeling stressed out. But what's the reality of stress in America these days?

NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a nationwide poll in March and early April to find out.

Our questions zeroed in on the effect of stress in Americans' lives. We asked about people's personal experiences with stress in the preceding month and year. We also asked about how they perceived the effects of stress, how they cope with stress and their attitudes about it.

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Supreme Court Ruling
4:42 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Sorting Through the Hobby Lobby Decision

Customers enter a Hobby Lobby store in Antioch, Calif., this past spring.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

In a five-to-four decision Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that requiring so-called closely-held, for-profit corporations to pay for contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act, violates a federal law that protects religious freedom. 

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Unionization
10:53 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Connecticut Studies Supreme Court Decision on Home Health Aides

Supreme Court
Getty Images

Governor Dannel Malloy’s office will study the implications of a Supreme Court ruling that weakens the power of unions to organize home health care workers.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Wed July 2, 2014

The Wheelhouse: Health Insurance; Charter Schools; Bridgewater Turns The Car Around

The Supreme Court of the United States.
Credit Mark Fischer / Creative Commons

It looks like the world'’s largest hedge fund won'’t build a new headquarters in Stamford…. What does that say about the state'’s economic development plans? A charter school organization faces investigations of its finances and operations. What does it say about the school reform movement? We’'ll look at those stories, plus the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, and whether the employer-based insurance model makes sense today.

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Veteran's Health Crisis
10:25 am
Tue July 1, 2014

VA Offers Doctor's Appointment To Man Who Died In 2012

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 11:37 am

Nearly two years after her husband died, a Massachusetts woman received a letter saying that a Veterans Affairs hospital was ready to see him. Suzanne Chase's husband, Doug, was a Vietnam veteran who died of a brain tumor; the agency is apologizing over the mistake.

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Obamacare
10:19 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Some Companies Can Refuse To Cover Contraception, Supreme Court Says

Customers enter a Hobby Lobby store in Antioch, Calif., this past spring. The Supreme Court is ruling on the crafts store chain's resistance to portions of the Affordable Care Act. The store's owners cite their religious freedom.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 1:54 pm

The Supreme Court has ruled that family owned and other closely held companies can opt out of the Affordable Care Act's provisions for no-cost prescription contraception in most health insurance if they have religious objections.

The owners of the Hobby Lobby chain of arts and crafts stores and those of another closely held company, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., had objected on the grounds of religious freedom.

The ruling affirms a Hobby Lobby victory in a lower court and gives new standing to similar claims by other companies.

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Connecticut First
4:58 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Air Force Awards Sikorsky Contract; State Insurance Rates Increasing

The Air Force has awarded a 1.3 billion dollar contract to Stratford- based Sikorsky for the H-60 combat rescue helicopters. The Air Force has awarded a contract for 112 of the helicopters.

Increasing State Health Insurance Rates

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Connecticut First
5:52 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

State Labor Department Receives Grant; Malloy Putting $5 Million Toward Common Core

The Connecticut Department of Labor is getting a $3.39 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Job-Driven National Emergency Grant program. The funds will go toward creation of an apprentice program designed to steer workers displaced from other industries into careers in manufacturing.

Malloy Pledges Millions For Common Core

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Cancer Prevention
2:54 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Low-Dose Aspirin May Reduce Risk of Some Cancers

Credit Photodisc / Thinkstock

What if an aspirin a day could keep cancer away? A growing body of scientific research suggests that aspirin can prevent some cancers of the digestive system, and maybe even breast and prostate, too.

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Regulating Drugs
5:05 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Pharmacists to Play Key Role Dispensing Medical Marijuana in Connecticut

Credit Gordon Swanson/Hemera / Thinkstock

About 200 pharmacists and physicians gathered on Wednesday in Southington for the first Medical Cannabis Symposium in Connecticut.

Connecticut is only the state in the country with legalized medical marijuana laws that requires an on-site pharmacist to dispense the drug.

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Health Insurance
10:27 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Employer Health Costs Are Expected To Rise In 2015

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 10:40 am

Increases in health costs will accelerate next year, but changes in how people buy care will help keep the hikes from reaching the speed seen several years ago, PricewaterhouseCoopers says.

The prediction, based on interviews and modeling, splits the difference between hopes that costs will stay tame and fears that they're off to the races after having been slow since the 2008 financial crisis.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue June 24, 2014

How Healthy Is Connecticut?

Our third Health Equity panel discussions was held at CPBN's Chase Family studios.
Steve Honigfeld

Our third Health Equity Forum is a project we’ve been working on for a few years now with our partners at Connecticut Health Foundation, exploring the idea of health equity in Connecticut. How do we make sure that everyone has the best possible health outcomes regardless of race, regardless of how much money you have?

It’s a tricky issue for policy makers, which is why we’re so glad to have as the basis for our conversation a new set of information called the Connecticut Health Care Survey. Six organizations came together to put out this report, which is drawn from some 5400 households interviewed. 

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Gaming
4:04 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

In War Against AIDS, a New Potential Weapon: Video Games

Designers are working to build a video game that helps educate men in Mexico City about treatment options for HIV.
Credit L.Bö / Flickr Creative Commons

It's not something you'd immediately associate with staying healthy: video games. A professor at Quinnipiac University is exploring whether or not digital avatars can encourage gay men in Mexico City to get tested regularly for HIV. 

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The Faith Middleton Show
12:06 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

An 11-Year-Old Wants to Open a Restaurant

Credit Tony Hisgett/flickr creative commons

This is a story about a little girl named Chelsea Wheeler, who lives in rural Oxford, the kind of small town that used to have a post office barber shop in one room. It's also the kind of town where citizens contributed at Town Hall to a giving tree set up in the Wheeler family name.

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Lyme Disease
11:29 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Investigative Report Reveals Not All Lyme Disease Tests Are Accurate

An FDA loophole allows for-profit laboratories to sell Lyme disease tests without actually proving they work.
Credit Jerry Kirkhart / Creative Commons

A new investigative report calls into question thousands of diagnostic tests for Lyme disease.

Lyme is a problematic disease. It can be tough to treat, and even tougher to diagnose. The Food and Drug Administration recommends a test that works fairly well. It identifies about 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease a year, mostly in the northeast. 

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Emergency Care
2:58 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

More EMTs Doing House Calls, Not Just ER Transport

An unidentified woman is wheeled into a hospital by members of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps (BSVAC) on June 21, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 4:03 pm

It’s being called the house call of the future: ambulance crews who rush when you call 9-1-1, but instead of taking you to the emergency room, they treat you at home.

Community paramedicine, as it’s called, is a growing trend across the country. It’s aim is to bring down hospital costs, but there are concerns about who’s going to end up paying for the service.

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