health care

Connecticut VA Healthcare System

The federal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is investigating the death of a patient who was found in a public bathroom at the West Haven VA hospital last month. 

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People who are uninsured or on Medicaid are more than twice as likely to smoke tobacco compared to those covered by other insurance, according to a national study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Businesses are heaving a sigh of relief after the IRS relaxed new paperwork rules around the Affordable Care Act. But one expert is warning that the change may make life more difficult for employees.

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U.S. Army veteran Bob Swirsky’s face lit up when home health care nurse Jeanette Hutchinson entered his room to check his blood pressure and attend to his body to prevent bedsores.

A few days into heroin detox—when you’re still in the throwing-up phase of withdrawal—is not a good time to learn your insurance is refusing to pay for your stay. That’s what happened to 22-year-old Joe (a pseudonym) in 2012 when he was in an inpatient detox in Oregon.

When CVS Health customers complained to the company about privacy violations, some of the calls and letters made their way to Joseph Fenity. One patient's medication was delivered to his neighbor, revealing he had cancer. Another was upset because a pharmacist had yelled personal information across the counter.

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Patients billed for a facility fee for outpatient hospital services will get a clearer explanation of the charge, under legislation taking effect Friday.

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Nationwide, eight percent of children under 18 have asthma. In Hartford, that rate is more like 29 percent. There's now an effort in the city to diagnose and treat asthma better. 

Cape Cod is the setting of a new documentary about the nation’s growing opioid problem that airs on HBO later this month.

And as he campaigns for new measures to deal with the state’s opioid epidemic, Gov. Charlie Baker invited lawmakers and others involved in the issue to an early screening Tuesday night.

In 2008, Army Reserve Capt. LeRoy Torres returned home to Robstown, Texas, after a tour in Iraq. He went back to work as a state trooper with the Texas Highway Patrol.

Torres was a longtime runner. So when a suspect took off on foot one morning, Torres sprinted after him. But something was wrong. A burning sensation in his chest hurt so bad, it almost knocked him down.

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Open enrollment for the third year of the Affordable Care Act is ongoing, but at least one deadline has already passed. 

This week Connecticut's leaders had to close a $350 million hole in the state's budget. One place they cut is hospital funding, and that's making hospital executives furious.

The battles lines are clear. Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, says the hospitals are getting rich off taxpayers, making more money than in past years — thanks, in part, to the Affordable Care Act. So he thinks hospitals can afford to give some money back.

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A business student from China who said a bout with depression led to his expulsion for academic reasons has become the face of a labor-driven push for better mental health care at Yale University.

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New bio-technology is making gene editing easier and more accurate than ever before, but it's also raising a number of ethical questions. 

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Several veterans groups have filed a Freedom of Information request seeking records about a Veterans Affairs (VA) program that decides disability compensation claims related to toxic water exposure. 

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Access to health care has improved significantly since Obamacare, with big gains for previously uninsured minorities who were unable to gain access before the law took effect. But insurance isn’t the only barrier to overcome. Entrenched cultural beliefs and the way we deliver care can also limit access.

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Connecticut's hospitals are threatening to take the state to court over a hefty tax that amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars this year alone, and it's part of an ongoing  tension between the hospitals and Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy.

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Black women with breast cancer fare worse than other women when treated with early chemotherapy, according to new research from the Yale Cancer Center.

The Placebo Effect

Dec 1, 2015
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Placebo treatments have been making people feel better for a long time. They've been working since long before Franz Mesmer was run out of 18th-century Vienna for "mesmerizing" a young pianist into regaining her eyesight, after all hope for a medical cure had been lost.  

Doctors have long dismissed the placebo effect as inferior to conventional medical treatments that sometimes fail where placebo works well, including in surgical procedures like arthroscopy, a popular procedure that relieves the pain of arthritic knees. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

In the weeks following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, Hartford Hospital trauma surgeon Dr. Lenworth Jacobs took a close look at patterns of injury the victims suffered. Using lessons learned from the military in Iraq and Afghanistan, he and a group of medical experts, law enforcement, and fire and rescue professionals helped to develop a new national protocol  for medical first responders  in active shooter and mass casualty events.

Now, Jacobs is advocating for a next step: preparing immediate responders. 

Many Health Co-Ops Fold, Others Survive Startup Struggles

Nov 26, 2015

Thousands of Americans are again searching for health insurance after losing it for 2016. That's partly because some large, low-cost insurers — health cooperatives, set up under the Affordable Care Act — are folding in a dozen states.

Consumers seeking health policies with the most freedom in choosing doctors and hospitals are finding far fewer of those plans on the insurance marketplaces. And the premiums are rising faster than for other types of coverage.

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A nationwide shortage of saline solution, a fluid commonly used in I.V. bags in hospitals, is prompting response from the U.S. Senate. 

Saline solution is, essentially, sterile salt water. It's used in hospitals to hydrate patients and to mix and dilute medication.

In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. Eleven years ago, Vermont followed suit. But doctors still know surprisingly little about the pharmacology of cannabis. And a Vermont-based think-tank is hoping to transform the industry by applying new scientific rigor to an old drug.

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When it comes to giving birth, white women have better health care outcomes than black and Hispanic women. That's according to a new study, which examined hospital re-admission rates following delivery in Connecticut. 

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It's not uncommon to see someone wearing a prosthesis, especially after wars in Iraq and Afghanistan sent many veterans home minus a limb. While losing a limb is a life-changing event, a good prosthetist can "carve" a prosthesis with just the right fit. It's a long process that can take years to perfect. 

Limbs today vary from simple body-powered prostheses moved by cables to a "fully robotic arm that has 26 joints, can curl 45 pounds and is controlled by the wearer's mind." As the stigma of a prosthesis lessens, amputees are seeking enhancement over replacement, opting for limbs that transcend what's biologically possible, even if lacking the aesthetic of a natural limb.

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Union leaders said they've reached a tentative deal that will stop a threatened strike at 20 Connecticut nursing homes and provide a $15 per hour minimum wage to certified nursing assistants. 

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Health insurance co-ops are companies that were given federal incentives to compete for business under the Affordable Care Act. Roughly two dozen of them set up shop across the country. Now, only half are still in business, and one of them is in Connecticut. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

The Connecticut Hospital Association launched a new digital campaign this week decrying Governor Dannel Malloy's proposed cuts to hospitals.

Courtesy of Access Health CT

The third year of health insurance enrollment under the Affordable Care Act is here. But the goal now isn’t just increasing the number of people with insurance. It’s also making sure they go to the doctor. 

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