health care

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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Pregnancy
1:20 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Early Pregnancy Blood Test Reducing Need For Amniocentesis

Credit C-HIT

A simple blood test is transforming the world of prenatal screening, offering women a risk-free way to learn about fetal abnormalities early in pregnancy.

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Affordable Care Act
7:08 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Health Care Can Be Key To A Better Life For Former Inmates

Juanita Alvarado (right), a community health worker at the Transitions Clinic in San Francisco, helps a patient.
courtesy of Transitions Clinic

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 9:41 am

A San Francisco law now permits the sheriff's department to enroll inmates in health insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act — policies designed to cover medical care after a prisoner's release. Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi believes that making sure people have health coverage when they leave jail will help keep them from committing another crime and coming back.

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Men's Health
3:23 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

National Men's Health Week Turns 20

Men can avoid illnesses like diabetes and heart disease by eating right, regular exercise, and getting plenty of sleep.
Ozan Hatipoglu Creative Commons

This is National Men's Health Week, an awareness campaign to encourage men to take simple steps to improve their health.

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Aging
3:37 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Actress Speaks About Her Mother's Dementia

Actor, Kimberly Williams-Paisley
Credit Laura Goodwin

You probably recognize actor Kimberly Williams-Paisley. She got her start in the Steve Martin movie, "Father of the Bride," and has starred in multiple TV sitcoms, including "Two and A Half Men" and "Nashville."

Williams-Paisley is a writer, too, and she recently shared the challenges her family faced after her mother was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia in 2005.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Caring for Those on the Autism Spectrum

Dr. John Molteni.
Chion Wolf WNPR

A new report from the CDC suggests that Autism Spectrum Disorder may be even more prevalent than we thought. The report estimates that roughly one in 68 children born in the U.S. has autism -- a 30 percent increase since 2012.

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Connecticut First
5:00 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Griffin Hospital Testing Patients for Infections; State Law Creates E-book Library System

Griffin Hospital in Derby says it has tested about 750 patients for hepatitis, HIV and other infections . This comes after an announcement last month that staff had been misusing insulin pens dating back to 2008.

New State E-books System Taking Effect In July

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Veterans
4:31 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

VA Health Care's Chronic Ailments: Long Waits And Red Tape

Soldiers returning from the Pacific wave from the deck of the USS General Mitchell on Dec. 11, 1945. Much of the health care demand in the VA system is from veterans of earlier wars.
AP

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 5:40 pm

More than 2.5 million veterans served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they qualify for health care and benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. These recent vets have been putting in for more service-related conditions than previous generations, for everything from post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injury to the bad knees, bad backs and bad hearing that nearly every new vet seems to have.

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Mental Health
9:50 am
Mon June 2, 2014

State Restrains Psychiatric Patients at High Rate

Connecticut Health I-Team

As the state works to improve its mental health system, new federal data shows that hospitals in Connecticut restrain psychiatric patients at more than double the average national rate, with elderly patients facing restraint at a rate seven times the national average.

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Office Design
2:05 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

How a Well-Designed Doctor's Office Could Help Patients

Will doctor's offices look more like this in the near future? Some say the natural design elements can help patients.
John Bartelstone Jeffrey Berman Architect

Doctor's offices and hospitals may not always be stunning examples of architecture, but both architects and doctors are thinking of how designs can put patients at ease and help them heal.

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Veterans Affairs
11:26 am
Fri May 30, 2014

VA Chief Eric Shinseki Resigns Post, Obama Announces

Eric Shinseki resigned as the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs on Friday, in what President Obama said was a decision spurred by a desire to not distract from efforts to fix the agency's problems. Earlier Friday, Shinseki spoke at a conference in Washington.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 1:10 pm

Embattled Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has resigned his position, hours after saying he would work to fix "systemic" problems in the VA's health care system.

President Obama said Friday that the decision was made so Shinseki wouldn't be a "distraction" from efforts to address the agency's wide-ranging problems.

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Veterans' Health
3:11 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Blumenthal Wants Justice Department to Investigate Veterans Affairs

Connecticut's U.S Senator Richard Blumenthal
Credit Chion Wolf

Connecticut's congressional delegation has yet to hear from VA officials on how long veterans are waiting for appointments at the agency's hospitals and outpatient clinics in the state. 

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Antibiotic overuse
4:11 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Connecticut Doctors Urged to Be Prudent When Prescribing Antibiotics

The state Department of Health is urging health care providers to initiate an antimicrobial stewardship program to cut down on the unnecessary use of antibiotics.
Credit rltherichman / Creative Commons

Connecticut officials are urging hospitals and health care providers to curb the overuse of antibiotics. The proliferation of antibiotics has dramatically increased the number of infections resistant to the drug. 

In April, the World Health Organization announced that these strains of bacteria can be found in every part of the world, and pose a serious health threat. 

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Veterans Affairs
2:50 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Report Finds Evidence Of Secret Wait Lists At VA Hospital

The Department of Veterans Affairs in Phoenix, where the VA's inspector general says numerous problems with scheduling practices were uncovered.
Matt York AP

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 2:12 pm

The inspector general of the Department of Veterans Affairs has affirmed that some 1,700 patients at the Phoenix VA hospital were put on unofficial wait lists and subjected to treatment delays of up to 115 days.

In an interim report released Wednesday, the inspector general's office reported it had "substantiated that significant delays in access to care negatively impacted the quality of care" at Phoenix HCS.

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Health Insurance
3:28 am
Wed May 28, 2014

How To Shop For Long-Term Care Insurance

The first lesson of long-term care insurance: Shopping before health problems set in improves your chances of being accepted while tempering lifetime premium payments.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 12:57 pm

One of the toughest money decisions Americans face as they age is whether to buy long-term care insurance. Many people don't realize that Medicare usually doesn't cover long-term care, yet lengthy assisted-living or nursing home stays can decimate even the best-laid retirement plan.

Long-term care insurance is a complex product that requires a long-term commitment if you're buying it. So how can you tell if this insurance is right for you?

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Training Police
12:55 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

More Police Officers to Get Mental Health Training

Michelle Malven/iStock Thinkstock

Edward Yergeau, a patrol sergeant with the Hartford Police Department, has seen how changing attitudes about mental health has actually changed outcomes.

"Ten years ago," Yergeau said, "you either arrested a person, or threw them in the ambulance, and you were done with them. That was it." 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue May 27, 2014

How Healthy Is Connecticut?

This Health Equity panel discussion 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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Health Insurance
3:27 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Frustrated By The Affordable Care Act, One Family Opts Out

Nick and Rachel Robinson welcome their son Cash, who was born in a midwife's birthing pool.
Jessica Hooten Courtesy of Nick Robinson

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 3:21 pm

The Robinson family of Dallas started out pretty excited about their new insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act.

Nick Robinson had turned to Obamacare after he lost his job last summer. He had been working as a youth pastor, and the job included benefits that covered him, his two young daughters, and his wife, Rachel, a wedding photographer.

Nick says he wasn't too nervous at first, because everyone was healthy. Then, he recalls, they found out Rachel was pregnant.

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Veterans Affairs
8:02 am
Sun May 25, 2014

Should VA Secretary Shinseki Step Down?

Originally published on Sun May 25, 2014 11:51 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. This coming week, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is expected to update President Obama on a nationwide review on VA facilities. Many VA hospitals have been accused of covering up long wait times for veterans and cooking the books to hide these delays. Shinseki announced yesterday that some VA clinics would enhance their capacity and the administration would also make it easier for veterans to get more of their care from private facilities.

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Veterans' Health
4:05 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Connecticut Delegation Seeks VA Facilities Audits

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, left, and Rep. John Larson, right.
Senate Democrats/Center for American Progress

Connecticut's congressional delegation wants full details of audits conducted at Veterans Administration medical facilities, including six in the state. 

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The Faith Middleton Show
2:11 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Exploring the Difference Between Curing and Healing

Credit Neil Fowler/flickr creative commons

The pediatric oncologist Mark Greenberg says in his riveting TED talk, that medicine is losing its vision of healing. “We are not health care providers,” he notes pointedly. “We traffic in healing.” Greenberg knows what he's talking about, and not only because of his long history treating severely ill children. He lost his own child to cancer.

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Technology
2:00 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Hospital Disinfects Phones to Tackle "Major Threat" to Patients

Phones brought in by patients must be kept clean, just like any equipment used at a hospital.
Sony Xperia Z Creative Commons

Sometimes people go to a hospital, and they leave with an infection. A new device being tested at St. Francis Hospital might reduce those infections.

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Affordable Care Act
1:37 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Poll: Latinos Underinformed On Obamacare

Credit Access Health CT

A new poll by a non-profit working to get people health insurance coverage say that a lack of understanding hindered Obamacare enrollment for at least one demographic groups: Latinos. 

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Breast Cancer
5:16 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Anxiety And MRIs May Be Driving The Rise In Double Mastectomies

More women are choosing double mastectomy even if they don't have a high cancer risk.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 10:21 am

The number of women getting double mastectomies after a breast cancer diagnosis has been rising in the past 10 years, even though most of them don't face a higher risk of getting cancer in the other breast.

That has cancer doctors troubled, because for those women having the other breast removed doesn't reduce their risk of getting breast cancer again or increase their odds of survival. And they don't know why women are making this choice.

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Technology
11:44 am
Wed May 21, 2014

When Doctors Play This Game, You Get Better Medical Care

Hey docs! Play this online game and learn how to do a better job of getting our blood pressure under control!
Lisa F. Young iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 3:29 pm

Doctors are required to keep current on best medical practices, but those efforts all too often don't do a thing to improve patient care. But what if the class is a game — one that lets you compete against other doctors and show off your smarts?

Plus you get funny emails. Oh, and your patients get better, too.

That's the gist of an online game tested at eight Boston-area hospitals to see if it could improve treatment of high blood pressure by getting practitioners to follow recommended treatment guidelines.

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Veterans Affairs
11:27 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Obama: People 'Will Be Held Accountable' For Veterans Affairs Problems

President Obama addresses the growing furor over allegations of misconduct at the Department of Veterans Affairs, on Wednesday.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 6:23 pm

Anybody found to have manipulated or falsified Veterans Affairs records "will be held accountable," President Obama said Wednesday. The president condemned the reported widespread problems at the VA, defending Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki.

Obama spoke after he and Shinseki met in the Oval Office Wednesday morning with White House deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors, who since last week has been detailed to work with the VA. Neither of those men attended the president's news conference.

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Suicide
6:39 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Task Force Says Asking All Patients About Suicide Won't Cut Risk

Alexandra Thompson iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 9:26 pm

Suicide remains a leading cause of death in the United States, especially among teenagers and young adults. Anything that could reduce the toll would be good.

But asking everyone who goes to the doctor if he is considering suicide isn't the answer, according to a federal panel that evaluated the effectiveness of existing screening tools for suicide. They found there wasn't enough evidence to know whether screening the general public helps or hurts.

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Pharmaceuticals
4:16 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Use of ADHD Drugs Rose Sharply Among Adults, Especially Women

Devonyu Thinkstock

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder isn’t just for fidgety little boys anymore. The number of young adult women taking medications for ADHD jumped by 85 percent between 2008 and 2012, according to a recent report by St. Louis-based Express Scripts, a pharmaceutical benefits company.

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Insurance Survey
1:24 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Businesses List Medical Costs as Top Risk Concern

vichie81/iStock Thinkstock

The rising cost of medical care is the top concern of businesses surveyed in a new report by insurance company Travelers.

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