health care

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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Veterans Affairs
3:32 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Top VA Health Official Resigns Amid Scandal Over Treatment Delays

Veterans Affairs Undersecretary Robert Petzel testifies Thursday on Capitol Hill. Petzel tendered his resignation from the VA on Friday.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 5:49 pm

This post was updated at 5:45 p.m. ET.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki says he has accepted the resignation of the department's undersecretary for health, a day after both men testified before Congress about a growing controversy over delays in treatment.

"Today, I accepted the resignation of Dr. Robert Petzel, undersecretary for health in the Department of Veterans Affairs," Shinseki said in a statement cited by Reuters.

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Cafeteria Staple
1:21 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Tweeting Over Spilled (Chocolate) Milk

Gov. Malloy wins over the elementary school student demographic.
Credit United States Department of Agriculture

Governor Dannel Malloy's office released a statement today with an eye-catching title:

STATEMENT FROM GOV. MALLOY'S COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR ANDREW DOBA ON CHOCOLATE MILK 

In case you missed it, a provision was put into a bill with "minor revisions" that would ban chocolate milk in schools.

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Health Survey
8:23 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Survey Reveals Chronic Illness Is a Problem For Adults in Connecticut

The survey showed that 59 percent of adults postponed needed medical care because of cost.
Credit Morgan / Creative Commons

Results of the Connecticut Heath Care Survey were released on Wednesday. On the surface, the numbers pretty look good: 91 percent of the 4,608 adults surveyed reported having health insurance, and 87 percent said their health is good to very good.

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Drug Development
3:33 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

A History of Drugs, Compiled

Yale's Michael Kinch studies drug development trends from 1827 to today.
Natallia Yaumenenka/iStock Thinkstock

A Yale scientist is in the midst of a 20-paper series studying the history of drug development in the United States. Michael Kinch, the managing director of Yale's Center for Molecular Discovery, has spent the last year creating a massive database of compounds approved by the FDA.

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Health Survey
2:52 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Connecticut Health Survey: 45 Percent of Adults Suffer From Chronic Disease

Stockbyte Thinkstock

Forty-five percent of Connecticut adults in a survey released Wednesday reported that they have been diagnosed with a chronic disease such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, heart disease, or cancer.

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Mental Health
9:45 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Middletown Forum Focuses On the Needs of the Mentally Ill

Pogonici/iStock Thinkstock

A forum taking place on Thursday afternoon in Middletown will bring together mental health providers and advocates to discuss the many challenges facing people with mental illness. 

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Domestic Violence
9:54 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Doctors Debate Whether Screening For Domestic Abuse Helps Stop It

In the U.S., doctors increasingly ask about domestic violence as a routine part of checkups.
iStockphoto

Domestic violence affects a third of women worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. In many cases nobody knows of the suffering, and victims aren't able to get help in time.

That's why in many countries, including the U.S., there's been a push to make screening for domestic violence a routine part of doctor visits. Last year, the influential U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that clinicians ask all women of childbearing age whether they're being abused.

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Access Health CT
8:03 am
Wed May 14, 2014

State's Bill For Obamacare Call Center Significantly Higher Than Estimated

vichie81/iStock Thinkstock

One part of the Affordable Care Act has become less affordable: call centers. Maximus, the company that runs the phone banks to enroll people in Connecticut, originally said it would charge the state $15 million over roughly three years.

The state now says the cost of that contract could nearly double. 

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Connecticut First
4:59 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Malloy in Washington Discussing Affordable Healthcare; Malloy Signs College Sex Assault Bill

Governor Dannel Malloy in Washington, D.C. today speaking at an event sponsored by The Center for American Progress. Malloy discussed Connecticut's success with the Affordable Care Act. The organization regards Connecticut as a leader in implementing the federal health care act and getting residents enrolled.

Governor Signs Assault Bill

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Affordable Care Act
11:37 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Employers May Start Paying You To Buy Health Insurance

Employees pay directly for their health insurance in "defined contribution" plans.
iStockphoto

What if employers started giving workers a chunk of cash to buy health insurance on their own instead of offering them a chance to buy into the company plan? Are workers ready to manage their own health insurance like they do a 401(k)?

The idea that employers might drop their health plans and replace them with a "defined contribution" for employees has been around for years. It's one way for employers to control their expenses in the face of the relentlessly rising costs of health care.

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Medicaid and Therapy
10:32 am
Tue May 13, 2014

State to Expand Medicaid to Cover Private Therapy

State health care advocate Vicki Veltri.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Single adults on Medicaid will soon be able to get therapy someplace other than a clinic. A bill passed by lawmakers last week aims to make the coverage available this year. 

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Major Decisions
11:45 am
Fri May 9, 2014

What's Your Major? 4 Decades Of College Degrees, In 1 Graph

Quoctrung Bui/NPR

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 10:28 am

In honor of college graduation season, we made a graph. It answers a few questions we had: What is the mix of bachelor's degrees awarded today, and how has the mix changed over the past several decades?

Hover over the graph to see how the popularity of each category changes over time. Click or tap to see a category individually.

A few notes:

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Dental Health
3:16 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Dental Care Still Out of Reach For "Huge Piece of the Population"

More than 200 dentists volunteered for a free, two-day dental clinic in Hartford.
Connecticut Mission of Mercy

Your teeth may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to health care. Dentists say oral health problems seldom get better on their own, and can point to disease elsewhere in the body, including diabetes and some forms of cancer and leukemia. Of course, a toothache can just be painful.

But if you’re an adult who doesn’t have dental insurance, caring for your teeth and your health can be a real challenge. The Affordable Care Act covers dental care for children, but not adults, and dental care isn't cheap.

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Freedom of Information
9:17 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Company Says Health Care Exchange Contracts Are "Trade Secrets"

Stockbyte Thinkstock

The company that got the multimillion-dollar contract to run the call centers for the health care exchange Access Health CT -- called Maximus -- is refusing to release invoices and contracts to show exactly how much they are paid by the state. 

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