health care

Access Health CT

We recently told you about the challenge of getting a Spanish language enrollment website up and running for the state’s Obamacare agency, Access Health CT. Now, it appears that site is live

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Each year, 1.4 million of the nation’s eleven- to 17-year-olds enter the juvenile justice system. Of these boys and girls, some 71,000 are sent to incarceration facilities, where they may remain for several months in seclusion from the outside world. 

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United Healthcare has lost customers in its Medicare Advantage program, according to a physicians group that's locked in a court battle with the insurer. It has been the target of heavy criticism for its decision to drop 2,000 Connecticut doctors from its Medicare Advantage network. 

The way that prescription drugs are advertised on TV could be better, especially when it comes to communicating the risks and side effects of medicines. Now the Food and Drug Administration is calling for research into how the ads could be improved.

The problem, as Michael Wolf, a health services researcher and cognitive scientist at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine describes it, is that most ads work like this:

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The Spanish-language website that will enroll state residents in Obamacare is still facing delays. In fact, officials say it could be another two weeks until it is operational. 

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Drug companies like operating in the shadows, but a recent move by Johnson and Johnson may change all that. In collaboration with Yale University's Open Data Access Project (YODA), the pharmaceutical giant will now share its clinical trial data with researchers. 

Chion Wolf

  

The actresses Teri Garr and Annette Funicello, the television hosts Montel Williams and Neil Cavuto, the writer Joan Didion, Ann Romney, the wife of the presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the comedian Richard Pryor. These are some of the people that you quote-unquote know that have, or in Pryor's case had, Multiple Sclerosis.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

The goal of the Affordable Care Act was to insure more people at a lower cost. Affordability is still a moving target. At least in Connecticut, the enrollment numbers are looking good. State officials announced that they have beaten their goal of enrolling 100,000 people in the Affordable Care Act by March 31 by more than 20 percent.

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Congressional budget experts say President Obama's new health care law will likely reduce the number of people who choose to stay in the workforce. 

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To some it’s "smack"; to others, it’s "tar." But the majority of us know it as heroin, the dangerously addictive opioid drug that has claimed countless lives across the nation. 

Less than a week ago, 46-year-old actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died from a heroin overdose in his Manhattan apartment. Sadly, he’s just one of many creative minds lost to addiction. Singer-songwriter Janis Joplin was 27 when an overdose took her life. Frankie Lymon was 25.

But heroin isn’t just a celebrity drug. Its use spans the country -- particularly in northeast states, like Connecticut, where it has become a growing problem among teens and adults.

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A new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine says that hospital stays may be getting safer, at least if you're admitted for a heart condition. 

Researchers used medical record data for more than 61,000 patients from 2005 to 2011. They studied more than 20 common problems patients typically encounter after admission to a hospital -- things like drug reactions, bed sores, and infection.

People who need expensive drugs to treat serious medical conditions often rely on drugmakers' assistance programs for help.

But it's uncertain whether the help will be allowed for people who buy health insurance on the marketplaces established by the federal health law.

With open enrollment ending in less than two months, federal rules remain unclear, leaving patients, advocates and drug programs in limbo.

Over-the-Counter Drugs: A Prescription for Confusion

Feb 3, 2014
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At Able Care Pharmacy and Medical Supplies in Enfield, Ashraf Moustafa often tries to avert disasters involving drugs displayed on his store’s shelves. 

Moustafa, the pharmacy manager, recently spoke to an elderly woman seeking ways to treat dark blue patches on her arms. Instead of suggesting any remedies, he asked the woman what medicines she was taking, and discovered that she was dangerously mixing over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs with aspirin and the prescription blood thinner Plavix. He sent the woman to the hospital, fearing that she was suffering from internal bleeding.

“People have the impression that if a drug is approved for over-the-counter use, then it must be much safer than prescription medicine,” Moustafa says. “That’s when trouble happens.”

If you are buying health coverage in the Colorado ski resort towns, the Connecticut suburbs of New York City or a bunch of otherwise low-cost rural regions of Georgia, Mississippi and Nevada, you have the misfortune of living in the most expensive insurance marketplaces under the new health law.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Over 30 percent of women deliver their babies by Caesarean section in the United States, a significant increase over the five percent of women undergoing the surgical procedure in 1970, and a change that, overall, has not improved the health of newborns.

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A woman who was was forced into prostitution as a teenager spoke at the state's first conference on domestic sex trafficking. 

Audrey Morrissey, 51, is a Massachusetts resident who detailed how she was forced into prostitution after suffering from low self-esteem and lack of nurturing at home. She eventually turned her life around, and now counsels young girls through the initiative, My Life My Choice

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Women’s health is the next frontier for a team of medical researchers at Yale who believe video games can be powerful tools in the fight against HIV and other serious diseases.

For the last several years, Yale’s Play2Prevent lab has been a hub of collaboration between doctors and computer programmers testing the capacity of games to educate users and, perhaps, even change risky behavior. Their work is part of a fast-growing movement in public health to better understand how virtual gaming environments can improve players’ lives in the real world.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A lot of interconnected things were happening in the 1990s, an oncologist and hematologist  named Mitchell Gaynor discovered trough a Tibetan monk, the so-called singing bowls and began incorporating them into the guided meditation and breathing work he did with his patients.

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Insurer United Healthcare was taken to task at a legislative hearing in Hartford for its action in dropping 2,000 Connecticut physicians from its Medicare Advantage plan. The company is in the midst of legal action by doctors' groups in the state over the move.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

"Dallas Buyer's Club" covers a lot of the same ground as an Oscar-nominated documentary about AIDS from last year, "How To Survive A Plague." Each film covers the time from mid-to-late 1980s when the disease struck, when there was no accepted or effective medical treatment, when the patients themselves had to push for better research and faster tracks to bring drugs to market.

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A new study of emergency medicine ranks Connecticut 15th overall. One of the biggest concerns is wait time.

The study, by the American College of Emergency Physicians, gives Connecticut an average grade of C, saying the state has a low rate of fatal injury and its residents have generally good health. 

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Patients diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder usually have two treatment options: medication or counseling. But new research underway at Hartford Hospital is looking to add a third choice -- magnets.

Latino immigrants in the U.S. say the quality and affordability of health care is better in the U.S. than in the countries they came from, according to the latest survey by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. But many report having health care problems.

You've probably heard a lot about "the Latino voter" or the way companies are trying to win over "the Latino consumer."

It's a cliché to point out that Latinos, like every other ethnic group, are not monolithic. But let's say it one more time, anyway: Latinos are not monolithic.

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in an Illinois case that could drive a stake through the heart of public employee unions.

At issue are two questions: whether states may recognize a union to represent health care workers who care for disabled adults in their homes instead of in state institutions; and whether non-union members must pay for negotiating a contract they benefit from.

To understand why a growing number of states actually want to recognize unions to represent home health care workers, listen to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan:

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Getting an accurate count on flu numbers can be tricky. More than 1,000 cases of flu have been reported in Connecticut this season, but how does the Connecticut Department of Public Health arrive at that number?

Obamacare enrollment surged in December, and the administration's report on the numbers made headlines early this week.

But the national figures tend to obscure the differences from state to state.

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Health care costs are going to be increasingly shifted to consumers. That was the message from Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini at a presentation Wednesday.

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Health insurer Anthem is still playing catch up on issuing enrollment confirmation to Connecticut consumers who’ve signed up for coverage through the state’s health care exchange.

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