health care

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.

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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.

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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.

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"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.

CT-N

The board of directors of Access Health CT met on Thursday morning to hear an update on operations, information technology, and marketing and sales, among other topics. Catch up on the minutes of prior meetings here

Fair Haven

A new nationwide study funded by the National Institutes of Health is examining treatment options for Type 2 diabetes and a New Haven clinic serving low-income patients has been named a "co-investigator."

New York's health insurance marketplace is working, but some consumers are still having problems with insurers. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield is the state's largest insurer and the target of a lot of consumer complaints.

Angela Felan is sitting in the ER waiting room at O'Connor Hospital in San Jose, Calif. A blue surgical mask covers her nose and mouth, and a sweatshirt is pulled snug over her head.

She first came into the emergency room a few days ago with what she thought was bronchitis. The doctor prescribed an inhaler that cost her $56.

Felan, 31, works part time in retail and hasn't had insurance for at least a decade because she hasn't been able to afford it. "Unfortunately even not having insurance is just as expensive," she says.

For the first time, we are getting some demographic information about the more than 2 million people who have signed up for private health insurance through the exchanges set up by the federal government.

The New York Times reports that the Obama administration said older, less healthy enrollees outnumber healthy, younger ones. The Times adds:

As the White House continues dealing with well-publicized problems with the HealthCare.gov website, there's at least one big question related to the Affordable Care Act that's outside the president's control: Can employers with religious objections be compelled to provide access to contraception coverage for their workers?

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has granted a temporary injunction while she considers a challenge to the contraception requirement by a group of nuns called the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Catholic organization serves the poor elderly.

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The head of the state's insurance marketplace said his number one priority right now is making sure people who signed up for health care coverage can get it. So far, about 40,000 Connecticut residents have enrolled in private insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. Access Health CT CEO Kevin Counihan said that number rapidly growing.

Pact

  We live in an age where our cell phones tell us how much to exercise and what to eat. And people find that it's helping them. 

Health care spending grew at a record slow pace for the fourth straight year in 2012, according to a new government report. But the federal officials who compiled the report disagree with their bosses in the Obama administration about why.

The annual report from the actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, published in the journal Health Affairs, found total U.S. health spending totaled $2.8 trillion in 2012, or $8,915 per person.

The Justice Department will answer a challenge Friday morning to a controversial provision in the new health care law. It requires most employers that offer health insurance to include birth control at no cost.

A group of Catholic nuns has objected to that, and this week they won a temporary reprieve from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. It's an unusual test case, but it won't be the last one.

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A group in Connecticut met earlier this month to explore a simple question -- how to intervene if you think someone may be suffering from a mental illness. They were learning about "mental health first aid," which was developed in Australia in 2001 and has captured the attention of many in America, including President Barack Obama.

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While we've heard a lot in the last few months about public health care exchanges, another, less publicized change is taking place in the world of employer sponsored health care: private exchanges.

Despite Health Law, Many People May Be Left Underinsured

Dec 31, 2013

People with chronic conditions will be better protected from crippling medical bills starting in January, as the health law's coverage requirements and spending limits take effect.

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