health care | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

health care

Kayana Szymczak / ProPublica

In the world of emergency medicine, an unrecognized esophageal intubation is a “never event,” meaning that it shouldn't happen under any circumstances. In Rhode Island, it's occurred 12 times in the last three years. In each case, the patient died.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

On a typical day at East Shore Middle School in Milford, the library is where students spend time using the computers, working on projects and checking out books.

But on a recent Monday morning, about a dozen students sat at tables, each with a virtual reality headset strapped onto their faces and a controller in one hand. Instead of seeing each other, Tino Pavlat and his friends interacted with people at a virtual high school and played Space Cats, a shooter minigame.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Deborah Bigelow walked into the Lyceum Conference Center in Hartford on a recent Thursday night prepared with a stack of folders and documents.

She hoped that by the time she left the Access Health Connecticut enrollment fair after speaking with a specialist, her health insurance plan for 2020 would be set, because not having coverage wasn’t an option.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Forty-seven people have died in recent months from vaping-related illnesses, and there’s rising concern around the country about addiction levels among young people.

Rebecca Reindel / AFL-CIO

Advocates for workplace protections for health care and social services employees celebrated outside the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., Thursday after the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would require national protection standards against workplace violence.

“Sadly, in America today, nurses, doctors, social workers, EMTs and nursing assistants are more likely to be the victims of on-the-job violence than any sector of our nation’s workforce,” said Democrat Rep. Joe Courtney, sponsor of the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act.

Images Money / Creative Commons

Major health care bills died in the Connecticut legislature earlier this year, including proposals for a public option insurance program, prescription drug pricing, and spending.

With health care policy shaping up to take prominence in both local and national politics next year, state lawmakers hope to get a jump-start on ways to lower health care costs and spending in Connecticut.

Opioids Backlash Leaves Some Struggling With Chronic Pain

Nov 17, 2019
Carl Jordan Castro / Conn. Health I-Team

Unable to obtain morphine, Heather Weise, 50, lay balled up in pain at her home in Milford earlier this year. It took nine days to refill her narcotic painkiller and she blamed the clampdown on opioid prescriptions for her woes.

Courtesy: COHC

Federal funding for community health centers is nearing expiration this year. And both health professionals and politicians warn that if funding isn’t extended, it could impact Connecticut centers and patients. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

A large silver tank sits in the front of Cherry Brook Primary School in Canton. In it are gallons of clean, filtered water that pump into the school’s fountains, sinks and water bottle filling stations.

It’s been a fixture on school grounds since Nov. 6 when town officials notified parents that Cherry Brook’s well water could be contaminated with PFAS, a family of man-made chemicals that may be toxic to humans. That contamination is thought to have occurred after firefighting foam was used at the school five years ago.

Daniel Paquet / Creative Commons

Two Connecticut residents infected with the influenza virus have died, the state’s first flu-related deaths of the 2019-20 season, according to state public health officials. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

At the Urban Hope Refuge Church in the North End of Hartford, residents and activists celebrated the city’s new housing codes, which they hope will hold landlords and owners more accountable.

“The new code will not only prevent slumlords from continuing to make money off horrendous and inhumane living conditions they create for residents,” said Joshua Serrano, “but also lift the corporate veil, of which many slumlords hide.” 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Patricia Banach just wanted her annual flu shot.

As the weather got colder, she and her husband, both in their 70s, knew that the chances of falling ill were higher, so they set out to a local pharmacy near their home in Somers to get vaccinated.

But it didn’t turn out to be that simple.

ronb359 / Creative Commons

A recent report that showed the presence of varying amounts of toxic heavy metals in baby foods has caused Connecticut lawmakers and public health experts to call for better safety standards from federal agencies in order to limit long-term risks to children.

Researchers at Healthy Babies Bright Futures, a national nonprofit alliance, tested 168 baby foods from 61 brands. They found that 95% of tested products contained chemicals and metals like lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium -- elements that can affect brain development.

Open Enrollment Has Begun: Here's What You Need To Know

Nov 1, 2019
Courtesy of Access Health CT

Open enrollment for 2020 health plans on Connecticut’s insurance exchange is now underway. It’s the seventh enrollment period for the state’s marketplace, and despite a recent drop in the number of uninsured people, health officials are still trying to reach the nearly 187,000 residents who lack coverage.

Mark Mirko / The Hartford Courant

Connecticut Supreme Court justices ruled Wednesday that remaining frozen human embryos belonging to a divorced couple can be destroyed, as previously stipulated in a contract agreement.

The court avoided making a judgement in an argument about affording embryos human rights, but its decision did set a legal precedent for future possession disputes by clarifying how contract agreements should be followed.

BRIANAJACKSON / ISTOCK / THINKSTOCK

Senior physicians at Yale New Haven Hospital were in the middle of presentations during a recent meeting of the graduate medical education committee when a group of interns, residents and fellows interrupted.

At the front of the room, they unfurled a banner painted with the words “Doctors Are Humans Too.”

The group of training doctors then presented staff with what they called a Resident and Fellow Bill of Rights.

Wonderlane / Creative Commons

When Kyle Zimmer started working in the construction industry 40 years ago, he said health and safety standards focused on reducing injuries and fatalities from electrical hazards, falls and a lack of protective gear.  

But today, he said the focus needs to be on addiction, suicide prevention and behavioral health.

Max Pixel

High-profile cases of sexual harassment in the workplace have made headlines in recent years, from Hollywood to Capitol Hill.

A new series from Hearst Connecticut Media finds workplace sexual harassment and abuse is pervasive across Connecticut. This hour, we talk with one of the reporters behind the series.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Vaping devices will be part of a drug takeback event this weekend for the first time in the state. 

Mecklenburg County / Creative Commons

Michael Manson isn’t shy about sharing his past of criminal charges, mental illness and problems with alcohol and substance abuse, because lately, he’s been focused on improving relationships with his family, staying sober and managing his mental health.

“I had therapy yesterday. I’m having therapy Friday. Some weeks I have two days — it depends on the week I’m having, because I know every day is a struggle,” he said. “Every day, I’m trying not to re-offend.”

Vaping 360 / Creative Commons

Before electronic cigarettes hit the U.S. market about 10 years ago, Connecticut was making progress in decreasing nicotine use among young people.

About one in four teens were smoking cigarettes in 2000, but by 2017, that dropped to only 3.5% of school-aged students statewide, according to state reports.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio


Denise Guillemette sat at a table preparing dozens of flu vaccines that she would eventually give to residents who came to a recent community clinic in Glastonbury.

“Come on down,” she called to the next person in line waiting their turn. “How are you feeling today, good?”

26 Connecticut Hospitals Penalized By Medicare For High Readmission Rates

Oct 9, 2019
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services penalized Bridgeport Hospital 2.66 percent, the highest penalty among Conn. hospitals.
Bridgeport Hospital

Most Connecticut hospitals will lose a percentage of their Medicare reimbursement payments over the next year as penalties for having high rates of readmitted patients, according to new data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Florey Institute / Creative Commons

Trying to figure out how much a medical procedure or treatment may cost can be time consuming and complicated, but Connecticut officials hope a new web tool may now make it easier for patients and their families.

The state Office of Health Strategy Tuesday launched a cost estimator tool on HealthscoreCT.com, a new website for health care quality and cost information. The estimator tool was designed to aid people in their medical decisions and give them a better idea of how health care pricing and coverage work.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

A day after the legislative session ended and still reeling from the defeat of a sweeping public option bill, lawmakers and Gov. Ned Lamont vowed in June to revive the health care overhaul next year. But as the General Assembly gets closer to reconvening, prospects for a resurrected public option measure are looking dim, and the debate around health care reform has shifted to cost containment, prescription drugs and reinsurance proposals that have bipartisan support. 

Ted Eytan / Creative Commons

Ten years ago around this time, U.S. legislators were in the middle of hashing out one of the biggest ever pieces of health care reform legislation. Democrats narrowly passed it, and President Barack Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in March of 2010.

Looking back on the last decade, Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, health policy expert and professor emeritus at Washington and Lee University, said the ACA has accomplished a lot, but it’s also left a fragmented health system divided by private and public sectors.

Vaping306 / Creative Commons

A Connecticut resident has died from lung illness related to vaping, state officials announced Thursday. It’s the first fatality of its kind in the state and among a growing number of people who are dying in a nationwide outbreak of cases.

The patient was between 30 and 39 years old and died last week while being hospitalized for multiple medical conditions, according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

Chris Fifield-Smith / Creative Commons

A third Connecticut resident has died from EEE, and another person has been diagnosed with the illness, state officials announced Tuesday.

Dr. Matthew Cartter, state epidemiologist of the Department of Public Health, said in a statement that a person from East Haddam between 60 and 69 years old died during the third week of September from the mosquito-borne illness.

Courtesy: Live Well

About 75,000 people in Connecticut live with dementia. And in a stage production in Hartford, five of them are telling their stories. To Whom I May Concern is a readers-theater style performance – and part of an effort to invite those living with cognitive change to educate others about what they’re experiencing. 

TBEC Review / Wikimedia Commons

Doctors and public health officials are still trying to figure out the cause behind more than 800 lung injuries related to vaping that have been reported in the U.S. in recent months.

At the same time, there is a longer-term public health crisis as more and more young people have become addicted to nicotine through e-cigarette use -- despite decades of declining traditional cigarette use among teens. 

This hour, we talk about these two public health crises. Do you vape nicotine products like Juul, or maybe use THC cartridges or vape pens from a dispensary? Has the current outbreak in lung injuries changed your vaping habits?

Pages