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Purdue Pharma Payouts Decline As Fewer Clinicians Report Taking Money

Feb 20, 2020
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

Purdue Pharma, in bankruptcy and embroiled in thousands of lawsuits for its role in the opioid crisis, paid Connecticut doctors and nurse practitioners $394,662 in 2018, a slight drop of 9% from $433,246 the prior year, federal data show.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Hundreds of people packed into the Legislative Office Building in Hartford Wednesday ahead of a public hearing on a bill that would change the state’s childhood vaccinations laws.

Connecticut children can attend public school by either complying with required vaccinations or by obtaining an exemption from vaccination based on religious or medical reasons. A proposed bill would eliminate the religious exemption. 

health care providers
Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut advocates for addiction treatment say proposed funding cuts to the federal Medicaid program would leave fewer resources for people with substance use disorders.

The proposed cuts are part of President Donald Trump’s federal budget plan, which was released earlier this month. It includes cuts to Medicaid, a program that provides health coverage for people in poverty, and the Affordable Care Act totaling about $1 trillion in the next decade. 

Cases Of Lead-Poisoned Children Drop 17% In Connecticut

Feb 15, 2020

A total of 1,665 Connecticut children under age 6 had lead poisoning in 2017, a drop of almost 17% from the year before and the largest one-year decrease in five years, according to a just-released report from the state Department of Public Health (DPH).

Erowid Center

The number of people who died in Connecticut from drug overdoses in 2019 was the most the state has recorded in a single year, even after a dip in deaths in 2018.

New state data show that 1,200 people died, an 18% jump from the previous year, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Samantha Merwin hoped to put money away in a college fund for her 13-year-old son, Logan.

But instead, any savings have gone into a health account that’s intended for Logan to use in his young adult years as he manages Type 1 diabetes, a lifelong chronic disease. 

14 Hospitals Penalized For High Infection Rates, Injuries

Feb 7, 2020
CT Mirror

Fourteen Connecticut hospitals are being penalized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), losing 1% of their Medicare reimbursements this fiscal year for having high rates of hospital-acquired infections and injuries, new data show.

flu shot
AP Photo/David Goldman, File

A child has died from the flu, state officials announced Thursday, making it the first pediatric fatality in the state this season.

The child was from New Haven County and was between 1 and 4 years old, according to Department of Public Health officials.

Connecticut prepares for the coronavirus.
Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

The spread and impact of the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, is changing rapidly as governments and public health experts report additional cases and deaths.

More than 24,500 people have become ill and over 490 have died, and the majority of cases have occurred in China, according to the World Health Organization. 

BoyuZhang1998 / Wikimedia Commons

It’s a busy week in politics. The presidential primary season kicked off in Iowa, and tonight is the President’s State of the Union Address. Meanwhile, the impeachment trial nears its end. This hour, Southern Connecticut State University political scientist Jennifer Hopper joins us.  

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

State officials are pursuing a new way to hold accountable landlords who endanger residents with unsafe and unsanitary living conditions, starting with the former owner of the Clay Arsenal Renaissance Apartments in the North End of Hartford. 

Ryan Caron King (screengrab) / Connecticut Public

Mark Guido had his eyes fixed on a punching bag. Jab after jab, he didn’t break focus. He had the gym to himself -- a winter storm kept other boxers off the roads. Guido said he couldn’t afford to skip. 

“If I don’t work out every day, I can tell. By the end of the day ... I’m having problems. My dexterity is gone. I’m fatigued. Coordination is off,” he said.

Petr David Josek / AP Photo

Two people in Connecticut are being monitored for signs of the novel coronavirus, an infectious disease that has spread in China and is now appearing as isolated cases in other countries, including the United States.

A student at Wesleyan University and another person in New Haven County are under observation, according to Gov. Ned Lamont’s office. Health officials said the Wesleyan student tested negative for the disease, but both people have tested positive for the flu. 

Gillian Flaccus / AP

At 6:30 a.m. in January on a residential street in West Hartford, it was 18 degrees outside and quiet. Most houses disappeared into the pitch-black darkness, making the lights coming from inside Anna Shusterman’s home especially bright.

“Hey, Max!” Shusterman yelled up the stairs from the kitchen.

Pixabay

Deaths related to alcohol have been rising over the past two decades, especially among women.  Today, we look at the impact of alcohol on public health.

And on this day in 1920, Prohibition went into effect around the country, making it illegal to sell alcohol. 100 years after the beginning of this national experiment, we ask: what is a productive policy approach today to dealing with addiction?

Tracking Types Of Terrain That Harbor Disease-Carrying Ticks

Jan 16, 2020
Christine Woodside / C-HIT

On a sunny, cool day as fall gave way to winter, a team of biologists and technicians dragged white cloths through the underbrush at Lord Creek Farm in Lyme. They were looking for blacklegged ticks, which carry Lyme disease and four other deadly illnesses.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Debra Trueax knew she was struggling with an acute substance use disorder, but she wanted to hide it from family and friends. So when she went to a hospital in 2018, she had a plan.

“I went to the emergency room looking to get a bed and for mental health and addiction services,” she said. “I knew where I could get a bed where I could also sort of on the sly get treatment for substance abuse without anyone knowing.”

Measles, mumps and rubella vaccines are seen at the Rockland County Health Department in Pomona, N.Y., Wednesday, March 27, 2019.
Seth Wenig / Associated Press

Lawmakers are wasting no time seeking public input on a proposal to erase Connecticut’s religious exemption from mandatory vaccinations.

They have scheduled a public hearing on the plan for Feb. 19 – just two weeks into the legislative session. A draft of the bill is expected to be released next week.

SLAWOMIR FAJER / ISTOCK / THINKSTOCK

Even when patients go to a hospital within their insurance coverage network, they still risk being seen by individual physicians who don’t take their insurance. Later, patients may get billed for the amount their insurance company doesn’t cover for out-of-network services.

new study by researchers at Yale University found that some of these out-of-network charges can be significant among certain specialties.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

A multi-state coalition of Democratic state attorney’s general and a governor are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on a recent court decision on the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate in an effort to preserve the federal health care law. 

Desensitization Gives Some Children With Food Allergies A Viable Treatment Option

Jan 2, 2020
Carl Jordan Castro / C-HIT

For Oliver Racco, it’s a part of his daily routine: eating a few peanut M&Ms.

It may seem like a treat to some kids, but for Oliver -- and a relatively small but growing number of children -- it’s an important way he and his family manage his peanut allergy.

Courtesy of Access Health CT

A federal appeals court in New Orleans dealt another blow to the Affordable Care Act last week, saying the requirement under the law to have health insurance is unconstitutional. But the court sidestepped the question of whether the health law itself is invalid.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference has named Maloney High School junior Haley Lespier its winner of the 2019 Michael H. Savage Spirit of Sport Award.

Alexa Kasdan had a cold and a sore throat.

The 40-year-old public policy consultant from Brooklyn, N.Y., didn't want her upcoming vacation trip ruined by strep throat. So after it had lingered for more than a week, she decided to get it checked out.

Kasdan visited her primary care physician, Roya Fathollahi, at Manhattan Specialty Care, just off Park Avenue South and not far from tony Gramercy Park.

Access Health CT

Judges in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans this week found that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate -- the requirement that residents buy health insurance or pay a fine -- is unconstitutional.

But they held off from saying that the entire law is invalid, sending the case back to a lower court in Texas for more analysis into which parts of the federal law can continue without the individual mandate. 

SUDOK1 / ISTOCK / THINKSTOCK

Syed Alishan Nasir, a fourth-year medical student, recently completed a clinical rotation at Norwalk Community Health Center, which, like other community health centers, treats many low-income and underserved residents.

The experience further cemented Nasir’s idea to one day become a primary care physician and work in a similar setting, but said he and others face significant barriers to going into primary care, which typically doesn’t pay as much as other specialties.

COURTESY OF ACCESS HEALTH CT

Residents still looking to get health care insurance coverage for 2020 have 30 more days to select plans through Access Health CT, the state’s Affordable Care Act exchange.

Access Health CT officials announced Monday that they’ve extended the open enrollment period to Jan. 15 -- the original deadline passed on Sunday. Officials said the extension gives people more time to review plan changes or select new plans for next year. 

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.

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