Health

Jacob Fields, right, plays walks with his son Roan, left, in a wooded area adjacent to Murdoch Developmental Center in Butner, N.C. on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

For families with special needs children, putting kids into institutional care is often a desperate act of last resort. Many parents and caregivers prefer to keep their children at home where they can give them as much love and attention as possible, but they need help to do so. Families of children with severe intellectual and developmental disabilities are eligible for assistance from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services through a portion of Medicaid called the Innovations Waiver.

child doctor
Alex Prolmos / Flickr / Creative Commons

North Carolina House Republicans touted a bill on Tuesday that would expand health coverage to more uninsured adults who make too much to qualify for Medicaid. 

Wendell Potter
Courtesy of Wendell Potter

Wendell Potter spent two decades in senior positions at major health insurance companies before he became a whistleblower. A crisis of conscience sprung up while he was publicly praising policies that he knew were contributing to the rising number of uninsured and underinsured people in the U.S.

Medicaid expansion states show larger declines in the uninsured, 2013-2017
Kaiser Family Foundation

Some North Carolina House Republicans are expected to pitch again their idea to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of uninsured people through the 2010 federal health care law.

Closing arguments are done and the criminal trial of pharmaceutical executive John Kapoor is now in the hands of the jury. Deliberations begin on Monday.

The federal government has accused Kapoor and his four co-defendants of bribing doctors and deceiving insurance companies. In bringing criminal charges against corporate executives, the federal government is widely seen as trying to demonstrate that it is acting aggressively against drug companies and the role they allegedly played in the opioid epidemic.

Driven by greed

 

Numerous studies on childbirth in the US present a grim fact  -- racial disparities persist in the delivery room. Rates of maternal and infant mortality during childbirth are disproportionately higher among African American women in Buncombe County, and nationwide.  

That stark reality is what prompted a group of women in Asheville to organize and start a doula service for women of color and for women without the financial means.

A silhouette of a young pregnant woman.
Sarah Zucca / flickr.com/photos/livetocreate_photography/12040481414

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the first drug specifically designed to treat postpartum depression. Marketed as Zulresso, it is administered intravenously and reports results within 48 hours.

The drone pilot makes the first ever delivery to Matternet CEO Andreas Raptopoulos in front of WakeMed Health and Hospitals on March 26, 2019.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

A pioneering use of drones to fly blood samples across a North Carolina hospital campus launched Tuesday in the latest move to expand their roles in business and health care.

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Photo: Firefighter turnout gear
Vince Alongi / Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/vincealongi/2155757629/in/photostream/

In North Carolina, firefighters are taking steps to address high cancer rates among their ranks.

 

Firefighters are more likely to be diagnosed with and die of cancer than the general public, according to a 2015 study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Several communities in rural North Carolina struggle with water infrastructure maintenance.
Courtesy of Flickr user mycieau

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers is rolling out a bill that would require school districts and child care facilities to conduct routine testing of their water fountains for possible contaminants. 

The proposal comes after Mecklenburg and Guilford Counties recently did voluntary tests of their water, and found elevated levels of lead in taps at dozens of schools.

Men are dying after opioid overdoses at nearly three times the rate of women in the United States. Overdose deaths are increasing faster among black and Latino Americans than among whites. And there's an especially steep rise in the number of young adults ages 25 to 34 whose death certificates include some version of the drug fentanyl.

2019 Health Outcomes Ranking.
Robert Wood Johnsong Foundation / University of Wisconsin Public Health Institute

A lack of affordable housing drives down health and keeps North Carolinians in poverty, according to the latest annual County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Jonathan Drew / AP Photo

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina is being sued again over its treatment of transgender people, as state employees argue that their health plan violated federal law by dropping coverage of medically necessary procedures.

A former North Carolina Supreme Court chief justice and other retired state government workers and teachers aren't exempted from paying health insurance premiums because they had a deal with the state to keep their benefits unchanged, an appeals court ruled Tuesday.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services headquarters at Dorothea Dix in Raleigh.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

The consortium of hospitals that was denied a contract to manage Medicaid beneficiaries has appealed its rejection. The appeal will be considered by North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen.

Could Your Mindset Affect How Well A Treatment Works?

Mar 1, 2019

Anxiety about side effects can keep people from starting or sticking to drug regimens or medical procedures. A group of researchers at Stanford University wanted to find out whether a simple mindset shift could help patients tolerate an uncomfortable treatment. They learned that when physicians make the effort to reframe potentially unpleasant symptoms in a positive light, it helped patients to stay calm and persevere.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina headquarters in Durham.
BCBSNC

North Carolina's largest health insurer said Friday it expects to reimburse about 700,000 customers after administrative and other costs outstripped a limit allowed by the health care overhaul law championed by President Barack Obama.

North Carolina influenza surveillance summary, week ending Feb. 23, 2019.
N.C. Department of Health and Human Services

North Carolina health officials have recorded the deadliest week yet during the 2018-19 flu season, with 21 deaths which include a victim between the ages of 5 and 17.

All U.S. states require most parents to vaccinate their children against some preventable diseases, including measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough, to be able to attend school. Such laws often apply to children in private schools and day care facilities as well as public schools.

Creative Commons / Via pxhere

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers wants to establish new regulations regarding cell phones while driving a car. The Hands-Free NC Act would prohibit physically holding or supporting a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle.

“I’m a Republican, and I’m generally skeptical of regulations and telling people what they can and cannot do. But we must have a delineation between liberty and personal safety,” said Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford).

Group photo from The Campaign for Southern Equality.
Courtesy of The Campaign for Southern Equality

More than 500,000 transgender people live in the South, according to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. National data show that nearly a quarter of trans people do not get any kind of healthcare because of a fear of discrimination. A new report from the Campaign for Southern Equality and Western NC Community Health Services examines the specific barriers faced by transgender people who live in the South. 

Child Health Report Card 2019 / NC Child and North Carolina Institute of Medicine

Suicide is now the second-leading cause of death among kids in North Carolina ages 10 to 17, according to a report out today from the North Carolina Institute of Medicine and advocacy group NC Child.

A picture of a running tap.
247homerescue / commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:247_Home_Rescue_tap_sink_plumbing_water.jpg

Greensboro is putting up $31 million to get industrial chemicals known as PFOS and PFOA out of the drinking water.

Tara Dunsmore is a nurse who uses ink to heal.
Courtesy of Tara Dunsmore

Tara Dunsmore is a nurse by trade, but after her own experience with breast cancer, she found a new way to help others heal: tattoos. After undergoing a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction, Dunsmore uncovered a gap in the healing process: how to recreate a realistic-looking nipple. 

Dr. Charles Van Der Horst speaking at 2017 ID Week.
Courtesy of Charles Van Der Horst

Throughout his career, Dr. Charles van der Horst has always prioritized close relationships with his patients. He was on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic in the state and opened up an AIDS ward at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the 1980s. 

Roan Fields-Moffitt, left, walks with his mother, Desiree Moffitt, second from left, and father, Jacob Fields, right, as he pushes the family's baby twin daughters through a wooded area adjacent to Murdoch Developmental Center in Butner
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Roan Fields-Moffitt likes to explore wooded areas. On a damp and cloudy early afternoon in January, he rustled through leaves, climbed over fallen trees and threw sticks in a stream. His dad, Jacob Fields, and mom, Desiree Moffitt, walked with him and took turns pushing Roan's 16-month-old twin sisters in a stroller.

A table showing that North Carolina's uninsured rate is higher than the average U.S. rate.
North Carolina Justice Center

North Carolina is home to one of the largest uninsured populations in the country. The latest Census data indicates that of the more than one million people in North Carolina living without health insurance, many are employed workers. 

arbyreed via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/19779889@N00/28347664145

The Department of Agriculture has put forward new rules that would make it more difficult for some working-age adults to access SNAP food benefits. The suggested rule change comes after a failed effort by House lawmakers to tighten work requirements through the farm bill. Currently, states have flexibility to waive work requirements for some recipients depending on factors including the state’s unemployment rate. The new USDA rule would strip states of that general waiver option.

A picture of a dctor holding a stethoscope.
Alex Proimos / Flickr

A new mental health urgent care center will be the first of its kind in Guilford County.

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