Healthcare

Courtesy of Dr. Chris Kelly

When did you last look up your symptoms online? Medical tomes and doctors visits were once necessary for diagnosis; now the internet makes medical knowledge — both amateur and professional — available to the masses.

A doctor holding a stethoscope.
Pxhere

North Carolina did not expand the number of adults eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, but the state is pursuing other avenues of healthcare reform. The state Department of Health and Human Services and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina have teamed up to work on a program to shift how healthcare is paid for.

ReadyNC

A year after Florence, Dorian restarts the cycle of disaster preparedness, damage control, and recovery. Florence’s toll was especially harsh on North Carolina’s Spanish-only speakers, who were not included in many state and local outreach efforts before and after the storm.

A tan hand holding an IUD.
Sarah Mirk / Creative Commons

Planned Parenthood pulled out of the Title X program Monday after the Department of Health and Human Services ruled that clinics receiving Title X funding may not refer patients to abortion providers. After months of threats, Planned Parenthood refused to abide by the ruling and opted to give up federal money in favor of maintaining abortion services.  In North Carolina, Planned Parenthood affiliates were stripped of federal funding in May.

David Bjorgen

State Treasurer Dale Folwell wants to move the State Health Plan to a government-priced model he calls the Clear Pricing Project. As the debate escalates, the more than 727,000 North Carolinians on the State Health Plan face uncertain healthcare coverage and costs in the new year.

Hospital room
PROFotos GOVBA / Flickr Creative Commons

For the past 40 years, healthcare service providers wanting to open new facilities have had to get a Certificate of Need from the state Department of Health and Human Services. The regulations, known as CON laws, cover 12 different types of medical services, making North Carolina’s laws some of the most restrictive in the nation. 

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.

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.

The future make up of the Dogwood Health Trust Board
Courtesy of Matt Bush at Blue Ridge Public Radio

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein gave the green light for a major healthcare sale in western North Carolina. He approved the sales contract of nonprofit Mission Health to for-profit company HCA Healthcare — with some changes. One of those changes will require HCA to keep operating its rural hospitals for 10 years. 

www.ncleg.net / NC General Assembly

The countdown to the 2018 midterms is on, and all seats in the North Carolina General Assembly are up for election. Democrats are hoping to secure wins in both the House and Senate to break the Republican supermajority. Two competitive House seats in Haywood County may be crucial grabs for the Democrats, while two Democratically-held seats in Buncombe County are also competitive races.

Image of tools in doctor's office
Morgan / Flickr/Creative Commons

Healthcare reform has been a hotly-debated topic for decades. The United States spends about twice as much on healthcare than any other wealthy country in the world, but American health outcomes are worse.

Image for stories to save lives
Southern Oral History Program / Center for the Study of the American South

Cardiologist Dr. Ross Simpson has spent years studying premature sudden death. He investigates why people between the ages of 18-64 with no pre-existing conditions are dying in North Carolina. 

Angel Medical Center
Courtesy of Lilly Knoepp / Blue Ridge Public Radio

The sale of not-for-profit community hospital system Mission Health to a national health care titan is underway in Western North Carolina.

UNC Hospital
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Healthcare in North Carolina is a tale of corporate giants in which business moves have major spillover effects on access and quality of healthcare for millions of residents. 

Image of pills spilling out over money.
TaxRebate.org.uk / Flickr Creative Commons

The biggest healthcare provider in Western North Carolina and the largest insurer in the state have reached a deal over reimbursement rates. 

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

Negotiations between the largest healthcare provider in Western North Carolina and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina have failed after a months-long standoff. 

Doctor checks on baby at hosptial
Slava / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/8mh8fz

Hospital executives announced last week that the state’s largest hospital system, Carolinas Healthcare, would combine with UNC Health. They called the nearly $14 billion move “a marriage, not a merger.” 

Penguin Random House

Historian Nancy MacLean stumbled upon the work of James M. Buchanan when she was on the hunt for the ideological roots of the school voucher system. The Nobel Prize-winning economist was at the forefront of a push to popularize libertarianism. 

Two of about 140 protesters who rallied in front of Senator Thom Tillis' office in downtown Raleigh.
Jess Clark / WUNC

More than one hundred protesters rallied outside Senator Thom Tillis' Raleigh office Tuesday afternoon calling for the Republican senator to reject his party's bill to replace Obamacare.

San Diego Personal Injury Attorney / Flickr/ Creative Commons

 Earlier this week, President Trump unveiled his budget proposal for 2018. The plan cuts more than $600 billion from Medicaid in the next decade, which would affect  nearly two million enrollees in North Carolina. The budget also includes deep cuts to health research and higher education.


Doctors at Duke Hospital.
Duke Medecine

Medicine is becoming more and more precise. Healthcare professionals have growing access to big data, computational power and genetic sequencing and testing. Advances such as genetic screenings that rule out ineffective chemotherapy treatments are already being used clinically. Many other diseases, from high cholesterol to depression, are also on the list to potentially benefit from getting more precise interventions.

Donna Helen Crisp has worked as a nurse in North Carolina for more than two decades. 

She thought she knew the healthcare system inside and out until one day she went in for a routine surgery, expecting only an overnight stay, and almost died from a chain of medical errors.

Image of tools in doctor's office
Morgan / Flickr/Creative Commons

Contrary to popular belief, statistics show that North Carolina does not have a doctor shortage problem; it has a doctor distribution problem.

Experts say the lack of funding for graduate medical education (GME) in rural areas is one reason that those communities have worse health outcomes.

Spending on high-price specialty drugs has risen dramatically in the past thirteen years, according to new research from UNC-Chapel Hill.

photo of a stethoscope
Wesley Wilson / Pexels

When the Affordable Care Act went into effect, the federal government hoped visits to the Emergency Room - some of the most expensive treatments in the industry - would decrease.

Instead, ER visits are rising. Experts blame the spike on patients who have health insurance for the first time and have yet to visit a primary care physician.

Image of pills spilling out over money.
TaxRebate.org.uk / Flickr Creative Commons

The Board of Trustees that manages the state health insurance plans for government employees is considering major changes to the state health plan.

The board is considering proposed elimination of the 80/20 plan. The measure is in response to a legislative order to reduce costs for the more than 690,000 employees and retirees who receive health benefits through the state. 

Prison Bars
Michael Coghlan / Flickr Creative Commons

Increasing prison population means higher healthcare costs for taxpayers. In addition, the rising number of elderly people in prison means more chronic diseases with higher treatment costs.

Policymakers are considering early release as one viable option for reducing elderly populations behind bars. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Triangle Business Journal reporter Jason deBruyn about the latest. 

An image of the Supreme Court
Kjetil Ree / Wikimedia Commons

The United States Supreme Court issued a decision today upholding tax subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the court's opinion.

Three justices, the court's most conservative members, dissented. The decision allows 460,000 North Carolinians to continue to receive subsidies for their health insurance.

Dr. Richard Bock, a vascular surgeon, listens on speaker phone to another surgeon who is asking for advice before starting bypass surgery.
William Woody / wwoody@citizen-times.com

Mission Health System dominates the healthcare field in Western North Carolina, owning or partnering with six hospitals and controlling more than 40 percent of hospital beds in Western North Carolina. The nonprofit company began its expansion in the 1990s. It absorbed small rural hospitals struggling to foot the bill for an aging, low-income and underinsured population in Western North Carolina. 

Supreme Court building, Washington, DC, USA. Front facade.
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Daderot

The U.S Supreme Court will take up a case this week that potentially puts half a million North Carolinians at risk of losing their subsidized health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

In King v. Burwellthe high court will examine whether the federal government can assist in paying insurance premiums for all Americans or if it can only offer funds in states that have created their own health care exchanges.

Pages