Health

Stateside 8.8.2016

Aug 8, 2016

 

Today, we look into what really happened after expanding Medicaid under Healthy Michigan. And, we hear about a new report scrutinizing the treasury department's role in the Flint water crisis.

When the Affordable Care Act became law, many thought hospitals would be overwhelmed by new patients. The data show otherwise.
Flickr user Lisa Larson-Walker/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Healthy Michigan Plan launched in April 2014. It opened the Medicaid rolls to hundreds of thousands of low-income people for the first time. And no one was quite sure what to expect.

There were widely held fears that the flood of previously uninsured people would make it harder for everyone to get doctor's appointments, and that hospitals would be overloaded with seriously sick patients who, until then, didn't have insurance coverage.

Now, two years down the road, there's enough data for experts to study and analyze.

Flickr user Apotek Hjartat/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Many physicians and public health scientists view vaccination as the greatest development in modern medicine.

And yet, doctors like Phoebe Day Danziger and Rebekah Diamond, pediatric residents at the University of Michigan, find themselves trying to work with parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated.

They wonder why anti-vaccine parents are allowed to expose their kids, and the rest of society, to diseases which, by now, should have been wiped out.

Could it be time to make vaccination mandatory for all kids?

Insurance companies in Michigan are asking for, on average, 17.2% higher rates for individual plans next year.
flickr user 401(K) 2012 / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The insurance companies offering health plans on Michigan's public exchange have a collective eye fixed on January 1, 2017.

That's when they hope they'll be able to start charging, on average, 17.2% more for individual health insurance plans.

Marianne Udow-Phillips joined us today to talk about what's behind these hefty rate increase requests.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Rates could be going up next year for people who buy health insurance on Michigan's public exchange.

More than a dozen companies have submitted requests for rate changes to the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (you can see the requests here). The companies that sell to the largest share of the individual market are Blue Care Network with a 14.8% requested increase, Blue Cross Blue Shield at 18.7%, and Priority Health at 13.9%.

The average increase is 17.2%.

Why do mental health services in Michigan and vary from county to county? Michigan Radio's M I Curious did its best to find out.
FLICKR USER 401(K) / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Don Williams is from Holland, Mich., and recently, he posed this question to Michigan Radio’s MI Curious project: Is it just his perception, or do mental health services vary widely in different parts of the state?

Flickr user 401(K) 2012/Flickr

 

Don Williams of Holland posed this question to our M I Curious team:

Why are public resources for mental health issues very uneven between Michigan counties?

Peeling lead paint.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Some Grand Rapids homes are about to get a lot safer.

The city is among 23 state and local agencies across the country to receive Lead Based Paint Hazard Control grants from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Lead paint has been banned from use in housing since 1978, but it's still on the walls and woodwork in many older Michigan homes.

"It was marketed as 'the good paint', so if you cared about your home, then you used it," said Doug Stek, who directs hazard control projects for the City of Grand Rapids.

Chris O'Droski and Caitlin Darfler told us that many people struggling with addiction simply don't know there are alternative to Alchoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous
flickr user Chris Yarzab / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

"Minding Michigan" is Stateside's ongoing series that examines mental health issues in our state. 

When it comes to finding a pathway to helping an addict to recovery, most people and most courts think of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

The popular view is that AA and NA are the only ways for someone to get clean and sober, and stay that way.

But there are other options, organizations like SMART Recovery, LifeRing Secular Recovery and the Buddhist Recovery Network

For some, these alternatives can do what AA and NA could not.

Tyler Scott, Michigan Radio

Camping has been popular in Michigan for generations.

From the shores of the Great Lakes to expansive forests, this state offers magnificent sights, scenery and campgrounds.

And researchers at the University of Michigan say spending more time outdoors has mental health benefits.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Some Flint residents may be eligible for more healthcare benefits than they thought.

According to the "Care for Flint" campaign, the expansion of Medicaid has changed the income requirements for some services. 

"Care for Flint" is a collaboration of non-profits, churches, and grassroots organizations trying to find solutions to the ongoing water crisis.

Jamie Gaskin is the CEO of United Way of Genesee County and he says helping people understand their healthcare options is the goal of the campaign.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It’s about to get easier for coaches and parents to decide whether an athlete has had a potentially serious blow to the head.

Two Michigan State University professors have invented an impact-sensing headband to help people on the sidelines make quick decisions if a player takes a hit.

On the outside, the device looks like any other stretchy athletic headband, but this headband has pockets for wireless sensors that record the location and severity of an impact.

The Asian Tiger Mosquito is a carrier of Zika virus
flicker user coniferconifer / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Most people in Michigan don't need to worry about the Zika Virus.

That's what the Ingham County Health Department wants to tell the public through their informational campaign about the virus. The department's campaign hopes to eliminate unnecessary fear of the virus in Michigan.

Linda Vail is the Ingham County Health Officer and she says the only people who should be concerned about Zika are pregnant women since it has been linked to birth defects in babies.

According to Waller, opiate addiction is a chronic neurological disorder.
FLICKER USER KEVINKARNSFAMILY https://flic.kr/p/PyK3i

"Minding Michigan" is Stateside's ongoing series that examines mental health issues in our state. 

In 2014, Michigan became the first state to create a set of detailed guidelines for treating people addicted to heroin and other opioid drugs. 

The guidelines were praised by many in the treatment community as being clear, understandable and taking addiction treatment in Michigan to the next level.

Dr. Corey Waller is the doctor who wrote those guidelines. 

Painting of Louis Pasteur working in his lab, 1885
Albert Edelfelt / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0 / Public Domain

Many of us are following the headlines about the Zika virus with mounting alarm.

Before that, it was Ebola. Think back to October 2014, when a New Jersey nurse was quarantined after returning home from caring for Ebola patients in West Africa.

She later sued the state, by the way.

That same month, a Liberian man named Thomas Duncan left his home to visit Dallas, Texas. He left Liberia healthy. Two weeks later he was dead of Ebola, the first person diagnosed with the deadly disease in the U.S.

In 1885 people were equally terrified of rabies.

Howard Lake/flickr

The American Red Cross has issued an emergency call for blood and platelets, urging all eligible donors to give now to replenish an extremely low summer blood supply.

The group says blood donations have fallen short of hospital needs for the past few months, resulting in about 39,000 fewer donations than what’s needed, as well as a significant draw down of the overall Red Cross blood supply.

Flickr user RAY TYLER IMAGES/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

While personnel are still in the military, the doctors they see understand their experiences in combat, or in other situations, might mean they have certain healthcare issues.

Once veterans are out of the military, though, their private physicians might not even think to ask if they’ve served. That’s an oversight one doctor is working to correct.

http://www.ceicmh.org/

"Minding Michigan" is Stateside's ongoing series that examines mental health issues in our state. 

How well does Michigan do in helping people who are suffering from mental health problems?

When it comes to the mental health care safety net, the answer is troubling. It seems that Michiganders who have private insurance are the ones whose safety net is weakest. 

Some 2001-03 Hondas and Acuras are too dangerous to drive.
NHTSA

Every recall is a safety recall, as one of my favorite auto industry analysts, Michelle Krebs of Autotrader says.

But there is a lot of recall fatigue out there. And it's dangerous. Autotrader's recent survey finds that 40% of people are ignoring recalls because they think the recall is "not important."

So let's cut through that recall fatigue right now. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Genesee County Medical Society suggests pregnant women and children under 6 in Flint should stick to bottled water until more tests are performed.

That's despite the fact that federal agencies claimed water filters are working to remove lead from Flint tap water.

"We finally have enough data to agree that the filters work so well to remove the lead that everyone in Flint -- even pregnant women, nursing moms and young children -- can used filtered water here," Dr. Nicole Laurie, leader of the federal response to the Flint water crisis, told reporters last week.

A report shows areas surrounding the decommissioned Wurtsmith Air Force Base are contaminated and have caused severe health issues for some area residents.
Mike Fritcher / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Wurtsmith Air Force base in Oscoda Charter Township has served as home to B-52 bombers and F-106 fighter jets.

During the height of the Cold War, there were even plans to turn it into one of the few American military installations to house trains capable of launching intercontinental ballistic missiles. 

The base closed in 1993. Now, according to an MLive report, it might become known for something else.

Transmission electron microscopy image of Legionella pneumophilia, responsible for over 90% of Legionnares' disease cases.
CDC Public Health Library / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There were 91 people who contracted Legionnaires' disease in Genesee County in 2014 and 2015.

It was a spectacular spike in cases in a county which averaged fewer than 10 cases of legionella over the prior four years.

Records show that 12 of those 91 patients died.

Screen grab of "Lifestyle Changes & IBD: Dr. Peter Higgins explains his research proposal" / UMHealthSystem

 

When dealing with health issues, it's pretty common for us to turn to the internet. There, we hope to find information and answers.

But Eric Polsinelli didn't feel he could trust the internet to answer questions he had about inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Tens of thousands of water filters have been distributed in Flint.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Health officials say filtered Flint tap water is now safe enough for children and pregnant women to drink.

For months, concerns about potential lead exposure from the tap prompted federal, state and local officials to urge kids and pregnant women to only drink bottled water in Flint.

But that recommendation is changing.

Dr. Nicole Lurie is an Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.   She’s leading the federal response to the Flint Water Crisis.

Three months after adopting a plant-based lifestyle, Ramirez had lost 45 lbs and was off all five of his daily medications.
Marc Ramirez

In the late 1980s, Marc Ramirez played football for the University of Michigan.

While he was playing he was able to eat pretty much whatever he wanted and stay healthy. 

Then he graduated, and without all that physical activity, he started gaining weight and developing health problems.

American Dog tick
Jerry Kirkhart / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan health officials say they've confirmed the first case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever contracted in the state since 2009.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday that the case involved a child in Cass County in the southwestern corner of the state.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is caused by bacteria and can be fatal if not treated promptly and correctly, even in previously healthy people.

Symptoms typically include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting and muscle pain. A rash may develop a few days later.

Wikimedia Commons

On the Fourth of July in 1939, Lou Gehrig said farewell to fans at Yankee Stadium because he had contracted a fatal disease. He added, “I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for.”

Gehrig was diagnosed with ALS, more commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”

Regular Stateside contributor Dr. Howard Markel said there are some questions as to whether Gehrig received the proper diagnosis. If it wasn't ALS, then what could have killed the Yankee legend? 

GUEST  

fresh vegetables at a grocery store.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The federal government will soon begin offering 17,000 Flint households monthly packages of healthy foods.

Working with local food banks and feeding organizations, USDA will provide an additional 14-pound nutrient-targeted food package, containing foods rich in calcium, iron, and Vitamin C. The intent is to limit the absorption of lead from Flint’s tainted drinking water.

Kevin Concannon is with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He says the state has been helping since the city’s water emergency was declared earlier this year.

These mannequins are eerie. From the frozen look on their faces to their mouths which are almost always slightly ajar.

Then there’s the stuff they can do. The mannequins can “breathe” with a chest that rises and falls. They can convulse and bleed and vomit and even birth a baby.

The entire point of these high-fidelity mannequins is to make them as realistic as possible, so they can be an effective learning tool for future medical professionals. 

 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - People addicted to opioids in the remote Upper Peninsula city of Escanaba have a rare group of people to turn to for treatment: the police.

  Escanaba Lt. Robert LaMarche, the soon-to-be director of the Escanaba police, says they won't arrest people seeking addiction treatment if drug possession is their only crime.

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