Health

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Health officials across the state are urging people to get tested for HIV. Monday is World AIDS Day.

There are an estimated 21,300 people living with HIV in the state, according to Michigan’s Department of Community Health. The number of diagnoses outpaces deaths associated with the virus, so the number of people living with HIV is up.  

MDCH reports an average of 809 new cases were diagnosed each year from 2008 to 2012.

Almost two-thirds of those living with the virus live in metro Detroit. The impact on black males is the greatest.

Eva Petoskey

State of Opportunity's Jennifer Guerra talks to members of two Michigan tribes about the incredibly high rate of suicide among young American Indians. It's a devastating issue some say is fed by a community level sense of hopelessness and "code of silence."

Read or listen to the entire story at State of Opportunity.

Jennifer Guerra from the State of Opportunity team checks in with members of two Michigan tribes about some of the issues faced by the young people in their community.

Jennifer Guerra from the State of Opportunity team checks in with members of two Michigan tribes about some of the issues faced by the young people in their community.

Lord Mariser / Flickr

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear yet another challenge to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

The case, King v. Burwell, argues that because of the wording in a clause of the ACA, people who get insurance through a federal exchange and not a state-run exchange should not be entitled to tax credit subsidies.

As the Obamacare battle continues, Dr. Howard Markel, physician and medical historian from the University of Michigan, thinks it might be helpful to look back -- 69 years back, to this exact day, November 19, in 1945. That’s when President Harry Truman spelled out a ground-breaking idea: a “universal” national health care program. 

A lot of attention is showered on health concerns such as heart disease and cancer. There's much less attention and effort being directed to something that is the cause of more than half of all hospital deaths: sepsis. Sepsis accounts for more deaths than prostate cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined.  Dr Jack Iwashyna  is an associate professor in the Pulmonary and Critical Care Division of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan - and Marianne Udow-Phillips directs the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation.  Hear our interview with them below. 

Virginia Gordan

There's a digital divide in health care.

Less than one third of Americans over 65 go online to get information about their health, according to a new University of Michigan study.

And barely 10% of older Americans with low health literacy – that is, who have difficulty finding their way around the health system – use the Internet to access health information.

Helen Levy, research associate professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research and lead author, said the digital divide could lead to disparities in health care and health outcomes.

via grandtraverseacademy.mi.schoolwebpages.com

A Traverse City school is closed this week due to a whooping cough outbreak.

County health officials say there are 10 confirmed of the illness also known as pertussis at Grand Traverse Academy, with more than 80 additional cases considered “probable.”

The school is closed, and all sports and extracurricular activities canceled, until Monday.

The University of Michigan Health System and the state's largest nurses union have signed a contract that protects nurses who care for an Ebola patient. 

The health system and the Michigan Nurses Association announced the agreement Monday. It includes standards for training and protective equipment, as well as provisions on unchanged salary for a quarantined nurse or a nurse who is infected with the virus.

The hospital has agreed to pay for all medical treatment and follow-up, including psychological testing, for nurses who need it.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new University of Michigan study says we should rethink how we care for teens and young adults who are victims of violence.

For some young people, violent injuries occur with a frequency similar to someone with a “chronic disease”. 

Beaumont Health System

Doctors, trauma specialists, and some EMS workers are meeting in Detroit today for the annual Detroit Trauma Symposium. 

It’s run by the Detroit Medical Center and Wayne State University.

Among other things, they're talking about lessons learned from how other states are handling Ebola, and how they’ve prepared to treat it in Michigan.

A pilot program to help student-athletes cope with mental health problems is under way at the University of Michigan.

Daniel Eisenberg, associate professor at the U of M School of Public Health, is responsible for evaluating the program's effectiveness. He said the program aims to educate student-athletes about mental health issues – and to reduce the stigma of getting help.

Andrian Clark / Flickr

Brittany Maynard ended her life over the weekend.

The spirited newlywed with the aggressive, terminal brain tumor had moved from California to Oregon to take advantage of that state's law that made physician-assisted suicide legal.

Millions watched her video and read the stories about her choice to end her life on her terms, not cancer's terms.

Brittany Maynard was 29 years old.

Could her story give new impetus to right-to-die movements in other states, including here in Michigan?

Dr. Maria Silveira is an associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan. She is a specialist in palliative care and medical ethics.

Update: The state Dept. of Community Health now says it is monitoring nine people who traveled to west Africa, not 10 as it previously reported.  

The state Department of Community Health says it’s monitoring nine people in Michigan to see if they develop Ebola symptoms after they returned to the U.S. from west Africa. But health officials say none of them is  displaying any symptoms to suggest they might have contracted the Ebola virus on their travels.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report finds patient safety varies widely across Michigan.

A Washington D.C.-based group looked at how hospitals across the U.S. handled problems like mistakes in the operating room, drug mix-ups and bed sores.

23 of 79 Michigan hospitals surveyed in the report earned an “A” grade in patient safety.  A half-dozen Michigan hospitals received D’s.  No Michigan hospital received an “F” for patient safety.

Helping fight Ebola in Monrovia
User: USAID / Flickr

  

The nurse who treated patients in West Africa and was held in quarantine over the weekend is set to return home to Maine. That's as controversy continues to swirl around quarantine policies announced by the governors of New Jersey and New York.

Dr. Howard Markel is with the University of Michigan School of Medicine, and he directs the Center for the History of Medicine.

user clarita / morguefile

Hundreds of thousands of low income Michiganders are signing up for healthcare coverage under the state's recently expanded Medicaid plan. 

That expansion lets people who are slightly above the poverty line get on Medicaid. 

It was deeply controversial when it was approved in Lansing, largely because of its ties to Obamacare. 

But 100 days after it opened in April, more than 320,000 people signed up.

That's more people than were expected to sign up all year.

This Halloween, ‘trick or treaters’ may be greeted by more than the usual scary sights and sounds in Michigan.

Many homes will have teal colored pumpkins on their doorsteps. 

The teal pumpkins are a sign that that house will be handing out special treats to children with food allergies.

Veronica LaFamina is with the group ‘Food Allergy Research and Education’ or FARE.   She says one in 13 children have a serious food allergy.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The next round of Obamacare sign-ups start next month.

Insurance companies have until November 5th to decide which of the plans they submitted, and were approved by state and federal regulators, to offer beginning November 15th.

Andrea Miller is with the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services. She says the department’s Health Insurance Consumer Assistance Program website can help consumers start planning for picking or renewing their insurance policy.

CDC

NEW YORK (AP) - A law enforcement official and a New York City official say a doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus.

The Detroit News identifies the man as Craig Spencer.  The 33-year-old emergency room doctor attended Wayne State’s School of Medicine

Lance McCord

Everyone is freaking out about Ebola right now, even though health experts say there is next to no chance of a widespread American outbreak.

But there will be a different outbreak this year that kills children, puts thousands of adults in the hospital, and sickens 10% of our population: the flu.

Yet the Centers for Disease Control says less than half of all Americans actually get the flu shot, even though it’s safer, cheaper and more accessible than ever before.

So we wondered: why not?

According to a report from the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation, a lack of autism specialists in Michigan is creating long wait times for children to be diagnosed and treated.

Marianne Udow-Phillips, the group's director, explains that average waiting times for appointments can range anywhere from a month to two years. She hopes  that lawmakers will extend a temporary fund they created to train new specialists.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A United Nations team says the city of Detroit is violating human rights by shutting off water to those who can’t pay their bills.

Some 27, 000 customers have had their water cut off during the first nine months of 2014. Detroit launched the water shutoff program as part of efforts to deal with the city’s financial problems.  

CDC Global

Michigan has activated its Community Health Emergency Communications Center to coordinate statewide preparedness against the threat of the Ebola virus. The goal is for Michigan to be able to respond rapidly and effectively if a patient who may have, or is at risk for, the Ebola virus were identified in Michigan.

Gov. Rick Snyder has designated Director of Michigan Department of Community Health Nick Lyon and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Matthew Davis to lead the efforts.

"The public can be assured that the Department of Community Health is working with its partners across state government and in hospitals across the state to make certain we are maximizing protection for the population," said Davis.

Narconon

State law enforcement and health officials will hold a summit on heroin addiction in Michigan Monday.

Heroin use has grown because of demand created by prescription drug abuse and cheap heroin coming across the border with Mexico.

“(Prescription drug abuse) leads to greater heroin abuse because people want to continue that high,” says Lt. Joseph Thomas, Michigan State Police post commander in Lansing.

Thomas says high school students are becoming heroin users in larger numbers.  

CDC

LANSING – Gov. Rick Snyder has named two health officials to lead the state's efforts against the threat of Ebola.

In a statement Friday, the Michigan governor says he has designated Department of Community Health Director Nick Lyon and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Matthew Davis for the job.

Lyon and Davis will be asked to coordinate with the state's health and medical community to ensure adequate training, education and equipment for health care workers.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Two new laws will give terminally ill patients in Michigan a right to try experimental medicines.

The bills signed by the governor today don’t guarantee dying Michiganders will get access to experimental drugs, but they are intended to remove some barriers.

“Allowing Michiganders dealing with extremely difficult medical situations to try alternative treatment options could extend or save their lives,” says Gov. Rick Snyder. 

If a patient has exhausted all other options, the right-to-try laws would allow them access to unproven drugs and medical devices.

3D model of a flu virus.
CDC

OKEMOS, Mich. (AP) - Health officials are encouraging Michigan residents to get flu vaccinations as the state says it confirmed its first influenza cases of the 2014-2015 season.

The Michigan Department of Community Health announced Thursday that it recently confirmed three cases of influenza in adults, the first of the season identified by a state laboratory. One case is H1N1, one is H3N2 and one is an influenza B virus.

The announcement came as the department, the Michigan Osteopathic Association and the Michigan State Medical Society worked to promote vaccinations.

The peak of seasonal flu typically comes between January and April. Officials warn influenza is potentially life-threatening, especially for infants and the elderly. During the 2013-2014 flu season, officials say there were three influenza-associated deaths of children in the state.

CDC

Michigan nurses say state hospitals are not ready to handle a case of Ebola.

Despite recent assurances by Michigan hospital administrators and Gov. Rick Snyder that the state is prepared for a case of Ebola, the state’s largest nurses union disagrees.

Two Texas nurses have tested positive for Ebola, after treating a patient from West Africa, who recently died from the disease.

Sue Day / Flickr

Parenting a mentally ill child can be one of life's greatest challenges.

When you keep asking questions, keep searching for mental health care that can help your child, you may not get the right answers.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Alvarez is the Public Insight journalist for the State of Opportunity project.

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