Health

Health
10:54 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Stricter regulations for Michigan's compounding pharmacies possible

Credit cdc.gov

The fungal meningitis outbreak isn't that far behind us. 

Two years ago, a Massachusetts compounding facility sold tainted steroid medications around the country. What happened was disastrous: 22 Michigan residents lost their lives to meningitis and more than 260 were infected. 

New legislation could prevent that from happening again. A bill sponsored by Sen. Joe Hune, R-Hamburg, may be voted on this week. It calls for more background checks on compounding pharmacies and more facility inspections.

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Stateside
6:16 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Three Michigan VA facilities flagged in audit of long wait times and scheduling practices

Credit User: Don Harder / flickr

The controversy over long wait times and improper scheduling practices at Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics has cost the job of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

It led to an internal VA audit of its health care facilities.

And that has caused the VA to flag three facilities in Michigan for a closer look.

For this conversation, we asked what might be happening at those facilities, and what this means to veterans in Michigan.

We're joined by Detroit Free Press Washington reporter Todd Spangler and Dr. Joe Schwartz, physician and former Republican Congressman from West Michigan. Dr. Schwartz is now a visiting lecturer at the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

*Listen to the full interview above.

Health
4:49 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Pregnant women need to eat more fish, say FDA and EPA

Credit rick/ Flickr

The government wants pregnant women to eat more fish. Yesterday the FDA and EPA issued new draft advice that urges pregnant and breastfeeding women to eat at least eight to twelve ounces of fish a week.

The update comes 10 years after the last recommendation, which didn't specify a minimum.

The FDA is worried that fears over mercury levels in seafood have kept many pregnant women from getting enough of the nutritional value needed for their babies.

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Health
4:20 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Researchers say childhood lead exposure costs $300 million a year in Michigan

Credit user Steven Depolo /Flickr

Childhood lead exposure costs Michigan about $300 million a year.

That's according to a report by the University of Michigan and the Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health.

They recommend lead remediation projects for around 100,000 houses throughout the state at a cost of $600 million. They say the program would pay for itself in three years.

Paul Haan is executive director of the Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan. He says more remediation programs would be a good long-term investment for the state. 

“At the end of the day we’re going to continue to pay the cost of the problem of lead poisoning if older housing is not remediated,” said Haan.

“So the question we really need to ask ourselves is do we want to pay the increased cost of suffering the consequences, or do we want to pay the lower cost of remediation?”

About 70% of childhood lead exposure comes from lead-based paint in older homes.

Earlier this week, the state Legislature approved an additional $500,000 for lead hazard control in next year’s state budget. The change is pending approval from the governor.

Haan says this shows that “public will is building and that state leadership recognizes the need for the kind of investments called for in the report.” 

– Reem Nasr, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Stateside
5:50 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Heroin addiction and overdose deaths on the rise in Michigan

Credit United Nations Photo

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that heroin use in the U.S. jumped 79% from 2007 through 2012. And heroin overdose deaths rose 45% between 2006 and 2010.

Police and public health officials say Michigan is on the same track, with heroin addiction and overdose deaths on the rise.

Special Agent Rich Isaacson is with the Detroit division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Isaacson says the increase in heroin use and overdose deaths is directly related to the rapid increase in the misuse of opiate drugs, such as OxyContin and Vicodin. Isaacson says these prescriptions can get very expensive, which can result in addicts turning to heroin, which is also an opiate drug, for a much cheaper price.

Isaacson says prevention and education are very important to reduce the addiction and overdose rates. He adds that strict oversight on how the drugs are obtained and educating doctors about addiction could help as well.

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Health
9:50 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Yuck or yum? Researchers say your sense of taste may affect how long you live

Are your taste buds linked to your overall health?
Credit Paul Scott / Flickr

We know that our taste buds help steer us toward foods we like and away from things that might not be safe for us to eat.

But some interesting research suggests your sense of taste might actually affect how long you live.

Scott Pletcher is one of the researchers. He's with the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology and the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Michigan.

Research shows that sensory experience can impact organisms’ behavior and physiology.

“The sensory system is viewed as the brain window to the world,” Pletcher said. “Simple experiences that we have taken for granted for years are interpreted by the brain and induce dramatic changes in us physiologically.”

Pletcher relates this to the experience of being hungry, smelling an apple pie and feeling your stomach react.

“What we are realizing is that this is not just a short-term thing, and maybe it has long-term consequences,” Pletcher said.

*Listen to full interview above. 

Health
3:54 pm
Sun June 8, 2014

Insurance companies submit new Obamacare policies to state regulators Monday

Ohio insurance regulators recently reported Obamacare policy rates there will increase by 7% to 13%.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The next round of Obamacare health insurance policies and rates must be submitted to Michigan regulators by tomorrow.

272,000 Michiganders signed up for Affordable Care Act health care policies this year. 14 companies offered plans in Michigan.    

Caleb Buhs is a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services.    He says state regulators don’t know what to expect from companies filing new health plans and rates for next year.

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Stateside
4:33 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

New app listens to bipolar patients, detects mood swings by voice analysis

The PRIORI app listens for voice inflections that indicate mood swings.
Credit uofmhealth.org

The National Institute of Mental Health tells us that some 5.7 million American adults struggle with bipolar disorder. 

A critical part of managing the disorder is the ability to sense when the mood swings are about to happen – something the patient isn't aware of – and get that patient to a physician straight away for help.

A research team at the University of Michigan is working on a smartphone program called PRIORI. It detects mood swings through voice analysis of phone conversations, while still protecting the patient's privacy. 

Dr. Melvin McInnis is one of the researchers. He's a psychiatrist and a bipolar specialist, and he joined us on Stateside. 

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Health
9:48 am
Sat May 24, 2014

Michigan firefighters closer to receiving help battling cancer

“We’ve seen a lot of firefighter families that have had to lose their healthcare, lose their income for a cancer we know came from the job,” says Mark Docherty, the president of the Michigan Professional Firefighters Union.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan firefighters are a step closer to getting help paying for treatment of a serious illness they may contract on the job.

The state Senate this week overwhelmingly approved a bill to create a $15 million fund to cover the medical costs firefighters incur when they fall sick with cancer.

The fund would compensate insurance companies that cover firefighters who make claims for treatment of bladder, skin, brain and a half dozen other forms of cancer. 

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Stateside
4:28 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Healthy Michigan plan is on track for enrollee sign-up

Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The federal health care exchange for private insurance under the Affordable Care Act closed on March 31. 

The very next day, the attention turned to Healthy Michigan, the state's expanded Medicaid system for some 477,000 low-income Michiganders.

It looks like the state's Healthy Michigan plan is on track for enrollee sign-up.

Don Hazaert is the director of Michigan Consumers for health care, which helps people sign up for the coverage.

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Health
3:53 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Groups hope to reduce drownings due to rip currents

The Michigan Sea Grant will distribute more lifesaving equipment on Michigan beaches this summer
Credit dangerouscurrents.org

Safety advocates hope to reduce drownings caused by rip currents in the Great Lakes this summer - especially at Michigan beaches.

A rip current is a strong river-like flow of water away from shore, that happens when water is pushed up against something like a pier, island, or sandbar.

Swimmers who get caught in one can panic, become exhausted swimming against it, and drown.

Elizabeth LaPorte is with the Michigan Sea Grant.

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Seat belts
3:46 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

State trying for 98% seat belt compliance again

More MSP patrols on the roads this week to crack down on drivers who don't wear seatbelts
Credit Michigan Office of Highway Safety

The number of Michigan drivers who always buckle up is declining. So the state is stepping up its annual enforcement campaign. Michigan still has one of the highest rates of seat belt compliance in the nation. But it slipped to 93% last year, from a high of 98% in 2009. Anne Readette is with the Office of Highway Safety Planning. She says the goal is to get back to 98% "I know it's a very high number," says Readette, "But we were there before and we do know it's possible." The decline in seat belt use coincided with a decline in spending on the annual Click it or Ticket campaign.

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Health
7:00 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Detroit campaign aims to reduce rate of preterm births

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan joined officials from Wayne State University and the city's leading health systems to announce a new program to help pregnant women in the city get prenatal care.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Detroit officials are launching a new effort to reduce the rate of preterm births in the city. The rate of premature births in Detroit is 18%, among the highest in the world.

The city, Wayne State University and Detroit’s leading health systems are working together on the effort called Make Your Date.

Mayor Mike Duggan outlined how the program simplifies the way pregnant women can find prenatal care.

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Health
1:27 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Health officials looking into a cluster of E. coli contamination in Michigan

Health officials suspect under cooked ground beef.
Credit user i believe i can fry / Flickr

State health officials say they're working with health departments in Kent, Livingston, Oakland, Ottawa and Washtenaw counties to investigate a cluster of recent illnesses due to the bacteria E. coli O157.

The state Department of Community Health and the state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced Wednesday that the suspected source of the bacteria is ground beef.

More from the MDCH press release:

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Stateside
4:45 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Medical schools are turning out too many specialists, too few primary care physicians

Credit getoverit.org

A basic tenet of the Affordable Care Act is preventive care: Get people into the health care system before disease or disability set in.

But that's highlighting a problem with our medical education system. Medical schools are turning out too many specialists and not enough primary care physicians. Cynthia Canty spoke with Dr. William Strampel, dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University. 

Health
4:01 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Michigan's Upper Peninsula has high heart attack rates, CDC says

Michigan's Upper Peninsula has been cited as having high heart attack rates.
Credit user striatic / Flickr

There's some pretty unsettling data that has come out about the health of the people who call the Upper Peninsula home. 

The Centers for Disease Control numbers say heart attack rates for the entire western and eastern UP for 2008-2010 are right up there at the highest level for the top five categories the CDC tracks.

What does the high rate of heart attack and heart disease say about health care and health habits in the UP? And what can bring those high rates down?

Dr. Teresa Frankovich, medical director for the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department, joined us. 

Listen to the full interview above. 

Health
4:43 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

For-profit health care systems taking over community hospitals in Michigan

What effect does for-profit health systems buying up community hospitals have on your health care?
Credit user striatic / Flickr

There is a distinct health care trend happening in Michigan. For-profit health care systems are taking over community hospitals.

The question has become, is this a way for a community hospital to stay alive, or even for it to expand and modernize? Or is it a trend where "bottom-line thinking" is going to affect patient costs and quality of care? 

Writer Julie Edgar explored these questions in her recent article for Bridge Magazine, and she joined us to discuss. 

Health
3:36 pm
Sun May 4, 2014

Poll shows most parents are distracted behind the wheel

90% of parents admit to talking on the phone, eating and other distracted behavior while behind the wheel with their kids in the car.
Credit University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

It turns out parents are just as likely as other motorists to talk on the phone, eat, text or engage in other risky distractions behind the wheel, even with their kids in the car.

University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital quizzed hundreds of parents with young children about their driving habits.

It turns out 90 percent admit to using their mobile phones, eating and feeding their kids while behind the wheel.

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Health
3:15 pm
Sat May 3, 2014

Michigan's drop in teen pregnancies means taxpayers pay less

“We have seen enormous progress in Michigan and in all other states….and among all racial and ethnic groups,” says Bill Albert, “But the wrong message to take away from that is the mission is accomplished.”
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report claims teen pregnancies cost Michigan taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year. That’s a despite a sharp decline in teen birth rates during the past two decades.

Bill Albert is with the ‘National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy’, which produced the report.

Albert says the finding is based on their estimate of costs to public assistance programs, reduced earnings, criminal justice and lost tax revenues. But he says there is a bright side.

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Stateside
4:36 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Rural areas of Michigan have fewer health insurance options

Rural Michigan does not get all of the same health insurance options as the bigger cities.
Credit user acrylicartist / MorgueFile.com

One of the most important aspects of the Affordable Care Act is consumer choice. More choice leads to more competition among insurers, and that can mean lower costs to consumers.

But, as Michiganders shopped for health coverage on the federal marketplace, the amount of choice was not even.

If you lived in Wayne, Oakland or Macomb Counties, you got to choose from 55 insurance plans. If you lived in Delta County in the Upper Peninsula, you were only offered 5 plans, all of them from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Josh Fangmeier is a health policy analyst with the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation. He joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

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