Health

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.

Spectrum Health website

Same-sex partners of Spectrum Health employees can get health insurance coverage starting in 2015.

Legally married gay employees and same-sex couples who can demonstrate they are in a committed relationship will be able to opt for health insurance for their spouses and partners. The couple's children will also be eligible.

The new insurance  coverage will begin in January.

DETROIT (AP) - A toddler is the first person in Michigan to die from the virus that has caused severe respiratory illness across the country.

Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit says 21-month-old Madeline Reid died Friday afternoon from enterovirus D68.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rudolph Valentini said in a statement that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the illness after the Clinton Township girl's arrival, but did not specify which day.

MDCH

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - Admissions to the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital are on hold while investigators examine allegations that patient rights were violated.

A spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Community Health tells the Kalamazoo Gazette that 17 hospital staff members have been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation. She says her department will continue looking into the allegations and respond with appropriate action.

She says although the hospital isn't currently admitting more patients, it will still take information for potential admissions.

Jake Neher / MPRN

Gov. Rick Snyder says one of his budget priorities in his second term would be to expand a program that helps low-income kids get dental care.

Right now, the Healthy Kids Dental program is available to more than 500,000 children in 80 of Michigan’s 83 counties. But the program is not available in three of the state’s largest counties – Wayne, Oakland, and Kent.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory / flickr.com

Researchers at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health and Medical School are working on a genome sequencing study to help better understand bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

The Ann Arbor university announced Monday that its researchers are leading the collaboration with researchers at the University of Southern California as well as the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT to sequence the genomes of 10,000 people.

They received three separate four-year awards totaling $16 million from the National Institute of Mental Health to help fund the work.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Federal health officials have confirmed three Michigan cases of an unusual respiratory illness in children.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said Friday that 160 lab-confirmed cases of enterovirus 68 were reported in Michigan and 21 other states. They are the state's first positive cases for the uncommon virus.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Terminally ill patients in Michigan may soon have a new avenue to pursue unproven treatments.

The State House Health Policy committee Tuesday approved "right-to-try" legislation. The state Senate has already approved the legislation, which tries to give patients a better chance of getting drugs or medical devices that show promise, but have not been fully tested.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

People in Flint may be a bit wary of drinking water from their taps these days.

Several boil water advisories have been issued in the past month, after tests showed potential problems with bacteria.   The latest pair of advisories were lifted last week.

Howard Croft is Flint’s public works director. He says the problems are due to Flint’s aging infrastructure. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Consumers in Ohio's fourth-largest city may be asked to voluntarily conserve water next year to limit demand and help reduce contamination from toxins left by Lake Erie algae.

Such toxins fouled water for 400,000 people in the Toledo area last month, leaving some without clean tap water for two days.

The Blade newspaper reports the water treatment commissioner talked about the planned conservation request during a panel discussion this week. Commissioner Tim Murphy says lowering demand would allow water to be treated for longer periods of time.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

An anti-circumcision group says Michigan’s Medicaid program should stop funding for circumcision.

Michigan has one of the highest circumcision rates in the country.

Norm Cohen is the state director of the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers. Members of the group picketed at the state capitol today.  Many in the group wore white pants, stained in the crotch with red paint. 

Genesee Health System in Flint, MI. One of the MI health service centers to receive Affordable Care Act funding.
Genesee Health System / Facebook

Three-dozen health care centers in Michigan are being given more than $8.5 million in Affordable Care Act funding. 

The announcement was made Friday by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell. In all, $295 million was awarded to 1,195 centers across the country. 

According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the funding will enable targeted health centers to:

morgueFile

Michigan’s top health official says parents who want to opt out of vaccinating their children should first have to be counseled about the risks.

Michigan has one of the highest rates of parents who opt out of vaccinating their childen for preventable diseases such as mumps and measles.

Michigan Department of Community Health Director Jim Haveman says too many people are picking up “misinformation” on vaccines from friends, the internet, and celebrities, “and so they just say, ‘we’re not going to do it’ without thinking about the options and alternatives and dangers.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State health officials are once again urging more parents to get their children immunized against preventable diseases.

Michigan has the fourth-highest percentage of parents who choose for non-medical reasons not to have their children vaccinated against whooping cough, measles, and other diseases.

Patricia Bednarz is a school nurse in Lansing.  She says school nurses are concerned about Michigan’s falling immunization rates.

Inside the doctor's office.
Jennifer Morrow / Flickr

We're all hearing about concern over a rare respiratory virus that is affecting kids in the Midwest.

So far the virus has been detected in Illinois and Missouri. Medical professionals in several other states, including Michigan, are now testing patients for the virus.

This week, Mark Pallansch, director of the Center for Disease Control's Division of Viral Diseases, spoke with NPR's Robert Siegel about what they're seeing.

user: vitualis / flickr

LANSING – Michigan health officials say they are investigating severe respiratory illnesses in children but haven't confirmed if the cases are associated with a national outbreak.

The Michigan Department of Community Health said Tuesday it's received reports of an increase in such illnesses and is working with local health agencies. Officials are forwarding samples to the Centers for Disease Control.

Cases of the suspected germ known as enterovirus 68 have been confirmed in Missouri and Illinois. The CDC is testing to determine if the virus caused illnesses reported in 10 states, including Michigan.

The virus is an uncommon strain of a common family of viruses that typically hit from summertime through autumn. The virus can cause mild coldlike symptoms but officials say these cases are unusually severe with serious breathing problems.

MorgueFile

Several areas of Flint are under a boil-water warning.

City officials say coliform bacteria was found in localized areas of the Flint water system.

They say people affected by the warning should not drink water without boiling it first, nor should tap water be used to brush teeth, wash dishes, or prepare food.

People with compromised immune systems, infants, pregnant women and the elderly could be at increased risk of getting sick from contaminated water.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Thirteen Michigan colleges and universities are trying to get more students to get flu shots this fall.

Angela Minicuci with the Michigan Department of Community Health says college-age students tend to have extremely low influenza vaccination rates.  

Only about 10% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 got a flu shot last year.

Pages