Michigan Dept. of Community Health

The Snyder Administration has outlined its plan to reduce infant mortality in Michigan, but some say the plan needs more state funding to work.

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There's been no action by the state House yet on creating online exchanges for people to comparison shop for health coverage.

That’s after another day of hearings by two state House committees on the question.

Governor Rick Snyder is pushing the Legislature to act quickly so Michigan qualifies for federal planning grants, and does not risk being forced into a federal system.

Representative Al Pscholka chairs the House budget subcommittee that would fund the exchange.

He says the numbers are big, and he wants to step carefully.

photo from David Kwaitkowski's Facebook page

Michigan health officials say a hospital worker who allegedly spread Hepatitis-C to patients at a hospital in New Hampshire also worked at several facilities in Michigan.

They suggest former patients at those Michigan hospitals may want to get tested for Hepatitis-C.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Transplant Games of America are traditionally put on once every two years for athletes who are organ donation recipients. Living organ donors can also compete. Hundreds, if not a thousand athletes from all over the country are expected to compete in a dozen sporting events including track, volleyball, golf, basketball, tennis and several others.

The games are held to promote organ donation and, according to the organization’s website “to show the world that transplantation is a treatment that does indeed work.”

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Oakland County health officials say they've received Michigan Department of Community Health confirmation of West Nile virus in a 44-year-old man, the first such case reported in the state this year.

Today, the Oakland County Health Division announced that the man was hospitalized earlier this month after showing symptoms and he is now at home recovering.

On July 3, the MDCH announced it detected the virus in a mosquito pool sample in Saginaw County, and a wild turkey in Washtenaw County.

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Health officials say a traveling medical technician accused of infecting 30 patients with hepatitis C in New Hampshire may have worked at several Michigan hospitals.

A New Hampshire U.S. Attorney's Office media advisory released earlier this week says the charges against Kwiatkowski relate to suspected thefts of the anesthetic Fentanyl.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan State University researchers say a popular video game is helping patients recover from lung cancer surgery.

After surgery, it’s important for lung cancer patients to aid their recovery with exercise.   Exercise helps patients with fatigue and avoid common complications, like pneumonia.   But the prospect of exercise can be daunting for many patients.

Tony Buser, flickr / Flickr

Every year, two million people in the United States get diagnosed with skin cancer, and 50,000 of them have melanoma.

Early detection is important for successful treatment, but regularly seeing a dermatologist to monitor skin health can be expensive and inconvenient.

Enter UMSkinCheck. The University of Michigan Medical School debuted the free app earlier this month. Dr. Michael Sabel, an associate professor of surgery at U of M, was the primary physician involved in the project.

Gov. Rick Snyder
Rick Snyder for Michigan /

Gov. Rick Snyder says he’ll continue to push the Legislature to create a place online to comparison shop for health insurance. The health care exchanges are an element of what’s required under the federal healthcare law that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Republican leaders in the state House say they’re in no hurry and plan to hold hearings before making their next move. The governor says time is growing short to comply with the law, and the state risks losing its share of federal funds to enact its exchange.

dee / MorgueFile

Some public health officials would like to drop the requirement for parental consent for a vaccine that prevents a sexually transmitted virus. But a new University of Michigan poll shows 57 percent of parents want to have the final say in their adolescent children's health care. 

Human papillomarivus -- or HPV -- can lead to cervical cancer in women and some head and neck cancers in men.

Sarah Clark is associate director of C.S .Mott Children's Hospital national poll on children's health.

She says routine HPV vaccination is recommended for boys and girls at 11 or 12 years old. It has to be given before they become sexually active to be most effective.

The University of Michigan Health System

U.S. News & World Report has identified 34 high-performing hospitals in Michigan out of more than 175 hospitals statewide. The rankings were released earlier this week.

Regional rankings around the country are based on how hospitals compare nationally in 16 medical specialties.

Air Conditioner
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A day of triple-digit temperatures is forecast for much of southern Michigan, leading school officials in Detroit and Flint to cancel activities.

The National Weather Service says today's high should reach 101-105 degrees in Detroit and 100-104 in Ann Arbor and Midland. Heat advisories have been issued for Michigan 53 lowermost counties.

It's just the latest in a string of scorching summer days in the state.

Clarita / MorgueFile

The need for more primary medical care providers will increase as the Baby Boomer generation ages. Now another state university has joined the effort to fill the gap.

Physician assistants -- or PAs  -- do many of the same things doctors do: They can perform physical exams, order lab tests, write prescriptions, do some procedures and assist in surgery. They do all this under the supervision of a doctor.

Interlochen Public Radio reports that vacationers heading up to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore should be on the lookout for ticks this year, as some could be infected with the Lyme parasite.

Johns Hopkins University publicity photo

The University of Michigan Taubman Institute is rewarding doctors who turn lab discoveries into medical treatments.

The first winner may have found a cure for aneurysms in people with Marfan Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. That could, in turn, unlock treatments for more common diseases. 

Dr. Hal Dietz  of Johns Hopkins University used to work with kids with Marfan Syndrome and other inherited diseases that damage blood vessels. But he got so frustrated with how poor the available medications were, he set out to find better ones himself. 

Nearly a quarter of all kids in Michigan live in poverty. We want to believe these kids have an equal shot at success in life, but there’s a pile of research that suggests otherwise.

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Update 3:27 p.m.

The AP is now reporting that more Michigan homes and businesses --around 400,000-- lost power this week:

DTE Energy Co. says about 210,000 of its customers were without power Thursday after a new round of damaging thunderstorms made its way across the state, knocking down trees and power lines. Since Tuesday, DTE says about 300,000 of its customers have been affected.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Sweltering temperatures are becoming life-threatening in some parts of Michigan.

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A confluence of Heat Advisories in 34 Michigan counties, drought-like conditions in the southern half of the state, and relaxed consumer firework legislation could make this year's Independence Day celebrations more dangerous than usual. 

The AP reports that two Lansing-area communities have postponed tomorrow's annual firework shows because of warm and dry weather that's settled in across the state.

Michigan officials are urging people to use caution with fireworks and outdoor fires as some areas face what's described as dangerously dry conditions.

Here are some tips from The National Council on Fireworks Safety about how you can stay safe this holiday.

Detroit residents over 50 are hospitalized more often and die earlier than people in other parts of the state.

That’s according to a new report, “Dying Before Their Time II: The Startling Truth of Senior Mortality in Detroit and Other Urban Michigan Communities.”

The difference between those two groups is starkest in the 50-59 age bracket.

Michigan has to decide whether to expand its Medicaid rolls by up to a half-million people starting in 2014.  The U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision on the Affordable Care Act struck down a portion of the law that would have required states to expand the program or risk losing all federal aid.

Michigan hospitals support Medicaid expansion.  They spend billions of dollars each year providing charity care for adults without health insurance.

Office of Governor Rick Snyder / Wikimedia Commons

Today, Gov. Rick Snyder signed an order creating an Autism Council in Michigan's Department of Community Health.

The governor's office said the order is a step to implement Michigan's Autism Spectrum Disorders State Plan. According to a 2009 issue paper concerning the plan, autism diagnoses have dramatically increased amongst children over the past several decades.

The AP reports:

The council will have 12 gubernatorial appointees.

Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley pushed hard to win passage of a mandate for insurance coverage for autism treatment for children. Insurers are reimbursed through a $15 million autism coverage incentive fund.

Calley's daughter Reagan has been diagnosed with autism.

Michigan's upcoming budget also provides for Medicaid coverage of autism treatment for children through the age of 18.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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Hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents already have benefited from the health care law passed in 2009, according to the federal government. Some examples:

  •  More than 23,000 Michigan seniors and people with disabilities have saved $17.6 million this calendar year on prescription drugs because of the law, an average of $757 per person. The money goes to help residents with medical costs after they hit the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage gap, the so-called "doughnut hole."
  • More than a half-million Michigan seniors have received a free preventive health care service so far this year.
  • Around 1.8 million residents now receive preventative services with no co-pay.
  • Around 57,000 more young adults in Michigan under the age of 26 are on their parents' health insurance plans.
  • Around 7,000 small businesses get federal tax credits for offering health insurance to their employees.
  • Six Michigan health centers have been awarded $3.7 million from the federal government to help expand access to care for 59,431 additional patients.
  • Around 114,000 Michigan residents will get $13.9 million in rebates from insurance companies this summer because of a rule that requires insurance companies give rebates if they don't spend at least 80 percent of consumers' premiums on medical care and quality improvement. The rebates will average $214 for 65,000 Michigan families.

Critics of the Affordable Care Act are winning the media battle.  That's according to research by the Pew Trust.

The study says opponents of the health care overhaul had effective messages about what they call "big government." It says those messages were more effective than supporters' warnings about what they call "greedy insurance companies."  The study also mentions that most of the news coverage focused on politics rather than explaining what the law actually does.

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U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in Detroit this morning to announce an expansion of community health centers in over 40 states, along with Washington DC and Puerto Rico.

From the Associated Press:

Sebelius announced $128.6 million in awards Wednesday at Covenant Community Care in Detroit.

The grants are from the Affordable Care Act and will go to 219 health centers, increasing access to more than 1.25 million additional patients.

About 5,640 doctor, nurse, dental provider and support staff jobs are expected to be created.

Last month, the department announced $21 million in grants for expansion projects at five community health centers in Kansas and nearly $3.5 million for two centers in Utah.

Sebelius says the health care law is making "community health centers stronger and ensuring more Americans get the care they need."

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

It will soon be easier for Michigan hospitals and doctors to check to see if their patients have “advance medical directives."

A new federal study says universal motorcycle helmet laws increase helmet use and can lead to cost savings.

Motorcyclists that died in crashes between 2008 and 2010 in states with partial helmet laws were 5-times less likely to be wearing a helmet compared to riders in states with universal helmet laws. 

Rebecca Naumann is an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control, and is the lead author of the study.  She says the old helmet law in Michigan was a cost-saver.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Six new human embryonic stem cell lines derived at the University of Michigan are available for federal research.

University of Michigan Health System officials say in a release Thursday that researchers can begin using the stem cell lines to study the origins of diseases and potential treatments. U-M now has eight cell lines on the U.S. National Institutes of Health's registry, including five that carry genetic mutations for serious diseases including hemophilia B, Huntington's disease and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

It’s been nearly two years since an Enbridge pipeline ruptured near Marshall, leaking more than 800,000 gallons of heavy, thick tar sands oil into the river. Most of it has been cleaned up. What remains has sunk to the river bottom or dried up on the bank.

Several major changes to Michigan's medical malpractice laws will be discussed in a state senate committee tomorrow.

The “Patients First Reform Package” would make it harder to successfully sue a doctor for malpractice and potentially reduce jury awards.