Health

Stateside
3:33 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

What the ACA means for treating Mental illness

Michigan Health Insurance Program is offering more options to people with pre-existing conditions.
user striatic Flickr

As the Affordable Care Act rolled out, there's been plenty of focus on physical health, pre-existing conditions. But we haven't heard too much about what the ACA means for treating Mental Illness.

And that is something that is a growing concern as mentally ill people fill Michigan's jails and prisons. What could it mean to these people to be able to obtain treatment?

Joining us is Ben Robinson. He's the President and CEO of Rose Hill Center in Holly, in Oakland County. They offer residential treatment for adults with mental illness. He's also on the Executive Board of the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards.

Stateside
4:50 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Flu season gets a grip on Michigan

Wikimedia

It's starting to make its presence felt in empty chairs at the workplace and sad little Facebook status updates saying, "I'm sick."

Flu season is upon us.

Federal officials report 35 states are now experiencing widespread influenza activity with young and middle-aged adults being hit hardest this year rather than the usual pattern of seniors or children.

Dr. Matthew Davis, chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of  Community Health and a professor at the University of Michigan, joined us today to give us an idea of what the flu season looks like in Michigan.

Listen to the full interview above.

Health
3:20 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Low flu vaccination rate in Michigan despite serious flu threat

Credit by samantha celera

About a dozen flu patients have been in intensive care at  University of Michigan hospitals on any given day since the new year began. Some are on advanced life support. Most are middle-aged.  And most have the H1N1 strain of flu.

Michigan has seen a flood of H1N1 flu cases in the last few weeks.

That's according to Dr. Matthew Davis,  Chief Medical Executive with the Michigan Department of Community Health.

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Health
12:47 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Claim deadline quickly approaching for Michigan residents affected by fungal meningitis outbreak

Michigan had more fungal meningitis cases during the outbreak than any other state.
Center for Disease Control

Michigan was hit hard by the fungal meningitis outbreak, which stemmed from tainted steroids from the New England Compounding Center. According to the Center for Disease Control, 264 cases have been reported in the state – more than 100 more than any other state in the nation.

Victims and their families are urged to file claims for possible compensation through a $100 million victim compensation fund created by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Massachusetts; however, time is running short.

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Health
4:41 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

There's a blood shortage in Michigan because of the recent severe weather

American Red Cross (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Blood banks in Michigan had much lower donation rates this week due to the weather.

Michigan Blood is a non-profit blood bank that usually collects 2,200 units of blood every week.

Spokesman Jim Childress says this week, donations dropped to 800.

“We do need people to donate at a higher rate than they normally do, and take this very seriously and help out the nation's blood supply,” says Childress.

The group is offering donors $10 Meijer gift cards and expanding its hours of operation through next Friday.

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Health
6:35 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Some Michigan hospitals change visitor policy in face of 'dramatic increase' of flu

Some Michigan hospitals are restricting visitors to help prevent the spread of the flu virus.
midiman Creative Commons

An increase of cases of the flu in Michigan is prompting some hospitals to limit who can visit sick patients. They hope it’ll help prevent the spread of the flu.

University of Michigan’s hospitals aren’t letting kids younger than 12 visit the most vulnerable patients.

At Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo, there are similar restrictions, along with the number of visitors, or in some units, only immediate family members.

Dr. David Davenport is the medical director of  infection prevention and control at Borgess.

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Health
4:58 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Healthy adults landing in hospitals from H1N1 flu this year

If you hate flu shots...you can get a nasal spray vaccine
Douglas Jordan, M.A. Centers for Disease Control

The same flu strain that caused the 2009 flu pandemic is back again this year.

Angela Minicuci  is a spokesperson for the state Department of Community Health.

She says everyone should be protected from H1N1, not just those considered high-risk, like the elderly, pregnant women, and people with chronic illnesses.

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Stateside
3:40 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

How to compare medical costs – right now

Do you compare costs before stepping into a doctor's office?
Fotos GOVBA Flickr

Cost comparison – it can be an effective way of saving money. Whether it's comparing the price of a cup of coffee – Starbucks versus Tim Horton's, for instance – or comparing gas prices in different parts of the city or state, checking out cost differences is, for many, just part of a regular day.

But what about comparing medical costs? Would you have any idea what, say, a hip replacement might cost at the hospital you go to?

If you could tease out those prices and compare them, you might find yourself wondering: Why do some hospitals in the same city or state charge thousands of dollars more for the same procedure? And why is it so tough to get those prices?

Those are the questions Ilene Wolff, a writer with DBusiness, explored in a recent story.

To compare prices of services at different hospitals, visit healthcarebluebook.comTo look up hospital quality information, visit hospitalcompare.hhs.gov.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Health
5:17 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Cold snap causing health problems in Michigan

Despite the arctic cold, people continue to venture out
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan hospital emergency rooms and urgent care centers are seeing patients who’ve been injured during this cold snap.

Dr. Scott Lazzara is an urgent care physician at McLaren Greater Lansing.  He says he’s seen a lot of slip and falls.

“We’re seeing a lot of people who are falling, breaking their wrist, hurting their back, spraining their ankles,” says Lazzara.

Lazzara says people are so bundled up to fight the cold their vision is impaired and they're less able to avoid slipping and falling.

Health
6:16 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Slow enrollment for Obamacare in rural counties

How it all works

People in rural areas trying to enroll for health insurance as part of the new Affordable Care Act can face special challenges. Registration must happen online, and many people in Michigan’s rural counties do not have a home computer or access to the Internet. 

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Stateside
3:36 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

ACLU says Catholic hospitals put women's health at risk

Moshe Reuveni Flickr

The ACLU is suing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on behalf of a Michigan woman. At the heart of the issue is whether women can get appropriate medical care at a Catholic hospital.

This is becoming more important because more secular hospitals are merging with Catholic-affiliated health care providers. By our count, of the 187 hospitals in Michigan, 26 of them are Catholic. That's 14%.

*Listen to our interview above.

Health
7:37 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Washington approves Michigan medicaid plan

Credit 401(k) 2013 / Flickr

Michigan’s plan to expand Medicaid health coverage to more than 300,000 low-income residents has been approved by the federal government. The state’s plan will require co-pays and health care savings accounts.

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Health
3:45 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Michigan pharmacies will be able to sell medical marijuana if feds reschedule as drug

Credit Chuck Coker / Flickr

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a bill into law that clears the way for pharmacies to sell medical marijuana in Michigan. But that’s only if the federal government reclassifies cannabis as a legal prescription drug.

There’s no clear sign that will happen any time soon.

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Health
2:39 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Electronic cigarettes are growing more popular with young people, and that's causing concern

How an E cigarette works.
e-cigarettedirect.com

Electronic cigarettes may be smoke-free, but they do contain nicotine, and that has parents worried.

E-cigarettes are battery-operated inhalers that simulate cigarettes.

Dr. Matthew Davis is director of the National Poll on Children's Health from C.S. Mott Children's hospital in Ann Arbor.

He says the devices are unregulated and no long-term health studies have been done.

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Health
1:17 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Native American organization struggling but hopeful

Shoshana Beth Phillips & friends
Credit http://uofmhealthblogs.org

A new organization in Ypsilanti that promotes cancer awareness for Native Americans is struggling to stay afloat.

Shoshana Beth Phillips is executive director of Heritage of Healing. It incorporates native traditions and activities into its services, and supports families with a parent dealing with cancer. (Phillips is originally from the Omaha Nation of Nebraska and was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer seven years ago.) 

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Health
9:11 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

$100 million settlement in nationwide outbreak of fungal meningitis

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan residents are expected to be among the biggest beneficiaries of a $100 million settlement with a Massachusetts pharmacy company linked to a nationwide outbreak of fungal meningitis.

Authorities say 22 of the 64 people who died in the outbreak were from Michigan.

Attorneys for creditors of the Framingham, Mass.-based New England Compounding Center said Monday that they've reached a preliminary settlement to create a victim compensation fund worth more than $100 million.

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Health
4:53 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Another Michigan medical center faces federal lawsuits over alleged racial discrimination

Work is underway on Mary Free Bed's new expansion project in Grand Rapids. It's expected to be complete next fall.
John Eisenschenk Creative Commons

Earlier this year, Flint’s Hurley Medical Center faced national media scrutiny when an African-American nurse was told not to care for a baby at a patient’s request. The case was settled outside of court.

Julie Gafkay represented that nurse and says she was not alone.

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Health
3:09 pm
Sat December 21, 2013

Social workers in Michigan are preparing to be part of health care changes

Social worker with elderly patient
cswe.org

Social workers in Michigan are starting to wear many hats as health-care reform is implemented.

The expansion of Medicaid and the establishment of the state Health Insurance Exchange is expanding health-care coverage to hundreds of thousands of Michiganders.

Robert Sheehan is the executive director of the Community Mental Health Authority of Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham Counties.

He says all the changes healthcare are broadening the scope of social workers.

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Health
1:59 pm
Sat December 21, 2013

Big need, but low supply for blood this time of year in Michigan

American Red Cross donation center, Lansing, Michigan (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Blood donations tend to drop at hospitals and clinics across Michigan at this time of year.

That's why officials are urging Michiganders to consider rolling up their sleeves to give a lifesaving gift.

Dan Fox, with the American Red Cross, says between school vacations, snowy weather and busy schedules, the number of blood donations drop over the holidays, while the need for blood in local hospitals remains constant.

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Stateside
4:39 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

We check in with those in Michigan looking for health insurance

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

It was October 1 when the Healthcare.gov website opened for business.The rocky launch of the public portal to the Affordable Care Act has consumed much of the nation's attention and news space.

The December 23 enrollment deadline is at hand. That's when you have to have signed up if you want a policy by January 1.

We wanted to see if the consumer experience with Healthcare.gov has improved - see what problems remain - and find out how many of us have been able to complete applications and actually select a marketplace plan.

Don Hazaert joined us today. He's the director of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare. It's one of four navigator agencies in our state for the Affordable Care Act.

You can find the agencies here.

Hazaert said, no question, there have been significant frustrations with the enrollment process, but that has changed since December 1. The Healthcare.gov website is working much better. Hazaert says those people who have signed up since December 1 have had a much smoother experience, especially those signing up with a new account.

Navigators are still trying to work with those individuals who started the process prior to December 1. We asked so of our listeners about their experiences with signing up for health care coverage.

Tom is 57 and lives in Ann Arbor and has been out of work for a year and a half. He's been paying for health insurance out of pocket for himself and his wife. It's been very expensive. His insurance company helped him sign up on Healthcare.gov. He received a subsidy to help him cover his costs. His online experience was good. 

"The price of the new policy is about half the price of the old policy and the deductible is about half as well, so I'm in a win-win situation as far as that's concerned," said Tom.

Diane Kay is 33-year-old attorney from Brighton, MI. She had a job change and hasn't been insured since 2007. She has a pre-existing condition so insurance companies wouldn't cover her, or it was prohibitively expensive. She's still paying back a lot of debt she incurred from a stay in the hospital. She got insurance through Healthcare.gov in November and said the process was not difficult.

Sasha Acker is 22-year-old social worker from Kalamazoo. She works part-time and doesn't get insurance from the company she works for. She had an extremely frustrating experience with Healthcare.gov, but was eventually able to sign up for coverage. She's excited to have insurance but has not been able to log back in to make her first payment. 

"I called in about six times, and they told me basically that since they made a bunch of upgrades to the website some of the accounts got corrupted and people can't access them anymore. Nobody has a solution for me," said Acker.

Don Hazaert with Michigan Consumers for Healthcare says Acker will need to make a payment before the start of the New Year to get her insurance.

He says her frustration is most likely with the 800 number she's calling and that he suggests she get in touch with a health care navigator in Michigan.

Hazaert says in 2014, they look forward to moving the conversation away from a troubled website to the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.

*This story was informed by the Public Insight Network.

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