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Health

Stateside 8.30.2016

Aug 30, 2016

 

Today, could dental therapy improve access to care in Michigan? We hear both sides of the argument. And, we learn the results of the 2016 state standardized test, M-STEP. 

Courtesy of the Michigan Dental Association

There’s been growing awareness that dental health isn’t just about appearance and avoiding cavities. It’s also essential to overall health.

For instance, poor oral health has been tied to cardiovascular disease, respiratory infections like pneumonia, diabetic complications and dementia.

This means it’s crucial to bring dental care to areas and populations that are underserved by dentists.

Some think Senate Bill 1013 could be the way to do that in Michigan.

The bill was introduced earlier this summer by Sen. Mike Shirkey (R-Clark Lake). It’s modeled after a program in Minnesota that set up a midlevel dental professional called a dental therapist.

Dr. Nia Heard-Garris sits down with Cynthia Canty for an interview on Stateside.
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Whenever there's a story of violence that takes over the news cycle, parents face a challenge: How much do you tell your child? How do you answer your child's questions? Do you wade right into what happened and why? Or do you divert them, and try to give them something different to think about?

For parents of color, these challenges come up with each act of police-related violence on black males, or violence aimed at police officers who are just doing their jobs, such as in Dallas or Baton Rouge.

Dr. Nia Heard-Garris is a pediatrician doing research on the impact racism, and these racially-charged news stories, can have on children.

flickr user zeevveez / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The time is getting closer for launching special tax-free savings accounts for Michiganders with disabilities.

It's called MI-ABLE, the Achieving a Better Life Experience program. 

MI-ABLE was signed into law in Michigan late last year. Now, word has come that the state has firmed up a contract with a Florida-based company to manage this savings program.

Studying identical twins could unlock some of our medical mysteries
DVIDSHUB / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Twins: They look alike, many of them sound and act alike. They could also hold the power to help the medical world unlock some of its biggest mysteries.

surgical instrument tray
wikimedia / creative commons

Michigan's Bureau of Community and Health Systems has launched an investigation into dirty, broken, and missing instruments at Detroit Medical Center hospitals.

The investigation was prompted by a report in the Detroit News showing a pattern of improper cleaning and sterilization at DMC facilities,  putting patients at risk for over eleven years.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city’s water crisis has given many people in Flint sleepless nights.

Last night, the man who helped reveal the problem spent a sleepless night seeing if things are getting better. 

In the wee small hours of the morning, Virginia Tech water expert Marc Edwards took and tested water samples at the Flint home of Lee Anne Walters. It was in Walters’ home that the extent of the city’s water crisis was first confirmed.

Edwards tested the water hourly to see how chlorine and bacteria levels changed during the hours when water generally flows slower through the system.

Stateside 8.25.2016

Aug 25, 2016

 

Today, we hear about possible upsides to the Flint water crisis. And, we learn how dirty surgical instruments could be endangering patients at the Detroit Medical Center.

Courtesy of Predrag Klasnja / https://www.si.umich.edu/people/predrag-klasnja

The Next Idea

In the 1970’s, the Japanese concept of “Kanban” turned the U.S. auto industry on its ear – “just in time” inventory and manufacturing.

Now, that just-in-time concept is being applied to keep people on track after rehabilitation.

Just-in-time adaptive interventions (JITAI) can bring health support to you right through a smartphone.

A repeatedly sewage-flooded basement on Detroit's east side.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Two recent cases of Hepatitis A in Detroit are sparking a larger public health response.

That’s because the people who tested positive for the virus had both recently dealt with basement sewage backups, which have plagued an area of Detroit’s east side during rainfall this summer.

It’s not entirely clear how they got Hepatitis A, but contact with sewage is a known path of transmission.

But just in case, the Detroit health department will offer the vaccinations for free or at low cost to all Detroiters affected by the recent flooding over the next week.

Surgery tools
Stanford EdTech / Flickr, http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In 2010, now Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan was the CEO of the Detroit Medical Center. One decision he made was to streamline the process of sterilizing medical instruments.

The result: A sole Central Sterile Processing Department in the basement of Detroit Receiving Hospital.

That department is responsible for cleaning and sterilizing instruments for all five DMC hospitals in Midtown Detroit. That includes Children’s, Detroit Receiving, Harper, Hutzel Women’s and the DMC Heart Hospital.

This means workers must clean and sterilize thousands and thousands of instruments then package them for surgical procedures.

An investigation by Detroit News reporters Karen Bouffard and Joel Kurth revealed that DMC surgeries are now plagued by dirty or missing instruments and equipment.

Photo of Gov. Rick Snyder
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Genesee County health officials insist a court order restricting communication with state health officials is not preventing them from investigating cases of Legionnaires Disease.

The court order is related to the Attorney General’s investigation of the Flint water crisis. 

The Snyder administration is challenging the order.

Buddy-to-Buddy sends volunteer veterans to help other veterans or servicemembers
Public Domain / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Who can understand the problems, fears and worries of veterans and military service members better than someone who has served?

That's the idea behind Buddy-to-Buddy. It's the only program of its kind in Michigan, focused on peer support. Veterans who can help other vets and service members. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

One of the most vivid images of the Flint water crisis was the photograph of the then-two-year-old Sincere Smith. His little face, covered with a rash, was the cover of Time Magazine.

His mother insisted the rash broke out when the water changed to the Flint River, and that it got better once the family moved out of Flint.

The state of Michigan and the federal government have spent the past six months trying to figure out why so many people in Flint, like Sincere, have reported rashes and hair loss.

That report came out today.

Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody joined Stateside to discuss its findings.

A federal report says improperly treated Flint River water was a “plausible” cause of skin rashes suffered by city residents.

People in Flint have been blaming painful itchy rashes on the city’s tap water. Many pinpoint the development of their skin irritation to the city’s switch to the Flint River as its tap water source. Now a panel of experts for the most part agrees.

Dr. Daniel Maixner says depictions of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), like this one in the TV show "Homeland," have harmed the public's perceptions of the treatment. Dr. Maixner calls ECT a "miracle."
Image from the program "Homeland" / Showtime

In the latest edition of Stateside's series Minding Michigan, which explores mental health issues in our state, we take a closer look at electro-convulsive therapy (ECT). 

ECT is largely known as "electroshock therapy," but many in the field consider that to be an outdated term. ECT is a mental health treatment that can be effective for some patients with certain disorders. However, largely because of the way its been portrayed in film or television, ECT is wrapped in stigma and misconception. The University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry has just opened a new mental health unit that expands its ability to offer electro-convulsive therapy to patients.

Wikimedia user Gyre / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A new study finds reducing air pollution by just a little more would save about 9,000 lives each year in the United States.

Detroit is one of the cities the study finds could benefit the most from slightly tighter air pollution regulations. 

Reid McClellan, Digital Media Producer at United Shore

So many people spend their days sitting – and sitting a lot.

People who work desk jobs might spend a minimum of eight hours a day sitting hunched over a desk. I’m doing it now as I write.

Experts like Rebecca Hasson, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan Schools of Kinesiology and Public Health, say this much sitting could increase risk of cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes, and even cancer.

So, some companies are taking strides to keep employees moving throughout the day. Some have gyms onsite. Some hand out Fitbits.

And then there’s United Shore, a wholesale mortgage company in Troy. Employees there take a 15-minute dance break every Thursday at three.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Surgeon General says a long-awaited federal study of skin rashes in Flint should be released “very soon”.

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy was in Flint today meeting with local doctors and government officials.

He says they discussed many issues related to Flint’s lead-tainted tap water.

But one issue that remains a major source of controversy and pain is skin rashes.

People in Flint have been complaining about itchy skin rashes for several years.  

freestockphotos

It happens every summer.  The rate of young children showing elevated blood lead levels goes up.  

That's in large part because kids spend more time in their houses, rather than at preschool and kindergarten.  They also spend more time outdoors where they can be exposed to sources of lead such as paint dust and soil.

But this year, in some cities and counties in Michigan, the spike was greater than usual.

Michigan State University hopes a new ban on using tobacco products on campus will lead to an overall reduction in tobacco use.
Sudipto Sarkar / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

If you want to smoke, chew or vape in East Lansing, you'll have to make sure to step off the Michigan State University campus first. 

A new policy taking effect today bans all tobacco use on MSU's campus. The University of Michigan passed a similar ban in 2011, meaning the state's two largest public universities now both prohibit tobacco use anywhere on their grounds. 

A Grand Rapids therapist is using virtual reality technology to help his patients confront traumatic environments.
Flickr user UTKnightCenter / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

"Minding Michigan" is Stateside's ongoing series that examines mental health issues in our state. 

Virtual reality doesn’t immediately pop into mind when you think about psychotherapy, but one therapist is using this burgeoning technology to treat his patients.

Tom Overly is using multi-sensory virtual reality technology to help patients confront their fears and anxieties. He’s the owner of VR Therapy and Counseling Center in Grand Rapids.

Update: 11:37 a.m., August 15

Michigan State Housing Development Authority Executive Director Kevin Elsenheimer issued the following press release over the weekend related to broken elevators at Towne Centre Place in Ypsilanti: 

In addition to providing hundreds of thousands with health insurance, Healthy Michigan has also helped Michigan hospitals save hundreds of millions of dollars because of a reduction in uncompensated care.
Chealion / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

For the first time, researchers show how much patients with private insurance actually pay for hospital stays. Out-of-pocket costs are high and rising fast for many plans, even those considered “good” insurance.

Emily Adrion is a research fellow at the University of Michigan medical school. She and her team looked at the rising out-of-pocket costs for people with private insurance.

Costs are rising in two main areas: deductibles and co-insurance.

To begin with deductibles, Adrion said they rose by around 86% between 2009 and 2013.

KWA pipes
STEVE CARMODY / MICHIGAN RADIO

Earlier this week, Stateside's Cynthia Canty spoke with Wayne State University professor Peter Hammer about a paper he wrote which argued that the Michigan departments of Environmental Quality and Health and Human Services weren't the only players in the events that led to the lead contamination of Flint's drinking water. 

Among the entities mentioned in that paper was the Department of Treasury, which made many of the final decisions leading up to the switch to the Flint River for a water supply. 

It also mentioned the Karegnondi Water Authority, the entity building a pipeline from Lake Huron to Genesee County.

Marc Edwards, PhD, of Virginia Tech University, holds two vials of water, one from Flint and the other from Detroit. Edwards' research helped uncover the serious problems affecting Flint's water supply.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Just three days before the federal disaster declaration expires in Flint, Virginia Tech water expert Marc Edwards has released the results of the latest water tests in Flint.

Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody joined us to explain the results.

He said the results don't really reflect a thumbs up or thumbs down for Flint's water quality.

“It was more something in between," he said. "Marc Edwards talked about the results and how they show that lead levels are coming down, and now the city is somewhat below the federal action level. But, again, much like Flint water itself, the answer is rather murky.”

Flickr user hang_in_there/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

When you or someone in your family feels sick, chances are the first call you make is to your primary care physician.

Ever since 2010, Michigan has been a big part of a demonstration project to make primary care better, to keep people healthier and out of hospitals.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

People in Flint may get good news about about lead tests for their water tomorrow, though many probably won’t believe it.

Thursday morning, researchers from Virginia Tech will release the results of the third round of testing on Flint’s drinking water. The researchers have conducted hundreds of tests on the tap water of the same dozens of Flint homes.

A year ago, the first round revealed the city’s tap water was contaminated with lead. 

The second round of testing conducted earlier this year showed improvement, but levels were still above the federal action level.

Wikimedia

Updated: 11:46 a.m. 8-10-16

Most Michigan pediatricians will be following the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control, which says children ages 2-17 should get a regular flu vaccine injection this year, not the FluMist nasal spray vaccine.

"The (FluMist) vaccine effectiveness is just simply not there," says Teresa Holtrop, a pediatrician and president-elect of the Michigan chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

FluMist was developed by Michigan-trained epidemiologist Hunein Maassab.  He died in 2014.

Surgeons operating on patient in operating room
Phalinn Ooi / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

It's been more than two years since the Healthy Michigan Plan opened the Medicaid rolls to over 600,000 low-income Michiganders. What has this meant for the financial health of Michigan's hospitals and health plans?

According to Jay Greene of Crain's Detroit Business, the numbers show that hospitals are thriving under the Affordable Care Act and the Healthy Michigan Plan.

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