Health

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.

Health
8:59 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Study: Fewer teens smoking cigarettes, but marijuana use rises

(file photo)
Michigan Radio Newsroom

Fewer high school students are smoking cigarettes, according to a new study from the University of Michigan.

Researchers with U of M’s Monitoring the Future program have been asking teens about their smoking habits since 1975.  The research is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

In 1996, 49% of 8th graders admitted they had tried smoking a cigarette. This year that number dropped to just 15%.

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Health
6:11 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Report: Michigan needs to improve disease prevention, monitoring

Credit Morguefile

The United States needs to do a better job of fighting the spread of infectious disease. And so does the state of Michigan.

That's according to a report released today by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The report looked at whether states met ten key indicators showing their capacity to prevent and control infectious disease. Michigan met only five out of ten.

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Health
5:04 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

More Michiganders signing up for Obamacare, but the numbers are still low

Healthcare.gov
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

More Michiganders are signing up for health insurance through the federal Affordable Care Act.

Problems with the federal website made it difficult for people to sign up initially.

In Michigan, fewer than 1400 people signed up in October. But after a website overhaul, more than five thousand Michiganders completed the process in November.

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Health
8:28 am
Wed December 11, 2013

A new report says Michiganders need to improve their healthy habits

Riding toward the Capitol
Capital Gains/©Dave Trumpie

Michigan is getting poor marks in a new national health survey.

For 24 years, the United Health Foundation has looked at the healthy or unhealthy habits of Americans.  

According to the American Health Rankings out today, nationally fewer people are smoking and more people are exercising. The national obesity rate held steady, which is the first time since 1998 that the survey didn’t record an increase.

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Health
7:31 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Why this 20 year old is getting a mastectomy, and why she's not alone

Kelly Rothe and her younger sister, Samantha. They're holding a letter written for Kelly by their mother before she died.
Kate Wells Michigan Radio

Hear the full story above.

For most of her life, Kelly Rothe believed she was going to die of breast cancer.  

"It's all we knew. When everyone in your life gets sick, you just assume it's going to happen to you," she says. 

Rothe was just six years old when her mom was diagnosed. 

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Health
2:00 pm
Sun December 8, 2013

Can we get some quiet around here?

Credit kakisky / MorgueFile

Here's something you can tell that neighbor whose power lawn mower shatters your Saturday morning quiet: You're making me sick!

Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and the Network for Public Health Law say Americans live in a dangerously noisy society.

U-M assistant professor of environmental science Rick Neitzel says noise does much more than cause hearing loss. He says  noise can contribute to heart disease, hypertension, sleep disturbances and learning problems in children.

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Health
7:53 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Report: Overburdened mental health system to face bigger challenges as ACA takes effect

The reasons people give for not seeking mental health help.
From the report "Access to mental health Care in Michigan" Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation

Michigan's mental health care providers are already stretched far beyond capacity, according to an Ann Arbor research agency.

A report released Thursday by the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation says the state's mental health system "is broken."

And if it's bad now, care providers will be overwhelmed when the Affordable Care Act takes effect next month.

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Health
3:26 pm
Sat November 30, 2013

Michigan credit unions adding defibrillators

Automatic defibrillator
shopsafetyproducts.ca

The Michigan Credit Union League wants to get automatic defibrillators into every credit union in the state.

Jon Looman is the CEO of Community West Credit Union.   He had a heart attack and collapsed while teaching an indoor cycling class last year.

He says he survived thanks to an AED, and plans to order one for every one of his credit union's branches.

“They save lives, plain and simple. They just save lives,” says Looman, “And even better than that, they improve the quality of life after a heart attack if you act right away with one.”

Health
11:45 am
Fri November 29, 2013

U of M research points to ways to help elderly patients recover more independence

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

New research from the University of Michigan may show a way to help older people recover their independence after suffering a serious injury.

It’s estimated that 40% of trauma patients will be 65 and older during the next four decades.

Getting geriatric patients back on their feet and independent is especially difficult.

U of M researchers interviewed older patients a year after being seriously injured in an accident.

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Health
11:40 am
Fri November 29, 2013

High fat diets may speed up breast cancer development

We're sorry to spring this one on you after you've just finished feasting
Ed Uthman Creative Commons

Maybe don't read this story right after plowing through a pecan pie, ok? 

Because a group of scientists are finding that what young women eat during puberty could determine how breast cancer cells develop in their bodies for the rest of their lives.

The culprit: high-fat diets.

It's not just about weight: high fat diets may hurt skinny and heavy women alike 

Michigan researchers say eating lots of fat as a teen can speed up breast cancer cell development, especially for cancers usually associated with young adult women. 

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Health
5:00 am
Thu November 28, 2013

Just a little turkey ...please, please, please?

Bella Miller, who has her humans well trained, will stand sentry at Thanksgiving dinner to make sure no spilled tidbit goes unclaimed.
Credit Rina Miller / Michigan Radio

As  Americans gather to celebrate the holidays, many will be joined by family members of the furry persuasion.

Most dogs like to position themselves near the dinner table, ready to Hoover up any morsels that fall to the floor, eyes beseeching  diners as they lift  each forkful of feast. 

Cats may be more assertive and attempt to tiptoe among your fine glassware and serving platters.

But as we humans are well aware, just because something is delicious doesn't mean it's good for us.

That goes for pets, too.

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Health
11:36 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Report finds there's still 'Trouble in Toyland'

Safety is gradually improving, but toy-shoppers should still be watchful this holiday season.

That’s the main message from this year’s annual ‘Trouble in Toyland’ toy safety report from the Public Interest Research Group in Michigan (PIRGIM).

The group says the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, passed in 2008, has improved toy safety.

But it warns that some toys can and do fall through the regulatory cracks. The group found toys that exceed federal standards for lead, cadmium, phthalates, and other toxins that can impair child development.

And PIRGIM suggests some of those laws could be tightened up, too.

Spokesman Eric Mosher points to a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pencil case. It contains much more of the toxic element cadmium—about 600 parts per million--than federal law allows.

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Health
7:00 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Medical research needs more kids in studies

Credit C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health, 2013

Overall, 44% of parents say they'd allow their child to take part in medical research if the child had the disease being studied.

Yet only 5% say their child has participated in a medical study.  

That's according to a recent National Poll on Children's Health conducted by C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan.

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Health
9:26 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

New study looks at social factors at work in Michigan high infant mortality rate

Michigan Kids Count

A new study finds economics play a significant role in Michigan’s infant mortality rate.

The Michigan Health Equity Status Report used data from 2010.   The report is a joint effort between the Practices to Reduce Infant Mortality through Equity Project (PRIME), and the MDCH Health Disparities Reduction and Minority Health Section.

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Health
4:41 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Michigan officials say insurance companies can continue to offer health plans canceled by Obamacare

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michiganders at risk of losing their health insurance because of Obamacare may be getting a reprieve.

It’s estimated that more than 200,000 policies in Michigan could be at risk of being canceled because the policies don’t meet the minimum standards of the Affordable Care Act.

After a public outcry, President Obama asked the states and insurance companies to keep those policies in effect for another year. 

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Stateside
2:20 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Who are the Affordable Care Act's navigators?

This is a screenshot of the informational video from healthcare.gov.
healthcare.gov YouTube

An interview with Don Hazaert, the director of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare.

It’s been more than a month since the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplace has open, and to say the rollout has been problematic would be an understatement.

With the glitch-ridden healthcare.gov website, and the natural confusion that comes with breaking new ground, it’s no wonder that many insurance-seekers don’t even know where to begin to find health insurance under the ACA.

Enter Don Hazaert, the director of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare. MCH is one of four navigator agencies in Michigan for Obamacare.

But what does a navigator do? What can’t they do? And where do Michiganders stand with their healthcare?

Hazaert met with us in the studio, to discuss how those looking for coverage for Michigan actually do it.

For more information, visit enrollmichigan.com or any of the websites below:

consumersforhealthcare.org

communitybridgesihc.com

accesscommunity.org

aihfs.org

Listen to the full interview above.

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Stateside
5:02 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

University of Michigan Health Services to stop selling sugary drinks

Flickr user fimoculous Flickr

If you find yourself craving an icy-cold cola or some ginger ale, maybe a Frappuccino coffee, should you be able to crack open a can or a bottle when you want? Even if you know it’s not good for you?

The University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers say maybe not. So, starting today, you will no longer be able to indulge that sweet tooth of yours. They will become one of the first in Michigan to stop selling all sugar-sweetened beverages, with the goal of giving us a not-too-subtle nudge over to healthier drinks.

Theresa Han-Markey has been a registered dietician for over 20 years. She is the Bionutrition Manager at the Michigan Critical Research Unit and she’s the Internship Director for Dietetics at U of M. She joined us today to give us a closer look at this sugar crackdown.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:01 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

France has introduced a tax on soda to help combat obesity and diabetes

Flickr user Vox Efx Flickr

French women don't get fat, so said French writer

Mireille Guiliano in her infamous cookbook.

But that didn’t stop French authorities from introducing a new tax on soda in order to combat obesity and diabetes.

While obesity has more than doubled in France over the past 15 years and continues to rise, the country still has far fewer obese people than the U.S.

David Chazan prepared this report from Paris as the law was enacted last year.

Listen to the full interview above.

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