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.


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 /

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:


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.


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.

Starting this fall, Michigan schools are required to have epinephrine injectors ready in case students suffer an allergic reaction.

Until now, students with known allergies to bee stings, peanuts and other foods could have their own epi-pens.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce is launching a private health insurance marketplace September 1st.

Jason Russell is the senior director of the chamber’s Department of Insurance Services.

He says the intent of the new marketplace is to help small businesses and insurance agents deal with an increasingly complex health insurance landscape under the Affordable Care Act.

Outside the Community Health and Social Services Center in Detroit.
CHASS / Facebook

Part of the Affordable Care Act calls for big investments in community health care centers to increase access to primary health care services. The health care law calls for a total investment of $11 billion over a five-year period “for the operation, expansion, and construction of health centers” throughout the country.

Today, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced that $35.7 million in Affordable Care Act funding will go to 147 health centers in 44 states.

The funding will support 21 new construction projects and 126 renovation projects.

Seven of those health centers are in Michigan. These seven centers will split close to $1.7 million to support construction and facility improvements.

Here’s the list of health centers receiving funding:


LANSING – State officials say billions of gallons of raw and partially treated sewage were dumped in Detroit area rivers and streams after flooding from heavy rains earlier this month.

Department of Environmental Quality spokeswoman Laura Verona tells The Detroit News for a story Friday that about 46% of the nearly 10 billion gallons of sewage released Aug. 11 by water treatment facilities was raw, diluted or partially treated sewage.

The state agency has put together a preliminary report on the sewage release.

Combined sewers and retention basins in some communities in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties overflowed due to the Aug. 11 storm. Some areas received more than 6 inches of rain. Water from the storm left parts of freeways flooded and damaged thousands of homes.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan state lawmakers need to do more to help protect people from cancer. That’s the finding of a new study by the American Cancer Society.

The American Cancer Society says 58,610 people in Michigan will be diagnosed with cancer this year;  20,800 will die.

Nationwide, the society estimates 1.6 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in 2014, and 580,000 will die from the disease. 

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s annual “How Do You Measure Up” report says Michigan state lawmakers should be doing more to reduce cancer risks.

Michigan Dept. of Community Health

Michigan's first experiment with an idea called "pay for success" is getting underway.

The state is asking private or non-profit groups for proposals to reduce infant mortality.  

"The goal," says Snyder administration spokesman Dave Murray, "is to help high-risk mothers and their babies, through home visitation or community programs or better coordination of care up until the child's second birthday."

Murray says the selected partners would pay for the projects up front.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report says one in seven Americans gets some of their food from the nation’s food banks.

The Hunger in America study finds demand remains high at the nation’s food banks despite an improving economy. Demand is high in Michigan as well.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Toledo officials are stressing that the city's water is safe to drink as they continue to monitor for the toxin produced by Lake Erie cyanobacteria blooms  that shut down services two weeks ago to about 400,000 people.

Officials say tests on untreated water coming into a city plant are showing a "strong presence" of the toxin microcystin, but the treated water is safe.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Adults surveyed for a new poll rank childhood obesity as the top health concern for kids. 

More than two thousand adults were surveyed for the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

Director Matt Davis says obesity, smoking and drug abuse top the list of health concerns adults have about children.


  First the flood waters, now the concern is about mold.

Many southeast Michigan basements flooded on Monday.

George Miller is the director of Oakland County’s Department of Health and Human Services. He says to avoid mold, homeowners should remove everything damaged by water from their flooded basement.

“The biggest thing is, the faster you can get the water out of your basement and start to dry it out, the less chance you’re going to have for the mold that everybody’s concerned with,” says Miller.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) - Bay City officials are searching for the source of a water main break that is draining 10 million gallons of water a day and threatening to empty reserves by Monday in the Michigan city of 35,000

The Bay City Times says public works Director Dave Harran is urging residents and businesses to avoid all unnecessary water use.

Harran says crews discovered Saturday afternoon that there was a major water main break and searched all night for its location without success.

International health experts tackling Ebola in West Africa
EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection / Flickr

A senior American health official says the U.S. will be sending at least 50 public health experts to West Africa over the next month to tackle the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola.

Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the BBC that Ebola was currently out of control but could be easily stopped with basic health practices.

“We do know how to stop Ebola … Find the patients, make sure they get treated, find their contacts, track them, educate people, do infection control in hospitals. You do these things and you have to do them really well, and Ebola goes away,” Frieden said.

Even with that, the questions remain on the minds of many: What is the possibility of Ebola spreading further?