Health

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - New legislation is being proposed to more closely regulate 470 compounding pharmacies in Michigan after a deadly outbreak of meningitis a year ago.

The infection of 264 Michigan residents, 17 who died, is blamed on contaminated steroids produced by a company in Massachusetts. But Michigan's attorney general, a top licensing official and a state senator say oversight of Michigan pharmacies should be strengthened to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.

http://www.commonwealthfund.org/

A brand-new report card has been released from the bipartisan Commonwealth Fund.

The report examines just how well the health care systems in each of the 50 states are working. The conclusion: if you live in a state that generally does poorly in health care, it doesn't necessarily matter what your income level is. High-income people who live in these poorly-performing states are worse off than low-income people who live in states with high health scores.

Cathy Schoen is senior vice president at The Commonwealth Fund and the author of the new report. She spoke with Cyndy Canty, host of Stateside, earlier in the day.

Listen to the full interview above.

Rina Miller / Michigan Radio

What was meant to stir a football rivalry in Michigan last Saturday has turned into a good deed. 

A skywriter left this message over the East Lansing sky last weekend: "Go Blue."

Those are fightin' words in Michigan State University territory.

The aerial taunt by University of Michigan supporters did not amuse most Spartan fans, but one managed to turn the jab into a  constructive form of revenge.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

State health officials are celebrating the 50th anniversary of a screening program that has saved the lives of more than seven thousand newborns.

Starting with just one test in 1963, Michigan doctors now routinely test newborn infants for more than 50 potentially life threatening conditions.

Matthew Davis is the Chief Medical Executive with the Michigan Department of Community Health.    He says infant screening is one of the best success stories in public health.

user striatic / Flickr

If you’re a Michigander looking for health insurance this fall, relax — help is on the way. Well, at least some help.

Earlier this August, Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody reported four groups were picked by the federal government to navigate Michigan’s uninsured — or underinsured — through the new health insurance market developed under the Affordable Care Act.

On October 1 — the day the new marketplace opens up — the aptly named “navigators” will guide Michigan residents through their choices under Obamacare.

“Navigators are entities that are working on behalf of the exchange at no cost to consumers,” said Don Hazaert, the executive director of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare. MCH is one of the organizations selected to navigate Michiganders, along with Community Bridges Management, the Arab Community Center for Economic & Social Services, and American Indian Health and Family Services of Southeastern Michigan.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The effort to train people to help Michiganders navigate the new federal health insurance law is gearing up.

Starting October 1st, Michiganders will be able to use an online marketplace to choose a health care plan under the Affordable Care Act. How many plans there will be and what the plans will offer is still unclear.

But several groups are preparing to help with the process.

Don Hazaert is the executive director of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare. The group received a grant to help implement Obamacare in Michigan.

Andrian Clark / Flickr

Back in June, we wrote about some changes Michiganders will see in healthcare starting this fall. That's when people who currently do not have health insurance will be able to shop for a plan online.   

But a lot can change in three months — and that’s especially true when it comes to implementing the Affordable Care Act.

Here’s an updated rundown of what’s going on with healthcare in the Great Lake State.

Spc. Garett Hernandez/flickr

Over the past 12 years, nearly 50,000 American troops have been wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The visible injuries are often lost limbs from roadside improvised explosive devices. 

But, there are so many who are coping with the "non-visible" injuries: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, for example. The kinds of injuries that can worsen with time and tear apart a soldier's home life, or worse.

Today we talk with Rick Briggs, a retired Air Force Major who has come up with what he thinks will be a perfect refuge  for these vets: Camp Liberty, using the beautiful outdoors of mid-Michigan as a place of healing.

Briggs is also the manager of the veterans program for the Brain Injury Association of Michigan. 

Click on the link above to listen to the full interview.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Officials in Michigan are paying close attention to a mysterious outbreak that's killing dogs in Ohio.

During the past month, more than a half dozen dogs in the Akron and Cincinnati areas have been sickened by a mysterious illness.  About half have died, some only about 48 hours after first showing symptoms, which include severe diarrhea and vomiting.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A new non-profit bank is opening to encourage grocery stores to locate in so-called "food deserts."

Those are places in cities, suburbs and rural areas with no farmers markets or grocery stores.

Jane Whitacre is director of the Michigan Food Policy Council. She says many other states have long taken advantage of a program that lends money to grocery stores to set up in under-served areas.

“It's really silly that a food state like Michigan hasn't already done this,” says Whitacre.

University of Michigan

Things got very busy in the delivery room at Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital at the University of Michigan this week.

Quintuplets were born to Jessica and Robert Hicks of Fenton Thursday.

Mom, the three boys and two girls are all doing well.

stayteen.org

Teen births in the United States hit a historic low last year, according to preliminary data.

The new data is part of a long-term trend.

The number of teen births are half what they were in 1991.

Jane Zehnder-Merrill is with the Michigan League for Public Policy.

The group advocates for policies that help children.

She says teen births are also dropping in Michigan, mainly because schools and health groups are making it a priority.

Jake Neher/MPRN

Melody Karr says doctors have told her cannabis might not be helpful for the posttraumatic stress she’s suffered since her husband’s grisly suicide. She says they’re wrong in assuming side-effects such as forgetfulness could interfere with talk-therapy.

“The problem is not that I can’t think or talk about my post-traumatic stress and the issues related to it. The problem is that I can’t stop thinking or talking about it.”

getoverit.org

Michiganders will begin signing up for health care coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act in one month.

But state officials are warning that scammers are already at work using Obamacare to defraud people.

Caleb Buhs is with the Department Insurance and Financial Services.   He says his department is already hearing about scammers trying to convince people they need ‘new Obamacare or Medicare’ cards.

The scammers try to get social security numbers and bank account information.

beancounter / Flickr

Nearly one in seven households in Michigan couldn't afford enough food at some point during the last year.

According to a report by the Michigan League for Public Policy, this number represents a 45 % increase in food insecurity over the last decade in Michigan.

(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner)

State health officials say Michigan has recorded its first human case this year of a potentially serious pig-borne flu virus.

The child who fell ill with H3N2 is recovering.   The child was showing swine at the Berrien County Youth Fair earlier this month.

H3N2 is carried by swine.    When a person catches this flu bug, it’s like any other form of influenza.   The infected person can develop a fever, runny nose or cough.  Also like the regular flu, the symptoms can become serious.

  Teenagers in Michigan eligible for no-cost government sponsored health insurance like Medicaid and MIchild aren't getting signed up. 

That means they're walking around uninsured. Many aren't getting regular preventative care and many are relying on the Emergency Room if something comes up. This pattern can have a huge detrimental impact on a families finances, and a teens health. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

What’s being called an ‘Eds and Meds’ strategy is paying off for people trying to revitalize Flint’s downtown.

Many downtown buildings in Flint are empty. But local economic development leaders say they are making progress by attracting educational and medical investment.

The ‘Eds and Meds’ strategy is intended to not only bring in jobs, but also create activity and excitement, in a downtown in need of all three.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Four groups have been tapped by the federal government to help low income Michiganders navigate their way through the new federally mandated health insurance market.

The new health insurance marketplace is set to open on October 1st. About a million Michiganders without insurance will have to pick among a dozen or so health plans.

To help them, the federal government has picked four groups to serve as “navigators”.

googleimages

A Detroit-area doctor is facing a federal grand jury indictment charging him with health care fraud. 

Dmitry Gudkov/Tough Mudder / Facebook

The norovirus is the latest obstacle that participants in Tough Mudder races have to fight.

In June, participants in Brooklyn, Michigan's Tough Mudder race got more than a mouthful of mud. 22,000 participants and supporters were at the event.

Afterward, the Michigan Department of Community Health received "many reports of gastrointestinal illnesses." With some investigation by the MDCH Bureau of Laboratories, that bug turned out to be a norovirus.

Tom Varco / Wikimedia commons

Three out of four 14-year-olds who have been prescribed medication during the last six months have had unsupervised access to the drugs.

That's according to a new study by the University of Michigan.

A new University of Michigan study finds an association between inducing or augmenting labor during childbirth and an increased risk of autism.

The study compared birth records of more than 600 thousand North Carolina children and their corresponding public school records. Researchers found a 35% increased risk of autism in boys whose mothers' labors were induced or augmented.

user mconnors / morgueFile

Michigan now has the fourth highest rate in the nation of parents who do not have their children vaccinated for religious, medical and other reasons. Many simply don’t get all the immunization shots required.

Despite adamant statements from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Centers of Disease Control that vaccines have no link to autism, an anti-vaccination movement is growing online, from parent to parent, and through activist celebrities, such as actress Jenny McCarthy.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and physicians are mounting fresh efforts  to get more Michigan children fully vaccinated.

This vaccination push begins as the number of children falling ill with preventable diseases is on the rise.

We wanted to see how this story is being played out in the exam rooms of a busy pediatric practice, day-in and day out. Oakland County pediatrician Dr. Martin Levinson has been practicing medicine for 33 years. He joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

There is some good news in Michigan’s battle with obesity.  

Fewer Michigan children qualify as obese. 

More than 30% of Michiganders are considered obese.   Michigan ranks as the 5th fattest state in the union.

But there may be hope for the future.

A new Centers for Disease Control report finds a slight decline in obesity rates for “low-income” pre-school children in Michigan.  

The rate dropped from 13.9% to 13.2 % between 2008 and 2011.

everydayfamily.com

Michigan has the fourth highest rate in the nation of parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated for religious, medical and other reasons. Many simply don’t get all the immunization shots required.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and a new effort is underway to get more Michigan children fully vaccinated.

The vaccination push begins as the number of children falling ill with preventable diseases is on the rise.

“As parents prepare to send their children back to school….it is important they make sure each child is up to date with their immunizations,” says Dr. Kenneth Elmassian, the president of the Michigan State Medical Society.

More than a hundred children in Washtenaw County have been treated for Whooping Cough this year. There were nearly 850 cases statewide last year. One 3 month old child died. 

Cases of other preventable diseases are also on the rise in Michigan. State health officials blame Michigan’s declining child vaccination rate. 

NCI

Michigan's cancer profile can cause unease, especially if you live or work near polluted waterways or land. Federal health data show that where you live might determine whether you will get cancer and what type.

Journalist Norm Sinclair looked at the "cancer hot spots" in Michigan for the August issue of DBusiness magazine, and he joined us today from Oakland County.

dr_relling / Flickr

The first human case of West Nile virus is being reported in Michigan this week.

Last year, the virus killed 17 people in this state.

Here's the good news: There has been lots of rain this year.

It turns out the kind of mosquitos that carry West Nile like dry, hot weather.

The bad news: we're not in the clear yet. August and September are the peak months for mosquitos.

It wasn't until this time last year that Michigan had its first human case in 2012.

"The fact is, we're seeing it in animals, now we're seeing it in humans,” says

photo by Anna Strumillo Phuket - Thailand / www.fotopedia.com

Only five states will spend less per capita than Michigan to spread the word about the federal health care law, the Associated Press reported.

From the AP:

“Michigan's $5.7 million in outreach spending amounts to 58 cents per resident. That's far less than states that are embracing the Affordable Care Act.”

Across the country, states and the U.S. government are pumping out advertising campaigns to get people familiar with changes under the Affordable Care Act. Billions of dollars from state and federal coffers alike are expected to be spent on getting the word out on new requirements, as well as the health insurance exchanges opening on October 1.

But according to the AP, Michigan has declined money the majority of federal funding for the promos:

childhelp-usa.com

Child abuse is on the rise in Michigan.

That's not just opinion or speculation.

As recently as 2006, Michigan's rate of child abuse and neglect was below the national average.

Today, it is more than 50% higher than the national rate.

And this surge in child abuse comes exactly as state spending on abuse and neglect prevention has been cut sharply.

Why are child abuse and neglect rates so high in Michigan?

For the answer we turn to Jane Zehnder-Merrell, the project director for Kids Count in Michigan at the Michigan League for Public Policy, and Cathy Weissenborn, the President of CARE House of Oakland County, the Child Abuse and Neglect Council of Oakland Count.

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