Michigan Healthcare

The suicide rate for Michigan veterans is more than twice as high as the state's overall rate, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs last month.

Returning from the 4th of July recess, Senate Republicans are going to try again to come up with a health care bill that can win the 50 votes it needs to pass.

Word is, they hope to have a revised health bill to show senators by week's end, perhaps by Thursday.

David Cassleman

Hospitals in northern Michigan are bracing for the chance that fewer people will have health insurance in the future. One local hospital leader says that could lead to higher costs for everyone.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Tick season is here in northern Michigan, and with it comes a higher risk of contracting Lyme disease. Lyme disease is transmitted when blacklegged ticks – commonly called deer ticks – bite humans. If untreated, Lyme disease can have serious health consequences like inflammation of the brain or spinal cord, nerve pain or short-term memory loss. Early signs of Lyme disease include flu-like symptoms and muscle aches.

Northern Michigan Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) says he supports the GOP health care bill in its current form. The legislation could come up for a vote on the floor of the U.S. House as soon as this week. 

Northern Michigan’s Congressman says he’s just now getting a chance to look at the details of a new Republican health care plan. But Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) sounded upbeat talking about it during a telephone town hall he hosted on Tuesday night. 

It was hours after fellow House Republicans unveiled their plans for replacing the Affordable Care Act.

“The American Health Care Act … is going to ensure that number one everybody is able to get health care,” Bergman said.

Veterans in rural America often have to travel far to get medical care. In northern Michigan, a veteran enrolled in health care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs might be required to drive to Saginaw, Detroit or Ann Arbor for a doctor’s visit. 

Leelanau Urgent Care

Tens of thousands of people in northern Michigan could lose health insurance if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed. Congressional Republicans, along with President Donald Trump, have promised to replace the controversial law. 

In fact, northern Michigan has a greater percentage of its population who have signed up for health care through the law than the state average, according to a report by Bridge Magazine

“A lot people in northern Michigan who are taking advantage of [the ACA] have benefited from the expansion of Medicaid,” says Mike Wilkinson, a reporter for Bridge Magazine.

 


Linda Stephan

Right now, if a children get sick in the Cadillac region, they can be hospitalized as an inpatient at Munson Healthcare Cadillac Hospital. Beginning in May, those kids will be sent to Munson Medical Center in Traverse City or Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids.

Tomas Sienicki

The number of women who smoke while pregnant is way up in Michigan. A new report from the Michigan League for Public Policy says the rate increased by 18 percent between 2008 and 2014.

Smoking while pregnant can lead to a number of bad health outcomes for infants, including early birth.

The report also says that the number of preterm births increased by 20 percent in Michigan during the same time period. 

Cheyna Roth, a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, says advocates are asking for more resources to attack the issue:

 


Veterans Administration

A new project aimed at improving veterans’ health care has the support of Grand Traverse County. County commissioners passed a resolution tonight supporting Project Cherry Tree, a group that wants to connect local veterans with local health care services.

Right now, many veterans have to drive to Saginaw or Ann Arbor for medical care.

Leaders of the new project want to connect veterans with health care services closer to home. The group also wants to provide educational and job opportunities.

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.

There's now a new backdrop for Mental Health Awareness Month: the debate over whether to privatize Michigan's $2.4 billion mental health system. 

 

Governor Snyder's 2017 budget calls for turning over state funding and management to Medicaid HMOs. 
 
The Michigan Association of Health Plans has been lobbying for the switch. Meanwhile, the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards is digging in to fight it.
 
Robert Sheehan, CEO of the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards, joined us on Stateside to discuss the issue.

Cost trumps doctor choice in Michigan insurance market

May 20, 2015
Emily Orpin/Flickr

In Michigan, people shopping for health insurance are likely to pick cost savings over the chance to keep their current doctor, according to new research from the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation.

Center Executive Director Marianne Udow-Phillips says comparison shopping has gotten easier for people with the healthcare exchange.

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon hand down a ruling that may decide whether thousands of Michiganders can afford health insurance.

The court could strike down insurance subsidies offered under the federal health care law. That’s in states like Michigan where the federal government runs the health care exchange.

The ruling is expected this summer. But some state lawmakers are already debating whether to set up a state-run health exchange.

A pair of nonprofits say not enough people have taken advantage of their offer to help pay health insurance premiums.

“We’ve been able to find, I think, about a dozen people who we’re helping,” says Bruce Miller, the executive director of two nonprofits who together serve 18 northern Michigan counties.

Miller says the coverage is for people who have employer-sponsored healthcare, but who can’t afford to add their families to the plan. They also don’t qualify for subsidized plans under Obamacare. He calls it the “family glitch.”

Veterans in northern Michigan rarely face long wait times for health care. That’s according to a new report that compares wait times at veterans’ health facilities across the country.

Nationally, nearly three percent of veterans have to wait longer than 30 days for a medical appointment. But at clinics in Gaylord and Traverse City, that percentage is almost down to zero.

Fewer parents in northern Michigan are opting out of vaccinations for their children. Health officials say the trend is positive but there is still more work to do.

In Leelanau County, just over 12 percent of parents requested a vaccine waiver for their kindergarteners this year. That number is down from nearly 20 percent the year before.

In Grand Traverse County, the rate of vaccine waivers is down from 13 percent to just under 10 percent. County Health Officer Wendy Trute says that’s a step in the right direction.

The state Senate has passed a bill that would allow landlords to ban tenants from smoking or growing medical marijuana in their rental units. Senate Bill 72 passed on a 34-3 vote with bipartisan support.

The legislation required a three-quarters majority vote because it would change Michigan’s voter-approved Medical Marijuana Act.

  Gov. Rick Snyder says there’s no backup plan to boost road funding if voters reject a sales tax increase in May.

Snyder urged listeners to vote “yes” on the measure during an appearance on Michigan Public Radio’s statewide call-in program “Michigan Calling.”

Aaron Selbig

Outbreaks of measles and whooping cough have died down in northern Michigan. But a new state law has gone into effect that makes it harder for parents to refuse vaccinations for their children.

Parents seeking a vaccine waiver for “philosophical” reasons will first have to meet with a public health nurse. Health officials hope the new law will reduce Michigan’s high waiver rate but research shows the plan could be ineffective – or even backfire.

Interlochen Center for the Arts

When artists listen to the heart, they’re usually looking for emotion or inspiration. No stethoscope necessary – certainly not an echo machine. Until now.

Students at the Interlochen Arts Academy have been jammin’ along to the beats of their own hearts, thanks to some pretty sophisticated medical equipment. Next week they’re putting on a show that blends the traditional artist’s notion of heartache with a very physical representation of their healthy, and normal, teenage hearts.

  Find the webcast link and other show information here.

Hitting the stage

    

    

LIVE COVERAGE of the speech and the Democratic response begins tonight at 7:00 on IPR News Radio.

Gov. Rick Snyder will announce during his State of the State address tonight that two of the state’s largest departments will merge. Snyder will issue an executive order combining the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Department of Community Health (DCH).

The move was first reported by the Associated Press.

Public employee unions worry the reorganization could lead to outsourcing.

Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center

Veterans in northern Michigan often have to drive a long way to see their doctors. That’s because official VA hospitals are mostly downstate, like the one in Saginaw.

Congress passed legislation over the summer that was meant to change that temporarily. It pays for more local, private care options for those enrolled in health plans through the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

But in Michigan, most veterans don’t qualify under the rules.


Criminal charges have been filed in federal court in Massachusetts, following an outbreak of fungal meningitis that hit Michigan in 2012.

Most people charged worked at New England Compounding Center, a shuttered pharmacy in Boston that sold steroid shots that infected people nationwide.

The tainted shots were sent to a few clinics in Michigan, including one in Traverse City.

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