Michigan Healthcare

Credit Alex E Promios/Flickr

From debate over childhood vaccinations to the changing business of hospital finance, IPR has the stories of hospitals and public health that affect northern Michigan.

 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Each and every year, more than 230,000 American women will hear the words, “You have breast cancer.”

Of those, some 100,000 will undergo mastectomy and breast reconstruction.

When your world’s been turned upside down by a breast cancer diagnosis, it can be hard to grasp what options are there for you.

Pat Anstett’s new book provides answers, presented through the stories of women who have been handed that breast cancer diagnosis and then followed many different paths in treatment and reconstruction.

Munson Healthcare

Lyn Jenks has served as CEO of Charlevoix Hospital since 2012. She announced her retirement last week.

Jenks has overseen many changes at the hospital. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government views healthcare much differently, and that’s had a big impact on small, rural hospitals.

 


  

It has been a year now since Michigan and the world learned that the lead levels of children living in areas of Flint has doubled, even tripled.

It was September 2015 when pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha braved the scorn of certain state employees to present her stunning research findings that proved that elevated lead levels in Flint children correlated to the the switch to Flint River water.

  

As we know by now, the dismissive state officials were wrong, and Hanna-Attisha was right.

The Next Idea

Could the ancient search for the Fountain of Youth lead to Ann Arbor?

That's where a company called Forever Labs is working to solve the universal problem of getting old. 

Its solution: store your stem cells when you're a young adult so you can use them as you age.

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.

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. 

Fighting disease in developing countries is an uphill battle. 

One of the biggest challenges: the lack of roads. 

How do you get clinical samples – blood, stool, urine – from a remote village to a laboratory where the samples can be tested for disease?

A Michigan start-up called Vayu has taken a promising step toward addressing that crucial problem by using a drone on a life-saving medical mission in Madagascar.

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.

Get to work, grab a cup of coffee, turn on the computer … and sit down to start the business of the day.

And there you stay: sitting and sitting and sitting. Sound familiar?

For those of us with desk jobs, that’s pretty much the drill.

But more and more medical researchers warn us that all that sitting is wreaking havoc on our bodies. Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic has even declared that “sitting is the new smoking.”

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.

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 become clear that America is in the grips of an opioid addiction epidemic.

But here's a dilemma: what if you're in pain? Is there a way to help patients get relief from pain without resorting to powerful pain medicines that can get you addicted?

A new study indicates the answer could be yes, through something called ImPAT, or Improving Pain during Addiction Treatment. 

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.

The Healthy Michigan Plan launched in April 2014. It opened the Medicaid rolls to hundreds of thousands of low-income people for the first time. And no one was quite sure what to expect.

There were widely held fears that the flood of previously uninsured people would make it harder for everyone to get doctor's appointments, and that hospitals would be overloaded with seriously sick patients who, until then, didn't have insurance coverage.

Now, two years down the road, there's enough data for experts to study and analyze.

The insurance companies offering health plans on Michigan's public exchange have a collective eye fixed on January 1, 2017.

That's when they hope they'll be able to start charging, on average, 17.2% more for individual health insurance plans.

Marianne Udow-Phillips joined us today to talk about what's behind these hefty rate increase requests.

The wetter the summer, the more mosquitos you’re likely to find outside.

In hot, dry summers, like the summer we are having now, there are fewer mosquitoes. But the mosquitos that are around pose a greater threat. That’s because West Nile virus spreads more easily in warm weather.

This summer Michigan State University has predicted an outbreak of West Nile in Michigan.

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

In 2014, Michigan became the first state to create a set of detailed guidelines for treating people addicted to heroin and other opioid drugs. 

The guidelines were praised by many in the treatment community as being clear, understandable and taking addiction treatment in Michigan to the next level.

Dr. Corey Waller is the doctor who wrote those guidelines. 

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

How well does Michigan do in helping people who are suffering from mental health problems?

When it comes to the mental health care safety net, the answer is troubling. It seems that Michiganders who have private insurance are the ones whose safety net is weakest. 

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