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.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that between 25,000-30,000 new oil and gas wells were drilled and hydraulically fractured annually in the U.S. between 2011 and 2014.

A feature article in the journal Health Affairs says the body of research on the potential health effects of all this fracking is "slim and inconclusive."

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.

It’s easy to take for granted the leaps and bounds medical science has made in the last two centuries.

Rene Laennec invented the stethoscope in 1816. 1818 saw the first successful blood transfusion performed by James Blundell. In 1842 Crawford Long performed the first surgical operation using anesthesia.

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.

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow is announcing legislation aimed to support those with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s known as the “HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act.”

“This is a very important piece of what needs to be done, because it focuses on encouraging doctors to diagnose early and to do caregiver planning,” Stabenow said.

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.

Five years ago today, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. It’s the law widely known as “Obamacare.”

The University of Michigan’s Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation decided to see what Obamacare has meant for Michigan and the results of their survey are out today.

Do you know what's being done with the blood, plasma, tissue or any other samples you hand over to a biobank? Does knowing the intended use of donations help or hinder people’s willingness to donate?

 A new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and conducted by researchers at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan, tried to address these questions.

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.

There are now 121 cases of measles in the U.S., with one confirmed case in Michigan. That’s according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control. Of those cases, 85% are linked to an outbreak at Disneyland.

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

    

    

This week marks the 117 year anniversary of the first radiation treatment for cancer. Emil Grubbe is credited for his work on the case when he was still in medical school.

University of Michigan physician and medical historian Dr. Howard Markel says Grubbe was still a student when he discovered that huge doses of radiation may be able to kill cells. This discovery came after he severely burned his hand by using an early x-ray on it multiple times over a short duration. The technology had only been invented a few months prior and little was known about the consequences of the high doses of radiation involved.

The measles outbreak has made it to Michigan.

After the mounting headlines about an outbreak that seems to have begun in California’s Disneyland, the first Michigan case was diagnosed late last week.

The diagnosed individual is an adult in Oakland country and according to Dr. Matthew Davis, the Chief Medical Executive with the Michigan Department of Community Health and a Professor at the University of Michigan, this case may well be connected to the Disneyland outbreak.

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.

It seems like everyone is talking about the flu.

Dr. Matthew Davis is chief medical executive for the state Department of Community Health, and a professor at the University of Michigan.

Popular buzz has pegged this as a pretty miserable flu season. We ask whether the statistics back this up.

Listen to our conversation above.

Vaccination waivers now tougher to get in Michigan

Jan 5, 2015

A new Michigan law for 2015 will force some parents seeking vaccination waivers for their kids to speak to a health professional first. 

The new law took effect Jan. 1st. It targets parents asking for “philosophical” waivers. Michigan has a seven-percent waiver rate – that’s fourth highest in the country.

Jennifer Smith with the Michigan Department of Community Health said the law was adapted from one already making a difference in ten counties.

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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