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.

It's been a little over two weeks since the Affordable Care Act officially kicked in.

How many people have been able to enroll? How many are getting financial assistance to help pay for their plan? And what deadlines do we need to be aware of?

Joining us once more is Don Hazaert, director of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare, one of Michigan's four navigator agencies for the ACA.

Listen to full interview above. 

It's starting to make its presence felt in empty chairs at the workplace and sad little Facebook status updates saying, "I'm sick."

Flu season is upon us.

Federal officials report 35 states are now experiencing widespread influenza activity with young and middle-aged adults being hit hardest this year rather than the usual pattern of seniors or children.

Dr. Matthew Davis, chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of  Community Health and a professor at the University of Michigan, joined us today to give us an idea of what the flu season looks like in Michigan.

Listen to the full interview above.

H1N1 Flu Is Back; Officials Recommend Vaccination

Jan 9, 2014
Alex E Promios/Flickr

State health officials say the H1N1 flu strain that caused widespread school closures in 2009 is again the most prevalent strain of flu this season. The strain is more dangerous for children and young, healthy adults than is most strains of flu.

So far the number of hospitalizations related to the flu is pretty similar to what’s been seen in other years. Still, health officials say they are seeing some disturbing trends.

Michigan’s plan to expand Medicaid health coverage to more than 300 thousand low-income residents has been approved by the federal government.   

It seems hard to believe in 2013, but it's true -- Michigan is one of only five states without a law protecting breastfeeding moms, allowing them to breastfeed their babies in any public or private location.

But that might change soon.
 
The State Senate recently passed a bill that would protect breastfeeding Moms. The bill now goes to the State House for lawmakers to discuss in the new session, starting January 8. 
 
Joining me is a lawmaker who has been working on the bill, State Senator Rebekah Warren.

Gwen Drews

  One-in-four Michiganders say they have been diagnosed at some point with depression or anxiety, but few people have had insurance coverage for treatment.

That changes next year. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more people will be covered under Medicaid and employer insurance plans.

State House Approves Marijuana Dispensaries

Dec 12, 2013
Rusty Blazenhoff/Flickr

Medical marijuana patients in Michigan would have more ways to legally obtain and consume cannabis under three bills that cleared the state House on Thursday.

House Bill 4271 would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate again in Michigan.

State Rep. Mike Callton (R-Nashville) introduced the legislation. He says it’s critical for many patients to have safe access to marijuana right away.

Rick Pluta

A campaign is organizing to block the new law that will require people to buy a separate insurance policy for abortion coverage. Wednesday the state Legislature approved the law, which began as a Right to Life of Michigan petition initiative. Voter-initiated laws do not need the governor’s signature and it will take effect next year.

Abortion rights advocates are putting together a coalition to launch a new petition drive. This one would challenge the new law with a referendum on the November 2014 ballot.

The Michigan Legislature has approved a petition initiative that will require people to buy a separate health insurance policy for abortion coverage. The initiative passed with commanding Republican majorities in the House and the Senate. A handful of Democrats also voted yes.

State Representative Amanda Price (R-Holland) said people who object to abortion should not be forced to help pay for it in their insurance premiums.

“No matter how one frames the issue before us, abortion is an individual choice,” she said. “I will say that again: abortion is an individual choice.”

UPDATE 5:23PM: The Michigan House and Senate have approved a veto-proof law that will require consumers to buy separate policies for abortion coverage. The question was put to the Legislature by a petition drive after Governor Snyder vetoed a similar measure last year because there were no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. The new law will take effect early next year.

Paul Maritinez/Flickr

The state Legislature is in its final week of voting before it adjourns for the year. One of the big questions is whether lawmakers will cast votes on a controversial anti-abortion issue this year. A petition drive gathered 300,000 thousand signatures to put the measure before lawmakers. It’s designed to restrict abortion insurance coverage.

A Rare Defiance

This is shaping up as a rare act of defiance by the Legislature, or at least its Republican leaders, when it comes to the anti-abortion lobby.  

Alan Cleaver/Flickr

A new report shows the Ludington and Petoskey areas are among some of the hardest areas in the state to get help with mental health problems – including anxiety and depression.

The report highlights problems with access to mental healthcare providers, even as mental health insurance coverage is expected to improve at the start of the year with the Affordable care Act.

A proposal that would put new restrictions on insurance coverage for abortions is headed to the state Legislature.

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers on Monday moved forward a proposal that would ban abortion coverage in standard health insurance plans. Women would only be able to purchase abortion coverage as a separate rider.

The American Civil Liberties Union has decided to go directly to the source of its unhappiness with the way women are treated in Catholic hospitals. It's suing the nation's Catholic bishops.

Congress has passed new legislation to try to prevent another deadly fungal meningitis outbreak... But, will it be enough?

*Listen to the audio above.

Michigan Joins With Federal Probe Over Last Year's Meningitis Outbreak

Nov 25, 2013

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is joining forces with federal authorities to investigate last year’s fungal meningitis outbreak.

“We have two forces pulling one wagon to provide justice for victims,” says Schuette.

Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz Monday joined Schuette to announce they’ll coordinate their separate criminal investigations. Ortiz says this cooperation will give state and federal officials access to a bigger picture.

It’s been more than a month since the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplace has open, and to say the rollout has been problematic would be an understatement.

With the glitch-ridden healthcare.gov website, and the natural confusion that comes with breaking new ground, it’s no wonder that many insurance-seekers don’t even know where to begin to find health insurance under the ACA.

Enter Don Hazaert, the director of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare. MCH is one of four navigator agencies in Michigan for Obamacare.

But what does a navigator do? What can’t they do? And where do Michiganders stand with their healthcare?

Hazaert met with us in the studio, to discuss how those looking for coverage for Michigan actually do it.

For more information, visit enrollmichigan.com or any of the websites below:

consumersforhealthcare.org

communitybridgesihc.com

accesscommunity.org

aihfs.org

Listen to the full interview above.

New Oversight For Pharmacies After Meningitis Outbreak

Nov 19, 2013

More than a year after the fungal meningitis outbreak first hit, 22 Michiganders are dead and lawmakers in Washington have now passed a bill that's supposed to prevent a similar outbreak from happening again. 

The bill gives the FDA a way to oversee pharmacies that are making and shipping huge amounts of drugs. The Massachusetts clinic that started this meningitis outbreak was making lots of drugs, with little oversight.

Michigan Lawyer Alyson Oliver recalled her visit to the pharmacy early this year:

Evolution is relentless process that seems to keep going and going, even when creatures live in a stable, unchanging world.

That's the latest surprise from a unique experiment that's been underway for more than a quarter-century.

Emily Orpin/Flickr

Munson Healthcare in Traverse City has a new contract with insurer Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Michigan. It includes incentives to keep people out of the hospital, to reduce infections and return visits.

Munson CEO Ed Ness says it’s a big departure from contracts of the past.

“If we’re successful, really for the first time much of our payment is based on our quality, rather than just providing volume,” he says.

Munson Shifts Policy On Outside Hospice Providers

Nov 12, 2013
Munson Healthcare

Munson Hospice is now the only hospice allowed to offer patient care inside Munson Medical Center in Traverse City. The change was made November first.

President of Home Health Shari Wilson says patients served by other area hospice providers will no longer enter the hospital for in-patient care.

Doctors Slow To Embrace Recommended HPV Testing

Nov 7, 2013

For decades the annual Pap test was women's chief protection against cervical cancer. That all changed when a test for human papillomavirus, the cause of most cervical cancer, was approved in 2003.

With the HPV test, women don't need to get Pap tests as often. But that message hasn't gotten through to many doctors.

A new group devoted to veterans’ issues has sprung up in Northern Michigan. The woman behind it is a retired Lieutenant Colonel who believes her father suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder. She figures at least one million U.S. veterans out there suffer the same today and that the problem has been largely misdiagnosed.

When Linda Fletcher’s dad died, she cleaned out his desk and found an article about him receiving a Silver Star for his valor in Italy. Fletcher, who was an army nurse, realized he had never spoken to her about the medal.

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