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 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.

Ludington's Hospital Joins Spectrum

Oct 1, 2013

The hospital in Ludington officially changed ownership this week. Ludington Memorial Medical Center is now Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital. 

It's the latest in a series of independent hospitals in northern Michigan to join larger, downstate hospital systems.

We talked with Ludington hospital CEO Mark Vipperman Tuesday. Listen to the audio above.

Kid's Creek Revived

Sep 27, 2013

In the Spring, Munson Medical Center hopes to build a new cancer center. But the spot they picked out – just north of their hospital – had a creek underneath it. So the medical center has been working to reroute the creek. And now – it’s actually closer to what it once was in the past.

Earlier today, a crowd looked on as pitchers of water were poured off a bridge near Munson Medical Center. And with that, a new section of Kid's Creek was officially born.

CAT Scan On Possible Shipwreck Artifact Inconclusive

Aug 30, 2013

Results of an unusual CAT scan performed at the hospital in Gaylord last weekend are inconclusive. A wooden beam recovered from Lake Michigan was tested at Otsego Memorial Hospital. The goal was to find out if it could be old enough to be from the Griffin, a ship that went missing while sailing the Great Lakes in 1679. 

Munson Medical Center has been given the lowest mark from Consumer Reports in a new ranking on surgical safety. The report appears in the September issue of the magazine.

Munson ranked in the bottom six of more than 80 Michigan hospitals. The results surprised Dr. Douglas McKay, medical director of quality at Munson.

A special Michigan grand jury, including members from Grand Traverse County, will investigate meningitis deaths and illnesses linked to tainted steroid injections. The grand jury will look into whether any laws were broken in connection with an outbreak that has killed 16 people in Michigan. To people have died from the tainted injections since the request for a grand jury was originally filed. 

A group that wants to ban hydraulic fracturing in Michigan says the state didn’t follow its own rules in disposing fluid from wells that were fracked. Millions of gallons of water mixed with chemicals is used to get oil and gas out of deep shale wells.

Ban Michigan Fracking has learned that some wastewater from those wells was spread on public roads. And this was done close to a lake and in a campground near the Mackinaw Bridge last summer.

Meningitis Cases Continue To Rise

Nov 29, 2012

Officials with Munson Medical Center say they’ve seen 37 illnesses possibly related to tainted steroid injections, and two confirmed cases of joint infections.

The number of cases continues to climb statewide, with Michigan topping the nation in illnesses related to a fungal meningitis outbreak. Michigan health officials have linked a total of 185 cases and 10 deaths to the outbreak. Those numbers include infections, as well as fungal meningitis cases, and a stroke.

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