Health

Dr. Francis Aniekwensi is a partner at Beckford Medical Center. In Warren County, a primary care desert, Aniekwensi is working to improve health conditions for the more than 10,000 patients who frequent the three Beckford clinics.
Christine Nguyen, The Daily Dispatch / For WUNC

It’s early afternoon on a recent Tuesday and Dr. Francis Aniekwensi is preparing to see his twentieth patient of the day.

Volunteers and staff work during a fresh mobile market organized by Out of the Garden Project, a nonprofit food assistance program for Guilford County families in Greensboro, N.C. on Oct. 18, 2017.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Five days a week and twice on Saturdays, a 26-foot-long truck filled with food stops at various schools in Guilford County.

Mary Somerville co-founded the Warren Community Health Clinic and was its executive director until the clinic closed.
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

The former Warren Community Health Clinic in Warrenton sits empty and quiet, across the parking lot from the county health department. Until last year, the clinic served low-income patients who often were unable to pay for medical services and didn’t have Medicare or Medicaid.

Trinn Suwannapha

Today is World AIDS Day and the North Carolina AIDS Action Network is encouraging people who are at risk of HIV or who are HIV positive to enroll in health insurance during open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. 

North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services has had enough of the leadership at Charlotte-based Cardinal Innovations Healthcare.

There have been expensive parties and board retreats, excessive CEO pay and severance agreements deemed outrageous – all funded by taxpayers.

On Monday, DHHS took over the company.

An air ambulance lands on the helipad at UNC Hospitals at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Dan Sears / UNC

UNC Health Care will acquire Morehead Memorial Hospital out of bankruptcy. In July, the nonprofit hospital in Eden filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and sought bids to be acquired.

Pharmaceutical and medical device companies continue to try to gain influence with medical providers.
AP

North Carolina's doctor offices are awash in pharmaceutical and medical device industry cash. These financial relationships are starting to raise questions about prescribing habits and other conflicts of interest.

Already, some large pharmaceutical companies have paid millions to settle allegations of kickback schemes, and watchdog groups are asking questions about deep relationships between some doctors and drug and medical device companies.

infant sleeping
Andrés Nieto Porras / Wikimedia Commons -2017

Doctors at fertility clinics often recommend women test their ovarian reserve to see how many eggs they have left. While the test can show how long a woman has before menopause, it was also commonly used to evaluate women’s likelihood of naturally conceiving. 

Deaths from drug overdose have surpassed homicides in North Carolina.
NC DHHS/FBI

Fayetteville is part of a nationwide project that is trying to compile information about the opioid crisis. 

The non-profit New America is working with about a dozen cities to create maps on opioid overdoses and how to prevent them.

rumolay / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/aDRzTA

The state Department of Health and Human Services is working with nonprofit organizations to expand adoption services for older children. 

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC in 2011
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/EPd159

Open enrollment for health plans under the Affordable Care Act begins today.

man preparing injection
Carol E. Davis - US Army Corps of Engineers / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/axqcCi

The American medical system is good at providing care to people in the middle: those who need regular doctors’ visits and a few medications. But the system is inadequate for many patients with complex needs. And although they make up a tiny proportion of healthcare users, these high-need patients end up using a shockingly high percentage of health dollars.

Starting today, the North Carolina Medicaid program will pay for medicines to treat hepatitis C for patients no matter how sick they are. In the past, the state wouldn’t pay for the expensive drugs unless the patient had stage two liver damage.  

Image of pills spilling out over money.
TaxRebate.org.uk / Flickr Creative Commons

The open enrollment period starts Wednesday for those who want health care under the Affordable Care Act.

a condom in package
Rorro Navia / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/6QBs6G

North Carolina has some of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases in the country. The state has the dubious honor of ranking in the top 10 on three Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists for 2016:

President Donald Trump listens to questions during news conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Donald Trump is expressing support for an agreement struck by two leading lawmakers to extend federal payments to health insurers.

Chips aisle in the grocery store
Pixabay

 In his 2018 budget proposal, President Donald Trump proposed a cut of more than $190 billion to SNAP  – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – in the next 10 years. 

A cigarette in an ashtray.
Tomasz Sienicki / Wikipedia

A common DNA variant can predict heavy smoking and lung cancer. Researchers from RTI International studied nearly 39,000 smokers and found that this gene variant is linked with nicotine dependence.

Birth control pill
Lee Health / vimeo commons

Teen birth rates in North Carolina are at a historic low, according to a statistical brief from the State Center for Health Statistics. 

Michael Jordan
Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

Hornets owner Michael Jordan is donating $7 million to launch medical clinics that he hopes will help at-risk communities in Charlotte. It's the largest philanthropic donation ever by the former NBA champion.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina headquarters in Durham.
BCBSNC

Negotiations between the largest healthcare provider in Western North Carolina and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina have failed after a months-long standoff. 

Three hyper children
CK, Carl, Carlo, Carlito / flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/2FGBh5

Improving parenting skills can help reduce risks for children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. That's according to research from UNC's Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute.

UPDATED at 11:10 p.m. 10/04/2017

Two measures to extend federal funding for CHIP - the  Children’s Health Insurance Program - moved forward Wednesday. That’s encouraging news for the families of more than 300,000 kids in the Carolinas who get their health insurance through the program. Congress let funding for it expire last week.

Dr. Graham Snyder, director of the WakeMed emergency department
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

At WakeMed Health and Hospitals, the emergency department stays busy around the clock. More than ever, it's not just chest pain or trouble breathing that brings people in.

By 2020, immunization efforts that began in 2001 using 10 vaccines in 73 low- or middle-income countries will have prevented almost 20 million child deaths and saved $350 billion in the cost of treating illnesses.
GAVI Vaccine Alliance / UNC

Researchers at the UNC-Chapel Hill Eshelman School of Pharmacy say vaccines have saved 20 million lives and $350 billion in the world's poorest countries since 2001.

The Old Well and flowers on the campus of UNC- Chapel Hill.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

A UNC cardiologist has received a $1.7 million grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. It will fund the expansion of a care model Doctor Anil Gehi developed for patients with Atrial Fibrillation.

Mother and baby rest on sofa.
Donnie Ray Jones / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/i67tuh

Up to one in five women suffer from a postpartum mood disorder like depression. But a new study finds that 20 percent of them do not report their symptoms to a healthcare provider, even when they are asked directly. 

A nurse performs her work at a community health clinic.
Sabin Institute / Flickr/Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/ooK2xw

It’s coming down to the wire for Congress to approve continued funding for Community Health Centers across the U.S., including 39 organizations in North Carolina that serve half a million people.

a boy hiding his face
Suzanne Tucker / Courtesy of the Children's Home Society of North Carolina

Social Services agencies in North Carolina investigated more than 121,000 cases of child abuse and neglect across the state over the past year. That's according to data from the School of Social Work at UNC Chapel Hill.

Mission Hospital, Asheville, NC
Mission Health / Wikimedia Commons

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and Mission Health are going head-to-head over the cost of services for patients in western North Carolina.

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