Health

Medicaid Reform
10:13 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

New Medicaid Plan Hopes To Save $330 Million

Credit Duke Medecine

The NC Department of Health and Human Services unveiled its plan on Monday to reform the state's Medicaid system. While it had already signaled a shift from Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) to Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) months ago, the new plan partially outlines how the state would like to achieve that shift.

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The State Of Things
12:19 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Farm Provides Therapy For People With Mental Illness And Developmental Disabilities

Working on a farm
Credit Wikipedia

The Farm at Penny Lane is a 40-acre plot of land tucked away in north Pittsboro, North Carolina. But this is no conventional farming operation; it is operated by volunteers and people with mental illness and developmental disabilities.

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Health
4:23 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Proposal In The Works To Legalize Therapeutic Marijuana Oil

Credit Colleen Danger, via flickr, Creative Commons

A state lawmaker says she plans to introduce a bill to legalize a marijuana oil that could help treat childhood seizures.

Rep. Pat McElraft (R-Carteret) says she's in the process of drafting the proposal.  It would allow physicians to get an oil that contains a substance called cannabidiol (CBD), which is extracted from marijuana.  Researchers say the substance, which is not psychoactive, could help children with Dravet Syndrome.  The disorder can cause several seizures a day in young children. 

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Health
7:58 am
Tue March 11, 2014

NC Dental Examiners Consider New Conscious Sedation Rules Following Deaths

Credit looneyhiker / Flickr Creative Commons

The state Board of Dental Examiners is considering changes to rules about conscious sedation procedures after two deaths were tied to the practice. 

Conscious sedation is frequently used during some surgeries to depress consciousness, but keep patients responsive and breathing on their own.  Two have died in the last year and a half during those procedures, which the board says are rare incidents. 

COO Bobby White says an investigation found that doctors did not properly monitor the patient's breathing in at least one of those cases.

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Health
4:00 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

UNC Is Considering Hour Cuts, Other Options To Pay For Health Coverage

Under Obamacare, UNC will have to offer health insurance to employees working 30 hours a week or more, including graduate teaching assistants and visiting faculty.
Credit Wikipedia

Individuals are enrolling in health care through the federal online marketplace, but thousands of North Carolinians might find themselves with employer-sponsored health plans next year.   

In January, the Affordable Care Act will require businesses to offer health insurance to full-time employees working 30 hours a week or more. This would now include graduate teaching assistants and visiting faculty at the University of North Carolina.

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Health
9:31 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Hospitals Weather Flu Season Despite An IV Drug Shortage

A national shortage of saline intravenous drip bags has stressed area medical facilities during the recent flu season.
Credit Harmid / Wikipedia

Medical facilities are facing a national shortage of intravenous drugs, especially saline IV drips. Saline is used to treat dehydrated patients.

Manufacturers are stepping up production to meet need, but the shortage has presented problems to hospitals since December, when flu season began.

Zack Moore is an infectious disease epidemiologist with he North Carolina Division of Public Health. He said this is an especially bad time of year to have a limited saline supply for two reasons.

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Health
8:27 am
Thu March 6, 2014

“Playbook” For Local Health Professionals To Lower Health Care Costs

Public heath advocates say doctors should work more closely with health departments to solve systemic health issues in their area and lower medical costs.
Credit jasleen_kaur / Flickr

A new online guidebook aims to help connect doctors with public health agencies to fight chronic illnesses like diabetes.  Those illnesses make up 80-percent of health care costs today, compared to only 20-percent in 1900.

Duke's Department of Community and Family Medicine partnered with the de Beaumont Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to launch "Public Health and Primary Care Together: A Practical Playbook.” It suggests ways primary care and public health providers can better manage chronic disease and combat rising health care costs.

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The State of Things
11:17 am
Wed February 26, 2014

The Aftermath Of Medical Mistakes

A scene from Love Alone with Julia Gibson as Helen Warren and Jenny Wales as Dr. Becca Neal.
Credit Playmakers Repertory Company

A preview of Deborah Salem Smith's play 'Love Alone'

When Dr. Becca Neal loses a patient after a routine procedure, she grieves much like the patient's family. 

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The State of Things
11:50 am
Mon February 24, 2014

North Carolina Native Retires From New York City Ballet

Dancing Through It My Journey In The Ballet
Credit us.penguingroup.com / Penguin

Jenifer Ringer, former New York City Ballet principal dancer, talks about life and her new book, 'Dancing Through It'

    

In 2010, Jenifer Ringer starred as the sugar plum fairy in the New York City Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker. And when a New York Times dance critic insinuated in a review of the performance that Jenifer was overweight, she responded.  Her recent book Dancing Through It: My Journey in The Ballet talks about how she overcame that criticism and her struggle with health and weight (Penguin/2014). 

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Nursing homes
7:56 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Hospitals Frequently, Quickly Readmit Medicare Recipients

A new study shows that many Medicare recipients who rehabilitate at a nursing home after a hospital stay have difficulty transitioning back to home life.
Credit SalFalko / Flickr

After a hospital stay, many seniors on Medicare will go to a nursing facility to rehabilitate before going home. But a new study from Duke University, UNC Chapel Hill and the Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence shows many of them return to the hospital before long.

Mark Toles teaches at UNC's Nursing school and is a co-author of the report. He said nursing homes often provide good care, but the transition back home can be difficult.

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