Health

At least seven people have died from flu complications in North Carolina, according to health officials.
Mike Mozart / flickr, Creative Commons

More than 1,200 patients at WakeMed Health and Hospitals have tested positive for the influenza virus this month.

Photo of the seven widowed fathers in the group
Courtesy of Dr. Justin Yopp

Two psychiatrists at the North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center work closely with patients near the end of their lives – and with the family members left behind. Throughout their careers, Dr. Donald Rosenstein and Dr. Justin Yopp have supported many young widowed mothers whose husbands passed away, but they noticed there were far fewer resources for widowed fathers who were raising children alone.

Frank Allison, the UNC-Chapel Hill Collegiate Recovery Initiatives Program Coordinator
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Walk down Franklin Street in Chapel Hill on a Friday night and you're sure to run in to groups of college kids having a good time. For many, drinking is a part of the college experience. For some, however, drinking can lead to more serious problems, including opioid abuse.

Fayetteville Police Department Captain Lars Paul shows the naloxone nose spray the Fayetteville police use to reverse opioid overdose.
Raul Rubiera / For WUNC

The drug naloxone has become key in saving lives from opioid overdoses. It’s such a vital tool for fighting the opioid epidemic that many law enforcement officers in North Carolina now carry it with them at all times.

Men drinking beer.
Max Pixel / Max Pixel - Creative Commons

Women live longer than men in many countries around the world. In the United States, women outlive men by an average of five years. Scientists have long attributed this divide to genetics and biology, but a physician at Duke University is posing an alternative theory: toxic masculinity. 

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.

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

The National Institutes of Health has awarded $7.2 million to the REACH Equity Center at Duke Health. Research shows that minorities often receive poor-quality health care.

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. 

Courtesy Raymond Barfield

For most of his life, Raymond Barfield was a person of faith. He grew up in the church and maintained his faith right up to his early years as a physician. But his time working as a pediatric oncologist pushed him to the limits of his emotional and spiritual capacity.

A picture of a sale sign in front of a home.
myguysmoving.com / Flickr, Creative Commons

North Carolina's insurance commissioner has rejected a proposed 18.7 percent increase on home insurance rates.

UNC Hospital
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Healthcare in North Carolina is a tale of corporate giants in which business moves have major spillover effects on access and quality of healthcare for millions of residents. 

Morehead Memorial Hospital in Eden.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

With the New Year, Morehead Memorial Hospital in Eden became UNC Health Care's 13th affiliated hospital.

As part of the agreement, it also changed its name to become UNC Rockingham Health Care.

A picture of a snowy roadway through a windshield.
Ebowalker / pixabay.com/en/winter-driving-windshield-snow-633965/

Winter storms can hit with little warning, so AAA Carolinas is advising drivers to prepare before roadways get hazardous.

County by county map of the disparities in cardiovascular disease death rates.
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). US Health Map. Seattle, WA: IHME, University of Washington

It's a testament to modern medicine. Death rates from heart disease around the nation have been cut in half.

But new research sheds light on the wide disparities in cardiovascular death rates depending on geography.

Morehead Memorial Hospital in Eden.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Community hospitals play an important role. Think, for example, of where your children were born. You probably have a good association with that hospital.

These hospitals, particularly in rural communities, are crucial not just for health, but for a community's whole ecosystem, according to Chris Ellington, UNC Health Care chief finance officer.

IV fluids
Mads Bodker / Flickr - Creative Commons

Note: this segment is a rebroadcast from June 26, 2017.

North Carolina has been battling a growing opioid addiction epidemic. New Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from North Carolina hospitals show the rise in intravenous drug use is also causing a sharp increase in the rate of heart infections. 

of Dr. Francis Aniekwensi visits with patient Calvin Elps. Aniekwensi is currently one of two part-time physicians in Warren County. He welcomes the news of a new doctor in town.
Christine Nguyen, The Daily Dispatch / For WUNC

Last week, the Warren County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to lease the empty building of the former Warren Community Health Clinic to a local physician planning to start a new practice.

A silhouette of a young pregnant woman.
Sarah Zucca / flickr.com/photos/livetocreate_photography/12040481414

North Carolina's teen pregnancy rate has reached a record low level for the ninth consecutive year, according for a report from the nonprofit adolescent health initiative Shift NC.

Two servers hand a tray of food to child in school cafeteria.
Lance Cpl. Brandon R. Holgersen / U.S. Marine Corps

Some children who rack up debt paying for lunch in their school cafeterias face a sudden swap when their hot meals are substituted for a cold sandwich or just a serving of fruit and vegetables and a cup of water. 

Voice Male magazine editor Rob Okun and other men at the Massachusetts state house in Boston taking the White Ribbon campaign's pledge to be part of the solution in ending violence again women.
Courtesy of Rob Okun

The #MeToo movement has broken a decades-long culture of silence around sexual assault and harassment and taken down a number of powerful men, including Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, TV host Matt Lauer, politician Al Franken, and 30 some others compiled in a list from The New York Times. But according to writer Rob Okun, the thing that ties together all of these individual incidents is a culture of power and privilege held in place by particular ideas about masculinity. 

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.

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.

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