Health

UNC Hospitals & Aetna in Rate Dispute

Jan 17, 2011

People around the Triangle with Aetna health insurance are hearing that UNC Hospitals may no longer be an in-network insurer for them.

The letters went out last week from both Aetna and UNC Hospitals, saying that come February fifth, UNC will no longer accept Aetna insurance.

New Model For Delivering Mental Health Care

Jan 7, 2011

With the beginning of the new year, yet another big change came to the state mental health system. January first marked the implementation date for a new type of provider agency to deliver services. They’re called CABHAs… and they’re intended to lower cost and improve quality. The question is… will CABHA’s work?

heart illustration
Vintage Collective, Flickr Creative Commons

Too many cardiac patients are getting internal defibrillators when they don't need them - that's the result of new research from Duke.

Durham Babies Get Home Visits

Jan 4, 2011
Couple with baby
Durham Connects

Starting this year, all babies born in Durham will new get a home visit from a nurse.   The Durham Connects program started this past year, visiting only some new babies and their mothers.   Program director Jeannine Sato says for the coming year, all babies born in the county and their families can get up to three nurse visits:

Insurance Rates For Some Will Drop

Dec 22, 2010

Health insurance rates for some people are actually slated to go down... they're folks who can take advantage of the state's federally funded high risk insurance pool.

After the federal health reform bill passed in the spring, 23 states, including North Carolina, chose to create federally funded high risk pools for their residents. North Carolina's plan is called Inclusive Health, and it's run alongside an already-existing state funded high risk pool.

It's Time For Medicare Drug Plan Re-enrollment

Dec 21, 2010
Seniors Health Insurance Information Program
NC DOI

In the fall, many workers have the opportunity to change their health insurance coverage. That’s true for Medicare beneficiaries as well. Seniors and people with disabilities covered by Medicare have until the new year to review and make changes to their plans. And this year, there are plenty of changes complicating matters.

Simple Test For Ovarian Cancer Unlikely

Dec 13, 2010

Researchers have been looking for a way to screen women for ovarian cancer, and find it early. But a Duke researcher warns it might not be so simple.

Ovarian cancer is one of the most deadly cancers, in part because it's often found in its late stages. There's already a blood test, plus ultrasound... but the protocol's not that accurate. 

Duke gynecologist Laura Havrilesky says one reason why screening doesn't work so well is that ovarian cancer isn't just one disease, but many. And the dangerous cancers grow fast.

Dix Closure Imminent

Dec 8, 2010
Dorothea Dix Hospital
NC DHHS

It looks like the closure of Dorothea Dix hospital will be almost complete by the year's end.   The state-run psychiatric facility in Raleigh has been slated for closure for years under the state's mental health reform. The only patients to remain on the downtown campus will be 30 minimum security criminal patients. 

Photo from the Edwards Campaign
the Edwards Campaign

On October 21, 2004, at a hotel in Kenosha Wisconsin, Elizabeth Edwards found a lump in her breast the size of a plumb. An election that could vault her husband into the vice presidency was just days away. She was the mother of three children.

Elizabeth Edwards Dies

Dec 7, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards died at her home in Chapel Hill this morning.  She was 61.  Edwards was the estranged wife of former North Carolina Senator and presidential candidate John Edwards.  A family statement says, ``Today we have lost the comfort of Elizabeth's presence but she remains the heart of this family.''  Elizabeth Edwards was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004.

Waste 2 Watts To Power Medical Devices

Jul 2, 2010

In the past, global health work tended to be limited to doctors, nurses and other health care professionals. But engineering plays a role in health care around the world. From infrastructure projects, to supporting medical equipment, engineers are becoming an essential part of the global health landscape.

FHI worker Joseph Galloway detects holes in condoms by filling them with water.
Rose Hoban

When people think of global health, they might picture heroic doctors or selfless nurses. But many others work behind the scenes in global health, doing work that’s much less sexy, but equally essential.  Some of those people work here in the Triangle in a lab that tests life-preserving and life-saving products shipped around the world. Central to their work is testing condoms for safety and effectiveness.  In the next installment of our series, North Carolina Voices, Global Health Comes Home, Rose Hoban takes a visit to FHI’s product testing lab.

Cross-Cultural Research Provides Links to Durham

Jun 30, 2010
Study Coordinator Randy Rogers at Juneteenth Festival with research associates Kim Gibson and Alexandria Horne
Rose Hoban

Drug treatments for HIV have given new hope to patients with the virus. But the Holy Grail for researchers is finding a way to prevent HIV from being transmitted in the first place. Scientists are testing vaccines, drugs, gels that kill the virus – all without success. The only way to prevent HIV transmission – still – is to convince people to change their behavior. And that’s not easy.  A group of people in Durham are trying to find better methods for HIV prevention – and they’re using techniques refined by researchers working in other cultures.

Dr Phyllis Crain and one of the residence counselors talks with a boy outside a cottage at Crossnore.
Rose Hoban

When you say the word ‘orphanage’ what comes to mind for many people, are gloomy places of abuse and neglect, where kids are warehoused after losing family. For years, the assumption has been that foster families provide better care for kids in need than any institution could. But new research from overseas is challenging those beliefs – findings that kids in orphanages can do as well or better as kids taken into families. Now, that research is being embraced in the U S. And it’s starting to influence the policy dialogue about what to do with kids who need care outside their homes. 

NC Voices: Health Of Elders

Oct 16, 2007

People are living longer now than ever before in human history. By the year 2030, more than one-in-five people in the United States will be over the age of 65. The dream is to stay healthy into a ripe old age and die peacefully in your sleep. But the reality is likely to be quite different. Many people go through a long physical and mental decline before they die. As we wrap up our series, "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care," Rose Hoban takes a look at whether the health care system is ready for the coming flood of frail seniors.

NC Voices: Diabetes Part 5

Oct 16, 2007

As part of our series "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care" we’ve been reporting on the remarkable rise of Type 2 diabetes. That rise is due mostly to obesity; Emily Hanford traveled to two schools in eastern North Carolina to try to find out why it's such a problem -- and what's being done about it.

NC Voices: Gene Testing

Oct 15, 2007

Since experts mapped the human genome, the continuous flow of new information has affected decisions people are making about their health. As part of our series, "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care," producer Susan Davis considers what people learn from genetic testing and if it’s always helpful. When Susan’s father died of Alzheimer’s disease in 1992 experts were not sure if there was a genetic link to the disease. But now they’re sure. And there’s a test she could take to find out if she has it.

NC Voices: Diabetes Part 4

Oct 15, 2007

Type-2 diabetes may be the plague of this century. Just 20 years ago, about 30 million people in the world had the disease. Today, it’s more than five times that many. It’s a frightening prospect for health, and the health care system. Here in North Carolina, diabetes is already a direct or contributing cause in one out of every five hospitalizations. That’s billions of dollars of every year. Experts say health care providers need more effective ways to treat diabetics so they don’t end up in the hospital. A group of clinics in eastern North Carolina is trying to do it with a new model for treating chronic disease.

NC Voices: Diabetes Part 3

Oct 12, 2007

This week we're focusing on health care and the rise of diabetes in northeastern North Carolina. Yesterday we met Miranda Cofield, a 50 year old woman who recently lost her health insurance. She's African American, and she's poor. These factors put her at high risk of developing complications from diabetes. Statistically, Sterling Hamilton does not face the same risks.

NC Voices: Greener Hospitals

Oct 11, 2007

This week we’re examining the health care system and asking whether it actually promotes good health. Today, we look at health care facilities themselves. From toxic chemicals and medical waste, to round-the-clock energy and water use, the way hospitals are built and maintained can have serious effects on the patients inside and on the environment beyond. So as the population ages and hospital construction booms, the health care industry is examining the central creed of medicine "to do no harm" and applying it the environment too.

NC Voices: Diabetes Part 2

Oct 11, 2007

Today our look at diabetes in eastern North Carolina continues.

"Good morning, how ya doin? My name is Miranda Cofield. I live in Rich Square, NC and I am a 50 year-old patient with diabetes, type 2."

"I’m Sterling Hamilton, I live here in Conway, I’m a retired school teacher and administrator and I found out I had diabetes, Type 2, in 2000."

Sterling Hamilton and Miranda Cofield are both determined to beat their diabetes. But their experience with the disease has been very different. He gets a comfortable retirement income; she works part time as a school tutor. He has health insurance; she does not And he is white; she is black. These distinctions are significant when it comes to diabetes, and health. Emily Hanford reports for our series "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Healthcare." She begins with Miranda Cofield.

NC Voices: Diabetes Part 1

Oct 10, 2007

Today, as part of "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care" we begin a series of reports looking at the rise of diabetes and its impact on the state. Our stories focus on northeastern North Carolina where diabetes is taking a particularly harsh toll. We begin in Northampton County, east of Interstate 95 near the Virginia border. Northampton is one of the poorest counties in the state. If you live here, you are almost twice as likely to develop diabetes than if you live in an urban area and you’re more likely to die from it. Emily Hanford prepared this report.

NC Voices: Health Disparities

Oct 10, 2007

If you’re a white North Carolinian, you’re statistically likely to be born stronger, live healthier, and die later than your African American or Latino counterpart. You’re also not as likely to suffer from a chronic disease, and if you do, you’re less likely to die of it. Some say that’s because of racial bias within the health care system. But others say the problem’s much bigger than that – and health care alone can’t solve it. Laura Leslie reports for North Carolina Voices.

NC Voices: Traditions Converge

Oct 9, 2007

Standard-issue Western health care isn’t delivering what some people want or need. They're looking for more than just another pill or procedure and piecing together medical care from several different traditions. Or, they’re bringing traditions with them from other countries. Melinda Penkava has this story for our series "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care."

When Lindsay Foster Thomas landed her job as a producer for WUNC’s midday program "The State of Things," she moved from New York City to Durham with a long "to-do" list.   After finding a place to live, mapping her route to work, and checking out the best places to eat, she focused on choosing her doctors.  As part of our series "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care," she explains her choices.

More information:

North Carolina Institute of Medicine report

In the early nineteen sixties, two young doctors from Tufts University Medical School near Boston spent a summer treating the Mississippi freedom riders. The struggle for civil rights opened the doctors’ eyes to how much minorities and the poor lacked access to health care. So they established two community health centers - one in rural Mississippi, the other in inner-city Boston. Today, those clinics- and about a thousand more across the country- provide a safety net of care to everyone who comes through the door, regardless of their ability to pay. There are one-hundred-and-six community health centers in North Carolina. Jessica Jones spent a few days at one: the Siler City Community Health Center, about an hour west of Raleigh. She reports for our series "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care."

If you don’t have health insurance, there are places you can go to get health care. Community clinics, local health departments, state funded health centers … they often provide low-cost or even free care. But they mostly focus on the basics. What if you have a heart problem and need to see a cardiologist? Or you need an orthopedic surgeon or an endocrinologist? These kinds of specialists are expensive, and there is typically no low-cost option for people who don’t have insurance. Ten years ago, doctors in Buncombe County wanted to do something about that. And the program they created, Project Access, is now a model for other programs nationwide. Dave DeWitt reports for our series "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care."

NC Voices: Health Literacy

Oct 5, 2007

There are a lot of ways to get health information… from the doctor, the Internet, books, patient handouts, friends and family. But how do you know what information is best for you? Wading through and understanding it, contradictions and all, is a function of health literacy - the ability to understand and follow the doctor’s advice. Without that, even patients with good medical insurance can lose out.  Rose Hoban reports for our series "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care."

NC Voices: Skipping Health Insurance

Oct 5, 2007

The United States is the only major industrialized nation that does not provide healthcare for everyone.  47 million Americans have no insurance to help pay for trips to the doctor, medicine, or emergency surgery.  People can purchase health insurance on their own, but it's usually expensive, and a lot of people who are uninsured say they can't afford it.  So they hope they don't get sick; seek charity or low cost care when they do; and even make big life decisions based on their insurance needs.  Karen Michel reports for our series "North Carolina Voices:  Diagnosing Health Care."

NC Voices: Diagnosing Health Care

Oct 4, 2007

Ask just about anyone in the health care debate what the biggest problem is, and you’ll hear the same two words – the uninsured. One out of six North Carolinians has no health insurance- that’s more than 1.4 million people. And they’re putting a strain on the entire healthcare system. Some states are taking bold steps to reform the insurance system. But North Carolina is not among them. We asked our State Capitol Reporter Laura Leslie to find out why for our series "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care."

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