News and information about health, health care, health care policy from Charlotte and the Carolinas. 

Alex Olgin / WFAE News

The Red Cross is asking for people to donate blood after the organization had to cancel hundreds of blood drives in the southeast because of Hurricane Florence. The organization needs constant donations to keep its supply of blood strong.  

Alex Olgin/ WFAE

Charlotte area dialysis centers are preparing to take on patients evacuating the coasts. People who have kidney disease need to have this life sustaining treatment, which cleans a patient’s blood every few days.  

National Hurricane Service

As Hurricane Florence nears the Carolinas, health officials are encouraging people to make sure they have all of their medicines.

An example of a sexual assault kit.
Nick de la Canal / WFAE

Two weeks ago, WFAE reported hospitals weren’t being reimbursed for sexual assault exams, according to the nurses at those hospitals. Now, the federal government is reviewing whether North Carolina is correctly following the Violence Against Women Act.  


There is one plastic surgery procedure that has more deaths than any other — a butt lift surgery that has become increasingly popular in recent years. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is so concerned about the rising deaths from botched procedures that the group put out a rare and urgent warning.

Sexual Assault Kits
Nick de la Canal / WFAE

WFAE’s She Says podcast found that all sexual assault survivors don’t have equal access to evidence kits. A little more than half of the 121 hospitals registered to the state have programs and kits. But now, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners at some of those hospitals say the state hasn’t been reimbursing them for the services they provide victims for more than a year.  

Atrium Health

Atrium Health is beefing up security at many of its hospitals and health facilities. Visitors will soon have to check in at reception desks and in some places have to go through metal detectors.

Blue Cross Blue Shield NC headquarters in Durham.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina

After years of rising prices for Affordable Care Act health insurance plans, many North Carolinians are in for a nice surprise – a price decrease. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina says the state approved its request to lower rates an average of 4.1 percent across the state. In the Charlotte and Gastonia areas premiums could decrease by as much as 16.5 percent. The amount will vary based on the tax credits people qualify for.

Dr. Dale Owen points to the eight Tryon Medical Partners office locations that will open over the next several months. They are strategically located near where Atrium owned Mecklenburg Medical Group's offices.
Alex Olgin / WFAE

Hospital systems have been on a buying binge the last few years, gobbling up doctors’ practices. By one estimate, nearly a third of medical practices nationwide are now part of a large hospital network.

But one large group of physicians is going in another direction - it’s breaking away from Atrium Health and opening an independent practice next month. 


North Carolina is looking for insurance companies as it privatizes its Medicaid system. The program that covers 2.2 million poor and disabled North Carolinians is undergoing a massive overhaul, but patients won’t see any changes until next year.