Health

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

healthcare.gov

President Trump’s decision to stop paying subsidies to insurance companies means many middle class families will likely pay more for coverage. As part of the Affordable Care Act, insurers got those payments to help make health insurance affordable for customers.

Novant Health

Updated at 3:34 p.m. 10/09/2017

Michael Jordan is giving Novant Health $7 million to open two family clinics in Charlotte. Novant said the clinics, to be built in low-income neighborhoods just north and west of Uptown, are scheduled to open in late 2020.

Photo Courtesy of the Kaiser Family Foundation

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.

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare
Mark James / Charlotte Observer

Charlotte based Cardinal Innovations Healthcare is the largest provider of mental health, developmental services and drug treatment in the state.

But lately, Cardinal has made headlines for excessive executive pay which state officials say is illegal.

Alex Olgin / WFAE News

In 2010, there were only 39 new cases of Hepatitis C reported in North Carolina. Last year there were 186 reported to the health department. Those numbers might not stand out in a state of 10 million people. But they are alarming because they represent a fast growth in a chronic illness that already afflicts more than 110,000 people in North Carolina. And there are probably more who don't know they have it. In response, groups are trying to prevent the spread by giving addicts clean needles.  

Under the newest health care bill which could come to a vote next week, some states including North Carolina stand to lose a lot of federal dollars. That’s according to one of the leading health care consulting groups. It attributes the loss to spending limits on Medicaid and changes in federal subsidies for people buying coverage on the health insurance exchanges.

A few years before the Huntersville eye cancer cases started to pop up, on the other side of the country in Colorado, 34-year-old Gregg Stracks was diagnosed with ocular melanoma. His wife, Sara Selig, was in medical school at the University of Colorado.

Alex Olgin / WFAE News

There’s a lot of anxiety in Huntersville over eye cancer. Concerns have risen as 20 cases of ocular melanoma have been diagnosed since 2008 in patients with some connection to the area. Whether that qualifies as a cancer cluster is subject to debate, but the number is perplexing since it’s a rare form of cancer. 

Atrium Health's Carolinas Medical Center Main Complex, Charlotte.
GOOGLE STREET VIEW

Carolinas HealthCare System and UNC Health Care want to join forces to create a network of hospitals and clinics that would span the state. The organizations announced they are in negotiations to create a joint operating company. 

UDPATED 10:10 a.m. August 25, 2017

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster directed all state and local agencies to stop funding for abortion clinics. Thursday’s executive order includes attempting federal permission to exclude abortion clinics from Medicaid’s provider network.

Alex Olgin / WFAE

It’s not just rehab facilities that are treating opioid addicts. These days family practitioners are taking on more of the responsibility. To do this they need federal approval to prescribe the necessary medications. The number of doctors getting approved to do this treatment is growing, but patients are still being turned away.

Photo Courtesy of the South Carolina Attorney General

South Carolina’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company for the way it marketed opioid medications. At least five other states have filed similar suits.

Alex Olgin / WFAE News

President Donald Trump announced his intent to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency. Once that is official it would free up government officials to dedicate more people and resources for treatment. Carolinas HealthCare System is trying to curb the amount of opioid medicines patients are introduced to while in the hospital with alternative treatments.


Alex Olgin / WFAE

Dry needling is within the practice of physical therapy. That’s what a ruling from the North Carolina Business court concluded.

The decision issued last week affirms a ruling by the state Board of Physical Therapy Examiners that dry needling is distinct from acupuncture because it isn’t based on Chinese medicine and is used to treat different ailments.

bcbsnc.com

 North Carolina's biggest health insurer has picked a top executive with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to become its next CEO.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina said Tuesday that Dr. Patrick Conway will become the insurer's chief executive on Oct. 1. He will replace Brad Wilson, who is retiring.

Mecklenburg County

The Mecklenburg County Health Department is starting to make changes to clinics, medical records and staff. County commissioners were largely supportive Wednesday of the $4.6 million the county manager says it’ll take to fix problems discovered during outside investigations.  

The biggest health insurance company in the state says it doesn’t need as big of a rate increase as originally thought for its individual Affordable Care Act plans. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced Wednesday it was reducing its request.

Mecklenburg County Commissioners will meet Wednesday to hear how the health department plans to start making changes. A report suggests it could cost up to $4.6 million and take up to three years to complete. 


A worker at the U.S. National Whitewater Center releases chlorine into the basin below the rafting channel in July.
Mecklenburg County

Last month the family of Lauren Seitz filed suit against the Whitewater Center and the company that designed part of it for wrongful death. The 18-year-old woman from Ohio died last year after coming into contact with a so called “brain-eating amoeba” while rafting at the center.

Alex Olgin / WFAE

There are a lot of rules that come with practicing medicine, therapy and other professions. They are in place to protect the consumer. But when those rules are used to restrict competitors doing the same thing at a lower cost, it raises the question: Do regulators have consumers' best interest at heart? There has been a spike in lawsuits that challenge the authority of licensing boards. One of the latest disputes comes from North Carolina. It’s between physical therapists and acupuncturists.  

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