Health

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

Most Obamacare Plans Shoulder Cost Of Specialty Drugs

Dec 27, 2016

Most of the health insurance plans on the Obamacare exchanges next year will require consumers to pick up a large share of the cost of specialty drugs. A Kaiser Health News analysis shows North Carolina is an exception though. 

Dr. Zoe Maher has never been busier. In addition to being a trauma surgeon and a new mom, she's spent the last year and half talking to hospital patients and community groups across Philadelphia about a study she's confident will save more adult gunshot and stab wound victims.

house.gov

All 13 of North Carolina's representatives in the U.S. House voted in favor of an overhaul of the country's mental health system Wednesday. The bill gained momentum this year in part because of mass shootings.

Jennifer Lang / WFAE

Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill into law Monday to address one aspect of the opioid epidemic. The bipartisan legislation makes an overdose reversal drug much easier to get.

NC Adjusts Medicaid Overhaul Based On Public Comments

Jun 8, 2016
NC DHHS

North Carolina is overhauling its Medicaid program to try to hold down costs while improving care. Health leaders submitted the plan to the federal government recently after adjusting it based on public feedback.

Kaiser Health News

In North Carolina, the two largest remaining insurance companies on the Obamacare exchange are requesting average premium increases of more than 18 percent.

A Charlotte company with ties to UNC-Charlotte is marketing a new medical test designed to help screen women for breast cancer.   WFAE's Mark Rumsey reports.

  

Researchers at UNC-Charlotte believe they've developed a method to detect breast cancer that's more effective than mammograms.  It's a blood screening that perhaps most notably detects cancer in women who have dense breast tissue.  Traditional mammograms often miss those tumors. 

Brian Strickland / news.unchealthcare.org

UNC Health Care is changing the name of a children's clinic in Raleigh to make clear it has nothing to do with doughnuts. That's after many in the medical community at UNC and nationwide ridiculed the initial name chosen: the Krispy Kreme Challenge Children's Specialty Clinic.

Pixabay.com

Kaiser Health News

After James Happli of Mosinee, Wisconsin, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he was referred to a surgeon at a local hospital where he had been treated for lymphoma 28 years earlier. The surgeon told Happli and his wife that although she had never successfully performed a Whipple procedure — the pancreatic cancer operation widely regarded as among the most difficult in surgery — she believed she could do it with the help of a second surgeon.

David Boraks / WFAE

CMS has hired a Charlotte company to do environmental tests around Hopewell High School in Huntersville. The testing comes as families and local officials puzzle over a large number of cases of eye cancer in recent years.

erikhuiberts / Flickr https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Kaiser Health News

A few years ago, when a young woman delivered her baby at Alleghany Memorial Hospital in Sparta, North Carolina, it was in the middle of a Valentine’s Day ice storm and the mountain roads out of town were impassable. The delivery was routine, but the baby girl had trouble breathing because her lungs weren’t fully developed. Dr. Maureen Murphy, the family physician who delivered her that night, stayed in touch with the neonatal intensive care unit at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, a 90-minute drive away, to consult on treatment for the infant.

The recently-named CEO of a planned mental health care program in Charlotte has resigned, after about one month on the job. The HopeWay Foundation says Daniel Brown stepped down December 10 to return to his previous employer, Albemarle-based behavioral health care provider Monarch. 

In a statement, Brown cited “family considerations” for his decision. HopeWay co-founder Bill Blue says the organization is resuming its search for a CEO.    

North Carolina is among about 17 states that have recently legalized a marijuana extract for the treatment of children with epilepsy. Amazing turnaround stories from parents and their kids have driven the change, but some in the medical community have cautioned there's yet to be a national study. Now, there is, and doctors found the treatment has great potential.

Public Health Report Shows NC As Most Improved State

Dec 10, 2015
www.americashealthrankings.org/reports/annual

North Carolina showed the most improvement of any state in a major public health report released Thursday. But its ranking is still below average, like most of the South.

http://www.wakehealth.edu/

Sometimes it really is just in your head.

Wake Forest researchers have found that mindfulness meditation has a significant impact on pain relief compared to using a placebo.

healthcare.gov screenshot
WFAE

On the Obamacare exchanges, there are large disparities in how health insurance premiums are changing next year based on where you live. While coverage is getting cheaper in states like Indiana and Mississippi, in North Carolina, it's becoming much more expensive. Federal data show that North Carolina's average premium increase is among the highest in the country.

nffcnnr / Flickr

North Carolina consumers who purchase their own health insurance will pay more next year. The State Department of Insurance approved average rate increases of between 10 and 33 percent. 

Construction is scheduled to begin next month on a new mental health treatment center in Charlotte that’s expected to open this summer.

The center will be run by an organization called the Hopeway Foundation. Bill Blue started the foundation nearly two years ago in response to problems his family experienced in dealing with the mental health system. He says it was apparent the system has two major gaps.

medisave / Flickr https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/

Researchers in North Carolina and nationwide may have finally answered an important question in health care: for people with high blood pressure, how low should they aim for? Late last week, the National Institutes of Health released results from a landmark study early because it’s already been conclusive.

5 Challenges Facing Medicaid At 50

Jul 28, 2015
LBJ Library photo by Unknown

A “sleeper” provision when Congress created Medicare in 1965 to cover health care for seniors, Medicaid now provides coverage to nearly 1 in 4 Americans, at an annual cost of more than $500 billion. Today, it is the workhorse of the U.S. health system, covering nearly half of all births, one-third of children and two-thirds of people in nursing homes.

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