Health

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

In the Charlotte area, roughly 80,000 United Healthcare customers may have to find a new doctor. The health insurance company says that's how many people are affected by its contract expiring with Carolinas HealthCare System.

healthcare.gov

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday in a case that North Carolina's attorney general and many others say could lead to chaos in health insurance markets.

cdc.gov

Hospitals in the Charlotte region are taking extra precautions against a deadly superbug called CRE. That's after a recent outbreak at a UCLA hospital. The infection is difficult to treat, but it's extremely rare for healthy people to get it inside or outside of hospitals.

Dying. It's Tough To Discuss, But Doesn't Have To Be

Feb 10, 2015
Michael Tomsic

There is a particular conversation that almost no family can avoid and that doctors agree is incredibly important. Yet, most of us don’t have this conversation. It’s about the medical care we would want if we were dying.

To get the obvious out of the way: this can be an immensely difficult conversation. But it doesn't have to be. 

“In my experience, they tend to go pretty well; I actually enjoy having those conversations with patients,” Daniel Miles says. He’s assistant director of the chaplain department at Carolinas Medical Center's main campus.

nffcnnr / Flickr

Compared to the rest of the country, a much higher percentage of hospitals in North Carolina received a bonus from Medicare this year based on quality measures. That's according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of federal government data.

The Commonwealth Fund

 In North Carolina, what businesses pay in health care premiums has been growing at a much slower rate since the Affordable Care Act passed. But that's not resulting in cheaper costs for most families, according to a report Thursday from The Commonwealth Fund, a private research foundation.

Courtesy of the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention

On Tuesday, state health officials issued a warning - this year’s flu season is bad, and it will get worse.

Images_of_Money / Flickr

Some lawyers say the U.S. Attorney's office in Charlotte is building a reputation for being especially aggressive in prosecuting health care fraud. As an example, the office earlier this year won its largest settlement ever with a single doctor.

BlueCross Raises Rates On Obamacare Exchange In NC

Oct 22, 2014
BlueCross BlueShield

North Carolina's largest health insurance company is raising the cost of its plans on the insurance exchange that's part of the Affordable Care Act. But the hike by BlueCross BlueShield shouldn't affect the pocketbook of most customers.

North Carolina Dramatically Reduces Medicaid Shortfall

Sep 8, 2014
nffcnnr / Flickr

For the first time in five years, North Carolina will not end a fiscal year with hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid cost overruns. That's according to the General Assembly's fiscal research division. The improvement comes after the state hired a consulting firm to help with budgeting.

Charlotte Resident Who Survived Ebola Shares Story

Sep 3, 2014
Michael Tomsic

A Charlotte resident who survived Ebola prayed, cried and laughed with her husband Wednesday as they shared stories of what they've gone through the last six weeks. It was the first time Nancy Writebol spoke publicly about her battle with the virus that's killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa.

Missionaries, Children Quarantined In Charlotte

Aug 12, 2014
Robert Lahser / Charlotte Observer

Several American missionaries serving in Liberia during the Ebola outbreak are now in Charlotte. They're healthy, but they'll remain in quarantine as a precaution.

A chartered flight from Liberia touched down at Charlotte-Douglas airport late Sunday night. Three missionaries were on board who are part of SIM, a Christian organization based here in Charlotte.

nffcnnr / Flickr

North Carolina's Senate, House and governor are getting closer to an agreement on overhauling the state's Medicaid program. Senate leaders announced a new plan Wednesday that's similar to what House leaders and Governor McCrory want. But there are still two key differences to work out.


Obamacare Enrollment Was Too Old In NC, So Premiums Will Likely Rise

May 9, 2014
Michael Tomsic

North Carolina's largest health insurance company says enrollment through the new exchange that's part of the Affordable Care Act missed expectations, and that means premiums on the exchange will likely rise.


healthcare.gov

In the Carolinas, the new health insurance exchanges that are part of the Affordable Care Act didn't sign up nearly as many young people as the White House had targeted. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday released the final enrollment data for this year.


Ben Bradford / WFAE

As of today, the Mecklenburg County government no longer oversees mental health, substance abuse, or disability services for the county. MeckLINK—the organization it built to handle those services—closed today, as the larger, outside agency Cardinal Innovations takes over. MeckLINK operated for little over a year, but that tenure spurred fights with state lawmakers for control, cost the county millions of dollars, and contributed to the fall of two top county officials.


Mecklenburg County government will continue to supplement state and federal Medicaid dollars for mental health services with its own money. The county has provided those funds for years, but their fate has been in limbo, as officials prepare to hand over mental health oversight to an outside organization.


NC Overpaid Medicaid Providers In 2013

Mar 24, 2014

North Carolina paid Medicaid providers about $440,000 more than it should have last year. That's according to a report Friday from the state auditor's office, which found several problems in its annual review of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

About a third of the overpayment consisted of state money, as the federal government covers about two-thirds of Medicaid costs in North Carolina. Dave Richard is deputy secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services, and he offered this perspective on the overpayment: 

N.C. DHHS

The McCrory administration wants doctors and hospitals to play a much larger role in managing the state's Medicaid program. The administration submitted its new Medicaid overhaul to the General Assembly Monday.


Obamacare May Not Be Signing Up Enough Young Adults

Mar 11, 2014
healthcare.gov

More than 250,000 people in the Carolinas have signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace or exchange that's part of the Affordable Care Act. But there may not be enough young people signing up for the law to work as intended.


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