Health

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

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate unveiled its plan to replace Obamacare.

A key component of the bill deals with Medicaid, the federal program to provide health insurance to the poor and disabled.

A lab technician handles water samples at Charlotte Water's laboratory off Billy Graham Parkway.
David Boraks / WFAE

Mecklenburg County's drinking water met federal standards for safety and quality again last year. That's according to the annual report out from Charlotte Water. 

Sarah Delia / WFAE

Women haven’t always given birth in hospitals. In fact, it wasn’t all that long ago that babies were delivered at home with the help of a midwife. The practice of midwifery never really went away, but blended into the background with the rise of hospitals. What midwifery looks like now varies from state to state and it’s a source of contention in the North Carolina General Assembly. 

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina

North Carolina's largest health insurer is looking to raise premiums for its Obamacare plans by an average of 23 percent. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina sent the rate hike request to state regulators Thursday.

A big reason for the increase: efforts to end Obamacare.

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare
Mark James / Charlotte Observer

Hoarding $70 million in Medicaid money that should be spent on patients while spending lavishly on CEO pay and luxury board retreats. These are just some of the findings laid out in a state audit of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare. The company says the spending is justified.

Novant Health on Monday reported net income of $412.8 million in 2016, up nearly 60 percent from the year before. The health care system said the boost came from a combination of higher day-to-day operating income and $151 million in investment income.  

US Congress

We now have a sense of what the American Health Care Act could cost North Carolinians.

The AHCA is the Republican plan to replace the ACA – otherwise known as Obamacare.

MT:  This all has to do with money and a map.

TB: And one of the key differences between Obamacare and the Republican replacement plan. Both are based on formulas, so you can extrapolate results.

Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio and health director Marcus Plescia (left) talk to reporters Friday afternoon.
(via Mecklenburg County)

Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio says she's frustrated by accusations that the county tried to cover up big delays in telling women results of their cervical exams. In a press conference Friday afternoon, she said three separate reviews of the situation are planned.

Dr. Marcus Plescia at a February, 2017 press conference.
Lisa Worf / WFAE

It took Mecklenburg County's Public Health Department several months to notify 185 women that their cervical exams came back abnormal. On Wednesday, the county's health director apologized and said they're fixing the problem, but he wouldn't say why no one caught it sooner. 

The county first learned of the problem in early January. A nurse practitioner noticed a patient hadn't received the follow-up she needed based on her cervical cancer screening and started asking questions. The problem was much larger.

NC Uninsured Rates Continue To Fall

Dec 27, 2016

The uninsured rate for working-age adults has declined in every single state since 2013, according to the Commonwealth Fund. The largest declines were in states that expanded Medicaid to cover low-income adults. Some of those states, including Kentucky and West Virginia, cut their uninsured rate in half in two years.

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.

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