HEALTH

HEALTH
12:45 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

Flu Hits Mesa County Hard, One Death Reported

Health officials say you can reduce the spread of the flu by covering when you cough or sneeze, washing your hands, and staying home if you are sick.
Credit www.flickr.com/breatheindigital

State and federal health officials are warning this flu season could be a bad one.

Veronica Daehn Harvey, with the Mesa County Health Department, says a resident has died from complications from the illness.  

She says the last time the county saw a flu-related death was three years ago. 

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HEALTH
3:03 am
Fri December 19, 2014

When Nonprofit Hospitals Sue Their Poorest Patients

Keith Herie is swamped in debt from medical issues he and his wife encountered starting about a decade ago. Heartland hospital is seizing 10 percent of his paycheck and 25 percent of his wife's wages, and has placed a lien on their home.
Steve Hebert for ProPublica

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 8:32 am

On the eastern edge of St. Joseph, Mo., lies the small city's only hospital, a landmark of modern brick and glass buildings. Everyone in town knows Heartland Regional Medical Center — many residents gave birth to their children here. Many rush here when they get hurt or sick.

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HEALTH
6:00 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Urgent Care Center Opens In Delta

Delta County Memorial Hospital recently opened an Urgent Care center in Delta.
Credit KVNF / Laura Palmisano

Delta County Memorial Hospital is once again expanding its health care options for patients. Earlier this month the hospital opened an Urgent Care center in Delta. 

"We have a lot of the same things that an emergency room would have to care for people," Jane Rosen, a nurse practitioner with DCMH's new Urgent Care, says. 

Rosen explains how it differs from the emergency room.

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HEALTH
10:05 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Enrollment Centers Help Coloradans Navigate Health Coverage Options

Janet Schafer, background, and Anna Cubel, foreground, at Hilltop's Health Access site in Grand Junction. Cubel is answering a caller's questions about open enrollment.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Open enrollment for Colorado’s health exchange ends Feb. 15. If you need help figuring out coverage options there are enrollment centers across the state where you can get it.  

Hilltop’s Health Access site in Grand Junction is busy. It's 1 of 13 enrollment centers in the state.

People can come here to get help navigating Colorado’s insurance exchange.

Rhonda Lofing manages the site for Hilltop, a local nonprofit. Lofing is also a certified health coverage guide.

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HEALTH
8:44 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Is Your State Ready For The Next Infectious Outbreak? Probably Not

Alyson Hurt/NPR

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 2:12 pm

Ebola may have slid off the nation's worry list, but that doesn't mean the United States is ready to handle an outbreak of Ebola or another infectious disease, an analysis says. That includes naturally occurring outbreaks like dengue fever, tuberculosis and measles, as well as the use of bioterrorism agents like anthrax.

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HEALTH
4:37 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

More than 100000 Coloradans Enroll For Private Health Plans

Credit connectforhealthco.com

According to the latest data, more than 100,000 Coloradans have sign up for private health insurance through the state’s exchange.  

Open enrollment for Connect for Health Colorado started last month.

As of Monday, more than 136,000 residents have signed up for coverage.

Breaking down those numbers, more the 27,000 people enrolled for Medicaid and 932 signed up for CHP+, the state’s health plan for low-income children and pregnant women.

The exchange has also seen more than 108,000 enrollments in private insurance plans.

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HEALTH
10:06 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Behind The Scenes At The Lab That Fingerprints Microbiomes

Rob Knight, co-founder of the American Gut Project at the University of Colorado in Boulder, works in the lab where the samples are processed.
The American Gut Project

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 3:32 pm

The gut microbiome may soon reveal important answers to questions about our health. But those answers aren't yet easy to spot or quick to obtain.

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HEALTH
8:24 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Poo And You: A Journey Into The Guts Of A Microbiome

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 6:27 am

The trillions of microbes that live in our guts and on our skin have the power to affect our health in big ways — from stomach disorders and autoimmune diseases to acne and mood. The secret life of what scientists call our microbiota has remained largely obscured, however, because many of the organisms in the gut can't be grown in a lab.

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HEALTH
3:16 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

This Nursing Home Calms Troubling Behavior Without Risky Drugs

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 3:34 pm

It's a sunny autumn afternoon and a good time to make apple crisp at Pathstone Living, a memory care facility and nursing home in Mankato, Minn. Activities staffer Jessica Abbott gathers half a dozen older women at a counter in the dining area, where the soundtrack is mostly music they could have fox-trotted to back in the day.

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HEALTH
2:22 am
Mon December 8, 2014

When It Comes To Day Care, Parents Want All Children Vaccinated

According to a national poll on children's health, over 80 percent of parents believe all children in day care should be required to be up to date on their vaccines.
Alison Bruzek NPR

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 2:55 pm

There's been a lot of attention drawn to people who don't believe in vaccinating their children, but there are many more people who believe that vaccines are the best way to protect children from contagious disease. A recent poll shows just how concerned parents are about vaccines when it comes to putting their children in day care.

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HEALTH
10:07 am
Thu December 4, 2014

CDC Warns That The Flu Season May Be A Bad One

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, got his flu shot in September.
J. David Ake AP

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 5:21 pm

We may be in for a nasty flu season. That's the warning out today from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC is worried because the most common strain of flu virus circulating in the United States is one called H3N2. In previous years, H3N2 strains have tended to send more people to the hospital than other strains — and cause more deaths, especially among the elderly, children and people with other health problems.

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HEALTH
1:29 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Health Law's Big Tent Still Leaves Some People Out

Andres Cuartas got help from an agent last March when he signed up for health insurance at a Miami mall. In the last year, the percentage of women who are uninsured has dropped more than the percentage of uninsured men.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 5:57 am

A Shots post earlier this week by NPR's John Ydstie detailed the "family glitch" in the Affordable Care Act. That's where people who can't afford their insurance at work aren't eligible for help in the new insurance exchanges. Many of these Americans, most of whom make middling incomes, will remain uninsured.

That story got us wondering: Who else is getting left out by health law? And who is getting coverage?

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HEALTH
3:20 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Still No Fluoride

Credit Flickr user smanography

If you live between Ridgway and Delta, there’s been a change to your drinking water, although you might not notice until your next dentist appointment.

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HEALTH
2:55 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

More Than 20000 Enroll For Health Coverage In Nov.

Credit connectforhealthco.com

Officials with Connect for Health Colorado say more than 22,000 people enrolled for health coverage last month.

Open enrollment for the state’s insurance exchange began on Nov. 15.  

During the first two-week enrollment period 9,719 people signed up for private coverage, 12,533 enrolled for Medicaid, and 172 signed up for the state's Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+), according to state data. 

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HEALTH
3:55 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Death With Dignity Movement Sweeping Nation, Colorado Part Of The Wave

A map showing states considering legislation on physician-assisted suicide.
Compassion and Choices

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 3:53 pm

This fall, the highly publicized death of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old with terminal brain cancer who decided to end her life, brought the "right to die" movement a lot of attention.

Anne Singer, campaigns communications manager at the group Compassion and Choices, which advocates for death with dignity, as it is sometimes called, said the public response has been astonishing.

"Nothing like this has ever happened to our organization before. Our website crashed…the momentum is definitely picking up."

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HEALTH
10:24 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Colorado Groups Awarded Grants To Advance Health Equity

LiveWell Montrose Olathe received a $200,000 grant from Colorado Trust, a health foundation.
Credit Valley Food Partnership

Two Western Slope organizations have been awarded grants to promote fair access to health care. 

LiveWell Montrose Olathe received $200,000 from Colorado Trust, a health foundation, and Tri-County Health Network got $180,000. 

Tera Wick with LiveWell Montrose Olathe explains how her organization will use the funds. 

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HEALTH
2:08 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Obamacare 'Glitch' Puts Subsidies Out Of Reach For Many Families

Don Benfield is trying to get health care coverage for his family. The options at work are too expensive, but his employer's option disqualifies him from Affordable Care Act subsidies.
Courtesy of Don Benfield

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 6:50 am

Don Benfield of Taylorsville, N.C., makes $11 an hour working for a mobile-home parts business, selling things like replacement doors and windows.

Benfield, 51, doesn't have health insurance.

"I haven't had health care insurance in years, simply because I haven't been able to afford it, especially with food prices, how they went up," he explains.

Benfield's employer does offer health insurance coverage, even though, with fewer than 50 employees, the business is not required to.

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HEALTH
4:02 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Health Coverage Guide Discusses Colorado Exchange

Connect for Health Colorado is the state's health insurance marketplace.
Credit connectforhealthco.com

Open enrollment for Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s health insurance exchange, has started. The enrollment period ends Feb. 15.

Connect for Health has health coverage guides across the state that help people navigate the marketplace and buy an insurance plan.

KVNF's Laura Palmisano speaks to Maria Forster, a health coverage guide for Volunteers of America, about the exchange and the people who are signing up for insurance.  

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HEALTH
1:51 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

What Diabetes Costs You, Even If You Don't Have The Disease

The costs of diabetes aren't all as obvious as an insulin pump.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 12:04 pm

Diabetes is an expensive disease to treat, costing the United States $244 billion in 2012, according to an analysis of the disease's economic burden.

When the loss of productivity due to illness and disability is added in, the bill comes to $322 billion, or $1,000 a year for each American, including those without diabetes. That's 48 percent higher than the same benchmark in 2007; not a healthy trend.

The increase is being driven by a growing and aging population, the report finds, as well as more common risk factors like obesity, and higher medical costs.

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HEALTH
7:56 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Sleep's Link To Learning And Memory Traced To Brain Chemistry

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 3:23 pm

Almost a century after the discovery that sleep helps us remember things, scientists are beginning to understand why.

During sleep, the brain produces chemicals that are important to memory and relives events we want to remember, scientists reported this week at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington D.C.

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