Health

Deb Snell with the nurses' union at UVM Medical Center addresses reporters ahead of the July work stoppage.
Henry Epp / VPR

After months of negotiations between the UVM Medical Center and the hospital's nurses' union yielded no new contract, UVMMC administrators have made what they call their "last, best and final offer." 

Monday evening, a citizen group called Don't Undermine Memphremagog's Purity (DUMP) held a panel discussion about a proposed expansion of the Coventry landfill. The panelists sit along a table in front of a brick wall while one speaks.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Most of the trash generated in Vermont is trucked to the state’s only permitted landfill in the Northeast Kingdom. The landfill's owner has plans to expand it, and this week residents from both sides of the U.S.-Canada border pushed back on those plans.

Were talking about mental health care strategies for the challenges faced by rural areas of the state.
Decaseconds / flickr

Rural areas of the state face heightened challenges when it comes to mental health and mental health care: from spread-out populations to poverty, stigma and limited resources. We're talking about the strategies used by the designated agencies that provide care in these areas to increase access to care and help the people who need it most. 

From left: Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan, Rep. Peter Welch and Agency of Human Services Secretary Al Gobeille at a Montpelier press conference on Tuesday announcing their support for an expanded Medicaid fraud bill.
Bob Kinzel / VPR

Rep. Peter Welch said he's optimistic that his bipartisan bill that expands the authority of state Medicaid Fraud Units will soon be passed by Congress — and Vermont officials say the bill will give them greater ability to investigate a wide range of fraud cases.

Death doulas provide coordination and compassionate care to patients at the end of their lives. We're talking to the developer of UVM's professional trainining program for death doulas.
Squaredpixels / iStock

You may be familiar with the doulas who assist women before, during and after childbirth. There's also a growing movement of death doulas: who provide compassionate care to people at the end of their lives. We're talking about what that support entails and what's fundamental about being a doula.

More senior citizens die by falling than in motor vehicle accidents annually in Vermont.
Zinkevych / iStock

It's a startling fact. Each year, more people 65 or older in Vermont die from falls than in motor vehicle crashes. So learning how to prevent or survive falls is an important skill to learn, especially for our senior citizens.

An OxyContin bottle with pills arranged around it.
Toby Talbot / Associated Press File

Vermont has became the latest state to file suit against Purdue Pharma, the Connecticut-based drugmaker that manufactures the opioid painkiller OxyContin.

Vermont's small-town ambulance departments, many run by volunteers, face increasing demands on time and resources. Some have even had to close their doors, including two departments in the Northeast Kingdom in the last year.
Andyqwe / iStock

Ambulance departments in rural areas of Vermont face growing costs and increasing demands of time and training. Some volunteer-run departments have been forced to close when those demands become too much to manage. We're looking at how Vermont's rural ambulance departments are meeting those challenges to make sure someone answers when Vermonters dial 911. 

 We're talking about the dangers of the synthetic opioid fentanyl and whether it's possible to overdose simply through skin contact. Experts say it is not.
Rick Bowmer / AP

Health officials in Vermont say that when someone dies of a drug overdose in the state, they fully expect it to involve the synthetic drug fentanyl. Fentanyl-related overdoses continue to rise, both in Vermont and nationwide. And reports about the potency and danger of fentanyl also continue to proliferate.

Cartoonist Rachel Lindsay's first book is "RX," a graphic memoir of her struggles with bipolar mania.
Courtesy Rachel Lindsay

Hearing the travails of someone's mental health struggles is not easy. But Vermont cartoonist Rachel Lindsay has taken a different approach to sharing her story of living with bipolar disorder. She has told it in a new graphic novel called RX.

Con Hogan at a gubernatorial campaign press conference in 2002
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

One of Vermont's most influential health care policymakers has died.

Cornelius "Con" Hogan made it possible for virtually all young people in Vermont to have health care coverage, and he strengthened programs to improve the lives of children and families.

The state is expanding its system of year-round dropboxes for prescription drugs.
Oxford / iStock

The state is expanding a program to get unused prescription drugs out of medicine cabinets - adding state police barracks to the list of dozens of sites for year-round dropboxes in police and sheriff's departments across Vermont. We’re talking about how available unused drugs can contribute to the opioid epidemic, plus the environmental impacts of discarded pharmaceuticals.

looking up at an Elmwood Avenue street sign
Ari Snider / VPR

According to initial test results from the Environmental Protection Agency, levels of airborne chemicals in Burlington's Old North End neighborhood are below those considered dangerous to human health by the federal government.

Green Mountain Care Board Chair Kevin Mullin joins "Vermont Edition" to discuss health care rates, hospital budgets and the state's overhaul of how health care reimbursements are made.
SteveColeImages / iStock

This month the Green Mountain Care Board told Vermont health insurers they won't get the rate increase they want. In the board's ongoing struggle with health care costs, it's also reviewing hospital budgets to curb medical spending and overhauling how Vermonters reimburse health care providers. We're talking about containing health care costs with GMCB Chair Kevin Mullin. 

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams made a plea in April for more Americans to be prepared to administer naloxone, an opioid antidote, in case they or people close to them suffer an overdose.

"The call to action is to recognize if you're at risk," Adams told NPR's Rachel Martin. "And if you or a loved one are at risk, keep within reach, know how to use naloxone."

Community of Vermont Elders - Vermont SMP

My new Medicare card recently came in the mail as part of an effort to cut down on identity theft.

Editor's note: Story updated with additional information about generic pricing on August 17.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first identical alternative to the EpiPen, which is widely used to save children and adults suffering from dangerous allergic reactions.

The FDA Thursday authorized Teva Pharmaceuticals USA to sell generic versions of the EpiPen and EpiPen Jr for adults and children who weigh more than 33 pounds.

Tim Kavanagh turned his rectal cancer diagnosis into a one man comedy show.
Tim Kavanagh, courtesy

Tim Kavanagh is a Vermont-based entertainer who's worked on variety shows, stage productions and improv comedy. When he was diagnosed with rectal cancer, he applied that humor to his diagnosis, treatment and surgeries to create what he calls his "self-defecating, one-man comedy show."

Updated at 8:51 a.m. ET

More than 70 people overdosed in or around a historic Connecticut park near the Yale University campus on Wednesday after receiving what authorities believe was synthetic marijuana laced with the powerful opioid fentanyl. Although there have been no deaths, at least two people suffered life-threatening symptoms, according to authorities.

Outside view of the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center
Toby Talbot / Associated Press File

Vermont has the highest rate of opioid use among pregnant women, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that studied delivery hospitalizations in 28 states.

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