Health

A new report finds enforcement of health and safety standards lacking in Vermont's rental homes.
Creative Commons / Pixabay

A third of Vermonters rent their homes, but a new report on substandard housing shows Vermont's aging rental stock and tight rental market can lead to poor health and few options for those facing health or safety violations in their rentals.

Vermont Edition looks at what happens when a rental problem becomes a health hazard, and why it can be so difficult to get it fixed.

Northwest State Correctional Facility, shown in this 2008 file photo, would be closed as part of the new proposal.
Toby Talbot / AP File

The Agency of Human Services has released a plan for a massive new “campus-style” facility in northwestern Vermont that could reshape the state’s mental health and corrections systems. We’re talking about the proposal and how it would work.

 Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George is arguing for the creation of supervised safe injection facilities, saying the effort would save lives.
zlisjak / iStock

It may sound counterintuitive, but a Committee headed by Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George recently came to the conclusion that a safe injection facility for drug users in Chittenden County would be an effective tool in addressing Vermont's opioid crisis.

Toby Talbot / AP/File

The administration of Gov. Phil Scott is proposing the construction of a campus-like corrections facility in Franklin County that would include 925 beds.

Vermont Secretary of Human Services Al Gobeille, pictured here in Sept. 2017
Bob Kinzel / VPR File

This week, the Trump administration authorized states to require some people to work in order to be eligible for Medicaid benefits. But Vermont Secretary of Human Services Al Gobeille says the Scott administration has no immediate plans to institute the employment mandate.

Dr. Kyle Hagstrom, left, a psychiatrist at the Brattleboro Retreat, talks via computer with Dr. Jarred Zucker, who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. Zucker is the one of the Retreat's newest telepsychiatrists.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Rural communities across the country face a shortage of doctors of all kinds, and Vermont is no different.

But as technology advances, and patients get more comfortable with video conferencing, health care officials say telemedicine might be one way to address the shortage.

Bennington County Sen. Dick Sears says he's not sure Vermonters are ready to embrace safe injection sites for opioid users, despite data showing the facilities decrease overdose deaths and increase the number of addicts seeking treatment.
Angela Evancie / VPR File

Legislation that would have enabled safe injection sites for opioid users looked like it might be gaining momentum in Montpelier this year, but a key Senate committee is now backing away from the plan.

Recent scientific reviews have found substantial evidence that marijuana can be useful in easing at least some types of chronic pain. Yet even for the majority of Americans who live in states that have legalized medical marijuana, choosing opioids can be much cheaper.

Sara Teachout, with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, told legislators this week that the state can offset the loss of $12 million in federal revenues by changing the premium structure for certain health insurance plans.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Vermont insurance companies say they’ve found a way to offset the effects of an executive order issued last year that would otherwise cost the state $12 million annually in lost revenue.

a paper chain cutout of a family held up by two hands with a sunset in the background.
BrianAJackson / iStock

The 2017 "How are Vermont’s Young Children and Families?" report paints a mixed picture in terms of economic well-being, access to services and a range of health indicators.

The report also underscores the impact of parental substance abuse in reported instances of child abuse and neglect and in the number of children in state custody.

Vermont has a very high rate of special education students categorized as having an "emotional disturbance."
GlenJ / iStock

Vermont has the highest rate in the country of students identified as having an "emotional disturbance." We're talking about what is actually covered by that term, and what's being done inside and out of the state's special education system to help the kids who need it most.

Bone-chilling cold across the state will be back this weekend.
Nicholas Erwin / Flickr

The state is getting a very slight reprieve from the bitter cold snap we've been fighting, but we'll sink back into the intense deep freeze this weekend. We're talking about this dangerous spell of cold weather and how Vermonters are coping.

Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe says finding ways to reduce the cost of prescription drugs is a top priority for him in the new session
Angela Evancie / VPR FILE

Lawmakers return to Montpelier on Wednesday to tackle a number of key issues during the 2018 session. One bill that will receive close scrutiny could significantly reduce the cost of prescription drugs for all Vermonters.

Lauretta Sheridan with her doctor in August 2017. Sheridan reached out two years ago to share her experience recovering opioid addiction. Over the course of the last two years, we've kept in touch as she recovers.
Lynne McCrea / VPR

So often when discussing addiction, people wonder why addicts can't just stop using. Recover.

And so to better understand what it really takes to kick addiction, we followed one woman's multi-year journey.

Senate Health and Welfare chairwoman Sen. Claire Ayer is concerned that the elimination of the federal individual health care mandate will drive up private premiums in Vermont.
Angela Evancie / VPR

Legislative leaders say they plan to take a close look at a proposal to require that all Vermonters have health insurance.

The national state average of overdose deaths is 19.8 per 100,000, which puts Vermont nearly the same as the national rate, at 22.2.  All five other New England states have rates above the national average.
NCHS data, VPR illustration

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control says Vermont had the lowest rate of drug overdose deaths in New England.

A day after President Trump said the Affordable Care Act "has been repealed," officials reported that 8.8 million Americans have signed up for coverage on the federal insurance exchange for 2018 — nearly reaching the 2017 number in half the sign-up time.

That total is far from complete. Enrollment is still open in parts of seven states, including Florida and Texas, that use the federal HealthCare.gov exchange but were affected by hurricanes earlier this year.

Jewelene Griffin, with Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice, has been giving community presentations to spread awareness about the availability of hospice services.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Hospice care is gaining in popularity nationally, but Vermonters have been slow to embrace the trend. So one local hospice agency is trying to change the way people here think about death and dying.

Mary-Ellen Lovinsky of East Hardwick.
Emily Corwin / VPR

Farm runoff isn't just polluting Vermont lakes and streams — nitrate from manure and fertilizer is also contaminating private drinking wells.

And although the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets has regulatory authority, its response is inconsistent, and often undocumented.

Two people holding hands in comfort.
PeopleImages / iStock

The holidays can be stressful as we juggle work, family, money concerns and travel. But it can be an especially difficult time for those experiencing loss.

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