Health

The home for VPR's coverage of health and health industry issues affecting the state of Vermont.

VPR reporters Pete Hirschfeld and Bob Kinzel cover health issues from the Statehouse Bureau in Montpelier.

Follow them on Twitter for the latest health and Vermont health industry news.

Explore our coverage by topic or chronologically by scrolling through the list below

Aging Well | Homelessness & Housing | Opioid Addiction | UVM Medical Center

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$900 For A Flu Swab?

Help VPR's investigative desk create a database of medical costs in Vermont by sharing your medical bills with us using our secure file upload form. Your submissions will remain confidential. Whether you've been shocked by an unexpected bill, or simply want to create more price transparency in the state, we hope you will participate. Read more here.

Nurses strike outside of the UVM Medical Center on Main Street in Burlington during the first day of a planned two-day strike.
Ari Snider / VPR

A strike by unionized nurses at UVM Medical Center over wages and staffing entered its second day Friday with hundreds set to return to picket lines and no clear timeline for when negotiations for a new contract would resume. 

Nurses and supporters picketed outside of UVM Medical Center on Main Street in Burlington, Vt.
Ari Snider / VPR News

Union nurses at the UVM Medical Center are on strike as of 7 a.m. Thursday morning.

The sign outside of the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Union nurses at the University of Vermont Medical Center are hours away from a planned two-day strike. Negotiations are happening this afternoon, but nurses and the hospital administration have so far been unable to reach a contract agreement since they began talks in late March.

An estimated 70 deaths have been connected to the scorching temperatures and humidity that rolled over Canada's Quebec province last week, and officials say the number may rise as hospital and nursing home records are reviewed.

Most of the people who died as the region reached temperatures up to 95 degrees are elderly men and women living alone in apartments with no air conditioning, and many had chronic health conditions.

Cyclists participating in the 2017 Prouty. Walking, running, rowing, and volunteering are among the ways to take part in the annual cancer fundraiser.
Dan Grossman / Maple Leaf Photos, courtesy

The Prouty began humbly enough 37 years ago, when just four nurses raised $4,000 during a 100-mile trek through the White Mountains. They were doing it to honor an inspiring cancer patient, Audrey Prouty. Now the annual event is New Hampshire's largest charity fundraiser, drawing thousands to Hanover each July and raising more than $33 million.

There's new evidence to support a decades-old strategy for preventing the tick bites that lead to all sorts of nasty diseases, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

The remedy involves spraying your clothing with permethrin — a pesticide that's chemically similar to extracts of the flowering chrysanthemum plant.

A stethoscope on top of medical paperwork.
megaflopp / iStock

Vermont health regulators are keeping a close watch on some new federal health care policies to make sure that Vermont consumers don't get ripped off by the plans.

Prevention Works! VT is hoping to make marijuana a less desirable choice for youth in Vermont.
Jessica Hyde / istock

It's now legal to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana under Vermont law if you're over 21. The law, which was passed in January, took effect on Sunday.

The Connecticut River.
Ric Cengeri / VPR File

Those who swim or boat on the Connecticut River and its tributaries can go online to check the water quality at their favorite spots.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige is expected this week to sign the world's first ban on the sale of sunscreens containing the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate. The state is banning the products because of concerns they may be harming one of the state's biggest attractions — coral reefs.

While it doesn't kick in until 2021, the move is already prompting pushback.

Deb Snell, vice president of the nurses' union at UVM Medical Center addresses reporters as the union anounces plans to strike on July 12 and 13.
Henry Epp / VPR

Union nurses at the University Of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington plan to go on strike next week if they're unable to reach a contract agreement with the hospital.

Brooke Wilkinson

Vermont rarely sees temperatures in the triple digits.

Mosquitoes in the process of being tested for West Nile in 2007. The virus has been found in Springfield, Vermont, this year.
LM Otero / Associated Press

Mosquitoes in Springfield, Vermont, have tested positive for West Nile virus.

The Vermont Health Department says this is the first detection of the virus for the 2018 season.

Tick bites can cause all sorts of nasty afflictions. And if you're bitten by a Lone Star tick, here's one more to add to the list: a red meat allergy.

Laura Stirling, 51, a Realtor who lives in Severna Park, Md., was diagnosed with the allergy last year. She got a tick bite while walking on a trail with her dog, Gunner, near her home.

"I found [the tick] 3 or 4 inches to the left of my hip bone," Stirling recalls. At the time, she say, she didn't think much of it. "I just took it off and threw it away."

A cluster of poison parsnip plants with yellow flowers.
KathrynSK / iStock

The Vermont Department of Health is warning people about the dangers of a common roadside plant known as poison parsnip.

Lenny Burke, a well-known Rutland man whose life was forever changed by a traumatic brain injury has died. Despite the injury he received as a teenager, Burke went on to be instrumental in changing the way people with T.B.I.s are treated. He was 56.
courtesy

Lenny Burke, a man beloved in Rutland for his courage and determination in the face of adversity, has died.

The World Health Organization now recognizes what it calls "gaming disorder," but treatment and what qualifies under the disorder is still being defined.
vitapix / iStock

Kids can easily lose themselves in the virtual worlds of video games, but what happens when gaming goes beyond a hobby and becomes a problem? The World Health Organization now recognizes “gaming disorder,” and we're looking at the details of the diagnosis and what it means for kids in Vermont.

A pregnant woman in a light blue shirt seated on and holding her stomach.
RuslanDashinsky / iStock

Several state agencies in Vermont are teaming up to promote new legal protections for pregnant workers. The new state law — which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018 — protects workers who ask for "reasonable accommodations” related to pregnancy.

A Harvard brain scientist who studies trauma in children is warning of lasting damage to the young migrants who've been separated from their parents at the border.

It's been a decade since the financial crisis drove up the unemployment rate in the U.S. and forced people in the prime of their careers to give up looking for work.

Even today, as employers add jobs at a furious pace, the workforce participation rate still hasn't recovered. And now researchers think they know one reason why: the opioid crisis.

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