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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Series & Specials

$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.

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.

More than 115 Americans are dying every day from an opioid overdose. But a study out Monday finds that just three in 10 patients revived by an EMT or in an emergency room received the follow-up medication known to avoid another life-threatening event.

Dr. Hannah Rabin, left, talks with Danny Ciccariello, right, a phlebotomist, at Richmond Family Medicine.
Emily Corwin / VPR

High costs for routine medical labs at the University of Vermont Medical Center are pushing a growing number of medical providers in Chittenden County to look for alternatives out of state.

Paper bag lunches lined up on a table and plastic bags of cucumber slices.
Melody Bodette / VPR

The nonprofit Hunger Free Vermont is working with school districts around the state to kick off this year’s statewide free summer meals program.

This is a stock photo of chocolate malt ball candy similar to the ones police say employee of the Inn at Shelburne Farms mistakenly ate Wednesday. Instead of being candy, the food left behind by a guest were edibles.
Ilya_Starikov / iStock

Two employees of the Inn at Shelburne Farms became ill Wednesday morning after they ate marijuana edible candies left in a room by departing guests.

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 in Burlington have voted to authorize a two-day strike if necessary.

The union and the hospital have been in contract negotiations since March, and the nurses' contract expires July 9.

A Trump administration effort to shift family planning funding away from organizations that offer comprehensive reproductive health services, including abortion, could cripple federal efforts to stop a dramatic increase in sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S., some public health officials fear.

"This is the perfect storm, and it comes at absolutely the worst time," says Daniel Daltry, program chief of the HIV/AIDS, STD and Viral Hepatitis Program at the Vermont Department of Health.

Suicide rates have increased both nationally and in Vermont over the past decades.
CDC

New data show a sharp rise in the nationwide suicide rate, and Vermont's rate is significantly above the national average.

There's also a growing national awareness of the scope of suicide as a serious widespread public health problem.

The new vaccine for shingles is significantly more effective and long-lasting.
Esben-H / iStock

There's a new vaccine available for shingles, a disease caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. It's significantly more effective, and for a longer length of time, than the old vaccine. And if you're an adult between the ages of 50 and 64, the state will pay for you to get it.

Lately, the critters in and around my house remind me of an old movie title about the good, the bad and the ugly.

Mariah Riggs

Rowan Riggs, my grandson, was born 13 years ago. As a baby, Ro was well behaved, mellow, and affectionate, but he could not speak.

A UMass Amherst nursing professor has been named to a national panel of inventors -- the first nurse to be honored alongside engineers and computer scientists from companies like Microsoft and IBM.

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

Union nurses at University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington are meeting Wednesday to consider the latest contract offer from the hospital. The union and the hospital have been in contract negotiations since March.

It was Bea Duncan who reached for the phone at 2 a.m. on a January morning nine years ago. Her son Jeff had been caught using drugs in a New Hampshire sober home and was being kicked out.

Bea and her husband Doug Duncan drove north. On the ride back home, to Natick, Massachusetts, the parents delivered an ultimatum: Jeff had to go back to rehab, or leave home.

A bike rider on Stowe's 5.3-mile recreation path along the West Branch of Little River.
kevinmwalsh / iStock

Summer is prime biking time in Vermont, from riding the roads and rail trails to tackling tougher terrain like dirt paths and mountain biking. We're looking at the best Vermont has to offer for those on two wheels, plus biking basics and riding safely no matter where the trail takes you.

E-cigarettes like the Juul have caught on with teens in a big way, and schools have been struggling to keep up. We'll talk about vaping's new popularity, and the health issues involved.
Steven Senne / AP

The popularity of vaping among young people is sounding alarm bells for educators and health professionals, as trendy e-cigarettes like the Juul are becoming a more common sight in middle and high schools. We're talking about where the rise in this behavior is coming from, the health issues at stake and what schools and the state are doing in response.

Vermont's domestic violence intervention programs see about 300 men each year in programs designed to stop intimate partner violence. The programs seek to change attitudes and behavior to end a cycle of abuse.
Benjavisa / iStock

More than one thousand people were charged with domestic violence in Vermont last year. In just the last month, the state has seen several shocking murders involving what investigators have described as long histories of domestic violence.

The plight of the victims rightfully gets most of the attention. But for every victim of abuse, there is an abuser. We're looking at what help is available to stop abusers from continuing the pattern of violence. 

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