Robin Erb

Robin Erb, who leads health coverage for Michigan Health Watch, believes it is our personal stories that keep us connected on common ground, whatever the break-neck fragmentation of a digital world. A long-time journalist, Robin previously spent six years at the Detroit Free Press chronicling the fight against - and sometimes the triumph over - our most horrific diseases. Her award-winning stories chronicled the battle over the Affordable Care Act, state expansion of Medicaid, cutting-edge research led by Michigan’s hospitals and universities, deadly mistakes and extraordinary care in Michigan’s nursing homes, and a nearly forgotten mix-up of chemicals in cattle feed in the 1970s and its lingering effects today. She holds bachelor’s degrees in communications and political science from Miami University and a master’s in organizational leadership from Lourdes University (Toledo, Oh). You can contact Robin at rerb@bridgemi.com or 734-725-1155.

Articles

Michigan the latest to roll out Medicaid work rules. Can it avoid pitfalls?

Michigan the latest to roll out Medicaid work rules. Can it avoid pitfalls?

January 13, 2020 | Robin Erb

238,000 lower-income residents in Healthy Michigan’s expanded Medicaid program must now prove they are working or exempt to maintain coverage. Can Lansing succeed where other states have failed?  

 

Five things to know about Michigan’s Medicaid work rules

Five things to know about Michigan’s Medicaid work rules

January 13, 2020 | Robin Erb

Thousands of lower-income residents must now meet monthly reporting requirements to keep their health coverage. What you need to know to maintain health coverage.

With spike in STDs, should Michigan force all schools to teach sex ed?

With spike in STDs, should Michigan force all schools to teach sex ed?

January 2, 2020 | Robin Erb

Districts aren’t required to teach sex ed. And when they do, they must stress abstinence until marriage but need not discuss contraceptives. Does state’s rising STD rate among young people change the calculus? 

 

STDs surge in Michigan and the reasons might surprise you

STDs surge in Michigan and the reasons might surprise you

January 2, 2020 | Robin Erb

More testing for sexually transmitted diseases may account for much of the increase, but experts suggest we may be getting too relaxed when it comes to using protection during sex. 

 

Dana Nessel sues opioid firms under Michigan law intended for drug dealers

Dana Nessel sues opioid firms under Michigan law intended for drug dealers

December 17, 2019 | Robin Erb

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Nessel announced the lawsuit on Tuesday, touted as the first of its kind in the nation.

Blue Cross says shared-risk plan will rein in costs for Michigan patients

Blue Cross says shared-risk plan will rein in costs for Michigan patients

December 11, 2019 | Robin Erb

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan said it will pay major health providers more for value-based health care, but penalize them for delivering poor care, which the insurer said would ultimately benefit patients.

Michigan trying to quicken insurance approval for drugs, medical treatment

Michigan trying to quicken insurance approval for drugs, medical treatment

December 8, 2019 | Robin Erb

Insurers say “prior authorization” requirements reduce wasteful spending on unnecessary medications or services. Doctors counter that it can go too far, raising administrative costs and putting patients at risk.  ​

Opioid addiction treatment just got easier for thousands in Michigan

Opioid addiction treatment just got easier for thousands in Michigan

December 3, 2019 | Robin Erb

The state’s health department struck down a red tape obstacle to “gold standard” treatment that can help patients with addictions.

Michigan opioid deaths finally going down, but not for black residents

Michigan opioid deaths finally going down, but not for black residents

November 22, 2019 | Robin Erb

Overdose deaths for opioids and other drugs fell in 2018, the first drop since 2012, with state policies restricting painkiller prescriptions cited. But drug deaths for black residents spiked in Michigan.

 

Michigan youth suicide rate doubles. What parents can do.

Michigan youth suicide rate doubles. What parents can do.

November 20, 2019 | Robin Erb, Mike Wilkinson

The spike in suicide rates comes as a national poll suggests parents struggle to know the difference between normal ups and downs of the teen years and something more serious.

Michigan transplant surgeon calls vaping damage to teen’s lungs 'evil'

Michigan transplant surgeon calls vaping damage to teen’s lungs 'evil'

November 12, 2019 | Robin Erb

As vaping illnesses climb, doctors at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit perform a double lung transplant on young vaping victim — reportedly the first operation in the country as a result of vaping damage.

Measures aim to end ‘surprise billing’ for Michigan medical patients

Measures aim to end ‘surprise billing’ for Michigan medical patients

November 8, 2019 | Robin Erb

Think your ER visit is covered? Even savvy consumers fall victim to unannounced costs, especially in emergencies. Pending bills would cap some of those charges or give consumers the ability to opt out.

 

Michigan’s flu season turns deadly early, with some clinics short on vaccine

Michigan’s flu season turns deadly early, with some clinics short on vaccine

November 7, 2019 | Robin Erb

Michigan’s first reported flu death comes as county health departments in some parts of the state cancel or postpone clinics while they await a resupply.

 The ABCs of CBD: What you should know before buying in Michigan

The ABCs of CBD: What you should know before buying in Michigan

October 31, 2019 | Robin Erb

CBD oils, gummies and creams are now sold everywhere from gas stations to supermarkets with little oversight. Here are the facts on CBD — what to know, and what to avoid.

Costs drop for Michigan Obamacare insurance. But only after crazy increases

Costs drop for Michigan Obamacare insurance. But only after crazy increases

October 31, 2019 | Robin Erb

Premium costs are down 2.5 percent after spiking more than 25 percent two years ago. Analysts say the market is stabilizing after a rocky launch but much uncertainty remains.

Michigan judge suspends Gov. Whitmer’s ban on flavored e-cigarettes

Michigan judge suspends Gov. Whitmer’s ban on flavored e-cigarettes

October 15, 2019 | Robin Erb

In granting a preliminary injunction, the judge said the state undermined its own argument that the move was a public health “emergency.”

Michigan surgeons offered more money to limit opioids for pain

Michigan surgeons offered more money to limit opioids for pain

October 15, 2019 | Robin Erb

Blue Cross offers 35 percent boost in insurance reimbursement when doctors rein in opioid prescriptions after common surgeries. The effort shows some promise in a state hammered by opioid deaths.

Pelvic exams in surgery? Not without woman’s consent, Michigan lawmaker vows

Pelvic exams in surgery? Not without woman’s consent, Michigan lawmaker vows

October 15, 2019 | Robin Erb

Some women have been subjected to unexpected exams by medical students and residents in the name of education. Men, meanwhile, have been given rectal exams during prostate surgery.

In Nassar’s wake, MSU combines oversight of its health colleges

In Nassar’s wake, MSU combines oversight of its health colleges

October 11, 2019 | Robin Erb

Still reeling from damage by serial sexual abuser and former university doctor, Michigan State University said the changes are intended to help rebuild trust and accountability.

Bad weather, resident concerns hamper Michigan’s efforts to spray for EEE virus

Bad weather, resident concerns hamper Michigan’s efforts to spray for EEE virus

October 3, 2019 | Robin Erb

As Michigan reports its fourth death from Eastern equine encephalitis, pilots charged with spraying pesticides are grounded by weather, and state officials field calls from concerned citizens.

Pages