Michigan Health Watch

In-depth reporting on the intersection between public policy and important health topics ‒ such as insurance coverage, hospital admissions, opioid abuse, access to care, medical research and the business of health care ‒ that impact nearly every Michigan resident. 

Articles

Michiganders: Take this test for childhood trauma

Michiganders: Take this test for childhood trauma

December 13, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

In one survey, nearly one-in-five Michigan adults answered “yes” to at least four of these questions about traumatic events from their youth.

Childhood trauma is tied to health risks, but Michigan doctors don’t ask

Childhood trauma is tied to health risks, but Michigan doctors don’t ask

December 13, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

Researchers says multiple childhood traumas have serious physical and mental health implications. But few Michigan physicians are trained to look for them.

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.  ​

 Finding suicide risk in blood clues. Michigan patients to be tested.

Finding suicide risk in blood clues. Michigan patients to be tested.

December 8, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

A study involving Grand Rapids researchers and Columbia University seeks to identify links between certain blood markers and people at greater risk of attempting suicide.

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 finds some success fighting opiate crisis on front line: emergency rooms

Michigan finds some success fighting opiate crisis on front line: emergency rooms

November 20, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

Three Detroit hospitals give overdose patients hope by combining medication with community-based treatment. Even so, Michigan is behind other states in intervention.

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.

For 10,000 Michigan counselors, bill’s passage a sigh of relief

For 10,000 Michigan counselors, bill’s passage a sigh of relief

October 29, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill Tuesday that preserves the right of counselors to diagnose and practice psychotherapy in the state. The measure effectively overrules a licensing agency’s bid to restrict their professional practice.

This flu season looks deadly. Yet much of Michigan won’t get its shot.

This flu season looks deadly. Yet much of Michigan won’t get its shot.

October 18, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

In much of rural Michigan, and in Detroit, fewer than 20 percent of residents get flu shots, even though the vaccine makes it far less likely that people will die or get seriously ill from the virus.

 New law shields 10,000 Michigan counselors from limits to their practice

New law shields 10,000 Michigan counselors from limits to their practice

October 17, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

The measure approved Thursday overrides proposed state regulatory changes critics said would be “devastating” to mental health care in Michiga

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.

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