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

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.

 A Detroit foster child considered suicide. Then Western Michigan called.

A Detroit foster child considered suicide. Then Western Michigan called.

January 3, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

Hundreds of foster children have found support and triumph through a scholarship program tailored to foster kids at WMU. For one young woman, the program may have saved her life. 

How Michigan shortchanges foster children facing life as adults

How Michigan shortchanges foster children facing life as adults

January 3, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

Agencies intended to keep children safe, physically and mentally, fall woefully short. And when a successful program begins to gain traction, funding to expand it across the state is kneecapped by Lansing politics. 

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.   

A look back at our most impactful Michigan health coverage in 2019

A look back at our most impactful Michigan health coverage in 2019

December 31, 2019 | Bridge Staff

Bridge launched its Health Watch beat in 2019 with stories revealing medical gaps in rural Michigan and the state’s mounting challenge with opioids, suicide, Medicaid eligibility and legalized pot. Here are some highlights.

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.

Michiganders: Take this test for childhood trauma

Michiganders: Take this test for childhood trauma

December 13, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

In one survey, nearly 1 in 5 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.

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