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

Xavier DeGroat will not be stopped. Michigan autism activist goes to D.C.

Xavier DeGroat will not be stopped. Michigan autism activist goes to D.C.

September 8, 2020 | Robin Erb

DeGroat’s bulldog persistence has yielded bipartisan legislation in Lansing and a network of powerful backers. 

Michigan coronavirus caseloads haven’t budged in months. Why that’s not bad.

Michigan coronavirus caseloads haven’t budged in months. Why that’s not bad.

September 4, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson

For two months, Michigan coronavirus cases have plateaued at about 650 per day after declining for weeks. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer cited the caseloads in extending her state of emergency Thursday, but epidemiologists say they should induce calm, not panic, since they reflect higher testing and more asymptomatic patients.

COVID-19 vaccine race heats up with clinical trials at 3 Michigan sites

COVID-19 vaccine race heats up with clinical trials at 3 Michigan sites

September 2, 2020 | Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press

Michigan Medicine, Henry Ford and a medical research center based in Farmington Hills are involved in Phase 3 clinical trials to find a safe and effective vaccine for a virus that has killed over 183,000 people in the United States.

Michigan to identify K-12 schools with coronavirus outbreaks Sept. 14

Michigan to identify K-12 schools with coronavirus outbreaks Sept. 14

September 1, 2020 | Robin Erb

The state’s announcement follows weeks of pressure as many parents must decide whether to send their children to school or have them learn from home. State officials did not include colleges in its decision.

Seniors from metro Detroit are aging prematurely as young become caregivers

Seniors from metro Detroit are aging prematurely as young become caregivers

August 31, 2020 | Olivia Lewis

The third edition of a longstanding report shows Detroiters are more likely to die from chronic health conditions than other Michiganders. While Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared racism as a public health issue in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, experts say it will take a collective effort from every sector to see change.

Michigan nears 100K coronavirus cases. Maps, graphics show pandemic’s path.

Michigan nears 100K coronavirus cases. Maps, graphics show pandemic’s path.

August 28, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson

After the crush of coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths that spurred a statewide stay-at-home order, Michigan has seen case counts fall as testing has ramped up and shown positive results.

Michigan COVID-19 hospital patients got unneeded antibiotics during surge

Michigan COVID-19 hospital patients got unneeded antibiotics during surge

August 27, 2020 | Kate Wells, Michigan Radio

As the coronavirus surged through Michigan last spring, doctors often gave new patients unnecessary antibiotics as they awaited test results, resulting in resistance to antibiotics later in their hospital stays when they developed infections. 

Pandemic takes toll on Michigan children with autism and their families

Pandemic takes toll on Michigan children with autism and their families

August 26, 2020 | Anna Clark

This summer marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, affirming that all people have the right to participate in civil society. During the pandemic, however, families who have children with autism face the complexity of everything from mask-wearing, and virtual therapy, to getting the vital services they need and feeling overwhelmed.

Swabs, sewage and campus bubbles: Can COVID testing keep colleges open?

Swabs, sewage and campus bubbles: Can COVID testing keep colleges open?

August 24, 2020 | Robin Erb, Ron French

With guesswork built into coronavirus testing at Michigan colleges and universities, campus leaders hope to keep students and staff safe. Nobody, it seems, knows if their plans are likely to work. 

Michigan to identify schools with COVID outbreaks. In a couple of weeks.

Michigan to identify schools with COVID outbreaks. In a couple of weeks.

August 21, 2020 | Robin Erb, Ron French

There are 14 coronavirus outbreaks reported at Michigan colleges and K-12 schools. The state’s top doc says Michigan’s data system doesn’t collect school names now, and will have to be updated. Until then, nothing.

Despite FDA delay, Michigan to keep using convalescent plasma for COVID-19

Despite FDA delay, Michigan to keep using convalescent plasma for COVID-19

August 20, 2020 | Kate Wells, Michigan Radio

The FDA has delayed approving broader use of convalescent plasma until more randomized studies are completed. But Henry Ford and U-M doctors will continue to study the promising treatment on coronavirus patients. 

Michigan has 14 school-related coronavirus outbreaks. State won’t say where.

Michigan has 14 school-related coronavirus outbreaks. State won’t say where.

August 19, 2020 | Robin Erb, Ron French

The state health department declined to say which K-12 schools or colleges had confirmed outbreaks, noting that it has not done so for many businesses. One education leader said parents will likely want to know. 

IQOS (heated tobacco) replaces vaping as the next cigarette alternative

IQOS (heated tobacco) replaces vaping as the next cigarette alternative

August 17, 2020 | Robin Erb

A federal agency is allowing Philip Morris to market its product as producing fewer harmful chemicals than smoked tobacco, even as it delivers about as much nicotine.

Michigan seniors mourn the closing of activity centers during coronavirus

Michigan seniors mourn the closing of activity centers during coronavirus

August 17, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

With hundreds of senior centers largely closed during the pandemic, virtual bingo has its limits. Some seniors indicate they’d rather chance contracting the virus than face an uncertain future filled with loneliness.

Staff at Michigan nursing homes ravaged by COVID-19 set to strike

Staff at Michigan nursing homes ravaged by COVID-19 set to strike

August 12, 2020 | Robin Erb

Saying they are underpaid and unprotected, union members of SEIU Healthcare Michigan say they’re ready to walk. State nursing home advocate says pay has increased; COVID made staffing and PPE a struggle.

Michigan’s ‘tampon tax’ challenged in new lawsuit

Michigan’s ‘tampon tax’ challenged in new lawsuit

August 12, 2020 | Barbara Rodriguez, The 19th

The litigation is part of a national movement toward exempting menstrual products from states' sales taxes.

Coronavirus surges among Michigan teens as school nears. Blame partying

Coronavirus surges among Michigan teens as school nears. Blame partying

August 11, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson

With school openings approaching, infections are increasing among those 19 and younger in Michigan, which experts attribute to the hubris of youth and lack of social distancing.

Michigan declares racism a health crisis. Without funding, it’s symbolic.

Michigan declares racism a health crisis. Without funding, it’s symbolic.

August 11, 2020 | Robin Erb

In Michigan and elsewhere, Black residents have lower life expectancies and face a host of health inequities. An order from Gov. Whitmer declares racism a health threat, but officials say funding and follow-through is key to make a difference.

$5 million in federal grants not a lot to solve Michigan’s rural opioid crisis

$5 million in federal grants not a lot to solve Michigan’s rural opioid crisis

August 11, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

One mental health official says the funds “won’t go very far at all,” as the state’s opioid overdose rates start to climb once again after the coronavirus outbreak hit Michigan in the spring.

Defund police or reform? What a city in Oregon can teach Michigan

Defund police or reform? What a city in Oregon can teach Michigan

August 11, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

In Eugene, thousands of 911 police calls involving the mentally ill are routed to a mobile crisis team that’s been on the road more than 30 years. That gives police more time and focus to handle violent crime for which they are better trained.

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