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

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.

Michigan families fight to see seniors amid COVID-19, even in hospice care

Michigan families fight to see seniors amid COVID-19, even in hospice care

August 10, 2020 | Robin Erb

Despite new guidelines intended to give nursing homes and other facilities more discretion to allow visitors during a pandemic, families say some centers remain rigid, hurting the residents they are trying to protect.

What do you want? she asked her hubby in MI nursing home. ‘You,’ he said.

What do you want? she asked her hubby in MI nursing home. ‘You,’ he said.

August 10, 2020 | Robin Erb

Isolation is sapping the life of residents in nursing homes and other facilities amid no-visitation policies during COVID-19. As restrictions grind on, Bridge tells the stories of six residents, who are fading a bit day by lonely day. 

Poll: 3 in 10 in Michigan reluctant to take a free COVID-19 vaccine

Poll: 3 in 10 in Michigan reluctant to take a free COVID-19 vaccine

August 5, 2020 | Robin Erb

The rush to develop a vaccine quickly is the very reason many COVID vaccine skeptics say they don’t trust it. If not enough people take an approved vaccine, it would be difficult to achieve herd immunity to protect residents from the virus.

Michigan hospitals test if plasma from recovering patients can curb COVID-19

Michigan hospitals test if plasma from recovering patients can curb COVID-19

July 30, 2020 | Robin Erb

Antibody-rich plasma is thought to save lives among the sickest coronavirus patients. Michigan’s major hospitals now will see if it helps the mildly sick before they get worse.

Getting Michiganders to take COVID-19 vaccine: ‘My trust just isn’t there’

Getting Michiganders to take COVID-19 vaccine: ‘My trust just isn’t there’

July 28, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

Large numbers in the U.S., especially African Americans with an eye on history, say they’re wary of a COVID-19 vaccine. Public health leaders say much work is needed to develop public confidence in the safety of a vaccine.

Opioid abuse surges in Michigan amid misery from the coronavirus

Opioid abuse surges in Michigan amid misery from the coronavirus

July 27, 2020 | Robin Erb

New state data and reports from county medical examiners show a rise in opioid-related overdoses and deaths in parts of Michigan, which was likely fueled by the isolation and anxiety of the pandemic.

Michigan COVID-19 labs are again seeing delays as more people are tested

Michigan COVID-19 labs are again seeing delays as more people are tested

July 22, 2020 | Robin Erb

COVID-19 tests were once reserved for very sick or at-risk groups. Now people across the state are now getting tested. But the volume is slowing results and straining test supplies, making it harder to track the virus’ spread. 

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