Health

While Indiana’s health ranking ticked up on a recent annual report, health leaders say there’s more work to be done. A new data tool that highlights specific issues may provide some insight into focus areas. The tool from the Alliance for a Healthier Indiana breaks down top health priorities by county.

Indiana Health Ranking Improves, Still Falls Short

Dec 21, 2017

The United Health Foundation’s annual state rankings are out. Indiana was ranked 38th in the country, up one spot from last year.

The analysis provides a benchmark for states and in Indiana does see improvements like drops in smoking rates and childhood poverty. Low health provider access continues to be an issue says Dr. Julia Daftari with United Health Care in Indiana.

Children in Indiana’s minority and immigrant populations often have a more difficult start in life according to the conclusions of the latest look at disparity in wellbeing for Hoosier kids.

About 20 percent of Indiana’s population identifies as African-American, Hispanic, Asian or another non-white race.

Indiana Youth Institute President Tami Silverman says a new report from the Annie E. Casey foundation finds children in these households are less likely to benefit from opportunities to grow and develop.

An estimated 60 percent of people in the prison system have suffered some type of traumatic brain injury or TBI. A conference Tuesday in Indianapolis for those who work in the re-entry system addressed that widespread issue.

During a series of sessions at the Marion County Conference On Re-entry a number of speakers focused on how traumatic brain injuries impair re-entry and possible solutions.

Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana executive director Dr. Lance Trexler says failure to address the issue has far reaching societal impacts.

Donnelly Co-sponsors Bipartisan Bills Targeting Opioid Crisis

Oct 13, 2017

After introducing bipartisan legislation focused on the opioid epidemic, U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) participated in a walkthrough of The Willow Center in Brownsburg, and spoke to addiction recovery advocates about battling the epidemic.

“To everyone here, I want to tell you how grateful I am for your hard work,” Donnelly says. “It ties in with legislation I have, and it’s called Strengthening Addiction Treatment Workforce Act.”

CHIP Expires: What That Means For Hoosier Children

Oct 2, 2017

Congress let funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expire over the weekend. The program that provides health insurance for nearly 100,000 Hoosier children has reserves to continue normal operations for now.

Jointly funded by the federal government and the states, CHIP has covered Hoosier children for 20 years.

The Affordable Care Act increased funding and brought the state’s expenses down. Covering Kids and Families public policy director Mark Fairchild says Indiana has rollover money that will help cover as federal funding goes away.

New Tool Calculates Cost Of Sleep Disorders

Sep 25, 2017

A new research tool calculates the cost of fatigue for workers. According to the National Safety Council or NSC, untreated sleep disorders play into millions in lost productivity and health care costs.

A new online calculator measures how lack of sleep and work are linked says NSC President and CEO Deborah Hersman.

“An employee with insomnia incurs at least $2,250 in excess health care cost each year and 11 lost days in productivity,” says Hersman.

A federal judge permanently struck down key portions of Indiana’s controversial 2016 anti-abortion bill.

Four Indiana counties that were in danger of having no insurance options for customers on the Affordable Care Act marketplace will have choices in 2018. Decatur, Jackson, Grant and Wayne Counties were at risk of having no providers next year after Anthem and MD Wise announced in June they would be leaving the market at the end of this year.

'Drive for our Lives' makes stop in South Bend

Aug 15, 2017
Ben Wikler, with the organization MoveOn, talks to a crowd at the Old Court House in South Bend. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and community health care advocates shared stories about the impact of the Affordable Care Act.
Barbara Anguiano / WVPE

A black RV wrapped with the slogan “Drive for Our Lives” parked outside of the Old Courthouse in South Bend. People gathered to hear stories about the importance of health care in the community and what advocates say is at stake if the Affordable Care Act is repealed and replaced.

Study: Food Outlet Proximity Not Related To Obesity

Aug 14, 2017

Researchers say a new study on whether a person’s proximity to certain food options causes obesity sets itself apart from past projects.

The findings indicate policies to reduce the number of fast food places or even open more markets will not likely reduce obesity. Indiana University environmental affairs professor Coady Wing was part of a team of researchers involved in a recent study.

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Heard & Smith Social Security Lawyers / https://www.flickr.com/photos/social-security-disability/

Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act could save the government money by causing fewer people to sign up for disability benefits, according to a new study from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Indiana Health Commissioner Jerome Adams will become the country’s new surgeon general. Adams had bipartisan support from all senators present during the vote to confirm this week.

During a hearing, Adams said the opioid epidemic will be a main focus and changing prescribing practices is an important piece of that.

The latest assessment from the American Cancer Society details where Indiana lags and what progress it’s made in cancer fighting policies. The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network annual progress report evaluates state legislative efforts.

American Cancer Society’s Bryan Hannon says failure to pass a cigarette tax increase last session set Indiana back in reducing smoking rates. But he says a modest funding increase for tobacco control programs was a step in the right direction.

 

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) says the Senate will aim to prevent President Donald Trump from cutting off subsidies provided by the Affordable Care Act.

Through the Affordable Care Act, the government provides subsidies for co-pays and deductibles to help reduce the cost of insurance to consumers.

In an effort to respond to patients’ desires for speed and convenience, health networks are thinking small.

Microhospitals — which typically offer limited procedures and acute care services in a building with a significantly smaller footprint than traditional hospitals — have proven popular in other states, and a handful of the facilities are planned to open in Indiana.

A majority of former football players suffer from a degenerative brain condition. That’s according to a new study in the Journal of American Medicine. The condition is linked to concussions, but Indiana experts say it shouldn’t be cause for concern for all players.

Indiana University Health psychiatrist and neuroscience expert Thomas McAllister says the condition chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE is a type of dementia.

“And it’s been linked to people with certain head injuries,” says McAllister

Whooping Cough Cases On The Rise In Indiana

Jul 27, 2017

Twice the number of whooping cough cases have been recorded compared to this time last year and the Indiana State Department of Health is investigating. Outbreak supervisor Shawn Richards says

“One, is what we’re seeing normal?” says Richards. “Two, are there epidemiological links to other schools or states?”

For the first half of the year, 136 cases of pertussis or whooping cough have been reported compared to 66 in 2016.

The state says the increase could be due to more cases being reported or a waning vaccine. Richards says it could also be something else.

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Elliot Englert / for Side Effects Public Media

The public has weighed in on Indiana’s proposal to add a work requirement to its unique Medicaid program, the Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP 2.0.  More than 40 people submitted their opinions to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as of July 18, showing overwhelming disapproval of the proposal.

Milk Bank Expands Services, Breastfeeding Support

Jul 18, 2017

The Milk Bank in Indiana will extend services beyond the donation of mothers’ breast milk, which has been its mission for nearly 12 years. In doing so, the organization can provide more ways to help mothers and infants in need.

The bank is the only donor human milk bank in Indiana with more 40 depot sites across the state where women can give their milk to help infants staying in hospitals.  An average 27,000 ounces of milk are dispensed every month at The Milk Bank.

The world’s only normal breast tissue bank marked its 10th year collecting and researching healthy women’s breast tissue last week.

Nearly 5,000 women have donated tissue to the Susan G. Komen Tissue Bank at Indiana University Simon Cancer Center since 2007, helping advance the search for a cure.

The bank was founded in response to a call from scientists for healthy tissue to aid in comparative research, explains Dr. Anna Maria Storniolo, the cofounder and executive director of the bank.

Indiana will add five new opioid treatment programs (OTP) across the state to help combat the ongoing drug abuse epidemic and the initiative will also includes coverage of the treatment drug methadone.

The announcement came Wednesday at the Valle Vista treatment center in Greenwood. Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Secretary Jennifer Walthall says the center is being added to the state’s OTP efforts and will offer methadone.

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Indiana GOP Facebook / https://www.facebook.com/indgop/

The Indiana Republican party may have gotten more than it had bargained for after it invited users to share their “Obamacare horror stories” in a Facebook post earlier this week. The GOP account was inundated with thousands of replies from Affordable Care Act supporters from across the country.

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courtesy National Cancer Institute

As he prepares to exit the job he’s held for the last two years, interim National Cancer Institute Director Doug Lowy visited Purdue Thursday as part of a survey of Indiana college research initiatives.

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Only two health insurers will offer plans next year on Indiana’s Affordable Care Act exchange, according to proposed rate increases posted by the Indiana Department of Insurance posted Thursday. That’s down from four insurers this year and seven in 2016.

U.S. Senate Republicans released their version of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act Thursday and there was reaction from both sides of the aisle in Indiana.

The Senate’s health care bill is similar to the House version in that it would get rid of the ACA individual mandate to receive health care coverage, cut back on Medicaid spending, allow states to waive services, and defund Planned Parenthood.

ISDH Stats Site Shows Rise In Alzheimer's Deaths

Jun 21, 2017
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Neil Conway / Flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/neilconway/3792906411

Numbers recently made available on an Indiana State Department of Health website show a significant increase in the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease among Hoosiers.

In 2011, just more than 2,000 Alzheimer’s deaths were recorded in Indiana. But in 2015 – the most recent year with state data – that figure had climbed by more than a quarter, to more than 2,500.

Indiana health insurers will file their 2018 rates this week for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace but uncertainty about the future of health care reform may play into price and availability for the roughly 150,000 Hoosiers in the system.

Beverly Knight is self-employed. She was able to have a double knee-surgery because she is covered under the ACA.  She’s worried about rate hikes.

“If President Trump’s plan to sabotage the ACA succeeds, and premiums skyrocket as many expect, hundreds of Hoosier families, including mine, will be devastated,” Knight says.

Terrell Harris spent two years in prison on a drug charge when his son was a toddler.

Now, he worries about the effects of that absence.

“I’ve noticed a change in my son because of me not being there and being incarcerated,” Harris says.

For little kids, having a parent gone “constantly puts them in a stressful situation,” Harris says. “They are wishing their dad was here.”

A Fort Wayne-based disability advocacy group created a website that will help people with disabilities find services throughout Indiana.

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