It’s been said emergency responders’ jobs are 10 percent terror, 90 percent boredom. But there’s a new approach that uses their time more efficiently while improving community health and saving money. It’s called “community paramedicine."
Several decades ago, Finland’s education system was considered mediocre. But starting around 2001, it came to be regarded as a powerhouse, usually at or near the top of the world’s nations on internationally normed tests. How? And can those strategies work in Alabama?
A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision set a new precedent regarding federal antitrust laws and state medical agencies. The ruling means regulatory groups made up of members with private sector interests are subject to federal antitrust laws. Agencies like the Medical Association of Alabama - which is headed by several private medical practitioners - could potentially be affected.
Attorney General Luther Strange is joining 35 other Attorneys General in an antitrust lawsuit against the makers of Suboxone, a prescription drug used to treat opioid addiction. Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals, now known as Indivior, is accused of conspiring with MonoSol Rx to switch Suboxone from a tablet to a film (that dissolves in the mouth) […]
Medicine is a major economic driver in greater Birmingham. This week, a civil court lawsuit over medical marketing and medical malpractice may have major implications for maternity care in Alabama. Brookwood Baptist Health lost in Jefferson County Circuit Court. Nick Patterson of the weekly publication Weld for Birmingham give us an overview of the case.
The first round of cuts to the state’s Medicaid program went into effect on August 1. Officials did away with the “primary care bump,” a payment incentive given to primary care providers in an effort to encourage them to accept Medicaid patients. The cuts are already sending shock waves through Alabama’s medical community, especially in […]
Two new Alabama laws restricting abortions were set to go into effect next month, but yesterday, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson blocked them, at least for now. In the latest chapter of a long-running legal battle, an Alabama law banning a procedure called “dilation and evacuation” and one banning clinics within 2,000 feet of K-8 […]
According to the report, Alabama ranks 46th in the country for overall child wellbeing, an area the state continues to fall in year over year. The state ranked in the bottom ten states in every category and VOICES analyzed what it would take to improve these numbers.
Mothers-to-be put a lot of thought into how – and where – they want to give birth to their babies. And a lot of what influences that choice is how hospitals represent themselves. In Birmingham, a recent lawsuit accuses Brookwood Women’s Health of deceitful marketing and medical negligence, relating to promises they made to one […]
Alabama and the nation are in the midst of an opioid epidemic, with deaths from prescription pain medication and heroin overdoses on the rise. Yet, as the death toll increased, Alabama cracked down on opioid addiction treatment centers, specifically methadone clinics. Currently two companies are trying to open methadone clinics in Lee County, and they’re seeing stiff pushback from local officials. Al.com's Amy Yurkanin recently reported on the state's struggle with methadone clinics, and she tells WBHM’s Rachel Osier Lindley more.
The Zika virus has popped up in Alabama, although you can't blame mosquitoes yet. The pests spread the disease but so far the only cases in the state are from people who have traveled to Zika infected areas. But public health officials are offering tips to fight mosquitoes, which spread a number of diseases.
Lawmakers approve a General Fund budget that left an $85 million hole in the state’s Medicaid program and the head of the Alabama GOP feels compelled to defend the party. The latest from Kyle Whitmire, political columnist for The Birmingham News and AL.com.
Opioids include pills like hydrocodone and morphine are often prescribed for pain. They also include drugs of abuse such as heroin. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 18,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2014. Public initiatives from the CDC and the White House have focused on how doctors prescribe opioid pills for pain. Last week the CDC released a guideline urging doctors to show greater care and caution when prescribing opioids.
UAB epidemiologists are telling Alabamians there is low risk of a Zika outbreak developing in the state. The virus, which has flu-like symptoms, is currently spreading through parts of South and Central America. It’s also been associated with a rise in a rare birth defect. Dr. David Freeman of UAB is one of 12 members of the World Health Organization’s Emergency Committee on Zika. He says that Alabama will likely see more travel-related cases, but not home-grown.
Federal officials have approved Alabama's plan to switch its Medicaid program to managed care. Governor Robert Bentley made the announcement in a Tuesday press conference. The waiver approval comes after three years of planning and negotiation with federal officials over the proposed change.
Officials from an emergency response agency say Alabama ranks high among states for the number of home fires and deaths. The American Red Cross of Alabama reported that, just in January, 2016, they responded to 181 home fires from which 18 people have died. A total of 21 people have died from home fires so […]
In Jefferson County, heroin abuse rose dramatically in 2014. The county coroner attributed more than 140 deaths to heroin. Law enforcement and the state have been rushing to respond. Last year, the state legislature approved access to a heroin antidote: naloxone, more commonly known as narcan. If used properly, naloxone can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose. Public health officials in Alabama are trying raise awareness and get the potentially life-saving drug to the people who need it most.
The co-director of the Regional Poison Control Center at Children’s of Alabama today refuted claims that lead poisoning levels in Dallas and Houston Counties are among the highest in the nation, following reports last week on the national website VOX.com. “There are thousands of children who are being screened in Houston County whose data is […]
Heroin abuse continues to rise nationally and in Alabama, leaving more people searching for ways to kick addiction. Families ask friends, professionals and scour the Internet looking for the best, and most affordable, treatment for their loved one. But the financial burdens can be crippling, sometimes thousands upon thousands of dollars.
Heroin overdose deaths are on the rise nationally. In Jefferson County, deaths increased by more than 140 percent in 2014. The numbers were shocking: Heroin caused or contributed to 144 deaths in 2014. Area law enforcement responded by increasing efforts to get traffickers and drugs off the streets, especially in Birmingham.
There’s only one health department in Alabama where people can go to be tested for tuberculosis. It’s not in the state’s biggest city: Birmingham or any large city. It’s in Perry County, where an outbreak has so far claimed three lives since last year. And it’s getting worse. The infection rate is 100 times higher than doctors say it should be. Now, health officials are trying to get handle on the disease. But it hasn’t been easy.
The Birmingham Building Trades Towers Southside is still vacant after a fire forced the elderly residents, most of the poor, from their homes in October. Since this incident, Al.com's Amy Yurkanin has uncovered disturbing information about the property, past and current tenants and its elusive owner who lives out of state.
When Alabama Psychiatric Services closed in February, it sent shockwaves through the state’s mental health community. The company provided mental healthcare to about 28,000 people in locations throughout Alabama and employed more than 250 medical professionals. APS blamed the sudden closure on Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, but a lawsuit filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court in May, and amended last month, offers more details on the specific allegations.
Ramon Jeter was raised by a single mother on the west side of Birmingham. Right out of Ramsay High School he joined the Navy. He eventually served as a field medic in Iraq. Now the married new father is studying public health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and he’s been accepted to Clinton […]
On Wednesday, Governor Robert Bentley’s Alabama Health Care Improvement Task Force voted to recommend Medicaid expansion for the state. This comes years after Governor Bentley decided against expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Instead, Bentley and the Alabama legislature agreed to rebuild the state’s Medicaid structure. And the clock is ticking on that plan. Eleven months from now, Alabama's new Medicaid system launches. Details about the overhaul have been fuzzy. But WBHM’s Gigi Douban gives us three ways the new plan will change health care for the one million Alabamians on Medicaid.
In the United States, a baby is born dependent on opiates every 30 minutes. In Tennessee, the rate is three times the national average. The drug withdrawal in newborns is called neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS, which can occur when women take opiates during their pregnancies. In the spring of 2014, Tennessee passed a controversial […]
Recently, Alabama saw national attention for the high numbers of women it prosecutes for drug abuse during pregnancy. While critics say drug testing new and expectant mothers may be illegal or unconstitutional, most realize why it’s an issue. Alabama’s infant mortality rate is one of the highest in the nation 49th, right after Mississippi. In 2013, Alabama lost approximately more than 500 infants.
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