Health & Medicine

Medicare, which covers medical services  for older Americans, spends nearly a third of its budget on people in their final year of life, and more than half of that money goes for people who die within two months.  The University of Virginia’s School of Nursing thinks part of the problem is our discomfort with death – an insistence that hospitals do everything possible to keep loved ones alive.  Sandy Hausman reports on what the school is doing to change public perceptions.

The state has awarded $3.5 million in grants to six regional jails to provide mental health services.  Officials hope to address the underlying cause of crimes -- to keep inmates from coming back after they’re released. 

AP Photo / Evan Vucci

It’s been three years since the son of state Senator Creigh Deeds attacked his father with a knife – then took his own life with a gun.  Gus Deeds was mentally ill, but his local community service board claimed no treatment centers had a place for him.  Now, a commission chaired by Senator Deeds and Delegate Rob Bell is preparing to make recommendations for reform. 

Brandon Giesbrecht / Flickr

By the end of this year, the number of fatal opioid overdoses in Virginia is expected to increase by 77% compared to five years ago. It’s a situation that is now defined as a public health emergency. 

Virginia Commonwealth University

Substance abuse and emotional problems are common at many of the nation’s colleges and universities, but helping students to stay strong and healthy is no easy job.  At Virginia Commonwealth, scientists are taking a whole different approach – asking students to take part in research on what genetic factors may put them at risk, and looking for ways to prevent or treat problems when they occur. 

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