Health and Medicine

Texting is now a routine part of life for many people - especially teenagers, who often sleep with their phones so they don’t miss anything. 

At Virginia Commonwealth University, social scientists are looking at positive ways to use the power of texting with teens.

Five years ago, the federal government announced it would begin fining hospitals if Medicare patients were discharged but had to come back.  Experts argued there was little incentive to follow-up on patients, since medical centers would make more money if people were re-admitted. 

Some hospital administrators dreaded the change, but at the University of Virginia, they’re excited to report dramatic reductions in re-admissions.

As a result of not expanding Medicaid in Virginia, a new state Work Group is examining how to offset rising healthcare costs and the money it passed up from the federal government.  

This includes conducting an analysis of so-called “provider assessments”—which could tax hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities for specific services.

The provider assessments would enable Virginia to receive matching federal Medicaid dollars. Analyst Deborah Bachrach from Manatt says all of the potential models must follow the same guidelines.

Health Kick: Mom on a Mission

Jul 27, 2015

Over the past 30 years, rates of childhood obesity in this country have quadrupled.  Eighteen percent of kids and 21% of teenagers are now considered overweight.  It’s a problem that has one Charlottesville mother on the warpath - preaching and writing the gospel of healthier habits.

Shelley Sackier is the slender mother of two healthy kids, so you might not expect her to worry much about the growing number of American children with a weight problem, but she has known - from an early age - that eating too much of the wrong things could have uncomfortable consequences.

Rural Opioid Abuse

Jul 9, 2015

Prescription drug abuse in the U.S. has been on the rise for decades.  Most studies show the increase has been greater in rural areas.  But a new study suggests that’s not the case.

It has long been considered a fact that there were more risk factors for opioid abuse in rural areas.  Here’s how that thinking goes…

“Not a lot of jobs so lots of time on my hands. I don’t have a lot of money, so what am I going to do to entertain myself.”