Health and Medicine

More than half of American adults drink less than once a week or not all, but 10% -- 24 million people – consume an average of 74 drinks a week.  An Arizona man hopes to make it easier for people to imbibe, but even before his product goes to market, Virginia has banned it. 

When entrepreneur Mark Phillips moved from Chicago to Phoenix, he caught the outdoor bug.

“In hiking especially or backpacking, at some point I’d like to enjoy an adult beverage, and so I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if there was some kind of powdered mix that you just add water to.”

There were tears and hugs at the state capitol Thursday, as Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a bill making it legal for Virginians to possess medical marijuana if their doctor believes it could be useful in treating epilepsy, cancer or glaucoma. But reformers are already lining up to fix problems with the law.

It was a thrilling moment for families of children who have epilepsy.  They had lobbied state lawmakers for months to give their kids access to medical marijuana, and the governor praised their persistence.

Advocates of health care reform like to talk about something called the Triple Aim – the possibility of increasing access to medical care, lowering the cost and improving the quality. 

It’s a tall order, but one doctor in rural Virginia seems to have proven it’s possible. 

Dr. Rob Marsh loves what he does – especially when it involves four-month-old twins Savannah and Brentley Groah.

“She napping well during the day?  Some days she doesn’t, and some days she’s up all day long. Who’s the boss of the two?  She is?”

Patients with a terminal illness would have expanded access to investigational drugs under Senate legislation that has been given preliminary approval by the House of Delegates. 

The bill would allow manufacturers to supply the medicine when all other treatment options have been exhausted. The legislation—which has been dubbed the “Right to Try” bill—was inspired by a young boy in the Commonwealth who fought for access to an investigational drug last year.

One of every 68 children in this country has now been diagnosed with some degree of autism – a disability that makes it difficult for them to communicate and learn.  Virginia requires insurance companies to pay for an intensive treatment called Applied Behavior Analysis until the age of seven, but parents say care should be available for as long as a child needs it, and a bill making its way through the legislature could lift the age limit.