HEALTH

In Virginia, black women are three times more likely to suffer a pregnancy-related death than white women, reflecting a national pattern of racial disparities in maternal health outcomes.Each year in America, more than 700 women die during or soon after pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and...
Virginia won't be joining other states that have already repealed the so-called "tampon tax" quite yet. But next year, both tampons and diapers could at least be a little cheaper.As a delegate, now-Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Loudoun, had tried twice to exempt menstrual products from the state's sales and use tax,...
Early reports from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner on opioid-related fatalities in 2018 predicted a hopeful outcome for the year: perhaps the number of fatal overdoses would, after years of staggering increases, finally drop.But the most recent report for the third quarter of last year dashes those hopes.According to data...
In its changes to the state budget, the 2019 General Assembly inched closer to stabilizing  Virginia's struggling mental health system.The effort is in part driven by the ongoing crisis within the state's psychiatric hospitals, which have seen an unprecedented uptick in admissions, resulting in dangerous overcrowding.On Tuesday, eight of...
Both the House and Senate have passed a bill that would ramp up the state's surveillance of maternal mortality.The legislation, sponsored by Del. Roxann Robinson, R-Chesterfield, establishes the maternal mortality review team and tasks the Department of Health with reviewing the rate of pregnancy-related deaths in Virginia.It also requires...
During a series of meetings last year, lawmakers gave passionate speeches decrying the practice of balance billing.They called it an unfair, serious problem that could land someone in medical debt and ruin their credit, even if they have health insurance. Several lawmakers issued a warning to  feuding lobbyists representing...
Every year, the refrain from Virginia lawmakers about health insurance is the same: It's too expensive and prices in the individual market especially are out of control (though they might be stabilizing).The solutions that seem to gain the most traction are often partisan, like relying on short-term and catastrophic health plans,...
Paulette Trimmer was excited when her 18-year-old son's counselor asked her to sit in on a therapy session. She was proud. She thought it was a good sign."I didn't have a clue that I was going into a den of wolves," she told the Virginia Board of Counseling on...
In the middle of a packed committee room in late January, Kara Murdock sat patiently, resting her swollen arm on her leg.She waited for over an hour while a House Commerce and Labor subcommittee rushed through its lengthy, late-in-the-day agenda so she could tell lawmakers about that arm: That...
As the House of Delegates prepares to consider adding a brand new agency with oversight over Virginia's Medicaid forecasting in response to an unexpected half-a-billion dollar bill, the department currently responsible for Medicaid expenses is trying to fix problems its own way.The Department of Medical Assistance Services has hired...