More Virginians are foraging for ramps. Many are poisoning themselves by picking the wrong plant.

BY: - May 3, 2021

After a dreary pandemic winter, more Virginians are venturing out in search of ramps — the leafy green allium that’s become a darling of the spring dining season. Sometimes, what they’re finding is poisoning them. Dr. Chris Holstege, medical director of the Blue Ridge Poison Center at UVA Health, said he and his colleagues have […]

Staffing shortages are overwhelming Virginia’s psychiatric hospitals

BY: - April 21, 2021

Staffing shortages have left Virginia’s mental hospitals overwhelmed as the facilities continue to struggle with a surging patient population. It’s a problem that’s only grown worse since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Alison Land, commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, told state lawmakers Tuesday that low pay, burnout and growing […]


Taking steps to cut maternal mortality in Virginia

BY: - April 20, 2021

By Cheryl Harris Sutton Uncertainty. Fear. Worry. These are just a few of the thoughts and emotions that run through the minds of almost every expecting mother.  For many expecting Black moms, those feelings can be more acute. That’s because for many, having a child is ultimately a life and death struggle. Last week was […]

Virginia hospitals saw fewer births and more substance abuse-related stays in 2020

BY: - April 14, 2021

Hospitals in Virginia recorded a significant decline in birth-related visits throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, while alcohol- and drug-related hospitalizations rose compared to previous years The data on substance use wasn’t a surprise amid a once-in-a-century public health crisis that’s seen record numbers of fatal overdoses across Virginia and nationwide. State officials have been highlighting the […]

There’s a temporary halt on Johnson & Johnson vaccinations in Virginia. Here’s why

BY: - April 14, 2021

Virginia will temporarily stop administering doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as federal health agencies review six reported cases — out of millions of doses administered — of blood clots developed in patients within two weeks of receiving the shot. In a Tuesday statement, state vaccine coordinator Dr. Danny Avula said the pause would […]

COVID-19 cases are growing among younger Virginians, worrying state health officials

BY: - April 12, 2021

Virginia data suggests that children and younger adults are contributing in a major way to the continued spread of COVID-19 — a trend that’s worrying health officials as the state continues a vaccination campaign described by many experts as “a race between variants and the vaccine.” “The overall number of cases in Virginia has really […]

Virginia doctors worry that pandemic burnout could push providers out of the field

BY: - April 9, 2021

One of Dr. Riva Kamat’s most jarring memories from the past year was an 11-year-old patient struggling to breathe. “He was COVID-positive, he was doing initially quite well, and then he started going downhill very quickly from a respiratory standpoint,” said Kamat, a pediatric hospital physician at Inova health system in Northern Virginia. Before the […]

An investigative outlet sets its sights on Sentara

BY: - April 6, 2021

Editor’s note: On June 4, The Washington Post reported that Tigercomm, a PR firm that provides “strategic support” to Checks & Balances Project and shares office space with it, had received payment from Eastern Virginia Medical School before it started writing stories about Sentara. Those payments eventually totaled $150,000. Checks & Balances has received payments […]

Pandemic deaths fail to shake loose a legislative solution on nursing home staffing

BY: - March 25, 2021

Sam Kukich was initially excited to join a workgroup she thought would focus on improving staffing levels at Virginia nursing homes. The director of Dignity for the Aged, a Poquoson-based nonprofit, Kukich had become an almost inadvertent advocate for reforming standards of care in the nursing home industry. She and her family had already made […]


Participation in Virginia’s Immunization Information System is critical for keeping Virginia healthy

BY: - March 12, 2021

By Dr. Michael Martin As Virginia continues to combat the public health challenges of COVID-19, the distribution of vaccines in the commonwealth provides a long-needed glimmer of hope. The complex COVID-19 vaccine distribution process underscores the importance of accurate immunization histories and records. While Virginia had the foresight years ago to invest in an immunization […]

Virginia’s Department of Health Professions is warning doctors: Don’t get scammed.

BY: - March 12, 2021

Virginia’s medical professionals are among the most recent targets for scammers, according to the state’s Department of Health Professions. In a release on Thursday, DHP warned that scammers have been contacting providers using spoofed telephone numbers and emails that appear to come from the department. The communications frequently demand payment to avoid license suspension or […]

A growing focus on maternal health disparities prompts lawmakers to remove barriers for nurse-midwives

BY: - March 3, 2021

A few months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Nichole Wardlaw opened her own midwifery practice in Chesapeake.  A certified nurse-midwife, or CNM, Wardlaw was taking advantage of an emergency order signed by Gov. Ralph Northam, which allowed certified-nurse midwives and nurse practitioners to treat patients without an agreement with a licensed physician — something that’s typically […]