Summer blockbuster: the Democratic health care slugfest

BY: - August 19, 2019

There’s a great line in 2014’s “Godzilla” that I thought about during the last Democratic debate, as the candidates turned to health care. To set the scene, humanity’s had a pretty bad day, which is kind of standard in Godzilla movies. We just found out that earth was home to not just one enormous, radiation-charged, […]

As prisoners continue to die, Virginia appeals federal court order mandating better health care

BY: - August 14, 2019

Inmates at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women weren’t particularly surprised when Margie Ryder died last month. Sad, yes. But sick inmates at Fluvanna die with frequency. In 2016, a judge approved a settlement of a lawsuit brought by inmates alleging medical care at the facility was so poor it violated inmates’ constitutional rights. The Department […]

Health officials have distributed 28,000 clean needles to prevent hep C and HIV, but the law allowing them sunsets next year.

BY: - August 13, 2019

In 2017, Virginia passed a law allowing some localities to launch needle exchange programs, an attempt to prevent the spread of infectious diseases like hepatitis C and HIV. But it came with a hitch: the law is due to sunset in 2020. The Virginia Department of Health’s goal was to collect enough data to illustrate […]

Poll finds most Virginians approve of Medicaid expansion

BY: - August 12, 2019

With more than 300,000 people now enrolled, a new poll shows that a large majority of Virginians approve of Medicaid expansion. The poll — commissioned by the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association and conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy — found that 71 percent of the 800 Virginians polled approved of expanding the program. According […]

Cleared to leave Virginia’s overcrowded mental hospitals, many patients have nowhere to go

BY: - August 11, 2019

Virginia’s psychiatric hospitals are dangerously full. Though considered safest when operating at 85 percent capacity, often nearly every single bed is taken. Yet at any given time, many of those patients have been deemed ready for discharge, but they remain in the hospital because they have nowhere else to go. In May, there were 246 […]

‘The pig bomb’: Feral hogs make a great meme, but they are a serious pest in Virginia

BY: - August 7, 2019

The frequently asked questions page on the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ website says it best. “Feral hogs are four-legged ecological disasters.” Earlier this week the “30-50 feral hogs” meme swarmed the internet, an unexpected by-product of the nationwide gun debate. But in many parts of the country, including Virginia, feral hogs have […]

Reflecting national trends, meth arrests and deaths continue to climb in Virginia

BY: - August 1, 2019

Methamphetamine arrests and overdose deaths are climbing in Virginia, reflecting a national trend amid a crackdown on opioids. Seizures of methamphetamine spiked between 2017 and 2018, NPR reported, marking a national resurgence of the highly addictive stimulant that Virginia has also seen. Preliminary data from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the first […]


A train ride, a delay – and a death

BY: - July 31, 2019

Amtrak Train 93 was already an hour late when it headed south out of Washington bound for Norfolk the other evening. Many passengers – including me – just longed for a cozy bed to envelop them as we got closer to Hampton Roads. The Petersburg station, the penultimate stop on this journey, was tantalizingly close.  […]

More than 300,000 people have signed up for Medicaid under expansion

BY: - July 31, 2019

ALEXANDRIA — Of the 303,768 people who have signed up for Medicaid since Virginia expanded the program at the start of the year, nearly 230,000 have already used a health service, like visiting a doctor or filling a prescription, according to state health officials. Virginia hit the 300,000 enrollees mark last week, and Gov. Ralph […]

A new tick plus a new disease equals a double threat to Virginia cattle

BY: - July 30, 2019

The cause of the seven cows’ deaths wasn’t immediately clear. All of the animals died between late summer and fall of 2017 in Albemarle County, the prosperous, semi-agricultural county that surrounds the city of Charlottesville. Another cow on the property, sick but alive, was found with signs of anemia, weakness and respiratory distress. Fearing the […]

The Virginia State Capitol.. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Advocates push Virginia to join states and cities that make paid sick leave mandatory

BY: - July 28, 2019

For Kim Bobo, co-executive director of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, the issue is simple. “How can we call ourselves a civilized society and not allow people to take a few days of paid sick time for themselves or their kids?” she said. The Richmond-based, nonprofit organization is working on legislation for Virginia […]

Virginia public health officials investigating outbreak of intestinal illness in several regions

BY: - July 25, 2019

An intestinal illness that most commonly afflicts people living in tropical regions has infected nearly 40 people in Virginia. The Department of Health issued a news release notifying state residents that an increase in cases of cyclosporiasis that began in mid-June has persisted, with 39 confirmed cases compared to a year-to-date average of just nine […]