HEALTH

‘You’ve got to make your own:’ Rural parents struggle to access mental health services for kids

BY: - April 7, 2019

FLOYD — Becky Silvey has seen it all. The Franklin County mother has raised three children who have faced challenges ranging from addiction to autism to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. She’s struggled with a troubled marriage while navigating the school and criminal justice systems to advocate for her children. At one point, Silvey found out her oldest […]

COMMENTARY

Advocate: Medicare for All is gaining steam

BY: - April 7, 2019

By Matthew Conover Just this month, I helped care for a man who passed away peacefully in the night. It should have been a time of solemn mourning and perhaps relief for the family, who had seen their loved one suffer for weeks. But shortly after stepping out the room where he lay on his […]

Virginia health officials ‘sleeping with one eye open’ amid measles outbreaks elsewhere

BY: - April 7, 2019

So far, Virginia has been spared from the blossoming measles outbreaks that have spread to 15 states, the second-largest number seen in the U.S. since the disease was eliminated in 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Public health officials say they’re always on high alert for measles, a highly contagious infection […]

Thousands show up for Virginia’s first March For Life, bringing abortion rights into focus for election season

BY: - April 3, 2019

Gigi Grogan was named after Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, a Catholic pediatrician who refused an abortion despite the threat pregnancy posed to her life. Molla died in 1962, a week after her child was born. Grogan, a student at Virginia Tech and leader of the college’s Students for Life chapter, said her parents named her […]

Virginia explained: Why Republicans keep pushing bare-bones, high deductible health plans and Northam keeps batting them down

BY: - April 1, 2019

Editor’s note: First in an occasional series explaining Virginia’s policy debates. A news release that Gov. Ralph Northam issued in late March couldn’t have come as much of a surprise to anyone. It mirrored another from last year, in which he explained why he vetoed a string of health care bills. The arguments were the […]

Virginia becomes first to require that health insurers count coupons, copay assistance toward deductible

BY: - March 26, 2019

Increasingly, as drug prices inch upwards, patients are relying more on coupons they receive directly from pharmaceutical manufacturers to cover the cost of their drugs. But health insurers have developed a tactic that essentially negates that benefit by refusing to count the value of the coupon or copay assistance toward the patient’s deductible. Thanks to […]

In push for a new mental hospital, Northam banks on keeping patients away in the first place

BY: - March 25, 2019

Like each of Virginia’s psychiatric hospitals, Central State Hospital in Petersburg is almost always near capacity. But thanks to a broad effort to rightsize Virginia’s entire behavioral health system, Gov. Ralph Northam’s new plan to replace the outdated facility might actually cut the total number of beds. Following a brief tour of one of the […]

Hospitals could take financial hit under Medicaid work requirements, study found

BY: - March 22, 2019

From The Bulletin, the Mercury’s blog, where we post quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary. A new study from the Commonwealth Fund found that Medicaid work requirements not only will cause more people to lose insurance, but could also increase uncompensated care and hurt hospitals’ bottom line as well. […]

Virginia Mercury

In Virginia, health outcomes follows geographic and racial lines

BY: - March 20, 2019

From The Bulletin, the Mercury’s blog, where we post quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary. More than 20 percent of Virginia’s black, American Indian and Hispanic populations report poor or fair health, compared to 14 percent of the state’s white residents. Annual data from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s […]

COMMENTARY

On opioids, it’s past time for medical professionals to make the real correction

BY: - March 18, 2019

The dental community has been focused on training and educational opportunities for dentists to change the way they prescribe opioids for dental procedures. For the past three years, I have been an advocate of the change, a role I did not choose: I was chosen for it. Four years ago, my youngest son Adam died […]

Four years ago, a woman was left stranded in her independent living apartment for days. Should the state provide more oversight?

BY: - March 18, 2019

More than four years later, Diane Franklin’s children still choke up when they describe what happened to their mother. It was Dec. 13, 2015, and as she approached Franklin’s apartment in a Charlottesville independent living community, Jackie Carney could already smell urine. Franklin had been trapped there for four days, her broken clavicle preventing her […]

Virginia Mercury

State eases restrictions on opioid addiction treatment

BY: - March 15, 2019

This month, Virginia’s Medicaid program has stopped requiring clinicians to obtain prior authorization before prescribing a medication used to treat opioid addiction in a move to increase access to treatment. The change in policy applies to Suboxone films, a form of buprenorphine and naloxone that is applied to the tongue. The medication is used to […]