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Health

PolitiFact: When are health-care ‘cuts’ really cuts?

PolitiFact: When are health-care ‘cuts’ really cuts?

Politics and math don’t always get along, and counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway raised a common complaint about how people talk about the future of Medicaid spending under the Senate Republican health care bill. In an interview Sunday, ABC news host George Stephanopoulos brought up the bill’s projected $800 billion in Medicaid savings and asked Conway if that undermined the president&rsquo...
Another benefit of breastfeeding, could lower women’s risk of heart disease, stroke

Another benefit of breastfeeding, could lower women’s risk of heart disease, stroke

The benefits of breastfeeding for both women and their babies have been well-documented in the past. Now, new research shows there’s an even bigger reason to for new mothers to breastfeed. Previous research has shown that children who are breastfed have lower death rates, less risk of infection and higher IQs. Studies have also shown breastfeeding can help reduce a woman’s risk...
John Young: Now showing: ‘The Thing from Beyond the Senate Door’

John Young: Now showing: ‘The Thing from Beyond the Senate Door’

Donald Trump, running for president, said he would not cut Medicaid. He said that though he would eviscerate the Affordable Care Act with a mighty and swift sword, “Everybody’s going to get covered” under his alternative. “I don’t care if it costs me votes or not.” So, America, do you think he would veto any bill that would violate these campaign promises? That...
Commentary: How Legislature could save patients from extreme mark-ups

Commentary: How Legislature could save patients from extreme mark-ups

Is there anything more emblematic of our troubled health care system than a patient receiving a “surprise bill” in the mail after receiving emergency care? The most egregious form of surprise medical bills, also known as balance bills, happen when an out-of-network provider bills a patient despite having delivered care at an in-network facility. Often this occurs when a patient goes to...
Man wakes from induced coma when his dog visits the hospital 

Man wakes from induced coma when his dog visits the hospital 

Andy Szasz was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012 and beat the initial cancer after receiving treatment, but after falling ill with pneumonia in December, he was rushed to the hospital and placed into an induced coma the next day when he stopped breathing. Doctors at Southampton General Hospital in England estimated he would be in a coma for a week, but they were surprised when he woke up after just...
U.S. suspends Brazilian beef imports over safety concerns

U.S. suspends Brazilian beef imports over safety concerns

All imports of fresh beef from Brazil have been halted because of recurring concerns about the safety of the products intended for the American market, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said Thursday. The suspension of shipments will remain in place until the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture takes corrective action which the USDA finds satisfactory. The action comes three months after...
Legalized pot has no effect on states’ traffic death rates, study finds

Legalized pot has no effect on states’ traffic death rates, study finds

A study undertaken by Dell Seton Medical Center trauma experts found that the rates of motor vehicle deaths weren’t statistically different in states that have legalized marijuana compared with those that haven’t. Researchers looked at traffic data in two states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana: Washington and Colorado. They compared the rates of fatal car crashes...
JUST IN: Personal info of 522 Aetna clients in Texas affected by data security incident, firm says 

JUST IN: Personal info of 522 Aetna clients in Texas affected by data security incident, firm says 

More than 500 Texans that receive health insurance through provider Aetna were affected by a data security incident that exposed some of their personal information online, Aetna officials said in a statement Friday.  The information of 522 residents in Texas was “inappropriately available for a period of time,” the statement said.  “The information available online generally...
Legalized pot not a factor in traffic death rates, Austin surgeon’s study finds

Legalized pot not a factor in traffic death rates, Austin surgeon’s study finds

According to a new study led by an Austin trauma surgeon, states that have legalized recreational marijuana don’t see an greater increase in the rate of traffic deaths than states where pot is illegal. The study, published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health, looked at traffic deaths in Colorado and Washington, where recreational marijuana use is legal, and...
Phillips: Plans for Brackenridge building should look beyond profit

Phillips: Plans for Brackenridge building should look beyond profit

By now, many are aware of the growing research regarding the links between housing security — meaning a dependable, structurally sound and unpolluted roof over one’s head — and good health. The Princeton, N.J.-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, one of the nation’s largest philanthropies focused solely on health, has provided policy briefs on the topic since 2008. One of...
Straying from Texas Republicans, Ted Cruz opposes GOP health care bill

Straying from Texas Republicans, Ted Cruz opposes GOP health care bill

Texas conservative firebrand Sen. Ted Cruz and three of his colleagues in the U.S. Senate announced Thursday they oppose the latest proposed Republican health care overhaul — potentially imperiling the bill, which otherwise received widespread support from other officials in this GOP-dominated state. Their announcement came just hours after the Senate’s Republican leader, Mitch McConnell...
Commentary: How Senate health bill raises health costs for everyone

Commentary: How Senate health bill raises health costs for everyone

As Congress wrestles with replacing the Affordable Care Act, a big question is where they will finally land with Medicaid. Rolling back Medicaid hurts our country’s safety net by taking coverage away from millions of Americans — many of whom are low-income, working adults who aren’t offered health insurance through their employers or who work intermittent, contract jobs — and...
Ted Cruz, three other Senate conservatives hold out on latest GOP health care plan

Ted Cruz, three other Senate conservatives hold out on latest GOP health care plan

Texas conservative firebrand Ted Cruz and three of his U.S. Senate colleagues announced Thursday they do not support the latest Republican attempt to overhaul the country’s health care system, potentially imperiling the bill’s chance at passage.  Their announcement comes just hours after the Senate’s Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, unveiled the secretly drafted...
Photographer captures 6 families' fights with childhood cancer in heartbreaking project

Photographer captures 6 families' fights with childhood cancer in heartbreaking project

The “More Than 4” photo project by Sherina Welch of Houston, Texas-based FreeSpiritFoto aims to educate the public on what cancer really looks like by documenting six families’ fights with childhood cancer, as well as spread awareness about the fact that only 4 percent of funds for cancer research go to children. On Saturday, Welch posted an emotional photo series...
Why Austin officials are looking to snuff out e-cigarettes

Why Austin officials are looking to snuff out e-cigarettes

Through a haze of sickly sweet smoke, in front of a shelf of nicotine-infused juices with flavors like strawberry cream/caramel corn and jam/butter/toast, Kemal Whyte reflected on the clientele shifts he’s seen at his South Austin vape shop in recent years. The faces have gotten older, with fewer recent high school graduates and more 30- and 40-somethings, including some veterans, said Whyte...
Eating more fish could help reduce pain, other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

Eating more fish could help reduce pain, other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

Eating more fish could help reduce the pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, according to a new study in Arthritis Care & Research. Scientists studied the diets of 176 people and looked at the relationship between fish consumption and disease symptoms. They found those eating two servings of fish per week had a lower incidence of aches and pains associated with RA compared to those who...
Commentary: How Texas stands to lose millions with revised health bill

Commentary: How Texas stands to lose millions with revised health bill

The American Health Care Act now being considered by a Senate committee would result in many disturbing consequences, including an estimated 23 million people losing their health insurance coverage by 2026 and increased premiums and other out-of-pocket costs. An estimated more than 2.5 million Texas would lose insurance coverage, adding to our already high rates of those uninsured. The AHCA would...
Commentary: Why healthy children’s meals should be a national priority

Commentary: Why healthy children’s meals should be a national priority

Providing healthy meals to children is a critical issue — one that should be nonpartisan. But during the past several years, political controversy has made its way onto the lunch tray, focused particularly on the nutritional content of meals served in schools. The federal government recently stepped back some Obama-era rules and decided to allow school meals with low-fat flavored milks and fewer...
Young: In replacing ACA, Team ‘Mean’ hands off duty to ‘Coward Caucus’

Young: In replacing ACA, Team ‘Mean’ hands off duty to ‘Coward Caucus’

Donald Trump didn’t just say the House-passed bill to replace the Affordable Care Act was mean. He called it “mean, mean, mean.” That’s “mean” times three. Interesting. When he invited the House White Caucus, er, Republican Caucus, over for a celebratory photo op after its passage, he said the bill was “incredibly well-crafted.” But let’s give...
Plunked players: No need for full facemasks in college ball

Plunked players: No need for full facemasks in college ball

LSU’s Greg Deichmann broke his cheekbone in three places when he was hit by a pitch in a preseason scrimmage, and since surgery he has worn a protective cage that covers the right side of his face. The Oakland Athletics’ second-round draft pick plans to continue wearing the shield in pro baseball. “It gives me a sense of security,” he said. “I don’t have any post-traumatic...
Medical board alleges Austin surgeon took neuromonitoring kickbacks

Medical board alleges Austin surgeon took neuromonitoring kickbacks

An Austin neurosurgeon has been accused by the Texas Medical Board of misleading patients and violating a federal anti-kickback law by referring them to a company in which he allegedly had a financial interest for expensive surgical monitoring services. A May 16 medical board complaint says those monitoring services cost patients of Dr. Thomas S. Loftus up to $80,000 more than their insurance covered...
Redeveloping the Brackenridge hospital tract will be ‘a balancing act’

Redeveloping the Brackenridge hospital tract will be ‘a balancing act’

Central Health envisions a high-density, mixed-use development for its now-empty University Medical Center Brackenridge campus in downtown Austin. For some, this brings to mind luxury apartments, expensive restaurants and high-end boutiques — prompting calls from some community advocates for a project that includes affordable housing and amenities open to everyone. While there’s an obvious...
Viewpoints: CPS leaders should focus on stability to build on progress

Viewpoints: CPS leaders should focus on stability to build on progress

Some of the long-sought changes necessary to overhaul the state’s embattled child protection agency — such as more staff and better pay — are steadily but slowly taking shape. But agency leaders must not lose sight of those who stand to have the greatest impact on improving care for some of the state’s most troubled children: its staff members. The latest sign of overhaul at...
Council approves Central Health board member despite conflict concerns

Council approves Central Health board member despite conflict concerns

Despite initial hesitation about potential conflicts of interest, a divided Austin City Council decided Thursday to appoint to the Central Health board of managers a high-ranking official with a major hospital system that competes with the health district’s hospital and other facilities. The council voted to approve the appointment of Julie Oliver in a 6-5 vote after a closed session discussion...
Council approves Central Health board member despite conflict concerns

Council approves Central Health board member despite conflict concerns

Despite initial hesitation about potential conflicts of interest, a divided Austin City Council decided Thursday to appoint to the Central Health board of managers a high-ranking official with a major hospital system that competes with the health district’s hospital and other facilities. The council voted to approve the appointment of Julie Oliver in a 6-5 vote after a closed session discussion...
Commentary: Central Health board should reflect Austin’s diversity

Commentary: Central Health board should reflect Austin’s diversity

Since the election establishing the Travis County Hospital District in 2004, the promise of the publicly funded district has been to help the poor and needy in Travis County access health care. Now known as Central Health, the agency is governed by a board of managers that oversees an annual budget of almost $250 million for health care programs for the poor and vulnerable in Travis County. The board...
Everyone in Austin has benefited from the work of Dr. Charles Pelphrey

Everyone in Austin has benefited from the work of Dr. Charles Pelphrey

Dr. Charles Pelphrey turned 100 on April 16. The physician’s centenary birthday was not much noticed here in Austin. He retired in 1981, and a few years ago, he moved to a quiet suburb of San Antonio to live with his daughter. Yet, if anyone should be remembered by Austin, it is this man — who almost singlehandedly changed health care in this city. For instance, Pelphrey introduced blood...
5 things to know about Austin heat this week

5 things to know about Austin heat this week

High humidity coupled with above-normal temperatures in Austin will send heat index values this week into the triple-digits, the National Weather Service says. Here are five things you need to know about the heat: 1. It’s not just heat, it’s humidity: Thermometers don’t tell the whole story. Humidity from the Gulf of Mexico makes everything feel hotter because your...
Commentary: GoFundMe is no substitute for a good health care system

Commentary: GoFundMe is no substitute for a good health care system

In covering the recent death of Austin musician George Reiff, the American-Statesman reported on the success of the crowdsourcing effort to help pay for his medical expenses. When Reiff was diagnosed with stage IV cancer last summer, his family set up a GoFundMe account to help with the enormous financial costs of chemotherapy, radiation and other treatment, even though he had health insurance. It...
33% of world’s population now overweight with American children leading the way, study finds

33% of world’s population now overweight with American children leading the way, study finds

More than 2 billion people around the world — about a third of the planet’s population — are overweight, and another 10 percent are considered obese. That’s according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine by researchers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. The team of researchers examined data from 68.5 million...
Report: Children in Texas are still worse off than in most states

Report: Children in Texas are still worse off than in most states

Although they’ve fared a little better since last year, children are worse off in Texas than in most states, according to a study released Tuesday. The Annie E. Casey Foundation, which has ranked states annually on child well-being since 1990, placed Texas at No. 41 among all states this year, climbing two slots since last year. This year, New Hampshire took the top spot and Mississippi scored...
United Pet Group recalls 5 brands of rawhide dog chews

United Pet Group recalls 5 brands of rawhide dog chews

United Pet Group has issued a voluntary recall for multiple brands of rawhide dog chew products that were distributed to retail outlets and sold online in the U.S.  The recall – which covers the brands American Beefhide, Digest-eeze, Healthy Hide, Healthy Hide Good-n-Fun and Healthy Hide Good-n-Fit – was issued after United Pet Group identified that certain rawhide chew manufacturing...
Possibly lethal fentanyl exposure a challenge for Central Texas cops

Possibly lethal fentanyl exposure a challenge for Central Texas cops

As Austin police continue to tighten their grip on the K2 drug trade that has been plaguing the city’s homeless community for years, authorities are beginning to fix their gaze on a new, deadly narcotics threat sweeping into the area from the east. Fentanyl, a powerful opioid approved for use in treating severe pain like that experienced by advanced cancer patients, has been making its...
Tuna recalled over possible hepatitis A contamination

Tuna recalled over possible hepatitis A contamination

A Hawaii-based company is recalling frozen yellowfin tuna after samples tested positive for hepatitis A. Restaurants in at least three states – California, Texas and Oklahoma – are believed to have received shipments of the fish, according to a Food and Drug Administration press release.  According to the press release, Hilo Fish Co. "began recalling tuna sourced...
Workshop held to brainstorm ideas for Brackenridge redevelopment

Workshop held to brainstorm ideas for Brackenridge redevelopment

Mobile healthcare units, incorporation of fountains or other water-centric features, giant games, plaques detailing the history of Austin’s segregation and a loaner library. These were among the ideas that about 50 participants came up with during a visioning workshop held Tuesday night for the public spaces that will one day be part of Central Health’s old Brackenridge campus being redeveloped...
Sleeping in on the weekends could be a costly mistake, research reveals

Sleeping in on the weekends could be a costly mistake, research reveals

  After a busy work week, many people look forward to the weekend for the chance to sleep in. But those extra snooze hours could lead to some serious health issues, according to a new study.  Researchers from the Sleep and Health Research Program used data from the Sleep and Healthy Activity, Diet, Environment, and Socialization experiment to explore how sleep irregularity affects the body...

Clinic: Austin patient info could have leaked online as early as 2013

A data breach at a local clinic caused the information of about 2,000 patients to leak online, the Austin doctor’s office announced Monday. Names, dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, medical account numbers, preferred language, race and ethnicity of patients from Victory Medical Center were leaked online, the medical center said Monday. The doctor’s office has two...
Central Health board chair warns of appointee’s ‘conflicts’

Central Health board chair warns of appointee’s ‘conflicts’

The chair of the Central Health Board of Managers warned the Austin City Council that its proposed appointee to the board would run into myriad conflicts of interest because of her employment with a major hospital. In a three-page letter and 71-page memo sent Friday to Council Member Ora Houston, board chair Katrina Daniel wrote that proposed appointee Julie Oliver would have to recuse herself from...
Commentary: How to correctly treat America’s pre-existing conditions

Commentary: How to correctly treat America’s pre-existing conditions

Republicans in the House of Representatives approved the American Health Care Act, or AHCA, after amending it to allow states to eliminate the pre-existing conditions protections of Obamacare. Apparently, they took comfort in the fact that people with pre-existing conditions already have guaranteed access to health care in America. Congress created that right back when Ronald Reagan was president...
FACT CHECK: Appointee incorrectly calls Arabic Austin’s third most-common language

FACT CHECK: Appointee incorrectly calls Arabic Austin’s third most-common language

An Austin appointee declared Arabic the Texas capital’s third most-common language. De veras? Maram Museitif, confirmed by the Austin City Council in May 2017 to serve until 2020 on the Central Health Board of Managers, was quoted saying in a press release announcing her appointment: “I’m very familiar with Central Health’s mission and the needs of the people we serve. I bring...
Baby born without a nose passes away; parents heartbroken

Baby born without a nose passes away; parents heartbroken

An Alabama toddler, who beat the odds for two years, succumbed to a rare and deadly condition this weekend. Eli Thompson died Saturday night at a medical center in Mobile, his father Jeremy Finch told AL.com. Finch described his son as “very, very bright and happy, always smiling and giving everybody fist bumps.” A heartbroken Finch told AL.com, “He touched a lot of people&rsquo...
Boy saves little sister after spotting cancerous lump while wrestling

Boy saves little sister after spotting cancerous lump while wrestling

A British family is asking for help after their son spotted a lump in his sister’s throat that changed their lives forever. According to the family’s GoFundMe page, 11-year-old Aaron East was playing with his 7-year-old sister, Amy, at their home in Essex, England when he noticed a growth in the back of her throat. He called for his mom, Carly East, 31, who immediately knew something was...
Joe Barger, 91, heads to National Senior Games

Joe Barger, 91, heads to National Senior Games

Joe Barger, dressed for a run on a recent muggy morning, says he just wants to finish his races at the National Senior Games later this week. Then a sly grin creeps across his face. Actually, he confesses, he’s also aiming to take down his nemesis — a fast and lean runner named Charlie Baker, who just aged up into the 90- to 95-year-old age group alongside Barger, who is 91. Barger will...
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