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Health

Area Agency on Aging of Northwestern Michigan Director, Heidi Gustine, cautions that the state is about to reach a tipping point, as more baby boomers reach retirement age.
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Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel plans to roll out a task force on Monday to develop a strategy to deal with the problem of elder abuse.

Kelly Rossman-McKinney is the attorney general’s communications director. She says an estimated 73,000 older people in Michigan are victims of some type of elder abuse. She says that number is probably on the low side because the scope of the problem isn’t known yet, and she says it takes many forms.

person shaking prescription pills from bottle into hand
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Today on Stateside, we look at why people in rural parts of Michigan have difficulty accessing what many doctors consider the most effective treatment for opioid addiction. We also talk about the roots of Islamophobia in the United States, and the financial strain PFAS contamination puts on municipalities.

Corner of a library with bookshelves and a study table
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State lawmakers want to give librarians immunity from any issues that could arise if they administer opioid overdose medication. A state House committee passed bills on Tuesday that would do that.

The quiet, secluded nature of libraries makes them an attractive place for some drug users to get their fix. Librarians can administer overdose medication like Narcan. But some don’t carry it because they could be sued if something goes wrong.

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Law enforcement in Michigan wants to make it illegal for minors to possess vaping products and for retailers to sell e-cigarettes to minors. But an ongoing debate in the state Legislature has police and prosecutors frustrated.

Former Governor Rick Snyder vetoed legislation to ban the sale and possession of e-cigarettes for minors.

He said e-cigarettes should be classified and regulated like tobacco instead. But now, lawmakers in Lansing are trying to – once again – focus on the sale, not the classification.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Nestled among the Starbucks and CVS pharmacies on Greenfield Road and Ten Mile in Southfield and Oak Park are clusters of Orthodox synagogues, and Hebrew schools. 

There are delis and other other Jewish-owned businesses.

So it sure seems like the Israeli citizen, who was visiting after catching measles in New York, did his best to visit a lot of them, including a kosher grocery store, a yeshiva, and Congregation Yagdil Torah, where I meet David Shapero.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration is re-examining plans for a multi-million dollar psychiatric hospital in Michigan's Thumb region.

For more than 100 years, the Caro Center has been treating Michiganders with serious medical conditions.  Starting in 1914, the center provided treatment for people with epilepsy. The focus shifted to patients with psychiatric disorders in the 1950s.

American Sign Language for A - S - L
U.S. Air Force Photo Illustration/Airman 1st Class Kyle Johnson

Today on Stateside, Governor Whitmer announced a plan earlier this week to introduce a 45 cent gas tax by October 2020. Are there enough road workers to put all that funding to use? Plus, Ingham County is building a public defender office from the ground up. We talk about the challenges of developing a brand new governmental department. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s medical marijuana businesses are once again facing a deadline to get a state license or be forced to close their doors.

State regulators are proposing Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Licensing Board give businesses until the end of this month to get their license to operate.   

picture of Connie Flachs
People Picture Company / Courtesy of Connie Flachs

Body image is something that people can wrestle with their entire lives. Being hypercritical of what you see in the mirror often starts when you’re young, and carries on throughout the rest of your life.

The Better Body Image Conference, taking place Saturday, March 2nd in Grand Rapids, aims to interrupt that self-critical voice about our bodies. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University researchers say they've found a cost-effective way to help prison inmates with depression.

Roughly a quarter of prison inmates released each year suffer from depression.  Often, the problem pre-dates their incarceration.

Inmates often go without adequate treatment while in prison. Many re-enter society with worse mental health problems than before they entered prison.

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Michigan Radio

Michigan's mental health care system isn't getting children the  help they need. 

The causes are varied  –  from a shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists to the social stigma around getting treated for mental illness  – but many providers, parents, and advocates say we're reaching a crisis point. 

Now, some providers are trying to collaborate on solutions. 

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Michigan, like most of the country, is in desperate need of more child and adolescent psychiatrists.

A study released in February found that one in seven children in Michigan – more than 100,000 children in total – have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or ADHD, which are the three most common psychiatric disorders in people under the age of 18. 

The state had a total of just 239 psychiatrists trained to treat children and adolescents in 2017, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists. That works out to just 11 psychiatrists for every 100,000 children across the state.

UNSPLASH

Where do you go, to whom do you turn if your child needs mental health care? Child psychiatrists and parents agree: the options in Michigan are too few and far between.

This issue has led to a class action lawsuit against the state's Department of Health and Human Services. It was filed in 2018 against then-Governor Snyder, and it alleges the state has failed to meet its legal obligation under Medicaid to provide adequate services for children who have behavioral and mental health problems.

Cyndi Sibley standing in front of a brick wall
Bella Isaacs / Michigan Radio

Parents of children with severe autism in Michigan have limited options when it comes to finding long-term care for their kids.

Credit Melinda Odisho

A danger to themselves or others. That’s the threshold set by Michigan law to put someone in a psychiatric hospital.

But many families with autistic children say meeting that definition doesn’t seem to be enough for their kids--and they don’t know what to do.

This is one family’s story.


young man sitting with his head in his hands in the middle of a field
Francisco Gonzalez / Francisco Gonzalez

Tens of thousands of children in Michigan aren't getting the mental health treatment that they need, according to a recent report published in JAMA Pediatrics. 

University of Michigan researchers tracked the prevalence of three of the most common and treatable mental health disorders — depression, anxiety, and ADHD — among young people at both the national and state level. They also looked at how many of those kids and teens were getting treatment. 

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A new University of Michigan study finds that doctors frequently send discharged patients home with a prescription for risky antibiotics. That's even when the patients were taking less risky antibiotics in the hospital.

The study looked at people who were hospitalized for urinary tract infections or pneumonia.

The risky antibiotics include Ciprofloxacin (often just called Cipro), Leviquin and generic drugs ending in "floxacin."

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New work requirements for people in Michigan's Medicaid expansion group could cause as many as 183,000 people to lose their coverage.

Anywhere between 9 and 27 percent of the approximately 680,000 people enrolled in the Michigan Healthy Plan - or 61,000 to 183,000 recipients - could be kicked of the rolls.

fresh vegetables at a grocery store.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Preparations are underway for what could be a long gap between monthly benefits for some SNAP recipients.

Bob Wheaton is with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. He said the department is giving a heads up to organizations that they could see more people in need.

Nathan Bishop

People living near the Marathon refinery in southwest Detroit are calling for “more transparency” after a foul odor from the plant descended on surrounding neighborhoods Sunday.

The source of the odors was a malfunctioning flare gas system which allowed hydrogen sulfide and other compounds to be released into the air.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The latest testing shows the level of lead in Flint’s tap water has declined again.

Flint’s drinking water has been closely tested since the height of the city’s water crisis.   

In early 2016, the highest risk homes, with lead service lines, were testing at 20 parts per billion.  The federal action level for lead is 15 parts per billion. The latest testing found four parts per billion in the 90th percentile of the highest risk homes

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Fifty-six percent of those who take medical marijuana for chronic pain admit that in the last six months they've driven under the influence of marijuana within two hours of using it. 

About one in five report that they've driven while "very high" at least once in the last six months, and about half say they've driven while "slightly high."  

Sign that says Flint vehicle city
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A special registry for people affected by the Flint water crisis moves into a new phase next month.

The ill-fated 2014 switch of the city’s drinking water source from Detroit water to the Flint River led to a cascade of events. 

Damaged pipes leached lead into the drinking water, elevating blood lead levels in children. Many Flint residents complained of skin irritation and other health problems. Dozens of people became sick with Legionnaires' disease, with at least dozen people dying of the pneumonia-like illness. 

Smokestacks spewing pollution
mdprovost ~ Prosper in 2011 / Flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A new study says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should consider the effects of burning fossil fuels on children in its regulation process - and not just adults, as it mainly does now.

The study conducted a systematic review of scientific literature on the effects on children's development and health from pollutants from fossil fuels.

Those pollutants include particulate matter, powerful toxins known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and nitrogen dioxide, as well as carbon dioxide, which is warming the planet.

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The Michigan attorney general has filed second-degree murder charges against a pharmacist and the co-founder of a Massachusetts pharmacy who are blamed for a fatal meningitis outbreak.

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In 2016, 20,360 children and teens died in the United States. And sixty-one percent of them died from preventable injuries, according to a new study by members of the University of Michigan Injury Prevention Center. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Time is running out for Michiganders to sign up for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act.   
Midnight Saturday is the deadline to qualify for next year’s health plans. 

Michigan State University sign
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Last week, Michigan State University announced that it will not reopen the fund it had previously set up to pay for counseling and other services sought by survivors of  Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse. MSU officials froze the $10 million fund in July, citing concerns over fraud.

CDC

Michigan has its first confirmed case this year of a polio-like illness called acute flaccid myelitis or AFM. The patient is a child in Wayne County.

Nationally, there have been 134 cases of acute flaccid myelitis in 2018. AFM  can cause muscle weakness, facial drooping and paralysis. Most of those affected have been children.  

Lynn Sutfin is a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

"This is incredibly rare," Sutfin emphasizes. "This is the only case we've had diagnosed and confirmed in Michigan this year. Just definitely keep an eye out; ask your health care provider if you're concerned, but we definitely don't want anyone panicking."

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The deadline to sign up for 2019 Affordable Care Act health plans is less than two weeks away, and fewer new Michiganders are signing up for Obamacare.

It’s not just Michigan. Online signups on the online Obamacare marketplace are down nationwide.

Analysts point to several possible reasons why fewer people are signing up for health insurance through the ACA marketplace. 

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