Health and health care news

PORTLAND, Maine — One of Maine's largest providers of personal care support for the elderly and disabled has announced that it is ending service in Maine.

The Portland Press Herald reports that MAS Home Care of Maine said Wednesday that as of July 29, it will be discontinuing the home care services it provides that receive all or part of their funding from MaineCare.

About 1,000 clients are affected.

The move could put personal support specialists out of work, while their clients would have to find other providers.

BANGOR, Maine — A Maine nurse union that is in the midst of negotiations with Eastern Maine Medical Center is nearing the end of its contract.

A hospital spokesman says the Maine State Nurses Association, National Nurses Organizing Committee and National Nurses United contract expires on Thursday. That is also the day bargaining teams representing the union and the hospital will resume negotiations.

Patty Wight / MPBN

PORTLAND, Maine - More than half of U.S. businesses with 50 or more employees have workplace wellness programs. The goal is to improve health and reduce insurance costs.

While recent studies have cast doubt on the overall effectiveness of these programs, the $6 billion a year industry has an ever-changing line-up of options. One of the more recent additions embraced by some companies in Maine targets an area of health often overlooked by workplace wellness programs.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Nearly 61,000 Maine residents will continue to receive tax subsidies that reduce the cost of their health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided Thursday to uphold a key provision in the President Barack Obama's health care overhaul that will preserve affordable health insurance for millions of Americans.

The case centered on the legality of the subsidies for consumers in Maine and 33 other states that don't have their own health care exchange and rely on the one run by the federal government.

Patty Wight / MPBN

PORTLAND, Maine - The group Physicians for Social Responsibility has released an update to a 2010 report on the health consequences of climate change.

Board member of the Maine chapter, Dr. Lani Graham, says the rise in vector borne-diseases is particularly troubling. The number of reported Lyme disease cases in Maine has increased 1,800 percent in 14 years.

"It's not just going to be Lyme disease," Graham said at a Portland news conference. "There are other diseases and illnesses out there that are going to be present."