Health

Caregivers
5:45 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Caring for a Disabled Child - And Worrying About the Future

81-year-old Anne Palmer, who is caring for her 44-year-old disabled son, Todd, and worries about his future.
Credit Tom Porter / MPBN

According to a study earlier this year by the AARP, Maine has about 200,000 people who are described as "unpaid caregivers," providing nearly $2.5 billion of free healthcare to the state every year. Most of them are looking after elderly family members, typically their aging parents. But in some cases, the situation is reversed and it's the parent who's caring for a sick or disabled son or daughter. In the final installment of a three-part series on the challenges facing caregivers, Tom Porter examines the plight of Maine families who are worried about the future.

 

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Health
9:22 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Maine Insurance Cooperative to Reach All of NH

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine Community Health Options is offering health insurance plans throughout New Hampshire in 2015, expanding ahead of schedule after being approved for a $67 million loan from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The insurance cooperative's proposed plans have been approved by the New Hampshire Insurance Department and are under review at CMS. It originally planned to start marketing its plans only in four of New Hampshire's 10 counties.

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Health
7:27 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Maine DEP Ruling On Chemical Won't Be Fast

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Patricia Aho will likely take most of the allotted 120 days to rule on new regulations for a chemical used in household products.

A proposed change would elevate four phthalates from "high concern" to "priority chemical" status under state rules. Manufacturers would need to report the use of the chemicals in products sold in the state.

Aho has until Jan. 27 to make a ruling. A DEP spokesman says Aho will likely take all or most of that time because the issue is complex.

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Belcher autopsy
5:45 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Autopsy: Former UMaine Player Involved in Murder-Suicide had Brain Damage

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - An autopsy performed a year after Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his baby's mother and himself found the 25-year-old sustained the same kind of brain damage that has turned up in other NFL players.

Belcher, a former University of Maine player, fatally shot 22-year-old Kasandra Perkins on Dec. 1, 2012, in the couple's Kansas City home before driving to Arrowhead Stadium and killing himself in front of the team's general manager and head coach.

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Health
6:14 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Maine Closes Phthalates Comment Period

AUGUSTA, Maine — The public comment period is closing in a drive to create new regulations for phthalates in household products.

Maine's Department of Environmental Protection will stop accepting comments on Monday. The DEP commissioner will then have 120 days to make a ruling.

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Psychiatric hospital issues
1:45 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Maine Democrats: Gov Not Doing Enough to Fix Riverview

State Rep. Richard Farnsworth, a Portland Democrat, says Gov. Paul LePage must act now to to confront problems at Riverview Psychiatric Center, as Maine Democratic Party Chair Ben Grant looks on.
Credit A.J. Higgins / MPBN

Maine Democratic leaders are lashing out at Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who they said should be making ongoing issues at the Riverview Psychiatric Center a top priority.

The Democrat's State House press conference followed a recent report by the Maine Sunday Telegram on the dangerous conditions and dysfunction at the hospital, and a decision by a legislative government watchdog group to investigate the facility.

Maine Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson said the governor was ducking the Riverview issue.

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Riverview Psychiatric Center
4:58 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Maine Lawmakers Seek More Scrutiny of State Psychiatric Hospital

The Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta.
Credit Mal Leary / MPBN

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's embattled Riverview Psychiatric Center is about to be scrutinized once again, this time by the Legislature's non-partisan Office of Program Evaluation and Governmental Accountability. The latest review follows the hospital's loss of some $20 million in federal Medicaid funding because of safety and compliance violations. Now, in addition to an audit to ensure that the facility is in compliance with a state-approved consent decree, lawmakers on the Legislature's Government Oversight Committee are launching their own limited investigation.

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Health
9:17 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Partnership to Help Resolve Rental Disputes

AUGUSTA, Maine — The National Alliance on Mental Illness is partnering with the Augusta Housing Authority to offer training to landlords and tenants to prevent crises that might result in someone with mental illness becoming homeless.

The goal of the two sessions is to give landlords and tenants the ability to better recognize and understand people with mental illness before a mental health issue escalates into a crisis that could lead to eviction.

The first session is Tuesday. The second is Oct. 21.

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Caregivers
5:48 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Easing the Burden of Caregivers: It Takes a Village

George and Janice Miller.
Credit Courtesy Janice Miller

HAMPDEN, Maine - We continue now with our three-part series on the challenges facing caregivers. A report by the AARP earlier this year found that family caregivers in Maine who give their time to look after elderly or ailing relatives contribute nearly $2.5 billion in free health care to the state every year. And it's a situation that's likely to get more critical, if you consider the demographic trend - namely that 50 Mainers are turning 65 every day, while the birth rate is falling at the same time.

 

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Health insurance figures
5:47 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

U.S. Census: Percentage of Uninsured in Maine on the Rise

Consumer health advocate Jake Grindle, of Western Maine Community Action.
Credit Patty Wight / MPBN

Maine is one of just two states in the nation where the number of people without health insurance increased in 2013. U.S. Census Bureau data released today indicates that, in one year, the percentage the state's uninsured grew from 10.2 percent to 11.2 percent - an addition of 12,000 people. The figures provide a backdrop as the next enrollment period approaches for the Affordable Care Act's insurance marketplace.

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