Health Care | Texas Public Radio

Health Care

It seems like every firefighter you ask can rattle off examples of 911 calls that didn't come even close to being life-threatening.

"A spider bite that's two or three weeks old," says Jeff Jacobs. "A headache, or a laceration," says Ashley Histand.

Alberto Vela remembers another call from a woman who said, "This medicine's not working; now you need to take me to the hospital so I can get a different medication."

Tyler Hooper describes those calls they shouldn't be getting as "anything from simple colds to toothaches, stubbed toes to paper cuts."

This story comes from Texas Standard.

At the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon, Texas Standard volunteer Megan Jo Olson approached a handful of women and asked them an uncomfortable question: “Have you experienced stress urinary incontinence?”

The answer from a lot of the women was, “Yes.”

UHS

**Update: This afternoon the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, part of this package was stop-gap, two-year funding of the Health Care Trust Fund which funds Federally Qualified Health Centers.

The federal government will be winding down funding programs for low-income healthcare providers over the course of the next few years. One that provides funding for Federally Qualified Health Centers will be gone at the end of September if not reauthorized, which would mean $133 million lost by the state per year.

Just about everybody who has studied the hospital industry agrees that it needs to confront the epidemic that plagues many of its staff: Tens of thousands of nursing employees suffer debilitating injuries every year, mainly from doing part of their everyday jobs — moving and lifting patients. The problem is, nobody agrees how to get hospitals to take aggressive action.

As NPR has been reporting in its Injured Nurses series, nursing employees suffer more back and arm injuries than just about any other occupations.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Cruz said Tuesday he is signing up his family for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act, a law the Republican presidential candidate has vowed to repeal should he win the White House.

Cruz formally launched his presidential campaign on Monday, and his wife, Heidi Cruz, began an unpaid leave of absence from her job as a managing director in the Houston office of Goldman Sachs. That meant the family would soon lose access to health insurance through Mrs. Cruz’s job, triggering a need for the Cruz family to find a new policy.

The case of Terry Cawthorn and Mission Hospital, in Asheville, N.C., gives a glimpse of how some hospital officials around the country have shrugged off an epidemic.

Cawthorn was a nurse at Mission for more than 20 years. Her supervisor testified under oath that she was "one of my most reliable employees."

Scientists say nurses like Sunny Vespico are prime examples of what nursing schools and hospitals are doing wrong: They keep teaching nursing employees how to lift and move patients in ways that could inadvertently result in career-ending back injuries.

When Tove Schuster raced to help a fellow nurse lift a patient at Crozer-Chester Medical Center near Philadelphia in March 2010, she didn't realize she was about to become a troubling statistic.

While working the overnight shift, she heard an all-too-common cry: "Please, I need help. My patient has fallen on the floor."

The patient was a woman who weighed more than 300 pounds. So Schuster did what nursing schools and hospitals across the country teach: She gathered a few colleagues, and they lifted the patient as a team.

As a growing number of newborns are being born addicted to narcotic painkillers, Texas lawmakers are considering measures to combat the costly problem.

Texas documented 1,009 Medicaid-covered babies born in 2013 suffering from sudden withdrawal from prescription opioids, called neonatal abstinence syndrome, The Austin American-Statesman reported an 18 percent increase since 2011.

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