Health & Science

AP Photo / Randy Snyder

As state administrators throughout Appalachia grapple with mounting health care costs, a new resource is offering assistance to policymakers by taking lessons from success stories outside of the health sector.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Monring, people can be suspicious of end-of-life care, especially Hospice. There’s a perception that when Hospice comes in, it’s only for the last hours before someone dies. In the final story of the series about aging in Appalachia, Kara Lofton found that for some families, Hospice services can not only help the dying live, but ease the caregiving burden on their families for weeks or months.

The world has two kinds of measles problems.

In low-income countries like Madagascar and in strife-ridden countries like Yemen, the disease takes a toll because vaccines are not available or accessible or affordable. In Madagascar alone, there have been nearly 80,000 cases and an estimated 900 deaths since September.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, caring for a loved one as they age can be incredibly demanding. It can also leave you with the feeling that society has forsaken you -- especially as families move away from their home base, leaving fewer people to share responsibilities. Kara Lofton reports about a growing problem in need of innovative solutions.

Wirt County is employing many tactics to try to cultivate a more compassionate, learning-ready environment; among them: the Whole Child Health Project.
Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The state faces complex ripple effects as a result of the opioid crisis. Among them, educators anecdotally report suspension rate increases in kindergarten classes, and a generation of babies born dependent on substances now being introduced to Head Start programs throughout the region.

Public school teachers and staff staged a statewide walk-in earlier this year to bring attention to what they say is a dire need for in-school mental health support. Many counties have already mobilized efforts to support students and help teachers who are not trained to cope with the increased number of traumatized youths disrupting the learning environment, including Wirt County.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the state faces complex ripple effects as a result of the opioid crisis. Schools are especially affected as they respond to increased number of children experiencing traumatic events. Many counties are working to adapt to a changing educational landscape, including Wirt County. Glynis Board visited Wirt Middle and Elementary schools recently to explore tactics being deployed.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the Kaiser Family Foundation published an analysis this week that found Affordable Care Act marketplace premiums are least affordable for middle-income older adults. And some of the highest premiums in the country are in rural areas like West Virginia. Kara Lofton spoke with Cynthia Cox, one of the authors of the analysis, about the findings.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, on last night’s episode of “The Legislature Today,” discussion was focused on racism and discrimination. This was in reaction to the anti-Muslim poster and materials displayed during West Virginia’s GOP Day at the Capitol last Friday. Host Suzanne Higgins spoke with three of West Virginia’s faith leaders: Rabbi Victor Urecki, Father Brian O'Donnell, and Ibtesam Sue Barazi, Vice President of the Islamic Association of West Virginia. We hear an excerpt from the interview.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, in rural parts of the Ohio Valley, qualified therapists are sometimes hours away from people who need help. That’s a problem in cases of sexual assault and domestic abuse, when such services can be a lifeline. Mary Meehan, with the Ohio Valley ReSource, visited a rural clinic in Wyoming that’s using telemedicine to connect with survivors of sexual assault.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this A bill to modify West Virginia’s foster care system – House Bill 2010 – would transition the system to a managed care model. The issue has sparked debate at the statehouse and the state. On last night’s episode of “The Legislature Today,” Health Reporter Kara Lofton brought both sides of the issue together to have a discussion about the bill and ways to meet in the middle.

Emotions ran high in the House of Delegates late Wednesday evening as HB 2519 – the Campus Self Defense Act – came to the floor after a day of procedures that took it off and then back on the House’s active calendar. We recap the night’s action, and we take a special look at foster care.

Adobe Stock

A bill that sought to place work or other requirements on Medicaid recipients in West Virginia has died in the House of Delegates.

A House committee put the bill on its inactive calendar Wednesday, Feb. 27, the final day that legislation could be passed in their chamber of origin. The full House earlier Wednesday debated the bill but stopped short of voting on it, and did not take up the bill during a late evening session before adjourning.

Oxfordian Kissuth / wikimedia Commons

The West Virginia Senate has passed a bill that would raise the state's minimum legal age for using tobacco products from 18 to 21.

The Senate passed the bill on a 20-14 vote Wednesday. The bill covers all tobacco and vaping products. A similar bill is pending in a House committee.

New ARC Grants Combine Economic Recovery and Addiction Recovery

Feb 27, 2019
Rebecca Kiger / Ohio Valley ReSource

The Appalachian Regional Commission announced Thursday another $22.8 million in funding to 33 projects aimed at revitalizing economies in places affected by the decline in the coal industry.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Gov. Jim Justice’s bill to give a 5 percent pay raise to teachers, state employees, and state police passed the West Virginia House of Delegates last week, but the Senate has yet to take it up. On last night’s episode of “The Legislature Today,” host Suzanne Higgins spoke with Senate President Mitch Carmichael and Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso about the bill. We hear an excerpt from the interview.

Wednesday is crossover day, meaning it’s the last day for the West Virginia House of Delegates and Senate to consider bills on third reading, or voting stage, in their chamber of origin. Host Suzanne Higgins speaks with Senate President Mitch Carmichael and Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso about legislation they hoped would make it out and on legislation they still hope to consider.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a controversial Medicaid bill that originated in the House Finance Committee last week was on the amendment stage last night in the West Virginia House of Delegates. House Bill 31-36 would create some work requirements for Medicaid holders. Supporters of the bill say it will help West Virginians get “back to work,” while some in the health community have concerns.

Lawmakers are working weekends and evenings now as we enter the seventh week of the 2019 West Virginia Legislative session. We'll discuss a controversial Medicaid bill that originated in the House Finance Committee. It was reported to the floor at almost the last possible moment for consideration.

Tornado Death Confirmed as Violent Storms Smack the South

Feb 25, 2019
The eastbound lanes of Interstate 24 are blocked after a landslide occurred after several days of heavy rains Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, north of Nashville, Tenn.
Mark Humphrey / Associated Press

Weekend storms raked parts of the Southeast, leaving deaths and injuries in their wake as a tornado smashed into a commercial district in a small Mississippi city and drenching rains fed a rising flood threat.

A woman was killed when a tornado hit Columbus, Mississippi, and a man died when he drove into floodwaters in Tennessee, officials said.

It was the second day of a statewide teacher and service personnel walkout over a comprehensive education reform bill. We bring you up-to-date on the latest action, and we also bring you special reports on black lung-related legislation, economic development, and tourism.

Late in the afternoon on Monday, the West Virginia Senate took up SB 451 – comprehensive education reform – as amended by the House of Delegates. But the upper chamber provided its own amendment to the House’s version. Host Suzanne Higgins and Senior Statehouse Reporter Dave Mistich break down the day’s floor action over the bill and what could come next. We also hear from the chairman and minority chairman of the House Select Committee on Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse.

Aaron Payne

Sue Meeks has worked with children for years as a registered nurse.

Meeks manages the family navigator program at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in Athens, Ohio.

Several years ago, she started noticing three and four-year-olds coming into the program with certain distinctive behaviors.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the opioid crisis is hitting a new generation in the Ohio Valley with thousands of babies born affected by drugs in the womb.

Doctors call it neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS. Now researchers are looking for the long-term effects NAS has as children grow. As the Ohio Valley ReSource’s Aaron Payne reports, the research could help parents, schools and communities meet a new challenge.

Doctor, Health, Doctor with tablet, Doctor with iPad
Public Domain Pictures

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and West Virginia University are launching a pilot project to address substance use in Berkeley and Jefferson counties.

Why Fewer Appalachians Signed Up for Affordable Care Act Coverage in 2019

Feb 15, 2019
The Health Wagon

Fewer residents of Appalachia will have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act in 2019 than the year before. Enrollment numbers are down throughout the region, as they are nationwide, and some advocates say they aren’t surprised.

In 11 of the 13 Appalachian states that enroll residents through the federal HealthCare.gov website (Maryland and New York administer their own ACA marketplaces), only Mississippi saw a rise in enrollment numbers. West Virginia and Virginia saw the largest declines.

The House of Delegates considered amendments to SB 451 – comprehensive education reform – all day, and they’ve continued their work into the evening. We break down the day’s proceedings, and we have a discussion with the Senate Health Committee over several healthcare bills that are moving through the legislative process.

Health Experts Say Poor Practice By Vaccine Company Likely Source Of Infections

Feb 12, 2019
Mary Meehan / Ohio Valley ReSource

Infectious disease experts say poor practices in vaccine delivery are the likely cause of infections reported by some people who received vaccine shots at their places of employment in the Ohio Valley.

Kentucky health officials are investigating a link between the infections and a private Kentucky company hired to deliver vaccinations in the workplace. Location Vaccination, based in Mount Sterling, Kentucky, administered vaccines to staff at other companies in 22 cities and towns in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Energy and Environment Reporter Brittany Patterson joins us again on The Legislature Today to lead a discussion exploring environmental issues in West Virginia. She brings us a special report from Minden, West Virginia, and she chats with a lawmaker in the House of Delegates who’s also an environmental scientist.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, from 2014 to 2016, more than 300 West Virginians on Medicaid overdosed. Researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health wanted to see what kind of care those people got afterward. They found that only about 10 percent of people who experienced a non-fatal overdose received appropriate follow-up.

In this Aug. 17, 2018 file photo, family and friends who have lost loved ones to OxyContin and opioid overdoses protest outside Purdue Pharma headquarters in Stamford, Conn.
Jessica Hill / Associated Press File Photo

As the nation’s opioid crisis was deepening, the company that makes a powerful prescription painkiller considered marketing an anti-addiction drug to “an attractive market” of people with addictions, according to allegations in court documents made public Thursday, Jan. 31.

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