Health & Science

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 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.

Assistant News Director Glynis Board leads a discussion on the impacts and trauma the opioid epidemic has inflicted on West Virginia’s youth, and host Suzanne Higgins chats with Senior Statehouse Reporter Dave Mistich for an update on some of the day’s major stories.

Smoke billows from the Ziegenfelder Frozen Treat Co. plant Jan. 31, 2019, in Wheeling, W.Va..
Chuck Kleine / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A West Virginia factory that makes frozen treats has been evacuated after a fire broke out.

News outlets report no one was injured in the fire Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Ziegenfelder Frozen Treat Co. plant in Wheeling.

It’s been a marathon day in the West Virginia Senate, as senators discuss SB 451 – the comprehensive education reform bill – as a “committee as a whole.” In the House, delegates considered amendments to HB 2010 – transitioning the state’s foster care system to a managed care model.

During the 2018 regular legislative session, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR) Cabinet Secretary Bill Crouch told legislators that our state was experiencing a “child welfare crisis.” The agency reports this year that emergency has only continued to grow. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention anticipate the opioid crisis alone will claim 1 million lives nation-wide by 2020 if no corrective action is taken, which is to say nothing of the havoc that would wreak on the quality of life for families and kids.

But professionals in the state passionate about child welfare are determined to change the trajectory.

Black Lung Clinics Call For Action But Top Regulator Plans No New Measures

Jan 29, 2019
An X-ray image of an Appalachian coal miner with black lung lesions.
Adelina Lancianese / NPR

In the wake of an NPR and PBS Frontline investigation into the surge in cases of black lung disease, a coalition of black lung clinics is calling for action to better protect coal miners from dust exposure.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, milk is flooding into food banks across the country. The federal government is buying surplus milk from dairy farmers to help mitigate losses created by trade disputes. Free milk for food banks sounds nice. But is anything really ever free? Glynis Board found some Ohio Valley pantries struggling to put the milk to use.

We take an in-depth look at House Bill 2010 – modifying the state’s foster care system by transitioning it into managed care. We’ll also bring you the latest action on Senate Bill 1 – the ‘last dollar in’ community and technical college bill, and we have a piece on volunteerism in West Virginia.


A new crayfish species found in West Virginia was just named after an enthusiastic crayfish expert who lives in here in the state.

Mary Meehan / Ohio Valley ReSource

A slender, black, rectangle, the Juul fits easily in the palm of your hand. You don’t light it, you trigger it with a click of a finger. The mist that is exhaled is so fine it’s hard to see. The nicotine is delivered via a pod the size of a AAA battery, with each pod containing the equivalent of 20 cigarettes.

That combination of small size and potent power makes the Juul the vaping device of choice for many teen users. A group of students from Casey County, Kentucky, affirms those features make “Juul-ing” – yes it has become a verb – rampant in class.

Over the weekend, a horrific fire in Clay County claimed the lives of four foster children. It's put an intense and more immediate spotlight on a child welfare system in crisis. Lawmakers have been working throughout interim sessions on addressing the significant needs of the state's foster care system, and now they bring that work into the regular session.

401(K) 2012 /

Enrollment plans in West Virginia through the federal online health insurance marketplace has declined again this year.

AP file photo

The opioid crisis is one of the biggest public health challenges in our region today. One strategy that’s been proved to help curb the epidemic’s worst effects is to implement harm reduction programs. These generally offer a variety of services but the most controversial component is often the needle exchange. Just because something is  proven effective, doesn’t mean the public has bought into the idea.

This week we’re taking an in-depth look at needle exchanges -- and what they can mean for their surrounding communities.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The 2019 West Virginia Legislative session is now in full swing, and West Virginia Public Broadcasting is bringing you in-depth coverage every weekday night on our program “The Legislature Today.” In last night’s episode, host Suzanne Higgins spoke with House Minority Leader Tim Miley and Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso about Gov. Jim Justice’s third State of the State Address.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, needle exchanges are a proven way to help slow the spread of HIV and hepatitis C. They also help connect people with substance abuse disorder to recovery and treatment.

Despite approval by Virginia lawmakers, there are only three exchanges operating in that state. One roadblock is getting permission from local law enforcement.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, three workplace deaths in late December 2018 provided a grim end of the year for the coal mining industry. As the Ohio Valley ReSource's Jeff Young reports, 12 people died in the nation’s coal mines even as mining employment dropped to a record low.

Adobe Stock

A medical professor at West Virginia University has completed a study that suggests patients may have greater satisfaction with care after surgery through telemedicine.

The school says telemedicine allows health care providers to use a computer or tablet to remotely evaluate patients.