Health

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Since 2015, Indiana counties have established syringe-exchange programs with the hopes of curbing the spread of HIV and hepatitis.

The latest county to establish such a service — Allen County — has decided to call the program something different, a move other counties in Indiana are considering as well.

The Indiana bill legalizing needle exchanges refers to the services as syringe exchange programs, and most counties’ terminology has followed suit. But earlier this month, Allen County announced the establishment of a syringe services program.

Elkhart Plans Survey Of Lead Water Pipes

Oct 24, 2016
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In the wake of the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan, many towns across the country are taking steps to reduce the risk of lead contaminated drinking water—including Elkhart. Elkhart’s first step is identifying those lead service lines.

Elkhart’s Board of Public Works freed up nearly $300,000 for the city’s public works department. Utility Service Manger Laura Kolo says the money will be used to locate all the lead service lines.

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A group of Indiana lawmakers is recommending the General Assembly take up a draft bill that would offer addiction treatment to certain misdemeanor offenders.

The state currently offers such treatment to select low-level felons as part of the newly-formed Recovery Works program, which allows justice officials to decide whether to offer vouchers for services such as addiction counseling and detox programs.

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Of 186,000 Medicare patients admitted to Indiana Hospitals in 2015, about one in six needed to return to the hospital within a month for different treatment. That’s a small decline from 2010, a drop in-line with national trends.

Drug Abuse Symposium Focuses On Preventing Addiction

Oct 14, 2016
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Day two of a drug abuse symposium in Indianapolis focused on prevention Friday. Officials say a disproportionate amount of time and money is focused on what to do after someone gets addicted rather than preventing someone from becoming an addict.

The philosophy behind drug prevention has changed in the last 20 years, says Indiana Prevention Resource Center educator Jasynda Radanovich.

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The Indiana Supreme Court has declined to take up a case that questioned whether an uninsured Fort Wayne man was entitled to information about hospital rates for other, insured patients.

In 2013, uninsured Goshen resident Thomas Frost stayed at Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne for weeks after being seriously injured in a 2013 motorcycle accident. After Frost was discharged, Parkview said he owed nearly $630 thousand in hospital fees.

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimate as many as 45 percent of nursing home residents’ visits to the hospital are potentially avoidable. In an effort to discover how to reduce the potentially harmful transfers, the federal agency has been working with 19 Indiana nursing homes to develop a new model of care, prevention and reimbursement.

The so-called OPTIMISTIC study is funded by CMS and began in 2013. Geriatrician and study author Kathleen Unroe says nursing home residents are high-risk patients.

Sarah Fentem / Indiana Public Broadcasting

As the response to the lead contamination crisis in East Chicago, Indiana continues, public health officials are still working to get all the residents tested.

The former U.S.S. Lead Superfund site has soil lead levels as much as 100 times what the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe.

Lead can cause serious neurological problems, among other health issues. For that reason, state and local public health officials have been conducting blood lead testing.

Sarah Fentem / Indiana Public Broadcasting

It’s a Thursday, not a Sunday, but the First Baptist Church in East Chicago is open for business. The president of the state’s NAACP is hauling in large cardboard boxes of nectarines. The fruit is placed beside milk crates full of cucumbers and apples. The effect is similar to a booth at a farmer’s market, except the produce doesn’t have prices on it. It’s here for the taking.

The spread is part of a community effort organized by the NAACP. The vitamins found in fresh produce protect people from some of the harmful health effects of lead.

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A recent ranking of Indiana's energy efficiency puts it 42nd in the country—down from a peak of 27th in 2013. But there is  a hidden cost associated with efficiency measures—public health.

Speaking at Purdue University’s Dawn or Doom technology conference, engineering professor Andrew Whelton had a seemingly counterintuitive message.

“Many of the technologies being used in plumbing systems, that are resulting in water and energy savings, we do not really understand the potential for them to contribute to disease in buildings," Whelton says.

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