Health

The home for VPR's coverage of health and health industry issues affecting the state of Vermont.

VPR reporters Pete Hirschfeld and Bob Kinzel cover health issues from the Statehouse Bureau in Montpelier.

Follow them on Twitter for the latest health and Vermont health industry news.

Explore our coverage by topic or chronologically by scrolling through the list below

Aging Well | Homelessness & Housing | Opioid Addiction | UVM Medical Center

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Hundreds of Vermonters turned out for a public hearing earlier this month on an abortion-rights bill introduced in Montpelier. The Vermont House preliminarily approved the legislation by a vote of 104-40 Wednesday evening.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / The Times Argus

An abortion-rights bill approved by the House of Representatives Wednesday evening wouldn’t change the legal status quo in Vermont, but the legislation nonetheless spurred a six-hour debate on the House floor.

Sue Minter, left, and Eileen Nooney, center, welcome visitors to the grand opening of Capstone Community Action's Essentials Closet in Morristown.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

From diapers to toothpaste and household cleaners, there are many essential items that Vermont's low-income benefits programs don’t pay for. But now there’s a place in Morristown where Lamoille County residents can pick up what they need.

Vermont's suicide rate is among the highest in New England. The map above, using CDC data, shows Vermont's overall youth suicide rate between 2005 and 2016 was among the highest in the country.
CDC

Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in Vermont, claiming more lives every year than car accidents in our state. And Vermont's young people die by suicide at one of the highest rates in the country. We're talking with doctors and researchers about effective suicide prevention. 

EMT Andy Luce, left, and Cabot Select Board Chair Michael Hogan, right, stand with the town ambulance, housed at the Cabot Fire Department. The town's emergency ambulance service will stop transporting patients in June.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

A lot of Vermont’s emergency medical services are on life support thanks to declining volunteers and increasing costs. For some, time has run out.

Connor Gage on Mount Mansfield in September 2018.
Ronnie Gage, courtesy

The mother of a University of Vermont student who died of hypothermia earlier this month wants to make sure other parents don't have to go through the same grieving experience. Dorothy Connor has created the "Connor Gage Never Walk Alone Fund" in her son's memory.

Sue-Ellen Booher of Warren helps patients at UVM Medical Center, then swims marathons in her free time.
Ric Cengeri / VPR

Vermont Edition's ad-hoc series interviewing Interesting Vermonters has led us to a 106-year-old man from Townshend, the rose-sharing traditons of a Charlotte farmer and the maple syrup-swilling (unofficial) mayor of East Dover.

Now Warren's Sue-Ellen Booher is the latest Interesting Vermonter, a hematology nurse navigator at the Cancer Center at UVM Medical Center who's also a marathon swimmer.

A reading lamp pointed during a made bed in a darkened room at a nighttime.
BenAkiba / iStock

What do you do when you can't fall asleep? Some people meditate, others count sheep — and some pop in their headphones and listen to Sleepy, a podcast made by audio producer and Vermonter Otis Gray.

Brittany Lovejoy, of Montgomery, wears a black veil at a public hearing in Montpelier Wednesday, where she urged lawmakers to reject legislation that would create a "fundamental right" to abortion in Vermont.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / The Times Argus

It’s been more than 45 years since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade, but as Vermont House lawmakers learned at a public hearing Wednesday evening, the debate over abortion rights is as intense as it’s ever been.

Lamoille County Sheriff Roger Marcoux swears in a room full of deputies.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

A shortage of mental health treatment beds in Vermont has forced hospital emergency rooms to provide unprecedented levels of psychiatric care in recent years. Many of those ERs have used sheriff’s deputies to supervise violent or disruptive patients, but officials now say that practice runs afoul of federal regulations.

Proposed legislation that would protect abortion rights in Vermont is leading to intense debate.
Matthew Smith / VPR

In response to potential threats to abortion rights at the national level, the Vermont House and Senate have both introduced legislation to explicitly protect women's access to abortion as a fundamental right. While the bills have strong support, they are also facing energetic opposition. We're talking through the debate.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The Department of Health has offered free radon tests for any school in Vermont since 2001, but so far less than one third of the schools have tested their air.

A lunch from Crossett Brook Middle School in Duxbury features whole-grain spaghetti with meat sauce, local apple, salad, broccoli, and a roll.
Vermont Agency of Education

Vermont schools offer free or reduced-cost meals to thousands of students every day. But how did schools become the venue to enact food policy? We're looking at school meal programs and the role they play in nutrition and education in school today.

The production floor at Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro, which was just ranked as the best brewery in the world by the RateBeer website.
Amy Noyes / VPR

Vermont prides itself on producing award-winning beer and spirits; the industry is part of the state's brand and boosts tourism and the economy. But we also have one of the highest rates of excessive drinking in the country. We're talking about the culture of drinking in Vermont, and how we think about alcohol in our state.

Tom E. Puskar / Associated Press

I’ve always been puzzled by the anti-vaccine movement. As a former health care reporter in Maine and Vermont, I interviewed parents who declined to immunize their children. They struck me as generally well-meaning but misinformed when they insisted that the health risks of vaccinations outweighed the benefits, even when faced with scientific evidence to the contrary.

A nurse's hand holds a flu shot and prepares it with a vaccine vial.
David Goldman / Associated Press File

Vermont health officials have reported about 20 outbreaks of flu this season in the state so far, and they expect that number to rise.

Suzanne Spencer Rendahl

Unlike many who flock to ski resorts, I’ve always balked at the price of lift tickets as well as the crowds. Memories from childhood sitting on a chairlift while getting battered by the wind, and then ice skating down a steep slope also haven’t helped. So early in adulthood I learned the joys of cross- and back-country skiing, which allow me to fly through the woods under my own power.

Glasses of water on a windowsill.
Jtasphoto / iStock

The Agency of Natural Resources wants to test all of Vermont’s drinking water for five per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and the agency said it will begin a rulemaking process to add the five chemicals to the list of contaminants that all public drinking water suppliers must monitor on a regular basis.

Firewood stacked in a shed.
Emily Corwin / VPR

“What are the environmental and economic benefits of wood heat in Vermont? And then what are the costs to that?” That question comes to Brave Little State from Coco Moseley of Lincoln, who – like many Vermonters – heats her family’s home with an antique wood stove.

Stefanie Schaffer does a plank on a mat as part of her core exercises for physical therapy. She has two prosthetic legs.
Nina Keck / VPR

An explosion on a small tour boat turned a dream vacation in the Bahamas into a nightmare for one Rutland family. Doctors gave 22-year-old Stefanie Schaffer a 50 percent chance of survival, but now after six months — and dozens of surgeries — she's back home in Rutland reclaiming her life.

The Spirit Sanctuary in Essex, New York hopes to preserve a wildlife corridor by turning it into a "green" burial ground.
The Spirit Sanctuary, courtest

To preserve a wildlife corridor between Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks that could help animals survive a changing climate, a new organization is taking a unique approach: the Spirit Sanctuary in Essex, New York is buying up land for people who want to be buried there.

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