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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A woman holds a copy of the weekly newspaper Seven Days featuring a story in the "Hooked" series on opioids and addiction.
Matthew Smith / VPR

The stigma surrounding opioid addiction is pervasive. Many grappling with it, and even those years into their recovery, often struggle to talk with their doctors or families about it. But when addiction and recovery intersect with pregnancy, that stigma is only amplified. 

Jason was hallucinating. He was withdrawing from drugs at an addiction treatment center near Indianapolis, and he had hardly slept for several days.

"He was reaching for things, and he was talking to Bill Gates and he was talking to somebody else I'm just certain he hasn't met," his mother, Cheryl, says. She remembers finding Jason lying on the floor of the treatment center in late 2016. "I would just bring him blankets because they didn't have beds or anything."

Mary McCallum

When my aging terrier started slowing down last year, I took it in stride. She was twelve, and according to an online calculator, old enough to collect doggie Social Security. But just one year later, I knew she’d hiked her last Vermont mountain.

The exterior of the Windham County Dental Center
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Up to a few months ago it was hard for someone on Medicaid to find a dentist in the Brattleboro area. Reimbursement rates are low and some dentists refuse to take Medicaid patients.

But a new dental center in southern Vermont has opened to address that problem.

Planned Parenthood and a number of other health providers across the U.S. have formally withdrawn from Title X — the nation’s family planning program for low-income people — after the Trump administration imposed new restrictions.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued new rules prohibiting Title X funding recipients from providing or referring patients for abortion, except in certain cases.

For more than 30 minutes on a frigid February morning, Robert Findley lay unconscious in the back of an ambulance as paramedics hand-pumped oxygen into his lungs.

They were waiting for a helicopter to land at a helipad just across the icy parking lot next to Mercy Hospital Fort Scott, which closed in December. The night before, Findley had fallen on the slick driveway outside his home while checking the mail. He had laughed it off, ate dinner and went to bed.

In the morning, he wouldn't wake up. Linda, his wife, called 911.

A water fountain mounted on a wall.
gerenme / iStock

The Scott administration has created a website to monitor the testing of lead levels in schools and child care centers. To date, five schools and 300 child care centers have been tested — and roughly 10% of the tested child care centers had at least one water source that exceeded legal limits, while every tested school had at least one water source above what's permitted.

Updated at 5:41 p.m. ET

Planned Parenthood says it will formally withdraw from the nation's family planning program for low-income people within days, unless a federal court intervenes.

A meal from Springfield High School features a chicken quesadilla on a whole-grain tortilla, salad, steamed carrots and daikon radishes, apples and carrot sticks.
Vermont Agency of Education

Fourteen Vermont schools will lose their free lunch and breakfast programs when students return for classes this fall. But while the programs' sunsetting are ostensibly due to fewer kids living in poverty, child nutrition experts say many of those students still face food insecurity and uncertainty about their next meal.

Left, a photo of black mold inside a home; right, an image of a radon atom. "Vermont Edition" discusses how to test for mold or radon in your home and how to get rid of it.
Evgen_Prozhyrko via iStock / Greg Robson via Wikimedia Commons

Radon sounds like the subject of a 1950s sci-fi flick that turns wee little ants into colossal, man-eating monsters. And mold just sounds bad from the outset. But they really are serious health concerns. We'll discuss why you don't want either coming into your home.

The U.S. EPA logo on a door of the building in Washington, DC
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press File

Vermont has joined five other states in a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's decision to allow the continued use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos.

Five people stand around a podium.
Elodie Reed / VPR

The University of Vermont will receive a new federal grant to start the UVM Center on Rural Addiction.

A partially unfurled pink yoga mat on the floor
D-Ozen / iStock

The practice of yoga dates back over 5,000 years to northern India, but it has enjoyed newfound popularity in the west over the past couple of decades. While some people are adherents to the spiritual tenets of yoga, many do it for exercise and body health.

However, ancient yoga poses were not developed with the modern physiological needs and challenges our bodies face.

Priscilla Bogema lives in a rural town called McGregor, Minn., in a part of the state that has more trees and lakes than people.

She came here about 20 years ago seeking solitude during a major crisis in her life. She had just gotten divorced and was dealing with some health problems. "So I came to a place where nobody could see me," she says.

The threat of Lyme disease has kept many people from enjoying the outdoors. "Vermont Edition" looks at the diagnosis and treatment of this tick-borne illness.
TLFurrer / iStock

You've been hearing more and more about Lyme disease over the last decade, and with good reason: the number of confirmed and probable cases of this tick-borne illness has risen dramatically since the early 1990s. Vermont Edition looks at how Lyme disease is treated and diagnosed today.

A man stands above a landfill pit.
Jane Lindholm / VPR File

Last week, a proposal to expand Vermont’s only landfill moved a step forward: A state environmental board approved an Act 250 permit for the controversial project.

Methamphetamine, an illegal drug that sends the body into overdrive, is surging through the United States. Federal drug data provided exclusively to NPR show seizures of meth by authorities have spiked, rising 142% between 2017 and 2018.

Demonstrators picketed outside Montpelier City Hall last week to protest proposed premium increases in insurance plans sold on Vermont Health Connect.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

One of Vermont’s top health regulators says proposed premium increases from the state’s two main health insurers could compel some residents to drop their coverage.

A grocery cart in a store aisle.
ljubaphoto / iStock

The Trump administration's planned changes to the way states determine eligibility for food stamps could impact Vermonters, cutting off households from benefits and potentially limiting the ability of schools to offer free lunches.

Living with anxiety can be tough — your thoughts might race, you might dread tasks others find simple (like driving to work) and your worries might feel inescapable. But loving someone with anxiety can be hard too. You might feel powerless to help or overwhelmed by how your partner's feelings affect your daily life.

If so, you're not alone: Multiple studies have shown that anxiety disorders may contribute to marital dissatisfaction.

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