Patty Wight

News Producer

Patty is a graduate of the University of Vermont and a multiple award-winning reporter for Maine Public Radio. Her specialty is health coverage: from policy stories to patient stories, physical health to mental health and anything in between. Patty joined Maine Public Radio in 2012 after producing stories as a freelancer for NPR programs such as Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She got hooked on radio at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine, and hasn’t looked back ever since.

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Patty Wight / Maine Public

Hundreds of Maine children with developmental disabilities are on a wait list to receive support services in their home. 

BDN

When a suspected case of child abuse or neglect in Maine is reported to the state, it is the state's job to decide whether to open an investigation. A year ago, the Maine Office of Child and Family Services started using a new tool to help caseworkers make these decisions. But some professionals who frequently report suspected abuse say they're worried that the state is no longer investigating all of the cases it should, leaving some children in unsafe situations.

The Maine Legislature moved closer Thursday to approving $6.6 million bill to fight a deadly opioid crisis that claimed the lives over 400 Mainers last year. Both the House and Senate have given initial approval to the bill that would direct treatment funding to those without insurance.

The city of Portland filed a lawsuit Thursday in Cumberland County Superior Court against 26 opioid manufacturers and distributors. Attorney Adam Lee says the lawsuit alleges that the companies orchestrated a campaign of fraud and misinformation about the addictive qualities of opioids.

Lee says the suit alleges that opioid manufacturers and distributors orchestrated a campaign of fraud, deceit, and misinformation to shape the public's perception of the addictive qualities of the drug.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Maine Senator Susan Collins' says she's doubtful that Congress will take action anytime soon to stabilize the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace. Her proposal to lower health insurance costs was not included in the omnibus spending bill passed last month, and Collins now says she’ll refocus her strategy.

Maine Public

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills says that she has a solution to the funding stalemate between Gov. LePage and lawmakers that is blocking Medicaid expansion. At the State House Tuesday, Mills announced that Maine will receive millions in additional funds from a settlement with tobacco companies that could pay for expanding health care coverage, which voters approved last year.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

A Waldo County District Court judge has ordered that confidential school records of the woman charged in the beating death of her daughter be sealed. Sharon Carrillo’s attorneys accused the state of misconduct in obtaining the records.

In court on Tuesday, defense attorney Laura Shaw argued that state prosecutors improperly issued a Maine subpoena across state borders when they sought records from a New York school that Carrillo attended more than a decade ago.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Attorneys for the woman charged in the death of her ten-year-old daughter, Marissa Kennedy, have asked a judge to remove state prosecutors from the case. In a motion filed in Waldo County District Court Monday, defense attorneys accuse prosecutors of misconduct.

Defense attorneys allege the Maine Attorney General's office improperly issued a subpoena to obtain confidential information about their client, Sharon Carillo, who's accused of the beating her daughter to death.

Emerus and SCL Health / NPR

Central Maine Healthcare unveiled plans Thursday to open what it is calling a first-of-its-kind outpatient health center in the state. The Topsham Care Center is something between a hospital and an urgent care clinic. Officials say the model embraces a more contemporary approach to health care that will offer high quality services at a lower cost.

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has joined with Republican colleagues to introduce a bill that they say aims to stabilize health insurance premiums in the individual market.

President Donald Trump unveiled his initiative to tackle the opioid crisis in New Hampshire Monday afternoon.

His multipronged plan would increase prevention efforts, enact stiffer penalties on drug traffickers — including the death penalty — and expand access to treatment.

The director of Grace Street Recovery Services in Lewiston, Marty O’Brien, says one of the biggest barriers to getting more people into treatment is a lack of insurance.

“If expansion to treatment includes federal funding for the poor to have access to treatment, that works,” he says.

abbynormanwriter.com

Across the globe, about one in 10 women have endometriosis. It’s a painful, chronic disease that can be difficult to treat.

Maine writer Abby Norman was first diagnosed with it seven years ago, but she says the disease was never really explained to her, and as it’s progressed she’s struggled to convince doctors that the pain she feels is real. Norman says it’s a problem for women that has a long history in medicine, and she’s written a book about her experience, Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women's Pain.

The health of Maine's counties are ranked in a new national report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Cumberland County is the healthiest, while Washington County was found to be the least healthy.

Senior program officer Tara Oakman says the Cumberland County ranks well below the national average in one key health indicator: poverty. She says, though, that there's still room for improvement.

Maine’s public advocate has sent a letter to the Public Utilities Commission urging it to order Central Maine Power not to disconnect consumers who have filed complaints over high electricity bills.

PUC spokesman Harry Lanphear says the commission will formally deliberate the request, but in the meantime, customers are protected.

“Our rules prohibit disconnection of any customer that has a pending complaint,” he says. "Therefore, none of the customers that have unresoved complaints will be disconnected."

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Friday the Maine Board of Dental Practice voted unanimously to send the case of a Lewiston dentist who is accused of putting patient health and safety in jeopardy to district court. The Board already cleared Jan Kippax of 64 allegations, but more than 100 remain. The hope is that moving the matter to court will bring closure to the high profile case, which involves more than a dozen patients.

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