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

The fate of a Lewiston dentist accused of putting the health and safety of his patients in jeopardy likely won’t be known for several months.

Maine Medical Center in Portland has earned state approval to expand and renovate.

The $512 million project will add nearly 130 single-patient rooms and about 20 modern procedure rooms. The hospital also plans to move its main entrance and build a new parking garage for employees.

Maine Medical Center president Richard Petersen said in a written statement that the hospital needs to expand and modernize to provide the best possible care for its patients.

Hospital officials hope to break ground next March and expect construction will take four years.

Darron Cummings / Associated Press/file

A major insurance company has announced that it's pulling out of Maine’s individual health insurance exchange for 2018.

Maine is seeing a significant increase in sexually transmitted diseases, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Maine CDC epidemiologist Dr. Siiri Bennett says that follows a national trend.

“So far this year we’ve had 55 cases of syphilis. At this same time last year, there were only 22,” she says. “We’re also seeing very large increases in the number of gonorrhea cases. So far this year, we’ve received reports of 400 cases of gonorrhea.”

Vice President Mike Pence spoke to radio station WGAN in Portland this morning about Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ decision to vote against the latest GOP attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

“We’re certainly disappointed that Sen. Collins has chosen to vote against the Graham-Cassidy bill,” he said. “We think this is the best opportunity that we’ve had to give the people of Maine, the people of America, a fresh start on the failing policies of Obamacare.”

Robert F. Bukaty / Maine Public

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine announced Monday she’s opposed to both versions of the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Over the weekend, Congressional Senate Republicans revamped a proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in an attempt to win over key voters to their side, including Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

One of the bill’s sponsors, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, told the Washington Post that the new version of his bill would kick more funding to Maine. But health policy analysts question that claim.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Dozens of people rallied in Portland Monday to urge Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine to oppose the latest GOP proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Sarah Thomson of Portland came because she’s a freelancer and relies on the ACA for insurance.

“I’m watching my health care and my daughter’s health care on the line, and it’s absolutely terrifying,” she says.

Tom Long of Portland said being able to buy insurance on the ACA marketplace freed him from so-called “job lock”

Gov. Paul LePage says Maine will get a 44 percent increase in health care funding under a GOP proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

In a press release issued Friday, LePage touted a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report that concluded the bill would give a financial boost to Maine. But consumer advocates disagree with the report’s findings.

As a GOP-crafted bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act heads toward a vote in the U.S. Senate, those who are fighting the opioid epidemic are urging lawmakers to reject the proposal.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Maine's early child care system is failing families, children, and providers, according to a new report by the Maine Women's Policy Center and the Maine Children's Alliance. 

The report, called "Investing in Our Future," concludes there's a lack of availability and high costs for infant care. 

Claire Berkowitz of the Maine Children's Alliance says increasing state funding for Head Start is one important step that would improve the situation.

Seven physicians — including four in the emergency department — are resigning from Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth.

Hospital officials say the departures are due to changes the hospital is making to improve quality. But other physicians who have left in recent years say the turnover stems from the administration’s increasingly caustic relationship with providers.

Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

On Tuesday, Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine introduced a bill to create a federal reinsurance program that she says will help stabilize the individual health insurance market.

Speaking on the Senate floor, Collins cited recent health committee hearings in which insurance commissioners from several states suggested that Congress consider reinsurance as an option. Her bill would allocate federal money for states to establish the programs that help cover high-cost claims.

The Maine Hospital Association is urging U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine to oppose the latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The president of the association says the Graham-Cassidy bill is similar to previous efforts that have been rejected.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

The number of people dying from drug overdoses in Maine this year is on pace with last year, when 370 lives were lost. Now, some advocates are calling for stronger local action to address the opioid epidemic.

On Monday morning, advocates, family members and friends of people affected by substance use disorder sang as they placed 38 roses on the step of Lewiston City Hall — one for each city resident who has died from a drug overdose in the past two years.

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