Health and health care news

Joaquim Alves Gaspar / via Wikimedia Commons

The Maine Center for Disease Control is advising residents to protect themselves from mosquitoes, following an identified case of Jamestown Canyon virus in the state. 

An adult from Kennebec County is now recovering at home after being hospitalized with the virus, which can cause fever and flu-like symptoms, as well as encephalitis and meningitis.  

Two other more well-known mosquito-borne diseases - Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus  - cause similar symptoms. 

Bangor Birth Center Aims to Put Women in Control of Their Babies’ Births

Jul 10, 2017
Gabor Degre / Bangor Daily News

Beatrix Cronin is due to have her second child any day now. But she’s not prepping for a hospital visit.

Instead, on a recent Wednesday, she was looking for a lake to swim in, an exercise that helps pregnant women strengthen their pelvic floor for labor. And when her body tells her she’s going into labor, it won’t be a hospital that her husband, Robert, is putting into the GPS.

A Bangor community college is working to fill a nursing gap in some of the most rural counties in the state with the launch of a nursing program in Dover-Foxcroft.

Piscataquis County, like many places in Maine, is facing a critical shortage of qualified nurses.

“This is just the first of hopefully many thinking-outside-the-box programs that we’re going to unroll,” says Jennifer Khavari, director of advancement at Eastern Maine Community College.

Keith Shortall / Maine Public file

Facing a critical blood shortage, the American Red Cross is issuing an emergency call for donations.

Blood donations have fallen short of expectations for the last two months in northern New England, resulting in about 2,200 fewer donations than needed.

Red Cross Northern New England spokesperson Mary Brant said, right now, the agency has less than a 5-day blood supply on hand.

“We always strive to keep a 5-day supply on hand to meet the needs of patients every day. As well as to be prepared for emergencies,” she said.

Felipe Dana / Associated Press

It may feel like the number of mosquitoes in Maine this year is way up, but it’s just getting back to normal.

Maine Medical Center vector ecologist Chuck Lubelczyk says the dry weather over the last two summers led to an unusually low number of mosquitoes, but this year is more normal and the population is rebounding.

Lubelczyk says they’re a particular problem on the coast, where this year’s very high lunar tides have flooded salt marshes and created a mosquito baby boom.

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare. The long-awaited plan marks a big step toward achieving one of the Republican Party's major goals.


The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a confirmed travel-related case of measles in Franklin County in western Maine, the first case reported in Maine in two decades.

State epidemiologist Siiri Bennett said the person acquired the infection while overseas.

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins will vote no on the Senate health bill.

In a series of tweets on Monday night, Collins said she wants to fix the flaws in the Affordable Care Act, but a Congressional Budget Office analysis shows the Senate bill won’t do it.

Province of British Columbia / Flickr

The LePage administration is relaxing certain requirements for child care providers who look after children in their own homes, while unilaterally increasing the amount of money they receive for enrolling low-income children with state-funded subsidies.

The administration says it’s overhauling the way the state treats this particular type of child care setting because it wants to reverse a long-term decline in the number of in-home child care providers and make affordable child care more widely available in rural areas.

For the hundreds of rural U.S. hospitals struggling to stay in business, health policy decisions made in Washington, D.C., this summer could make survival a lot tougher.

Rachael Goldring was born with congenital heart disease. Had she been born a few decades earlier, she probably would have died as a baby. Goldring is now 24 and among a population of patients who present new challenges to a health care system unaccustomed to dealing with survivors of once-fatal conditions.

Today there are more adults than kids living with some of these diseases, and medical training is lagging. Young adults who can't find suitable doctors may drop out of care, and their conditions may worsen.

More adolescents in the Lewiston area are seeking mental health services following the suicide death of a middle school student in May. Providers say the increased demand highlights the need for more clinicians, and more openness about mental illness.

Immediately after it became known that the Lewiston Middle School student had taken her own life, Tri-County Mental Health Services in Lewiston doubled its mobile crisis program staff from three to six. Executive Director Catherine Ryder says while she hasn’t had time to track numbers, it’s clear that more people are seeking help.

A plan by the parent company of Maine Medical Center and 10 other community hospitals to merge its member organizations into one unified entity is moving forward.

MaineHealth says the boards of nine of the 10 members that make up the system have decided it’s time to engage their communities about unifying under a single board of trustees with a combined financial structure. Regulatory processes specific to New Hampshire have delayed a vote by a member hospital in that state.

RUMFORD, Maine - The grandmother of a Pennsylvania girl shot to death four years ago says she was brought to tears at the high school graduation of a Maine teenager whose life was saved with a transplant of the girl's lungs.

Sheri Blackburn and her husband, Jim, of Nottingham, Pennsylvania, drove nearly 600 miles (965 kilometers) to watch Logan Hammer receive his diploma Thursday at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford, Maine.

A new study by Georgetown University finds that most Medicaid recipients live in rural areas.

In Maine, 38 percent of children on Medicaid live in rural areas, compared with 30 percent in urban areas. For adults, the difference is 19 percent and 13 percent.

Research professor Jack Hoadley says funding cuts to Medicaid being considered by Congress would harm rural patients and hospitals in particular.