Ashley Lopez

Ways to Connect

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Despite uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act, there are still new parts of the law going into effect.

In fact, at the start of this year, a provision prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, sex, age or disability in certain health programs or activities formally kicked in. In Texas, that has translated into a new standard for language-access programs across the state.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

This weekend, Brackenridge Hospital closed its doors after more than 130 years in Austin. Before that, though, they spent Sunday shuttling the hospital’s remaining patients to the brand new Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas, which is located just across the street.

Angel Torres Carmona, a nurse, was among the 1,500 hospital staff members helping move the 100-plus patients. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The end of this year’s legislative session is a little more than a week away, and health advocates say lawmakers are missing an opportunity to deal with a public health crisis in the state.

Last year, researchers reported a sharp spike between 2010 and 2012 in the number of women in Texas who died while pregnant or soon after giving birth, but they don’t know why.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

A month ago, President Donald Trump signed a measure that would allow state and local governments to deny federal funds to family planning clinics that also provide abortions. Texas may soon be the first state to test out that measure to defund clinics like Planned Parenthood. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Zika virus presents a lot of complications for public health officials, but according to a new study, one of the biggest problems is a knowledge gap.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Legislation making its way through the Texas Legislature could impose new regulations on freestanding emergency rooms in the state.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives took another stab at repealing and replacing Obamacare on Thursday, passing the American Health Care Act.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Abortions brought on by medications used to be almost completely inaccessible to women in Texas because of state abortion regulations. But in the year since the Food and Drug Administration changed the label for a widely used abortion pill last year, medication-induced abortions have been increasing in Texas.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Several weeks ago, a federal court ruled Texas lawmakers intentionally diluted the voting power of minorities when it drew up congressional districts in 2011; last week the same court ruled the Texas House maps also were drawn with the intent to discriminate.

Today, the court begins hearings on how to remedy this situation, which could include requiring the state to get federal preclearance before any new maps or voting rules go into effect.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Mosquito season is upon us, and Texas still isn’t out of the woods when it comes to Zika.

The mosquito-borne illness can cause birth defects if a woman is exposed to it while pregnant. Last year, there were 312 cases of Zika reported in the state.

Sanofi Pasteur

A mumps outbreak in Texas has reached a 20-year high. Public health officials have identified 221 cases of the highly contagious disease so far this year, and it’s not because vaccination rates are dipping in Texas.

Texas Legislative Council

Months ago, new Texas congressional maps for the 2018 election seemed like a pie-in-the-sky idea. The federal court looking at a lawsuit against the state’s 2011 map had sat on a ruling for years, and the case had gone unresolved for several election cycles.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr.

A statewide task force ran into some issues getting good information last year when it was asked to write a report on why so many women in Texas were dying during pregnancy or shortly after.

In fact, these issues were a big part of the report it finally released to lawmakers. Now, state lawmakers are looking at ways to fix the problems.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

It used to take more than a year for low-income people in Travis County to get in to see an orthopedic, or skeletal, specialist. However, thanks to a new approach and a clinic run by Dell Medical School at UT Austin, that wait time is now about three weeks.

The reason for this is a team of half a dozen doctors, nurse practitioners and research assistants.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Victoria Tisor is a healthy 60-year-old who lives in Austin and doesn’t have health insurance.

Tisor scheduled a routine colonoscopy many months ago and waited six months for an appointment. A week before the appointment, she got a call from the doctor’s office wanting to know who her insurance provider was.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Central Health’s board is choosing a new CEO in the coming days. There are two finalists to replace Patricia Young Brown, who stepped down late last year.

In case you aren’t entirely sure what Central Health does or why you should care, here’s a primer:

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

In less than two months, Austin will have a $310 million teaching hospital on UT Austin’s medical campus.

The hospital is part of a long-term deal struck between the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Central Health, Seton and Travis County voters in 2012. The agreement led to a tax increase to pay for a medical school and set aside land for a new hospital.

Photo Illustration by Todd Wiseman

After the failure of the GOP’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, there’s a new political landscape, and states across the country with Republican-led legislatures are weighing their options when it comes to Medicaid expansion. 

Conservative states – most recently Kansas — see an opening to extend health care to more low-income adults. But it’s unclear whether Texas – a state that has more uninsured people than any other state in the country – is willing to hop on the bandwagon.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

For more than a year now, health officials have been trying to improve access to long-acting reversible contraceptives, such as IUDs, for women who want them. But there have been some pretty big hurdles, particularly at hospitals in Texas.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

This summer, it will be a year since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a strict abortion law in Texas. Half of the state’s abortion providers closed after the 2013 law, known as House Bill 2, went into effect.

Pages