Health

Fitness, well-being, disease, medical research and issues related to Seton and St. David's Healthcare, Austin Regional Clinic and other health care providers in Austin and Central Texas

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

 A significant cut to the amount of money Texas pays therapists who treat children with disabilities was finally cleared to take effect — more than one year after state lawmakers originally ordered it — when the Texas Supreme Court on Friday declined to hear a lawsuit over the budget cut's legality.

Dell Medical School, via YouTube

Questions were raised during a Travis County Commissioner’s Court yesterday about how UT Austin’s Dell Medical School spends taxpayer money.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

For about a month now, Texas has provided mosquito repellant to low-income women and children. It’s in an effort to prevent the spread of Zika – just in case the virus infects local mosquito populations. 


KUT News

State lawmakers are discussing today what to do about a plan to cut Medicaid reimbursement rates for groups that provide therapy to young children with developmental issues.

Callie Richmond/Texas Tribune

Texas' rate of uninsured people fell to 17.1 percent in 2015 as part of a steady decline in the share of uninsured residents following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to new Census estimates released Tuesday.

The state's rate of uninsured fell two percentage points from 2014 to 2015, but Texas still has the highest percentage of people without health insurance in the country. Texas is also home to the largest number of uninsured people in the country with about 4.6 million uninsured residents. 

For some, there's a a glam factor attached to the vegan lifestyle. And these days, there seems to be a growing chorus singing the praises of the environmental and health benefits of a plant-centric diet.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Throughout this month, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is hearing public comment on its proposed changes to licensing standards, which advocates say are missing an important item: better caretaker to child ratios in day cares.


Wikimedia Commons

Last week, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced that an unregulated herbal supplement known as kratom will be added to the list of controlled substances, which would effectively ban it. The kratom plant has opioid-like effects and, as KUT reported last month, some Austinites are using it as a safer alternative to pills or heroin. 


Callie Richmond / Texas Tribune

Texas has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the country. Until recently, teenage girls had a hard time getting access to affordable contraceptives through state health programs, and that’s an issue the state is tackling as it reboots its troubled Women’s Health Program.


Miguel Gutierrez, Jr. / KUT

Bill Gravell keeps a pair of camouflage boots in the backseat of his white pickup truck. They've been through pastures and farmlands, in the middle of plane and train crashes, he says.

Once, Gravell didn't chance to change out of dress shoes on his way to a body and ended up ruining those shoes. Now, he makes ready at a moment's notice.


Callie Richmond / Texas Tribune

Two recent reports about maternal health in Texas had the same conclusion: pregnancy-related deaths are on the rise.

No one really knows why, though. Researchers outside of Texas are stumped and even a state task force looking into maternal mortality doesn’t have definitive answers.


Miguel Gutierrez, Jr/KUT

Within a two-year period between 2010 and 2012, the rate of pregnant women dying in Texas doubled – and it’s not entirely clear why.


Harris County health officials are reporting the first death related to the Zika virus in Texas.

An infant born with microcephaly, a condition where the child has an abnormally small head, died shortly after birth last month. Zika is a known cause of the birth defect. The child's mother did not know she had contracted Zika while traveling in El Salvador earlier this year. 

This is the second case of Zika-related microcephaly in Harris County.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Last year more people died from drug overdose than from traffic accidents. The majority of these deaths involve opioids, whether that’s prescription medication or street drugs. In Austin, some addicts are replacing opioids with an herbal supplement, which has the potential to save lives. But across the country, opponents of the herb are mounting a drive to get it banned.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

The Zika virus will be front and center as public health officials meet in Austin Monday to discuss infectious disease preparedness in the state. Besides funding issues, though, pockets of high uninsured rates in Texas could make monitoring for the mosquito-transmitted virus more complicated.


Callie Richmond / Texas Tribune

Health care providers, funeral operators and women's rights activists on Thursday are expected to tell Texas health officials that a rule requiring the cremation or burial of fetal remains will do little to improve public health and could be burdensome to women who miscarry and those seeking abortions.  

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

With federal funding to fight Zika stuck in Congress, and amid news that mosquito-to-human transmission of the virus has reached the continental U.S., Texas officials announced on Wednesday they would allow Medicaid to pay for mosquito repellent for women, in the hopes of preventing the disease.

Does Flossing Help Or Not? The Evidence Is Mixed At Best

Aug 3, 2016

Flossing has quietly lost its place among recommendations for daily health, at least as prescribed in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are issued every five years by the U.S. departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture.

That could be because there's scant evidence that flossing does much to keep teeth and gums healthy.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

This Friday is the last day state health officials are taking public comment on an updated informational booklet they put together. It’s given to abortion providers, who are then required to give it to women seeking the procedure. Abortion rights advocates have long criticized the booklet because it contains medically inaccurate information.

Mental illness can be hard to acknowledge or talk about. Two Austinites who are educators and advocates with the National Alliance on Mental Illness want to help people get past that. And they’re focusing on the African American community.

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