Health

Medical Marijuana
6:23 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Why a Conservative Christian Group Joined Austin Marijuana Marchers

A conservative Christian organization is calling for legalized medicinal marijuana as a treatment for autism.
flickr.com/eggrole

Marijuana advocates will march on the Texas Capitol Saturday as part of the annual Worldwide Marijuana March. In Austin, the marchers will include members of Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism (MAMMA), a newly-founded organization which describes itself as a conservative Christian group calling for the legalization of medicinal marijuana use in Texas.

“We are working now with Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition. They’re a group out of Harris County. They are drafting a bill,"  says MAMMA co-founder and executive director Thalia Michelle. "We believe that Marijuana Policy Project will also be introducing a medicinal cannabis bill."

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Mental Health Hotline
1:19 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Texas Youth in Crisis Can Now Chat and Text For Help

The Texas Youth and Runway Hotline now offers hotline services on modern platforms like text and chat.
flickr.com/jhaymesisvip

The Texas Youth and Runway Hotline has answered more than one million calls from youth and parents who are in crisis. Now youth and parents in crisis can access its services through text and chat. (The text number is 1-512-872-5777.)

The hotline, a service of the The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, launched new features last month. Despite fielding over a million phone calls, calls have been declining since 2010 as communications habits change.

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Health
4:46 am
Thu April 24, 2014

FDA Moves To Regulate Increasingly Popular E-Cigarettes

A woman tries electronic cigarettes at a store in Miami.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 2:33 pm

The Food and Drug Administration Thursday proposed regulating e-cigarettes for the first time.

The agency unveiled a long-awaited rule that would give it power to oversee the increasingly popular devices, much in the way that it regulates traditional cigarettes.

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Health
12:20 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

How Halloween Flood Survivors are Recovering From Post-Traumatic Stress

Onion Creek resident Mike Espinoza put up motivational messages for his neighbors while he rebuilt from the Halloween floods. While repairs are underway in Onion Creek, recovering from psychological trauma is a different issue.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

On the surface of the Onion Creek neighborhood, there’s progress.

The community is slowly recovering from 2013's deadly Halloween floods. Many families are back in their homes, even though most homes have yet to be fully rebuilt. But scratch the surface, and people are still suffering the psychological effects of that night.

Often when we hear about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it's in the context of war. But David Evans, CEO of Austin/Travis County Integral Care, says PTSD can affect those who survive any traumatic experience. 

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Affordable Care Act
1:12 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Details On Abortion Coverage Still Elusive In Some Health Plans

Abortion coverage was a key sticking point during the congressional debate on the new health law. Lawmakers eventually agreed to let states decide.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 3:29 pm

If you bought health coverage through one of the online insurance marketplaces, you might have a tough time determining whether your plan covers abortion services.

Though Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius got an earful from members of Congress about the problem at a hearing last November, little's been done yet to clear up the confusion in some states.

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Affordable Care Act
11:49 am
Fri April 11, 2014

'I Knew It Wouldn't Be Easy,' Outgoing Health Secretary Sebelius Says

Vice President Biden (from left), Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, President Obama and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell at the White House Friday. Sebelius is stepping down. Burwell is being nominated to replace her.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who has borne the brunt of criticism for the troubled rollout of the HealthCare.gov website, said Friday that as she prepares to leave that agency she is thankful to have had the chance to work on "the cause of my life."

Her agency, Sebelius said, has been "in the front lines of a long overdue national change — fixing a broken health system."

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Health
4:07 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Is Resigning

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning from her post after serving for five years.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 6:35 pm

Health Secrerary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning after a five-year term that will no doubt be remembered for the calamitous implementation of President Obama's signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act.

If you remember, when the federal government unveiled HealthCare.gov, where Americans could buy health insurance mandated by Obamacare, the site was essentially useless for weeks after it launched in October.

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Health
6:24 am
Tue April 8, 2014

This Musician Has a Unique (and Maybe Lifesaving) Message for Kids With Food Allergies

Kids clap along to the music of Kyle Dine.
Laura Rice, KUT News

It’s becoming more common for kids at school to share a classroom – or a lunchroom – with a student with food allergies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says as many as one in 15 kids in the U.S. have food allergies – and those numbers appear to be on the rise.

The issue is a serious one because kids can become very sick or die from exposure to certain foods. But kids also may feel isolated or be bullied because of the precautions they have to take.

Some local schools and parents are taking a unique route towards promoting awareness and acceptance.

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Health
11:00 am
Mon April 7, 2014

How Public Health Advocates Are Trying To Reach Nonvaccinators

A school nurse prepares a vaccine against whooping cough before giving it to students at Mark Twain Middle School in Los Angeles.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 10:54 am

Whooping cough made a comeback in California last year, which researchers have linked to vaccine refusals. And with new measles outbreaks in Southern California, New York and British Columbia, the debate over vaccination is also spreading.

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Health
8:34 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Illegal Silicone Butt Injections Are Happening in South Texas

Elva Navarro, owner of the Bella Spa in McAllen, Texas, was arrested on March 19 after she allegedly gave her clients injections of liquid silicone, which are not approved by the FDA.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT

Update: South Texas spa owner Elva Navarro pleaded guilty at her trial on June 9, 2014 in a federal court in McAllen to injecting a liquid silicone substance into her clients. This allegedly took place at the Bella Face and Body Spa, also in McAllen.

Navarro could face up to three years in prison at her sentencing, expected to take place in August.

Original Story (April 7, 2014): A few weeks ago officials arrested a spa owner in the Rio Grande Valley for allegedly giving clients injections of liquid silicone – a procedure which is not approved by the FDA.

The injections were allegedly sold as sort of quick plastic surgery: buttocks enhancements. 

No one knows yet how many women in the Rio Grande Valley have gotten the illegal silicone injections. Investigators say the procedures have led to lengthy hospitalizations.

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Affordable Care Act
2:47 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Obama: The Affordable Care Act Is Working, 'Helping People... Coast To Coast'

The HealthCare.gov website has been a source of delays and confusion for those trying to sign up for health insurance under the ACA.
Jon Elswick AP

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 4:00 pm

This post was updated at 4:40 p.m. ET. with Obama's comments.

President Obama emerged from the White House on Tuesday to rousing applause. He announced that 7.1 million Americans had signed up for health care through the federal exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act.

"This law is doing what it's supposed to do," Obama said at the Rose Garden. "It's working. It's helping people from coast to coast."

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Health
2:22 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Glitches Return To HealthCare.Gov As Enrollment Clock Expires

HealthCare.gov has more last-minute shoppers than it can handle.
HealthCare.gov

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 2:29 pm

The last day of sign-ups for health insurance on the HealthCare.gov website is turning out to have a lot in common with the first: lots of computer problems.

But there are some big differences, too. Back in October the not-ready-for-prime-time website was only able to enroll six people on its first day.

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Affordable Care Act
12:50 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

In Austin and Across the Country, It's Deadline Day for Obamacare

The healthcare.gov website. The deadline to begin signing up for Affordable Care Act insurance is 11 p.m. CST tonight.
Credit KUT News

Austin nonprofits are trying to sign up as many people as possible before tonight’s deadline to apply for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Insure Central Texas has four enrollment centers in the Austin area. Program director Elizabeth Colvin says the demand for their services is exceeding their capacity; this morning they had 100 people lined up by the time they opened at 6 a.m.

The deadline to begin signing up is 11 p.m. tonight. Colvin advises people to at least start the application this evening, as those who do start then can finish the process at a later time.

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Affordable Care Act
8:57 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Obamacare's National Enrollment Looks OK, But States Matter More

Maygan Rollins, a field organizer with Enroll America, talked health insurance options with Jerry Correa during a recent campaign in Miami.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 11:23 pm

With this year's deadline to register for individual health insurance just a weekend away, much attention is being lavished on two numbers — the 6 million Americans who have signed up so far, and the percentage of those folks who are (or aren't) young.

But experts say the national numbers actually don't mean very much.

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Health
2:30 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Therapists' Apps Aim To Help With Mental Health Issues

The ReliefLink app is a mood-tracking tool intended to help people who are contemplating suicide.
Courtesy of Emory University

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 1:53 pm

Games like Flappy Bird and Candy Crush have helped many of us de-stress during long waits at the doctor's office and crowded Metro rides. But what if an app could actually help with mental health?

Researchers from Hunter College and the City University of New York say they've developed an app that can reduce anxiety.

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Affordable Care Act
8:35 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Most People Don't Know The Health Insurance Deadline Looms

Yudelmy Cataneda, Javier Suarez and Claudia Suarez talk with insurance agent Yosmay Valdivian at a session to sign up for health insurance in a Miami mall March 20.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 12:51 pm

Next week is the last chance for most people without insurance to sign up for individual health coverage for the remainder of 2014.

Yet according to the latest monthly tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 60 percent of those without coverage still don't know that.

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Health
8:05 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Hobby Lobby Contraceptive Case Goes Before Supreme Court

Hobby Lobby President Steve Green says the company should not have to provide insurance coverage for IUDs and morning-after pills for its 13,000 employees.
Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 9:23 am

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in the latest challenge to the Obama health care overhaul.

This time the issue is whether for-profit corporations, citing religious objections, may refuse to provide some, or potentially all, contraceptive services in health plans offered to employees. It is a case that touches lots of hot-button issues.

In enacting the ACA, Congress required large employers to provide basic preventive care for employees. That turned out to include all 20 contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

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Aging in Texas
8:52 am
Mon March 17, 2014

South Texas Has Dozens of Adult Day Centers - and Austin Has Just One

At Mi Casa Adult Day Care Center in Mission, Texas, seniors and people with disabilities avoid spending the day home alone.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News

Seniors in the Rio Grande Valley’s Hidalgo County have dozens of day care centers to choose from – places that help keep seniors from spending the day home alone.

Centers like Mi Casa Adult Day Care in Mission, Texas – not far from McAllen – dot many street corners here in this part of the Rio Grande Valley. They offer rides to see the doctor, to pay bills or to pick up a social security check.

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Affordable Care Act
7:23 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Reaching The Young And Uninsured On A Texas Campus

Nobody plans to wind up in the emergency room, but costly accidents happen — even to healthy young people.
Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 9:55 am

At lunchtime on the North Harris campus of Houston's Lone Star Community College, students stream through the lobby of the student services center, plugged into their headphones or rushing to class.

Many walk right past a small information table about the Affordable Care Act.

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Health
12:06 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Cities Take The Lead In Regulating Electronic Cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes for sale in Vapeology LA, a store in Los Angeles, are tended by owner John Hartigan.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 11:59 am

Count Los Angeles as the latest big city to say no to electronic cigarettes.

The City Council there voted unanimously on Tuesday to ban use of the devices, which release vaporized nicotine, in almost all public places, including bars, workplaces and beaches.

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