Health Care | Nashville Public Radio

Health Care

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Blake Farmer / WPLN

Nashville General Hospital and Meharry Medical College are pooling all of their patient data over the last 10 years and making it available to researchers. The data set is meant to provide insight into local health challenges and broader racial disparities.

Bloomberg / via Getty Images

The largest insurer in Tennessee has announced it will no longer cover prescriptions for what was once a blockbuster pain reliever.

It's the latest insurance company to turn against OxyContin, whose maker — Purdue Pharma — faces dozens of lawsuits related to its high-pressure sales tactics around the country and contribution to the opioid crisis. Last fall, Cigna and BlueCross BlueShield of Florida both dropped coverage of the drug.

davidd / via Flickr

An annual report tracking obesity rates state-by-state finds Tennessee to be a little bit thinner than the previous year, especially compared to other southern states.

Tennessee fell several positions to having the 15th-highest obesity rate in the nation.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Physicians who seem to be over-prescribing painkillers or working with addicted patients may now get a tap on the shoulder from a Nashville startup working on behalf of insurors. The company uses sophisticated algorithms to identify problem patients and providers. But since this is such a delicate issue with doctors, they've hired a pharmacist to initiate those chats who — herself — is in recovery from opioid abuse.

Metro General Hospital
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Auditors are chiding Nashville General Hospital for lax use of credit cards, racking up $400,000 in charges over two years without much documentation to support the spending. The findings are part of a broader audit, monitoring progress in the cash-strapped hospital paying its bills on time.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Nashville health officials say it's time to take the city's temperature. They're launching a county-wide survey of more than 12,000 residents to get a baseline view of health-related behaviors, chronic conditions and preventative health care practices.

Sometimes IV bags are hard for hospitals to come by. Other times it's injectable folic acid to treat anemias. Right now, the tissue-numbing agent lidocaine is in short supply.

Shortages of commonplace generic drugs have plagued hospitals in recent years. And with short supplies and fewer suppliers for key drugs, there have been price increases.

Emily Siner / WPLN

A troubled chain of pain clinics — reportedly treating tens of thousands of Tennesseans a month — has blamed its sudden closure on tighter regulations.

But Comprehensive Pain Specialists had a hand in shaping the state's pain clinic laws. And the company, which is under federal investigation, has been quietly co-owned by a current state lawmaker from Nashville. 

TN Photo Services

Tennessee's top Republicans are watching a lawsuit meant to strike down the Affordable Care Act with mixed emotions. Tennessee is one of 20 states that joined the litigation led by Texas. The first oral arguments occur in a Fort Worth courtroom today.

But the legal argument justifying another court challenge to the ACA is "as far-fetched as any I've ever heard," Senator Lamar Alexander said in June.

istock

Wednesday is looking like yet another pivotal day in the life-or-death saga that has marked the history of the Affordable Care Act.

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