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Health Care

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Blake Farmer / WPLN

A panel of doctors met for the first time last week with a single mandate: Decide how to punish physicians who prescribe too many opioids. 

courtesy TriStar

TriStar Centennial is trying to be more accommodating for kids on the autism spectrum. It's part of a national trend in children's hospitals to be more 'sensory-friendly' given the increasing prevalence of spectrum disorders.

courtesy CPS

A Brentwood-based chain of pain clinics — whose former CEO was indicted earlier this year — is also part of an ongoing federal investigation, according to court transcripts obtained by The Tennessean. The revelation partially explains why Comprehensive Pain Specialists abruptly shut down most locations this summer.

The Tri-Cities in Northeast Tennessee have the country's highest rates of pre-existing conditions, according to an analysis of metro areas by the Kaiser Family Foundation. More than four-in-ten adults — 41 percent — have a condition that could have precluded them from buying health insurance prior to the Affordable Care Act.

Your kid can grow up, even join the Army and go to war, and you'll still do dad things when he comes back. David Toombs would make his son lunch.

"I always made him extra, just in case he got hungry or he wanted a snack or he was running low on money. So I made his lunch like a typical dad," says Toombs.

Toombs worked right next to his son, John, at a steel die shop in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Chas Sisk / WPLN (File photo)

An effort to defund Planned Parenthood in Tennessee will also cut off Medicaid reimbursements to other health care providers in the state. The federal government has begun reviewing the new restriction and started taking public comments on Friday.

Screenshot of Republican Convention / TN Photo Services

In public appearances and small campaign gatherings, former Governor Phil Bredesen and Congressman Marsha Blackburn have been offering a few competing ideas for dealing with the opioid crisis.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

A hospital in Murfreesboro has launched a special unit meant to relieve overcrowding in the emergency room, which has grown busier as Rutherford County's population booms. It's a model that's a middle ground for patients who need to see a doctor quickly but don't necessarily need to be admitted to the hospital.

Nils Wommelsdorf / via Flickr

Fentanyl has quickly surged to become a leading killer drug in Tennessee, spiking 70 percent between 2016 and 2017. That's according to new overdose statistics put out by the Health Department this week.

Public health officials are redoubling their warnings.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Dozens of zebra finches are learning to sing inside makeshift recording booths in a Vanderbilt lab. Adult and baby birds are paired up to live together, and some have more difficult living conditions than others. The idea is to study how struggling for survival can impair the learning process and how to get around it.