Category Archives: health policy

Due for a medical procedure or blood work? Maine patients, use this new tool to shop around.

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You can’t always shop around when it comes to your medical care. The back of an ambulance is no place to start Googling hospitals to find out which one provides the best and most affordable treatment for the heart attack you’re experiencing. But when you can plan ahead — think an elective procedure or imaging test — it […]

Maine woman celebrates Macy’s pledge to stop selling furniture with flame retardants

Jenny Rottmann of Portland was nine months pregnant. in Nov. 2012 when she spoke out against potentially harmful flame retardant chemicals in her couch. BDN | Troy R. Bennett

Three years ago, I interviewed a Portland woman who had just learned that potentially toxic chemicals were lurking in her house. Jenny Rottmann, due to give birth to her first child in a matter of days, worried the couch she’d purchased at a local department store could harm both her and her baby. The pale green couch had been treated […]

The innocents in Maine’s drug crisis: Almost 1,000 Maine babies exposed in the womb

A one-month-old baby cries in July 2013 at Eastern Maine Medical Center, where Dr. Mark Brown treats drug-affected newborns. Brian Feulner | BDN

Eight percent of all babies born in Maine during the last fiscal year entered the world affected by drugs. That’s nearly 1,000 infants exposed to drugs in the womb, the highest number on record and a more than fivefold increase since 2006. This chart reflects instances where health care providers reported to the state that they had reasonable cause to […]

Are parents refusing vaccines at your child’s school? Now you can check.

For the first time in Maine, parents can easily look up vaccination rates at their local elementary school. The Maine Center for Disease Control publicly released the data for the 2014-15 school year, revealing how many children were exempted from school-required vaccines — and for what reasons — in kindergarten and first-grade classes. The data also show […]

Did legalizing medical pot save some Mainers from prescription painkiller deaths?

Hundreds attended the Home Grown Maine Medical Marijuana Trade Show in Bangor in April 2014. Brian Feulner| BDN

Maine knows all too well the potential dangers of narcotic painkillers. Many a journey down the dark path of addiction begins with a prescription for Vicodin, oxycodone or similar medications, though heroin has taken center stage in Maine’s battle against drug abuse. But could another drug hold answers to preventing overdose deaths? In Maine and a […]

A Maine student’s homework, brought to you by Oreo

A Maine student's homework sheet. Source: Maine Public Health Association

Ladies and gentlemen, a Maine student’s opinions about snow — brought to you by Oreo. You don’t often see a child’s schoolwork sponsored by a multinational cookie brand. But food marketers regularly advertise to students in Maine schools using less overt tactics, according to Tina Pettingill of the Maine Public Health Association. She used the Oreo worksheet, passed […]