Patty Wight

News Producer

Patty is a graduate of the University of Vermont and a multiple award-winning reporter for Maine Public Radio. Her specialty is health coverage: from policy stories to patient stories, physical health to mental health and anything in between. Patty joined Maine Public Radio in 2012 after producing stories as a freelancer for NPR programs such as Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She got hooked on radio at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine, and hasn’t looked back ever since.

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Maine Coast Heritage Trust

Less than one percent of Maine's coastline offers guaranteed public access. It's a near-historic low that the Maine Coast Heritage Trust wants to reverse.

The board of Central Maine Healthcare has affirmed its support of CEO Jeff Brickman after medical staff at its three member hospitals recently took no-confidence votes.

Chair Deborah Dunlap Avasthi issued an email to staff Wednesday, saying the board has also amended the organization's bylaws to allow medical staff to have a more active role in governance.

The federal government has approved Maine's request to reinstate a program that has previously lowered individual insurance premiums.

Under the program, consumers with expensive medical conditions will be placed into an invisible high risk pool. Their medical costs will be paid through their premiums, as well as a $4 per month surcharge on all policyholders in the state.

Bureau of Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa says that in a state like Maine with a small population, a few high claims can raise premiums for everyone.

Central Maine Medical Center

The medical staff at Central Maine Medical Center have taken a vote of no-confidence in Central Maine Healthcare CEO Jeff Brickman.

The Lewiston Sun Journal reports that Monday night's vote was 100-to-66, with a few staff abstaining.

Medical staff at CMH's other two hospitals in Bridgton and Rumford have also voted no-confidence in Brickman, who took the helm in 2016.

Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP Photo

Four nursing homes in Maine have received the lowest possible score for staffing levels, according to an analysis of federal data by Kaiser Health News.

Two nurses and a Democratic lawmaker have filed suit against the LePage administration for failing to fill vacant public health nursing positions.

The lawsuit seeks a court order to force Maine's Department of Health and Human services to obey a law passed in 2017 that requires the department to fill all 48 public health nurse positions in the state.

Sarah DeCato, who worked as a Maine public health nurse from 2008 to 2014, says DHHS is not making an effort to hire anyone.

  

The tick-borne disease anaplasmosis continues to be a concern after a spike in the disease last year, says state epidemiologist Dr. Siiri Bennett.

Bennett says nearly 300 cases have been reported so far this year, which is on pace with last year’s total of 663. Anaplasmosis appears to be spreading across Maine the same way Lyme disease did a decade ago.

"As anaplasmosis spreads through the tick population, we're going to see the increase in anaplasmosis cases, and so we're going to be more likely to see coinfection."

In his weekly radio address, Gov. Paul LePage said that he will call a special session this summer to reform Maine's child protection system, following the abuse deaths of two girls last winter.

Lawmakers have been asking LePage for a copy of his proposed bill as soon as possible, but the Governor said they'll have to wait until they finish current work.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

  

An eight-year-old boy from Oakland was found dead in his home Tuesday night died from a gunshot wound to the head, according to Maine State Police.

Parker Stevens was handling his father's 12-gauge shotgun inside a closet of his parents’ second floor bedroom when the gun fired. His mother was downstairs with three younger children and did not hear the shot. She reportedly found her son when she went to look for him around 6 p.m.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that parents avoid using plastic food containers because of concerns that chemicals found in food colorings, preservatives and packaging may harm children's health.

In a policy statement issued Monday, the physicians' group said a growing body of evidence suggests that some chemicals currently allowed in food and its packaging can interfere with a child's hormones, growth and development.

Rebecca Conley / Maine Public

A health insurance navigator program in Maine may come to an end, after the Trump administration's recent announcement to cut funding for 2019 enrollment in the Affordable Care Act's marketplace.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Medical staff at Bridgton Hospital have taken a vote of no-confidence in the CEO of their parent company. A staff member who asked to remain anonymous says the vote on Monday was 20-0.

Jeff Brickman became CEO of Central Maine Healthcare two years ago. The most recent tax filings for the company, which also operates hospitals in Lewiston and Rumford, show it had a deficit of $3 million in fiscal year 2015 and $1.4 million in 2016.

Bridgton Town Manager Robert Peabody Jr. says community members have become increasingly concerned that doctors are leaving the hospital.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

The legal dispute over Medicaid expansion came before the Maine Supreme Court Wednesday afternoon.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

A coalition of patients, providers and advocates rallied in Augusta Tuesday to publicly release a letter to the Trump administration, opposing what they call a proposed 'gag rule' on the Title X program.

The Maine Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday afternoon to determine whether the LePage administration must move forward to implement Medicaid expansion.

The LePage administration is appealing a lower court's order that it file an application with the federal government.  The state Supreme Court granted a temporary stay on that order until it could hear arguments in the case.

Maine Equal Justice Partners and other advocacy groups sued the LePage administration last spring to implement expansion, which was approved by voters last November. 

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