Health and health care news

Maine has seen a slight decrease in the number of drug deaths in the first six months of 2018 compared to the same time last year, according to a new report released by the attorney general’s office. But overdose deaths are still high, and the report finds that the primary driver continues to be the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

BIDDEFORD, Maine - A University of New England pharmacy professor has received a patent for an innovation in the early detection of breast cancer.

unfolded / Flickr/Creative Commons

Maine has one of the nation’s highest rates of prescribing psychotropic drugs to children in the foster care system — and it’s only partially in compliance with its own policies. That’s according to a new investigation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Maine Bureau of Insurance is urging consumers who buy insurance on the individual market to start comparing options ahead of open enrollment.

Anthem has returned to the Affordable Care Act marketplace in Maine for 2019. Average premiums across insurers range from a 4 percent decrease to a 2 percent increase.

Mark Lennihan / Associated Press/file

Twenty-nine percent of Maine adults are obese. That's according to a report released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America's Health

Elise Amendola / Associated Press File

The University of Maine System announced plans Wednesday to double enrollment in its nursing program in response to the state’s workforce shortage.

A program that’s expected to lower premiums on Maine’s individual health insurance market is set to take effect next January. That’s also when one of the mechanisms to fund the reinsurance program called MGARA kicks in — a monthly surcharge on all health insurance policyholders in the state.

Gov. Paul LePage has signed into law changes to child welfare legislation, which lawmakers approved last month in special session. The measures include spending millions of dollars more on the system.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

The Maine Turnpike Authority voted Thursday to widen a portion of the highway that runs from Exit 44 in Scarborough to just north of Exit 48 in Portland.

In Bangor Friday evening, a crowd gathered in Pickering Square to observe National Overdose Awareness Day.

St. Mary's Regional Medical Center

Two Lewiston hospitals have undertaken corrective action after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid found they were turning away mentally ill patients in crisis from their emergency departments without adequate medical screenings or stabilizing treatment. Both hospitals were found to be in violation of a federal law that is intended to protect patients experiencing medical emergencies.

Joaquim Alves Gaspar / Wikimedia Commons

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that West Nile Virus has been detected for the first time this year in a pool of mosquitoes collected in Kittery.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine health officials have confirmed the state’s first human case of West Nile virus.

An independent board charged with overseeing the state's services for adults with intellectual disabilities is understaffed, with just five of the 15 members  state law requires.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness in Maine, NAMI, has come out with a list of recommendations to reform the state’s mental health system. They include establishing assessment centers, mental health liaisons in law enforcement agencies and reducing deaths by suicide.