HealthConnections

Tuesdays during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

The brainchild of University of Tennessee associate professor Dr. Carole Myers, HealthConnections will bring the often-abstract world of health care, coverage and policy to a human level. What is access? How do marketplaces work? What's the future of health insurance? Dr. Myers and WUOT's Brandon Hollingsworth will sort through these issues and more, all to give you a toolbox for understanding what you hear on the news, or to separate fact from fiction in the health care debate.

It's estimated fully a third of healthcare spending in the United States is considered waste. that spending includes unnecessary tests and treatments that don't improve or change patient outcomes. Neil Goldfarb is the president and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health.

Harm reduction is billed as a social approach to substance use. Created by people who have lived through addiction, harm reduction doesn't always have a firm, pre-ordained goal, such as sobriety. It employs a more nuanced approach that embraces smaller steps, such as using clean needles for drug injections or reducing frequency of drug use. It seeks to reduce the stigma many drug users encounter and help them better manage their health.

A pioneering study carried out in 1998 demonstrated that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can contribute to mental and physical problems not just in childhood, but well into adulthood. Subsequent studies have reinforced those findings. It's estimated 60 percent of American adults have been affected by ACEs, and those effects can include obesity, heart disease, alcoholism and drug use.

For more than two centuries, people have come to the University of Tennessee to learn. Now, increasingly the university is reaching out, beyond campus and into the community. In this edition of HealthConnections, Dr. Carole Myers speaks with UT's Director of Community Engagement and Outreach, Dr. Javiette Samuel, about the partnerships the university had formed to investigate and solve issues that involve health and well-being. On October 29, Dr.

The Affordable Care Act turns ten years old next spring. The debate over what comes next, and therefore the near-term future of health care and coverage in America, is in high gear. Democratic presidential candidates disagree on the way forward, with suggestions ranging from a public option to an eliminating private insurers.

Knox County helps local health care providers absorb the costs of treating 1,100 of the county's poorest residents. The indigent care program was adopted about three decades ago. The program's budget reached a high-water mark in 2007 and has been pared back since. This spring, Knox County's health department asked for a funding boost (to $4.5 million - a $200,000 increase). County mayor Glenn Jacobs had different plans.

On previous editions of HealthConnections, we've talked about the effect opioid abuse has on communities and individuals. In this edition of the show, we talk about treatment. Dr. Sharon Davis, of the University of Tennessee College of Nursing, is an expert on addiction. She discusses addiction from a physiological perspective, and outlines emergency and long-term treatment options. Dr. Davis will also tell us why many Tennessee communities can't provide some of the robust treatments that are available.

There's much more to school nursing than giving shots and applying band-aids. School nurses are increasingly called upon to provide basic and detailed care for students, respond to emergencies and even act as social workers. As students across the state head back to the classroom, we examine the changing role of the school nurse.

At a certain point, Karen Pershing says, the public gets tired of hearing medical and governmental leaders talk about opioid addiction, and want to know what's being done about it.

Health and homelessness are closely related. People with chronic, expensive health issues are more susceptible to becoming homeless. And people who are homeless typically have greater risks to their health and well-being. In this edition of HealthConnections, we offer an overview of those relationships and the demographics of homelessness in Knox County.

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