Tuesdays during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

The brainchild of University of Tennessee professor Dr. Carole Myers, HealthConnections brings 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? In this biweekly series, Dr. Myers and WUOT's Brandon Hollingsworth 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.

Support for HealthConnections is provided by PYA.   
PYA underwrites HealthConnections, but the segment’s topics and guests are selected with editorial independence by Dr. Carole Myers and WUOT’s Brandon Hollingsworth.

Since 2010, Tennessee has had the highest number and rate of rural hospital closures in America. There are a number of factors that helped raise that tide, from the state's refusal to expand Medicaid to for-profit business models that make health care in small populations hard to sustain. And once those hospitals close, people are left without close access to medical care and communities lost a major economic engine.

In little more than a year, CBD-related products went from virtual obscurity to mainstream offerings at pharmacies, convenience stores and dispensaries. The produucts on the shelves range from liquid shots for your morning cuppa, to ointments, to shampoos and conditioners. And they promise relief from a host of medical issues, from inflammation and anxiety to more serious conditions, such as epilepsy.

This edition of HealthConnnections is different that our usual fare. We’re going to be talking about a polarizing but important topic: the role of racism in American healthcare.

We know this is a galvanizing topic, because people generally don’t like the idea of their actions being considered racist. But Dr. Carole Myers, of the University of Tennessee College of Nursing, says it is time to have this difficult conversation and make positive changes in healthcare.

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.

In the recent past, episodes of HealthConnections have probed different facets of the COVID-19 pandemic, and mental health care in America. Today, we look at the area where the two overlap.

In the pre-pandemic days, the Knox County Board of Health met quarterly to discuss routine business, evaluate the county health department budget and get updates from health department staff. In June 2020, the board's profile and power changed dramatically. The Knox County Law Department put the health board in charge of making decisions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the county's response.

It is assumed that Joe Biden will be sworn in at noon January 20 as the 46th president of the United States. As we transition from one administration to the next, we wanted to take a look at what might be expected in the realm of health care. There’s of course a lot we don’t know yet, but Dr. Carole Myers from the University of Tennessee College of Nursing will shed some light on what President-elect Biden has shared about his vision for health care in the U.S.

State Senator and surgeon Dr. Richard Briggs joins HealthConnections creator Dr. Carole Myers for an update on the state’s COVID response, efforts to neuter county health boards, and how the pandemic relates to broadband access.

The beginnings of wearable health technology date to an experimental step counter invented in Japan in the mid-1960s. Some watches were able to keep tabs on heartbeats in the 1980s. But the current boom in wearable health monitors was spurred by the development of smaller, faster devices.

Before Thanksgiving, pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna announced encouraging news from their experimental COVID-19 vaccines: They worked.