Health Care | Nashville Public Radio

Health Care

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TN Photo Services (file)

Tennessee's Medicaid program swelled to 1.5 million people after the Affordable Care Act took effect — matching an all-time high set around the year 2000 and meaning nearly a quarter of the state was on TennCare. Numbers have fallen slightly from that peak as the economy has boomed. But TennCare officials say they're finding a new normal. 

Blake Farmer / WPLN

A plan that would end Nashville's long history of running a public hospital is basically an argument that the city doesn't really need one — and that other medical centers in town already dole out far more charity care, especially as General Hospital's caseload has dwindled to 40 patients a day, operating at just a third of its capacity.

Yet those who serve the uninsured say the facility still plays a critical role.

DCSO via Facebook

Davidson County's Sheriff says closing Nashville General Hospital's inpatient services could quadruple the amount his agency has to spend on securing inmates while they receive medical care.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Metro General Hospital has decided to defiantly resist closure, which was proposed by Mayor Megan Barry last week. In the meantime, the facility is trying to keep nurses, doctors and administrators from abandoning ship.

courtesy Williamson Medical Center

The Williamson County Commission has again turned back an effort to sell its publicly owned hospital. Off and on for years, the panel has been considering the prospect of cashing out, but this week it rejected a proposal to put the question to a referendum vote.

courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Veterans Affairs hospitals are taking a page from the pharmaceutical playbook — and reversing it. They've hired what are effectively 285 drug company representatives across the country, including one for every VA hospital in Tennessee and Kentucky. But instead of encouraging physicians to prescribe, they're often counseling doctors against giving their patients opioids.

Blake Farmer / WPLN (File photo)

Tennessee's Health Department is hiring special investigators to keep tabs on the state's compounding pharmacies, which make small-batch, custom drugs. The move is partially in response to the deadly fungal meningitis outbreak of 2012.

Jennifer Clampet / Army Medicine via Flickr

Researchers are turning to Tennessee to find a middle ground on the use of opioids for treating chronic pain. A new study is recruiting 1,000 patients in Tennessee and North Carolina who are taking opioids for chronic pain — a move that comes at a time of conflicting opinions about whether addictive narcotics should even be used to treat long-term pain, unless it's cancer-related.

Natasha Senjanovic / WPLN

In Nashville — and across the country — the number of chronically ill people who need round-the-clock care is rising. The vast majority are baby boomers, and most of the people looking after them aren’t much younger. One local nonprofit offers caregivers a break from their duties — at no cost. Yet despite the growing need, the organization says most families in Davidson County don’t know about the service.

David Goehring / via Flickr

TennCare has tightened controls on opioid prescriptions in recent years, and the state's Medicaid program plans to go a step further next year. It's an effort to decrease the use of highly addictive narcotics — and save some money.

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