Health

Fitness, well-being, disease, medical research and issues related to Seton and St. David's Healthcare, Austin Regional Clinic and other health care providers in Austin and Central Texas

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Trump administration cut more than $200 million from teen pregnancy prevention programs and research across the country last week. It was a surprise to a lot of people on the receiving end of those grants – including many here in Texas, where teen pregnancy is a big problem.

NPR

This week, Republicans in Congress will try to rally votes behind a bill that proposes major changes to the way Americans get health care and how much they pay. Use this Q&A to explore how the bills would affect you.

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Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

One of the structures that has allowed more than 960,000 Texans to gain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act would be a thing of the past under the Senate repeal bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Demonstrators and advocacy groups held a health care rally and “die-in” today at the state Capitol to protest the Republicans’ proposed health care bill.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Senate’s proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act has “declared war on people with disabilities of all ages,” a disability rights advocate said Monday after the Congressional Budget Office released a report scoring the legislation.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

As Healthy Texas Women closes in on a one-year milestone, the state says the program has been steadily increasing access to health care for women. Advocates, however, are skeptical.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Almost seven years ago, Donna Kreuzer was taking care of her newborn granddaughter in a hotel room in San Antonio. Her daughter, Kristi, was attending a law conference with her husband, and Kreuzer came along to help out.

During that trip, she says, her daughter revealed a secret she had been keeping for eight weeks.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

In a matter of weeks, the U.S. Senate could be voting on a Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. On Wednesday, 25 health care advocacy groups in Texas sent a letter to Republican Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz raising concerns about the plan.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Gina Caro, 12, drapes a protective arm around her 9-year-old brother, Joshua, as they sit on a curb waiting for a bus to take him to camp. This is Joshua’s first time going away to camp, and he’s a little nervous.

When asked if he’s excited, Joshua shyly replies, “I don’t know.”

But Camp Grey Dove is geared specifically toward children like him.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Texas is closer to testing out a Trump administration rule that allows states to withhold federal funds from Planned Parenthood.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions based on their religious beliefs may soon be protected from disciplinary action thanks to a bill passed this legislative session. 

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For patients visiting emergency rooms in Texas, surprise medical bills are common. In 2009, the Texas Legislature developed a mediation system for these hefty bills, but it was limited.

Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a law aimed at improving the system and expanding consumer protection.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Health advocates were hoping lawmakers would seriously tackle the issue of maternal mortality during the legislative session that ended Monday. But legislative efforts fell short.

Matt Lankes Photography

Austin Mayor Steve Adler joined mayors across the country in drawing attention to mental health as part of the National Mayors' Mental Health Day of Action on Wednesday. He called on Congress to protect mental health services in the American Health Care Act, which, if passed in its current state, would leave many people without access to mental health care in Travis County.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Texas lawmakers are close to passing yet another abortion bill, roughly a year after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the state's last major abortion legislation.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Despite uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act, there are still new parts of the law going into effect.

In fact, at the start of this year, a provision prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, sex, age or disability in certain health programs or activities formally kicked in. In Texas, that has translated into a new standard for language-access programs across the state.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

This weekend, Brackenridge Hospital closed its doors after more than 130 years in Austin. Before that, though, they spent Sunday shuttling the hospital’s remaining patients to the brand new Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas, which is located just across the street.

Angel Torres Carmona, a nurse, was among the 1,500 hospital staff members helping move the 100-plus patients. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The end of this year’s legislative session is a little more than a week away, and health advocates say lawmakers are missing an opportunity to deal with a public health crisis in the state.

Last year, researchers reported a sharp spike between 2010 and 2012 in the number of women in Texas who died while pregnant or soon after giving birth, but they don’t know why.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

A month ago, President Donald Trump signed a measure that would allow state and local governments to deny federal funds to family planning clinics that also provide abortions. Texas may soon be the first state to test out that measure to defund clinics like Planned Parenthood. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Zika virus presents a lot of complications for public health officials, but according to a new study, one of the biggest problems is a knowledge gap.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Legislation making its way through the Texas Legislature could impose new regulations on freestanding emergency rooms in the state.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives took another stab at repealing and replacing Obamacare on Thursday, passing the American Health Care Act.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Abortions brought on by medications used to be almost completely inaccessible to women in Texas because of state abortion regulations. But in the year since the Food and Drug Administration changed the label for a widely used abortion pill last year, medication-induced abortions have been increasing in Texas.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Mosquito season is upon us, and Texas still isn’t out of the woods when it comes to Zika.

The mosquito-borne illness can cause birth defects if a woman is exposed to it while pregnant. Last year, there were 312 cases of Zika reported in the state.

Sanofi Pasteur

A mumps outbreak in Texas has reached a 20-year high. Public health officials have identified 221 cases of the highly contagious disease so far this year, and it’s not because vaccination rates are dipping in Texas.

Graphic by Todd Wiseman

Abortion providers in Texas that receive federal dollars to offer reproductive health services to low-income people are likely to lose that funding under a measure President Trump signed Thursday. 

The measure allows states to exclude Planned Parenthood and other women's health organizations that provide abortions at some of their clinics from receiving federal "Title X" money, which funds family planning services such as contraceptive counseling, pregnancy tests and STD testing. 

Miguel Gutierrez Jr.

A statewide task force ran into some issues getting good information last year when it was asked to write a report on why so many women in Texas were dying during pregnancy or shortly after.

In fact, these issues were a big part of the report it finally released to lawmakers. Now, state lawmakers are looking at ways to fix the problems.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

It used to take more than a year for low-income people in Travis County to get in to see an orthopedic, or skeletal, specialist. However, thanks to a new approach and a clinic run by Dell Medical School at UT Austin, that wait time is now about three weeks.

The reason for this is a team of half a dozen doctors, nurse practitioners and research assistants.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Victoria Tisor is a healthy 60-year-old who lives in Austin and doesn’t have health insurance.

Tisor scheduled a routine colonoscopy many months ago and waited six months for an appointment. A week before the appointment, she got a call from the doctor’s office wanting to know who her insurance provider was.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Central Health’s board is choosing a new CEO in the coming days. There are two finalists to replace Patricia Young Brown, who stepped down late last year.

In case you aren’t entirely sure what Central Health does or why you should care, here’s a primer:

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