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

A decision in the latest court case to threaten the future of the Affordable Care Act could come as soon as this month. The ruling will come from the panel of judges in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard oral arguments in the Texas v. Azar lawsuit.

An estimated 24 million people get their health coverage through programs created under the law, which has faced countless court challenges since it passed.

Main Street in Fredericksburg, Texas
Paul Arps via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Fredericksburg residents will be asked to weigh in on a city charter amendment banning the city from adding fluoride to the public water system.

Director Michael Rubin tends to cannabis plants at Compassionate Cultivation
Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

A week into opening the application process for medical cannabis dispensaries to apply for permits in Texas, the Texas Department of Public Safety — without warning — suspended the process.

A woman gets a flu shot
Mary Mathis / NPR

Flu vaccination prevents millions of flu-related illnesses and deaths annually, but vaccination rates are low for many reasons.

During the 2018-2019 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 45% of U.S. adults received the flu vaccine. While this is an increase of 8% from 2017-2018, it falls way below the national goal of 70% of American adults receiving a flu shot.

Julia Reihs / KUT

There are vast differences when it comes to life expectancies between neighborhoods in Austin, according to new research from the Episcopal Health Foundation.

Shelves lined with vape juice a
Lucio Vasquez / Houston Public Media

Fifty-one people in Texas have developed symptoms of severe lung illness after vaping, according to data posted Friday by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

An ambulance in front of a hospital entrance.
Spencer Selvidge for KUT

Nearly 1 in 3 Texans in neighborhoods of color have medical debt, according to a new study from the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

More than 5 million Texans didn’t have health insurance in 2018, according to figures released today from the U.S. Census Bureau. The year before, about 4.8 million Texans lacked coverage.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

The local health care district Central Health is asking for input from the public on how to spend $290.8 million next year to help people with low incomes access health care in Travis County. The next opportunity to share your ideas with Central Health's Board of Mangers is Sept. 11.

Vaping360.com/Flickr

The unregulated marketing of e-cigarettes is increasing the number of young people who vape, according to a new study from researchers at UT Austin. 

The International High School in East Austin
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Large and small cities in Texas are becoming increasingly vulnerable to measles outbreaks as more parents exempt their children from required vaccinations, according to a new study from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

Four Austin City Council members want the city to help low-income women obtain abortions – without the city actually paying for the procedure.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Public support for legal access to abortions has been relatively stable across the country in the last five years, according to a national survey released Tuesday.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Trump administration is closer to banning some low-income, legal immigrants who are relying on public services like food stamps from legally entering the United States.

Amy Temperley
Julia Reihs / KUT

Becky Rhodes logged onto Facebook a couple years ago and saw a friend's post asking for help with a new project that would offer exercise and education classes for older adults. 

"Sign me up!" said the then-68-year-old retiree.

St. Martin De Porres Catholic Church
Julia Reihs / KUT

At the dedication of the St. Dymphna Center at the St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church in Dripping Springs last February, Father Charlie Garza told parishioners the story of Christopher Rosilier, who had “set the tone” for the previous five years of his pastoral work.

Migrants under a bridge
Lynda M. González for KUT

Almost 40 child welfare and medical groups in Texas sent a letter to federal and state leaders Thursday expressing concern about the treatment of child migrants on the state’s southern border. They say poor living conditions are causing trauma among these children, which could have lasting effects.

Julia Reihs / KUT

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention met with other health care leaders in Austin on Tuesday to discuss the need for "disruptive" strategies to address the growing number of HIV infections in Central Texas.

The John Minor Wisdom U.S. Court of Appeals building
Jolie McCullough / The Texas Tribune

NEW ORLEANS — On the left was Judge Carolyn Dineen King, an appointee of Jimmy Carter; on the right sat Judge Kurt Engelhardt, a nominee of Donald Trump, and in the center sat Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod, the George W. Bush appointee expected to represent the critical swing vote on a three-judge panel now charged with deciding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

The fate of the Affordable Care Act is again on the line Tuesday, as a federal appeals court in New Orleans takes up a case in which a lower court judge has already ruled the massive health law unconstitutional.

Jessica Lo Surdo and Ross Marklein do stem sell research for the FDA
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Austin is a “hot spot” for clinics marketing stem-cell treatments directly to consumers. In 2017, 100 of the 716 clinics in the U.S. that promoted the regenerative properties of stem cells to treat everything from dental problems to neurological diseases were in Texas. But there is limited research to prove the safety and efficacy of some of those treatments, and new research suggests there are unqualified people administering them.

Sign for Obamacare at Foundation Communities
Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Texas must turn in legal briefs to a federal appeals court today ahead of a hearing next week on the state’s effort to overturn the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. 

Spencer Selvidge for KUT

Texas still has a lot of work to do to improve how it tracks deaths in the state, public health experts say.

Death certificates "give us snapshots of the health of the community and really helps us with our public health and health care priorities,” Dr. Umair Shah, executive director of Harris County Public Health, said.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Two Texas doctors are suing the state over a law prohibiting them from selling prescription drugs to their patients.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

It’s been three years since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of Texas’ controversial abortion law – and yet, most of the clinics forced to close after it first passed haven't reopened.

Courtesy Blanton Museum of Art

Central Texas residents say they are concerned about affordable housing and finances for older adults and caregivers, a new survey on attitudes toward aging finds.

Cockrell School of Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

Researchers at UT Austin have designed a device that can measure both the electrical and mechanical pulses of the heart using a sensor so thin and stretchable they're calling it an "electronic tattoo."

Spencer Selvidge for KUT

Texans who get their health insurance from a large employer are more likely to get a surprise bill in an emergency compared to people with similar plans in other states, according to research published Thursday.

Spinal surgery made it possible for Liv Cannon to plant her first vegetable garden.

"It's a lot of bending over and lifting the wheelbarrow and putting stakes in the ground," the 26-year-old says as she surveys the tomatillos, cherry tomatoes and eggplants growing in raised beds behind her house in Austin, Texas. "And none of that I could ever do before."

For the first 24 years of her life, Cannon's activities were limited by chronic pain and muscle weakness.

Premature Migrant Baby Found At Texas Border Patrol Facility

Jun 14, 2019
Eddie Gaspar for KUT

The teenage girl with pigtail braids was hunched over in a wheelchair and holding a bunched sweatshirt when an immigrant advocate met her at a crowded Border Patrol facility in Texas.

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