health and human services | WOSU Radio

health and human services

Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is placing new restrictions on the use of human fetal tissue in medical research. Federal scientists working at the National Institutes of Health will be prohibited from obtaining new tissue samples from elective abortions for ongoing research projects at NIH.

Abortion-rights opponents hailed the move as a first step toward a complete ban on the use of human fetal tissue in research.

Updated at 6:01 p.m. ET

The federal Department of Health and Human Services is proposing to roll back an Obama-era policy intended to protect transgender people from discrimination in health care.

A 16-year-old boy who traveled to the U.S. from Guatemala has died in U.S. custody in Texas, becoming the third child since early December to die after being detained. He had arrived at the border unaccompanied by his parents or other relatives.

Officials have not yet revealed the boy's identity.

Investigators from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services civil rights division are expected to visit Dayton soon. Health advocates say they’ll be in town the week of May 6 to gather testimony about community health impacts related to the  closure of Good Samaritan Hospital. 

Good Samaritan Hospital shut down last year and construction crews are already demolishing parts of the complex.

The Trump administration is weighing whether to require hospitals to publicly reveal the prices they charge insurance companies for medical procedures and services — prices that are currently negotiated in private and kept confidential.

The Department of Health and Human Services says its aim is to boost competition and cut costs by letting consumers see how prices vary from place to place. But health economists say such "transparency" might not actually bring down costs for patients.

A federal judge decided Friday to expand a class action lawsuit to include thousands more migrant families separated at the border before the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy was announced in 2018.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw's ruling vastly increased the number of people potentially eligible for relief under a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union that challenged the legality of the family separations, and banned the practice.

On June 26 of last year, Sabraw ordered the government to reunite the affected families.

The Trump administration has issued its final draft of a rule that makes sweeping changes to Title X, the federal program that provides birth control and other reproductive health services to millions of low-income Americans.

Jarun Ontakrai / Shutterstock

President Trump announced a new plan to end the HIV epidemic in America by 2030 in his State of the Union address Tuesday. Ohio is one major target of the initiative.

The Trump administration is proposing major changes in how prescription drugs are priced and paid for by Medicare.

The effort is designed to cut costs for senior citizens at the pharmacy counter and by its example could spur changes in the broader market for prescription drugs.

Updated at 4:59 pm ET

The Department of Health and Human Services is changing the ways it conducts background checks on sponsors of migrant children, a surprise move that will mean the release of hundreds of such children from controversial government-contracted shelters across the country.

The number of immigrant children being held in government custody has reached almost 15,000, putting a network of federally contracted shelters across the country near capacity.

The national network of more than 100 shelters are 92 percent full, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The situation is forcing the government to consider a range of options, possibly including releasing children more quickly to sponsors in the United States or expanding the already crowded shelter network.

Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press

Former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who headed the agency implemented the Affordable Care Act in 2010, spent the day in her home state of Ohio.

Updated at 4:37 p.m. ET

The American opioid crisis is far from over, but early data indicate the number of deaths are beginning to level off, according to Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, citing "encouraging" results in overdose trends.

In a speech on Tuesday at a Milken Institute health summit, Azar walked through statistics suggesting deaths were plateauing and he highlighted efforts he says may be turning the tide in the drug epidemic.

Updated at 5:15 pm ET

A memo that has reportedly been circulating at the Department of Health and Human Services aims to narrow the federal government's definition of "sex" under Title IX — a change that could leave transgender people without a number of the legal protections that have become standard in recent years.

The memo reported on by The New York Times has not been released publicly. NPR has not seen it, and HHS says it does not comment on "alleged leaked documents."

With the country on course to expand the rights of transgender Americans, college student Wren Vetens introduced herself as a woman for the first time in January 2016, at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society. After being raised as a boy and grappling with her gender identity for years, she says it felt liberating to be referred to as "she."

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