Jackie Farwell

Jackie Farwell

Health Editor

Jackie Farwell of Gorham is the health care editor for the Bangor Daily News. Farwell began her career with the newspaper after graduating from the University of Maine's journalism program in 2004. She left in 2006 for a job with The Associated Press in New York, later returning to Maine to become a senior writer at business magazine Mainebiz. Farwell rejoined the Bangor Daily News in 2011 and works from the Portland area. She covers health issues that directly affect Maine residents.

Vital Signs: Top health stories this week

on April 24, 2014, at 11:25 a.m.
When Makenna Ward entered her Houlton classroom in the fall of 2013, her fellow elementary school students learned some very adult words, including neuroblastoma, chemotherapy, and most heartbreakingly, death. Six-year-old Makenna died from cancer on Dec. 29, 2013. Young students and others in her school community rallied to honor her, making …
Mary Mayhew, commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

Maine to begin adding photos to public assistance cards in Bangor

By Jackie Farwell on April 18, 2014, at 5:35 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Despite federal administrators’ reservations, Maine will begin adding recipients’ photographs to Electronic Benefits Transaction cards later this month, the state Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday. EBT cards dispense several forms of public assistance, including food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and …

Think twice before handling baby chicks

on April 18, 2014, at 10:47 a.m.
I made a trip to my local Blue Seal store on Thursday to pick up dog food. As I walked through the door, the gentle peeping sounds of dozens of fluffy baby chicks filled the air. I was just about to sneak my finger into one of the enclosures to pet their …

Vital Signs: Top health stories this week

on April 17, 2014, at 12:10 p.m.
Three times each day, 19-year-old Katie Solman of Bangor adds drops of a medical marijuana tincture into a cup of juice or tea and swallows it. Diagnosed with epilepsy at age 11, Solman has been prescribed a variety of pharmaceutical prescriptions over the years to ease the symptoms of her epilepsy. …
On April 4, South Portland doctor Michael Ciampi, who does not accept insurance or medicaid, explains how his subscription care service works out to about $50 per month for patients like Roxanne Pettigrow (left).

Maine doctors ditch insurance, offer monthly subscriptions for primary care

By Jackie Farwell on April 11, 2014, at 10:27 a.m.
SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Roxanne Pettigrow has no health insurance. But the Gorham woman visits her doctor in South Portland every few weeks, paying $50 up front, once per month for regular checkups, office visits and preventive health screenings — care those lacking health coverage often skip. With her $600 …

Vital Signs newsletter: Top health stories this week

on April 10, 2014, at 11:12 a.m.
More than 20 Maine health providers were paid at least $1 million each from Medicare in 2012, according to a trove of government data released Wednesday that sheds unprecedented light on health care billing across the country. The data, off limits to the public for more than three decades, revealed individual …
Geoffrey Gratwick

Long-secret Medicare data reveal payments to Maine doctors

By Jackie Farwell on April 10, 2014, at 10:30 a.m.
More than 20 Maine health providers were paid at least $1 million each from Medicare in 2012, according to a trove of government data released Wednesday that sheds unprecedented light on health care billing across the country. Of the 23 receiving at least $1 million in Maine, seven were clinical …

Vital Signs newsletter: Top health stories this week

on April 03, 2014, at 11:24 a.m.
Monday marked one of the biggest deadlines for the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” Uninsured Mainers raced to begin signing up for health insurance by midnight, swamping health advocates with questions about premiums, deductibles and benefits. As the clock ticked down, many got their first look at how the landmark …
Theresa Grainger (left) of Limington, searches for Affordable Care Act health coverage with certified marketplace navigator Kate Albert in South Portland on Monday, the deadline to sign up.

Mainers rush to sign up for health insurance on ACA deadline day

By Lindsay Tice and Jackie Farwell on March 31, 2014, at 5:58 p.m.
By mid-morning Monday, the state’s only health insurance co-op was getting so many calls — How do I get insurance by the deadline? Did the federal marketplace send over my sign-up information yet? How do I make a payment? — that its CEO grabbed a free desk and started answering …

FAQ: A big day for the ACA

By Jackie Farwell, Bangor Daily News, and Lindsay Tice, Sun Journal on March 31, 2014, at 5:52 p.m.
March 31 is the deadline to enroll in health insurance? For most people, yes. But the Obama administration will allow anyone who tried unsuccessfully to sign up through Healthcare.gov — because of technical issues or other problems — by March 31 extra time to submit an application. How much extra …

As one Maine school excels on healthy lunches, others lack equipment to meet new nutritional guidelines

By Jackie Farwell on March 31, 2014, at 10:22 a.m.
At the New Sweden Consolidated School in Aroostook County, food service manager Melanie Lagasse prepares most meals from scratch. The school’s 64 students, ranging from preschool to eighth grade, favor the chicken stew, chop suey with whole-wheat pasta and meatloaf. A couple of weeks ago, Lagasse tested their palates with …

Most states fail on health price transparency, but not Maine

on March 27, 2014, at 3:20 p.m.
Health care prices remain hidden from patients in all but five states, preventing consumers from fully understanding their medical expenses, according to a new national report card. Maine, however, earned a B grade. Only Massachusetts earned the same distinction, while Colorado, Vermont, and Virginia were awarded Cs. No state got an A. …

Vital Signs: Top health stories this week

on March 27, 2014, at 11:43 a.m.
It comes as no surprise that Maine’s poorest and uninsured residents struggle to afford health services. But a new statewide survey, designed to track the impact of the Affordable Care Act here, also finds Mainers with insurance coverage earning middle-class incomes run into trouble paying medical bills. Survey: Mainers struggle to …

Survey: Mainers struggle to pay medical bills — even those with insurance

By Jackie Farwell on March 26, 2014, at 5:12 p.m.
Many Maine residents, even those with health insurance, struggle to afford their medical bills, a new statewide survey has found. While the poorest Mainers reported the most difficulty affording health services, more than a quarter of residents with health coverage ran into trouble paying medical bills, according to the survey …

Maine researchers investigate if vitamin D can stave off diabetes

on March 25, 2014, at 12:54 p.m.
One in four Americans is estimated to have borderline diabetes. Researchers at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute want to help them avoid a full-blown diagnosis of the insulin disorder, a leading cause of death in the U.S. Vitamin D might just hold a clue. The Scarborough institute has been selected to participate …

Maine doctors, here’s what your patients think of you

on March 24, 2014, at 3:31 p.m.
When patients enjoy a good experience at the doctor’s office, it shows in their health, a growing body of research indicates. If you can get an appointment promptly and visit a provider who really listens and understands your medical history, you’re more likely to follow your doctor’s instructions, take change of …

Crisis in Amazon jungle fuels Bangor surgeon’s passion for tech in the OR

on March 21, 2014, at 12:45 p.m.
Dr. Rafael Grossmann, a surgeon at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, is about as passionate an advocate for telemedicine as you’ll find in Maine. On his personal blog and at various conferences, he extolls the benefits of marrying medicine with technology to improve care and save lives. Last June, …
Nurse and poison specialist Shannon Smith takes a call at the Northern New England Poison Center in Portland recently. The call center covers Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

From household toxins to drug overdoses, Portland poison center is on health care’s front lines

By Jackie Farwell on March 20, 2014, at 5:54 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — At first glance, the Northern New England Poison Center looks much like any other call center, its cubicles tucked into a nondescript building off Washington Avenue in Portland. But the posters of poisonous mushrooms and glittered skull and crossbones decorations belie the life-saving, parent-soothing work taking place …

Northern New England Poison Center faces funding squeeze

By Jackie Farwell on March 20, 2014, at 5:45 p.m.
A funding shortfall is threatening the future of the Northern New England Poison Center’s services, according to its most recent semiannual report. With an annual budget of $1.8 million, the nonprofit center’s funded with a mix of state and federal dollars, along with about $250,000 from Maine Medical Center in …

Former Houlton doctor reprimanded for kissing patient in ER

By Jackie Farwell on March 20, 2014, at 4:16 p.m.
AUGUSTA, ME – A state medical board has reprimanded and fined a physician who was fired by Houlton Regional Hospital for kissing a patient in the emergency room. Two nurses witnessed Dr. Waleed Khan engaged in a “passionate kiss” with a female patient who arrived at the ER under the …
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