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.
 
A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this Oct. 2, 2013 photo illustration.

Census: More Maine residents without health insurance

By Jackie Farwell on Sept. 16, 2014, at 3:20 p.m.
The share of Mainers without health insurance rose from 2012 to 2013, making the state one of just two nationally to record an increase, according to new U.S. Census data. The data was included in one of three health insurance surveys the federal government released Tuesday. Maine’s uninsured population rose …
Pictured is the Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems Cianchette building in Brewer.

EMHS to eliminate more than 40 jobs in IT department

By Jackie Farwell on Sept. 15, 2014, at 5:37 p.m.
BREWER, Maine — Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems plans to eliminate more than 40 positions in its information systems department as part of a long-term effort to overhaul operations and avoid a $100 million shortfall in 2019, according to information obtained by the Bangor Daily News. The Brewer-based health care system, …

State fines Maine doctor who hosted marijuana clinics in Orono hotels

By Jackie Farwell on Sept. 15, 2014, at 1:02 p.m.
A state licensing board has reprimanded and fined a Maine doctor who issued medical marijuana certificates to nearly 60 patients over two days at seminars he hosted at hotels in Orono. Dr. William Ortiz, an internist, was disciplined by the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine for failing to create …
Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington

MaineHealth acquires Farmington hospital network

By Jackie Farwell on Aug. 28, 2014, at 6:03 p.m.
Franklin Community Health Network has become the 13th member of the state’s largest hospital system, following a state approval issued Wednesday. The independent health network, parent to the 65-bed Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, will join Portland-based MaineHealth effective Oct. 1, both organizations announced Thursday. MaineHealth, the parent organization to …

NH resident stricken by potentially deadly mosquito illness EEE treated in Maine

By Jackie Farwell on Aug. 28, 2014, at 1:06 p.m.
A New Hampshire resident has been hospitalized in Maine with Eastern equine encephalitis, a potentially deadly disease carried by mosquitoes, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The patient, an individual in his or her 50s whose identity is being withheld in accordance with confidentiality laws, contracted …
VITAL SIGNS (blog)

Vital Signs: Monthly shot prevents high from opiates

on Aug. 28, 2014, at 10:35 a.m.
Men and women climbing out of the dark hole of opiate addiction are turning to a new hope for recovery: A monthly injection that prevents them from getting high. The shot, a medication called naltrexone — known by the brand name Vivitrol — blocks the brain’s opioid receptors, thwarting the euphoric …

Once-a-month shot that blocks high from opiates making inroads in Maine

By Jackie Farwell on Aug. 27, 2014, at 6:06 a.m.
Men and women climbing out of the dark hole of opiate addiction visit a recovery center in Augusta once a month for an injection that prevents them from getting high. The shot, a medication called naltrexone — known by the brand name Vivitrol — blocks the brain’s opioid receptors, thwarting …

Vital Signs: Climate change threatens health, report finds

By Jackie Farwell on Aug. 21, 2014, at 10:36 a.m.
Maine confirmed a record number of Lyme disease cases last year, with more than 1,300 residents diagnosed with the illness. The ticks that carry Lyme also target wildlife, forcing the state to slash the number of moose-hunting permits by a quarter in response to crippling losses last winter. Add mosquitoes to the …

Report: Climate change threatens outdoor recreation, Mainers’ health

By Jackie Farwell on Aug. 19, 2014, at 5:53 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — Climate change has exacerbated populations of ticks, mosquitoes and other pests that threaten health and outdoor recreation, according to a national report released in Portland on Tuesday. Shorter winters and warmer summers have allowed problematic bugs — along with poison ivy and jellyfish — to grow in …

How to avoid tick and mosquito bites

By Jackie Farwell on Aug. 19, 2014, at 5:53 p.m.
Maine CDC recommends the following preventive measures to protect against tick-borne illnesses: 1. Wear light-colored clothing so it’s easier to spot ticks; wear long sleeves and tuck your pants into your socks. 2. Use insect repellent with DEET on your skin and apply permethrin, a common insecticide, to your clothes. …
VITAL SIGNS (blog)

Hand, foot and mouth disease: Does your kid have it?

on Aug. 18, 2014, at 5:06 p.m.
If you’ve got a kid in daycare, you’re probably hearing a lot about hand, foot and mouth disease. The highly contagious summertime virus is making the rounds, cropping up where little ones congregate and share their germs more readily than their toys. (Not to be confused with foot-and-mouth or hoof-and-mouth disease, …
VITAL SIGNS (blog)

What do you really know about ALS, the #IceBucketChallenge?

on Aug. 16, 2014, at 7:26 a.m.
This guest post was contributed by BDN Portland Bureau Chief Seth Koenig. The ice bucket challenge has been impossible to miss if you’ve spent any time on the Internet over the past week or two. Famous actors, businessmen, politicians and athletes – as well as just about everyone else – …

State reports spike in whooping cough diagnoses in northern, eastern Maine

By Jackie Farwell on Aug. 15, 2014, at 5:10 p.m.
Whooping cough has sickened a rising number of children in northern and eastern Maine, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The highly contagious respiratory infection has hit Washington County the hardest, at a rate of 115 cases per 100,000 residents, six times the statewide average. Six …
VITAL SIGNS (blog)

Vital Signs: Maine records spike in tick-borne diseases

on Aug. 14, 2014, at 11:27 a.m.
Many Mainers know about Lyme disease. But the deer tick that spreads the increasingly prevalent infection can also harbor several other diseases in its tiny eight-legged body. Maine has confirmed 103 cases of the bacterial infection anaplasmosis this year, already exceeding the 94 cases recorded in all of 2013. Anaplasmosis can lead to similar long-term effects as …

1,200 Maine consumers could lose Obamacare coverage for failure to prove legal residency

By Jackie Farwell on Aug. 13, 2014, at 1:02 p.m.
About 1,200 Maine consumers who signed up for insurance through Healthcare.gov failed to submit proof that they legally reside in the U.S., putting their coverage at risk, the federal Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday. The Maine consumers were among 310,000 nationally identified with “inconsistencies” in their applications. …

How to prevent a tick bite

By Jackie Farwell on Aug. 12, 2014, at 9:58 p.m.
1. Choose light-colored clothing so it’s easier to spot ticks; wear long sleeves and and tuck your pants into your socks. 2. Use insect repellent with DEET on your skin and apply permethrin, a common insecticide, to your clothes. 3. Check your skin and clothing for ticks and remove them …

Maine records spike in diseases carried by ticks, not just Lyme

By Jackie Farwell on Aug. 12, 2014, at 9:57 p.m.
An emerging infection carried by the same ticks that transmit Lyme disease has sickened a record number of Mainers this year, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. While rarely fatal, the disease can cause serious illness if left untreated. So far in 2014, Maine has confirmed …
VITAL SIGNS (blog)

Robin Williams’ death highlights sharp rise in suicides among baby boomers

on Aug. 12, 2014, at 12:01 p.m.
Robin Williams’ death from an apparent suicide has the nation talking about a public health problem we often avoid. Suicide now claims more American lives each year than car crashes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 100 people die from suicide every day in …
VIDEO
Mikeal Van Mierlo, 11, (from top) Danika Hluska, 10, Anneke Van Mierlo, 7, and Matheo Van Mierlo, 11, perform an areal stunt at a Circus Atlantic class in Yarmouth on Thursday. Circus Atlantic is the recreational arm of the Circus Conservatory of America.

Come one, come all: Harvard-trained former mime researches health benefits of circus arts

By Jackie Farwell on Aug. 11, 2014, at 1:33 p.m.
YARMOUTH, Maine — Mikeal Van Mierlo grasps two sticks, one in each hand, connected by a long string. In the middle, the 11-year-old balances an hourglass-shaped rubber “diabolo,” a pair of cups joined at the base by a narrow spool. He furiously pumps his hands, spinning the diabolo back and …
INFOGRAPHIC

Maine medical malpractice insurer records big drop in claims, but attorney says system is stacked against patients

By Jackie Farwell on Aug. 08, 2014, at 12:32 p.m.
The company that insures most Maine doctors and hospitals against malpractice has seen claims drop by more than half over the past decade, citing improved care and communication with patients among the many reasons. But one of the state’s most experienced medical malpractice lawyers argues that Maine law favors doctors …
 
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