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 (blog)

The hospital merger that wasn’t: CMHC sought partner

on June 24, 2014, at 11:58 a.m.
Central Maine Healthcare reached out last year to five other hospital organizations in the state to explore a partnership, the Sun Journal reports today. The system — which includes the flagship Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, along with Rumford Hospital and Bridgton Hospital — sought to gauge the other organizations’ …
INFOGRAPHIC & POLL QUESTION

Is your well water safe to drink? Check test results in your town

By Jackie Farwell on June 23, 2014, at 1:35 p.m.
When Loree Ross had a new well drilled several years ago at her home in Danforth, she could have saved a few bucks by testing it only for bacteria. But she ordered a full workup. “I remember saying to my husband, ‘Wouldn’t you want to know if your water was …
Benjamin LaMontagne

Autopsy of Cheverus student reveals early signs of flesh-eating infection

By Jackie Farwell on June 20, 2014, at 4:25 p.m.
Benjamin LaMontagne, an 18-year-old Cheverus student who contracted a flesh-eating bacteria following oral surgery, was pronounced dead at his home after first responders attempted to revive him, according to the medical examiner’s report. LaMontagne felt weak and dizzy after having four wisdom teeth extracted on Feb. 19, the report indicates. …
Benjamin LaMontagne

Cheverus student’s death caused by flesh-eating bacterial infection after dental procedure

By Jackie Farwell on June 19, 2014, at 3 p.m.
An 18-year-old Cheverus High School student who died in February just days after undergoing oral surgery contracted a rare flesh-eating bacteria, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Benjamin LaMontagne died as a result of complications of cervical necrotizing fasciitis following a dental procedure, said Mark Belserene of …
Dot MacDonald, 84, of Portland, examines quilt scraps with Karen McKenna, a vision rehabilitation therapist at the Iris Network, on June 17, 2014. McKenna has helped MacDonald adjust to vision loss.

Nonprofit Iris Network helps Mainers with vision loss to keep sight of living independently

By Jackie Farwell on June 19, 2014, at 11:57 a.m.
Dot MacDonald sat at the kitchen table of her quaint Portland home this week, combing through fabric scraps and envisioning her next quilt. At 84, MacDonald has lost much of her vision, an impediment that threatened not only her once-fulfilling hobby but also her ability to care for her nearly …
VITAL SIGNS (blog)

Vital Signs newsletter: Mainers pay average $99 a month for Obamacare plans

on June 19, 2014, at 11:35 a.m.
Maine consumers are paying about a third of the $282 per month they used to cough up to buy health insurance, new federal figures show. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report offered the first in-depth analysis of the prices consumers will pay for private plans offered through the federal government’s …
A man looks over the Affordable Care Act signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October 2013 photo illustration.

Mainers are paying an average of $99 for monthly premiums from healthcare.gov

By Jackie Farwell on June 18, 2014, at 2:41 p.m.
Mainers who signed up for insurance through Healthcare.gov paid an average of $99 per month in premiums, according to federal figures released Wednesday. That’s about a third of the $282 per month Maine consumers paid in 2010, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The figures reflect those who buy their …
VITAL SIGNS (blog)

E-cigarette refills contain enough nicotine to kill your child or pet

on June 13, 2014, at 12:34 p.m.
If you haven’t spotted electronic cigarettes at your local convenience store or smoke shop, you will. The latest nicotine product to hit the market — including at a new “vape house” in Portland – is skyrocketing in popularity, but many users remain unaware of the potential dangers (aside from the obvious …

Empty beds, empty coffers: Why Maine’s rural nursing homes are facing an uncertain future

By Jackie Farwell on June 13, 2014, at 10:17 a.m.
When a nursing home in Calais abruptly closed its doors two years ago, the effects reverberated throughout the small Washington County community. Nearly 100 people lost their jobs. Local businesses said goodbye to paying customers. The town suffered the departure of a major taxpayer, which affected everything from sewer rates …
VITAL SIGNS (blog)

Vital Signs newsletter: MaineCare backlogged with applications

on June 12, 2014, at 11:38 a.m.
Maine refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, but the program for low-income residents is growing anyway. Thousands of Mainers who were eligible all along but never signed up are now seeking coverage, amid publicity about new, more affordable health insurance options and the requirement that most Americans get …
Mary Mayhew

Thousands stuck in MaineCare application backlog

By Jackie Farwell on June 10, 2014, at 7:39 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Thousands of Mainers are waiting to find out if they’re eligible for Medicaid coverage, potentially putting off needed medical care while state and federal officials sort out the bureaucratic backlog. Nationally, more than 6 million low-income Americans have gained Medicaid coverage through an expansion of the health …

Portland at a crossroads: How one vote underscores big changes in Maine’s largest city

on June 08, 2014, at 12 a.m.
On Tuesday, Portland voters will decide the future of Congress Square, which has become a visible, divisive example of how Maine’s largest city is changing.
VITAL SIGNS (blog)

Vital Signs newsletter: Insurers seek modest rate increases

on June 05, 2014, at 11:18 a.m.
Some feared health insurance premiums would skyrocket under the Affordable Care Act. But the two insurers selling plans to Maine consumers want to raise rates just modestly in 2015, well below the double-digit hikes seen in previous years. The proposed rates offer a tentative first look at how much insurers seek to …
GRAPH

Maine insurers selling Affordable Care Act plans seek rate increases in 2015

By Jackie Farwell on June 03, 2014, at 6:27 p.m.
The two insurers selling plans to Maine consumers under the Affordable Care Act want to raise rates in 2015, but well below the double-digit average hikes cropping up in some other states. The proposed rates offer a tentative first look at how much insurers seek to charge during the second …

Maine hospitals tout Medicare cost data, but health care quality watchdog says ‘we could be a lot better’

By Jackie Farwell on June 03, 2014, at 8:03 a.m.
Maine hospitals are touting new data released by the federal government showing the state delivers health care to seniors more cost effectively than most of its counterparts. A Maine health care cost and quality organization, however, urged examining the numbers from a global perspective. On Monday, Medicare released a trove …

Bangor High School warns of student’s infection with whooping cough

By Jackie Farwell on May 30, 2014, at 5:34 p.m.
BANGOR, Maine — Bangor High School has alerted parents to a case of whooping cough, just days after reports of the highly contagious respiratory disease in far northern Maine. A parent notified the school on Friday that a student was infected with the illness, according to Bangor High School Principal …
VITAL SIGNS (blog)

Vital Signs newsletter: Machias hospital CEO resigns

on May 29, 2014, at 11:09 a.m.
Doug Jones, who led Down East Community Hospital in Machias through a turbulent period following the death of a patient, has resigned as chief executive officer. Jones was named interim CEO after the state placed the hospital into receivership in 2009 and under the emergency control of Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, …
James, Smith, 18, works with music therapist Kate Beever on his speech and motor movements through creative improvisation and songwriting.

Maine music therapist promotes healing effects of the creative arts

By Jackie Farwell on May 29, 2014, at 10:25 a.m.
Music therapist Kate Beever met with a client once who refused to take his medications. The man, in his late 60s, was hospitalized with prostate cancer and reluctant to interact with the medical providers trying to help him. Beever, a percussionist and keyboardist, played him a couple of songs. The …
VITAL SIGNS (blog)

Maine doctors help kids get fit, stressing healthy choices over dropping pounds

on May 28, 2014, at 3:04 p.m.
Shane Mayo of Orrington felt a tad nervous when his mom suggested last year that he get active and start eating healthier. The 17-year-old was about 30 pounds overweight and pre-diabetic and with high cholesterol. But today, Mayo’s 20 pounds lighter and has a healthy body mass index. He runs, …

VA pilot program brings health specialists closer to home for veterans in northern Maine

By Jackie Farwell on May 23, 2014, at 4:04 p.m.
After Peter Miesburger broke his hip in January, the retired U.S. Air Force master sergeant underwent an operation to have it replaced with an artificial joint at his local hospital in Caribou. His family visited every day while he was recovering, and he drove just a few miles home after …
 
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