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.

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 …
Dr. Stephen Sears

State epidemiologist resigns from Maine CDC

By Jackie Farwell on March 20, 2014, at 3:16 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Dr. Stephen Sears, Maine’s state epidemiologist since 2010, has resigned from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Sears said he notified Maine CDC last week that he has accepted a position as chief of staff for the Veterans Affairs Maine Healthcare System. His last day …

Vital Signs: Top health stories this week

on March 20, 2014, at 11:10 a.m.
A group of 25 Mainers recently volunteered to test their bodies for chemicals found in numerous consumer products, from shower curtains to inflatable toys. Every participant, from current and former lawmakers to mothers and an electrician, tested positive for phthalates, chemicals used to soften plastics that some studies have linked to …

As EMMC faces shortfall, parent organization touts financial rating

on March 19, 2014, at 1:25 p.m.
Less than a week after Bangor’s Eastern Maine Medical Center announced a $7 million shortfall, its parent organization is touting a healthy balance sheet and strong financial future. How can that be? Here’s a closer look. Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems issued a press release Wednesday announcing that Standard & Poor’s issued …
Paige Holmes, 34, who lives in Lisbon with her two young sons, was shocked to discover she had the highest overall level of phthalates in a new study that tested 25 Mainers for the chemicals.

Tests of 25 Mainers find high levels of chemicals used in plastics

By Jackie Farwell on March 18, 2014, at 2:22 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The test results are in for 25 Mainers who recently volunteered to test their bodies for a battery of chemicals commonly found in consumer products. Every participant, from current and former lawmakers to mothers and an electrician, tested positive for phthalates, a group of chemicals used to …

Adults can overdose on two pills of potent new painkiller

on March 14, 2014, at 11:46 a.m.
Two members of Maine’s congressional delegation are pressuring federal regulators to revoke approval of a new painkiller that’s among the most powerful on the market. Congressman Mike Michaud and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree signed a letter in December to U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg asking her to reconsider approval …
The Eastern Maine Medical Center complex in Bangor.

Eastern Maine Medical Center facing $7 million shortfall

By Jackie Farwell on March 13, 2014, at 4:25 p.m.
BANGOR, Maine — Eastern Maine Medical Center faces a $7 million shortfall from shrinking government reimbursements, fewer patients than expected, and a surge in unpaid care. “We’re five months into our fiscal year, and we haven’t met our targets,” Deborah Carey Johnson, EMMC’s president and CEO, said in a notice …

Federal report details Maine’s efforts to root out Medicaid fraud

By Jackie Farwell on March 13, 2014, at 11:23 a.m.
Maine investigations of Medicaid fraud resulted in nearly $7.5 million in recoveries, primarily from drug companies, in fiscal year 2013, according to new federal data. Nearly all of that money, which includes funds due to the federal government, was owed by drug makers to settle civil charges, including improper marketing …

Vital Signs: Top health stories this week

on March 13, 2014, at 11:21 a.m.
As a March 31 deadline looms, Maine health advocates are pulling out all the stops to get Mainers enrolled in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. New statistics show Maine leading the pack in hitting sign-up targets set by the federal government, but the push for coverage continues during these final weeks of open enrollment. Maine …

As ACA deadline looms, Maine doctors show support for single-payer health care

on March 12, 2014, at 3:22 p.m.
With March 31 fast approaching as the deadline to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care act, the state’s largest physicians group has released new survey results showing Maine doctors favor a very different kind of health reform. The survey of Maine Medical Association members shows nearly two-thirds of doctors prefer …
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