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.
 

Mainers, health experts are worried shoveling will kill you

on Jan. 30, 2015, at 8:38 a.m.
Every time a big snowstorm looms, the warnings pop up in my inbox: “Heart Attack Season Survival Tips.” And we thought mud season was a bummer. “Snow tips: Safe Shoveling.” Abstinence isn’t an option. “The Slippery Slope of Snow Shoveling.” See what they did there? “Deaths from heart disease rise rapidly during winter.” The straightforward …

Vital Signs: How Maine hospitals prepare for a snowstorm

on Jan. 29, 2015, at 11:51 a.m.
Doctors, nurses and other hospital workers don’t get snow days. With one blizzard behind us and another foot of snow in the forecast for today and tomorrow, the state’s medical centers continue to stay open around the clock.  Joel Farley, head of emergency preparedness for Eastern Maine Medical Center in …
Kevin Clark (left) and Chris Faulhaber play their daily 2:30 p.m. round of foosball with coworkers at CashStar's new Portland digs on Tuesday.

Gallup: Happy employees live healthier lives, have lower health care costs

By Jackie Farwell on Jan. 29, 2015, at 9:48 a.m.
Many companies jumping on the wellness bandwagon slap a fruit bowl on the conference table and call it good. But helping employees feel engaged in their jobs can lead to a healthier, happier workforce that costs employers less, according to a new Gallup report. Employees who are invested in their …
Ongoing construction at the Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015.

Shovels, stat! How Maine hospitals prepare for a snowstorm

By Jackie Farwell on Jan. 26, 2015, at 4:28 p.m.
Doctors, nurses and other hospital workers don’t get snow days. As a potentially record-breaking blizzard bore down Monday on Maine, the state’s medical centers stocked up on life-saving supplies, arranged hotel rooms for staff facing long hours and touched base with their plow truck drivers. Joel Farley, head of emergency …

Vital Signs: Bangor man caught between conflicting mail-order drug laws

on Jan. 22, 2015, at 11:55 a.m.
When Maine passed a law in June 2013 allowing residents to purchase prescription medication by mail from overseas, it entered uncharted waters. The state became the first in the nation to formally defy federal regulations that prohibit Americans from importing drugs through foreign pharmacies, which often sell the same medications …

Flu cases spike in Maine

By Jackie Farwell on Jan. 21, 2015, at 6:02 p.m.
Remember when I asked a couple of weeks ago if Maine’s flu season was really that bad? Well, it’s getting worse, according to new Maine CDC numbers. Learn About Tableau The number of reported flu cases spiked to 1,527 as of Jan. 17, up from 974 the prior week. Penobscot, Cumberland …

Flu cases spike in Maine

on Jan. 21, 2015, at 6:02 p.m.
Remember when I asked a couple of weeks ago if Maine’s flu season was really that bad? Well, it’s getting worse, according to new Maine CDC numbers. Learn About Tableau The number of reported flu cases spiked to 1,527 as of Jan. 17, up from 974 the prior week. Penobscot, Cumberland …
Cigarette butts grace an ashtray atop a trashcan in Portland's Monument Square.

Maine earns mixed grades for anti-smoking efforts

By Jackie Farwell on Jan. 21, 2015, at 1:29 p.m.
Maine invests too little toward preventing residents from picking up tobacco but improved efforts to help smokers quit, according to an annual report released Wednesday. Maine’s mixed performance in the American Lung Association’s 2015 “State of Tobacco Control” report comes less than a week after a public health group decried …
A screenshot of the Great British Drugstore website

Bangor man caught in conflict between Maine mail-order pharmacy laws, federal government

By Jackie Farwell on Jan. 20, 2015, at 5:25 a.m.
When Maine passed a law in June 2013 allowing residents to purchase prescription medication by mail from overseas, it entered uncharted waters. The state became the first in the nation to formally defy federal regulations that prohibit Americans from importing drugs through foreign pharmacies, which often sell the same medications …

Augusta dentist wins Fulbright grant to improve oral health in Belarus

on Jan. 16, 2015, at 1:47 p.m.
Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, a pediatric dentist in Augusta, was recently awarded a prestigious Fulbright award that will fund work to improve the health of children in his ancestral homeland of Belarus. The Fulbright Specialist Program grant in public and global health promotes collaboration between U.S. scholars and professionals and their counterparts at host institutions across …

Vital Signs: Health cuts in LePage budget decried

on Jan. 15, 2015, at 12:21 p.m.
Maine’s health community still digesting the budget proposal Gov. Paul LePage just unveiled, but the outcries have begun. The governor’s plan would slash funding for methadone treatment and anti-smoking programs, reduce the ranks of public health staff, and allow cities and towns to collect taxes on nonprofit property, prompting one hospital lobbyist to label the provision …
Governor Paul LePage

Public health group slams LePage budget cuts to tobacco program, Maine CDC staffing

By Jackie Farwell on Jan. 15, 2015, at 12:14 p.m.
Health advocates are decrying proposed funding cuts in Gov. Paul LePage’s two-year budget that would “decimate Maine’s public health system,” including programs aimed at reducing smoking and staffing at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. LePage’s budget “drastically” reduces funding for the state’s tobacco program and “all but …

Despite progress, Maine hospitals fall short of goals to reduce common infections

on Jan. 15, 2015, at 9:28 a.m.
Maine hospitals are falling short of national goals to reduce several types of potentially life-threatening infections, according to new data released Wednesday. Still, the state’s medical centers dramatically cut infections from one kind of “superbug” that often strikes the elderly, and modestly reduced several others. On any given day, one in 25 hospital patients in …
Theresa Grainger (left) of Limington, searches for Affordable Care Act health coverage with certified marketplace navigator Kate Albert in South Portland on March 31, 2014.

Feds: 60,000 Mainers pick Obamacare insurance plans

By Jackie Farwell on Jan. 14, 2015, at 1:16 p.m.
Nearly 60,000 Maine residents signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act through Jan. 9, according to federal data released Wednesday. With a month of open enrollment still remaining, 59,126 Mainers have chosen a plan through Healthcare.gov, the U.S. Department and Health of Human Services announced. That far …

Is Maine’s flu season really that bad?

on Jan. 09, 2015, at 6:59 p.m.
The flu has officially struck every county in Maine, according to the latest survey by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Health experts are warning that this flu season could be a doozy, with not only a high number of predicted cases, but also a nasty strain that sent many …

Is your private medical information safe? Maine expert offers tips for consumers

By Jackie Farwell on Jan. 08, 2015, at 2:13 p.m.
When hackers infiltrated Target and Home Depot, consumers were once again reminded of the vulnerability of their personal information. But big retailers aren’t the only ones at risk — your family doctor’s office could unwittingly divulge much more sensitive details than your credit card number. Michael Murray, an attorney with …

Vital Signs: Nurse Kaci Hickox details Ebola mission

on Jan. 08, 2015, at 12:16 p.m.
The Vital Signs newsletter is back in the saddle this week, wishing you all a healthy 2015. The new year brings us a familiar face: Kaci Hickox, the Maine nurse who garnered international attention after defying quarantine orders in two states. She spoke in South Portland on Tuesday about her experience treating Ebola patients at …
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins waves to supporters at the Westin Portland Harborview after winning re-election in November.

How long is a workweek? The latest Obamacare fight

By Jackie Farwell on Jan. 07, 2015, at 2:38 p.m.
The new Republican majority in Congress is out of the gate swinging at Obamacare this week, aiming for one of the law’s most debated provisions: the employer mandate. Under the Affordable Care Act, businesses with at least 50 employees must provide health insurance to their full-time workers or pay a …
Kaci Hickox arrives at a speaking engagement at Partners for World Health in South Portland on Tuesday night. Hickox said the Ebola epidemic is something Americans should be concerned about.

Kaci Hickox, Maine nurse who defied quarantine, details Ebola mission

By Jackie Farwell on Jan. 06, 2015, at 9:46 p.m.
SOUTH PORTLAND | Much of the world has seen the photos of Kaci Hickox peering from a tent outside a New Jersey hospital. But on Tuesday evening, the Maine nurse shared images of herself in a tent she entered willingly, where she treated Ebola patients at the heart of …
Charlene Brousseau of Manchester (center) reviews her health insurance options on Oct. 1, 2013, with help from Emily Brostek of Consumers for Affordable Health Care.

Charlene Brousseau of Manchester: Sticking with the Affordable Care Act

By Jackie Farwell on Jan. 04, 2015, at 6:16 a.m.
Name: Charlene Brousseau Age: 62 Location: Manchester Insurance in 2014: The Affordable Care Act marketplace Charlene Brousseau faithfully follows the advice of consumer advocates trumpeting the Affordable Care Act. But it hasn’t been easy. The Manchester woman signed up for coverage through Healthcare.gov in 2013, seeking a more affordable plan …
 
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