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.

As Maine weighs e-cigarette limits, ‘vaping’ among U.S. teens triples

on April 17, 2015, at 4:02 p.m.
Add this to the list of electronics consuming teenagers’ attention: cigarettes. Use of electronic cigarettes tripled among American middle and high school students over the course of just one year, from 2013 to 2014, according to new data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The statistics come as many …

Vital Signs newsletter: Lawmakers debate your health

on April 16, 2015, at 12:22 p.m.
Apparently it’s “controversial health legislation” week in Augusta. While bills related to Mainers’ health spark plenty of debate throughout the legislative session — see “Medicaid expansion” — lawmakers tackled a spate of proposals this week that could affect your physical well-being. First out of the gate was a bill to ban the use of electronic …

Emails of 1,200 patients at Brewer medical practice mistakenly disclosed

By Jackie Farwell on April 15, 2015, at 6:36 p.m.
Email addresses belonging to more than 1,000 patients of a Brewer medical practice were mistakenly disclosed twice Wednesday through an attempt to gather feedback about a new program. Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems emailed 1,200 patients at the member practice, EMMC Family Medicine, with an invitation to take …

How to choose a primary care doctor in Maine

on April 15, 2015, at 1:59 p.m.
Do you have a primary care doctor? The Affordable Care Act relies on the trusted family doctor to help transform the country’s health care system. Along with boosting Medicare and Medicaid payments to primary care providers and investing in their work force, health reform puts primary care doctors and nurses at the heart of efforts …

My take on a forum for opposing views about vaccines

on April 09, 2015, at 7:09 p.m.
On Wednesday evening, about 40 people attended a WGME town hall forum about vaccination. I represented the BDN as a media partner in the event. The intense public discussion over vaccines, particularly whether the government should require them, has culminated in Maine with new legislation. One bill seeks to end an exemption that allows parents …

Vital Signs newsletter: Maine organics groups join suit against USDA

on April 09, 2015, at 11:46 a.m.
Two Maine groups representing organic farmers have joined a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture, arguing the agency undercut the organic certification program by changing the rules without public comment. The lawsuit concerns the process by which the USDA takes synthetic or natural materials off its list of ingredients prohibited in certified …

Town hall debate on vaccinations set for tonight

on April 07, 2015, at 2:19 p.m.
We’re teaming up with our media partners at WGME Channel 13 for a town hall debate tomorrow night about vaccination. I’ll be on hand to ask a question or two of of the panel. My money’s on a lively debate. The panelists are: Dr. Dora Anne Mills, VP for clinical affairs …
Mark Phillips, creator of Palcohol, a powdered form of alcohol

As Maine eyes powdered alcohol ban, creator says Palcohol as safe as liquid booze

By Jackie Farwell on April 06, 2015, at 4:03 p.m.
Powdered alcohol hasn’t even hit liquor store shelves yet, but some lawmakers want to make sure the new product never gets a shot in Maine. Just add water to the powdered form of vodka, rum and three cocktails, and you’ve got the alcoholic beverage known as Palcohol. Since the product …

Baby chicks are cute, but salmonella isn’t

on April 03, 2015, at 12:23 p.m.
Baby chicks may look adorable all nestled in Easter baskets this weekend, but bacteria could be hiding in those downy yellow feathers. The little fuzz balls can carry salmonella, the germ we most often associate with eggs and undercooked poultry. Sorry Peeps, I feel like this gal writing about it today, but I think …

What Atul Gawande, medicine’s rock star, thinks about Maine health care

on April 02, 2015, at 4:01 p.m.
More than 1,100 people attended a conference in Augusta yesterday devoted to improving the health of Maine people. Hosted by Maine Quality Counts, the conference cast a spotlight on how Maine can better deliver both health and health care. In a state of our size, that’s a pretty remarkable turnout. …

Vital Signs newsletter: Bangor nursing home to pay $1.2M in Medicare settlement

on April 02, 2015, at 12:14 p.m.
Before we dive into the week’s health news, I’m soliciting feedback on the Vital Signs newsletter. What do you like about it? What should change? Is the headline roundup helpful to stay on top of the week’s health news, or a little stale by the time it lands in your inbox? …

Bangor nursing home to pay $1.2 million in Medicare settlement

By Jackie Farwell on March 31, 2015, at 4:03 p.m.
Nursing home Ross Manor has agreed to pay $1.2 million to settle allegations it allowed a vendor to inflate Medicare claims for rehabilitation therapy. The Boston U.S. attorney’s office announced the settlement Monday, alleging Ross Manor failed to prevent a subcontractor from submitting claims to Medicare seeking …

Are your kids getting high with Burt’s Bees lip balm?

on March 27, 2015, at 12:19 p.m.
Welcome to the latest edition of “Kids these days are using (insert seemingly innocuous substance here) to get high!” A Nashville television station recently reported that teens are rubbing Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm on their eyelids. The lip balm contains peppermint oil, which reportedly causes tingling and burning that “creates …

Vital Signs newsletter: Maine’s chief health officer resigns

on March 26, 2015, at 1:03 p.m.
Sorry for the delay today folks, technical issues gummed up the works this morning. With no further ado… Maine’s public health agency typically works behind the scenes, encouraging vaccination and healthy habits, shoring up disaster expertise and supplies, and supporting local health promotion programs. Historically, the agency made headlines only when an …

How healthy are your neighbors? New report ranks Maine counties

By Jackie Farwell on March 26, 2015, at 12:52 p.m.
Sagadahoc County residents, congratulations. You’re the healthiest in Maine. Somerset County dwellers, bad news. You’re the least healthy. That’s according to the sixth annual County Health Rankings, released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The rankings offer a snapshot of each …
Dr. Sheila Pinette

Maine’s chief health officer resigns, says CDC controversy not a factor

By Jackie Farwell on March 24, 2015, at 1:07 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Dr. Sheila Pinette has resigned as the state’s chief health officer a month after taking the job, hastening an organizational shakeup at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Pinette has served as the state’s top public health official since 2011. She oversaw the Maine Center …
Nurse Deanna Boisvert cleans up after dispensing methadone Friday morning at CAP Quality Care in Westbrook. Gov. Paul LePage plans to eliminate state funding for methadone treatment of opiate addiction.

Maine’s methadone debate puts spotlight on addiction treatment

By Jackie Farwell on March 21, 2015, at 5:59 a.m.
WESTBROOK | As lawmakers debate the future of a treatment for opiate addiction in Maine, Andrea of Gorham desperately hopes her voice cuts through the clamor. The 50ish woman receives methadone treatment at a clinic in Westbrook, paid for by MaineCare, the government health insurance program for low-income Mainers. …

Vital Signs newsletter: Lengthy antibiotics for Lyme

on March 19, 2015, at 12:26 p.m.
For many patients with Lyme disease, an extended course of antibiotics brings blessed relief from long-lasting and debilitating symptoms. But the medical mainstream cautions against such treatment, contending there’s no evidence it diminishes Lyme symptoms and gives patients false hope. Bill Whitten of North Yarmouth has explored many “alternative treatments” …

Biddeford doctor censured for prescribing practices after two patient deaths

By Jackie Farwell on March 13, 2015, at 6:54 p.m.
A state medical licensing board has censured a Maine doctor after two of his patients died from medications he prescribed. Dr. Stephen Doane’s medical license was placed on probation following an investigation by the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine, which found he was incompetent in treating patients by failing …

Vital Signs newsletter: Family shines light on addiction with Caribou man’s obituary

on March 12, 2015, at 11:51 a.m.
The statistics about heroin abuse tell us that more and more of Maine’s residents are dying from overdoses. In 2013, drugs killed more Mainers than car crashes. What the numbers don’t tell us are the stories of those lost lives. The aftershocks of drug deaths reverberate through families and communities long after the …
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