Health & Human Services

The Healthiest—and Unhealthiest—States

Reduced smoking rates, not much violent crime and low reports of sexually transmitted diseases make Vermont the healthiest state in the country, according to rankings released this week.

HIV Treatment, Testing Not Reaching Enough People, CDC Says

New data shows that current treatment, testing and prevention methods are not reaching enough Americans to help curtail new HIV cases, which federal officials said underscores the need for expanded options.

Report: Over 2 Million Children Affected by the Opioid Epidemic

The societal costs associated with children’s exposure to opioids could total $400 billion by 2030, a new report from the United Hospital Fund estimates.

After Rapper's 'Hymen Check' Comments, New York Lawmakers Want to Outlaw Virginity Testing

New York state legislators have filed two bills to ban the practice of virginity testing, which seeks to confirm the presence of a girl or woman's hymen as evidence that she is not sexually active.

For Public Health Agencies, Hiring in Competitive Field is Particularly Challenging

Hiring managers say competition with the private sector and other factors make it difficult to recruit and retain staff. A new Center for State and Local Government Excellence report details ways that local governments have succeeded despite these challenges.

Offering a Place for City Workers to Heal After a Mass Shooting

Virginia Beach has opened a resiliency center to provide mental health resources to all victims impacted by the May 31 attack.

A Mayor Went on a Police Ride-Along. What He Learned Changed How His City Looks at Mental Health

Fishers, Indiana established a city-wide mental health task force to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. Five years in, officials say the results are real.

Preterm Birth Rates Continue to Rise

The number of babies born before 37 weeks of gestation rose nationally for the fourth consecutive year, according to data from March of Dimes.

A Legislative Campaign to End Youth Tackle Football

A lawmaker in New York reintroduced a bill to ban tackle football for young children, continuing a debate over the safety of the sport.

Nothing Can Alleviate the Pain of a Stillborn Baby. But States Consider Helping with Parents' Financial Burdens

Several states have passed laws allowing parents of stillborn babies to claim tax credits. Several others have proposed it.

A Teenager Needed a Tampon. When Her School Didn't Have One, She Called Her Legislator

A Pennsylvania teen teamed up with a state representative to write legislation that would require schools to provide free pads and tampons for students.

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STDs Continue to Spread Nationwide

Cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis rose for the fifth consecutive year, according to federal data released this week.

Food Stamp Rules Would Eliminate Benefits for 4 Million, Reduce State Autonomy

Recent changes pushed by the Trump administration are expected to result in about 10 percent of recipients losing benefits. Another 500,000 children would lose access to free or reduced-price meals at school.

Supervised Injection Site Does Not Violate Federal Drug Law, Judge Rules

The decision could have ramifications throughout the country, as policymakers weigh whether to open facilities where people can take opioids and other illegal drugs.

Dispatching a 'Battle Buddy' to Help Distressed Veterans

An initiative in Joliet, Illinois, sends police officers with military experience to respond to calls for service involving veterans who need help.

High School Students are Less Likely to Attempt Suicide if They Trust Adults, Study Says

New research about rural high school students found that suicide prevention should involve fostering strong connections to adult staff members.

Federal Spending on Kids Falls, as More Dollars Flow Toward Older Adults and Debt

The findings are included in the latest edition of an annual report. “In a sense in our budget, we’re treating kids worse and worse,” said one of its authors.

The Private Option

One company has become the biggest provider of jail health care. Sheriffs are worried: “If you’re the only dance in town, you can pretty much call your own shots.”

How This State Is Using a 'Netflix Model' to Treat More People for Hepatitis C

Louisiana partnered with a pharmaceutical company to provide hepatitis C treatment to Medicaid and incarcerated patients at a fixed cost.