Nov. 8 2013 12:00 AM

Low immunization rates, pharmaceutical drug shortages and abuses, economic opportunity by ZIP code and more

Counties in dark blue represent a greater chance of economic opportunity. Courtesy of Opportunity Nation.

Friday, Nov. 8 — Each week, City Pulse runs a series of stories produced by Capital News Service correspondents at Michigan State University’s School of Journalism. This week’s topics cover Michigan’s low immunization rates among children, separate stories on pharmaceutical drug shortages and abuse and a new study that shows economic opportunity by ZIP code.

  • Michigan has one of the nation’s lowest rates of immunizations, in part because of myths about vaccines and in part because of parents who opt their children out of recommended vaccinations. Ingham and Allegan County health officials explain. By Becky McKendry.
  • A shortage of some pharmaceuticals, include IV, pain and anesthetic drugs, is causing difficulties for patients, physicians and hospitals. We hear why from medical, hospital and pharmacy associations and the FDA. By Lacee Shepard.
  • Prescription drug seizures are down but pill abuse remains a problem, federal and state law enforcement authorities say. Common sources are drugs smuggled to Michigan from Canada, doctors misprescribing, illegal street sales and abusers raiding medicine cabinets. Two Warren physicians were arrested in June. By Lacee Shepard.
  • Your ZIP code largely determines your access to better economic opportunity, a new study finds. We hear from MEDC, Opportunity Nation, East Michigan Council of Governments and Central UP Planning & Development Regional Commission. Highest ranked counties include Oakland, Leelanau and Alger. Bottom three are Mecosta, Gladwin and Lake. By Matthew Hall.
  • Some lawmakers want to make it tougher for patients to sue emergency room physicians and hospitals, making it easier to fill a shortage of ER jobs. The Michigan State Medical Society and Michigan College of Emergency Physicians like the idea but an organization of plaintiffs’ lawyers, including one from Berkley, disagrees. An Alpena hospital administrator says his hospital has enough ER docs but needs primary care specialists. Sponsors are from Troy, Clare, Livonia, Lake Angelus and Alto. By Justine McGuire.
  • A bill by a Cadillac lawmaker would allow professional instructors to train youth to shoot pistols without a parent or guardian present. The Boy Scouts requested the legislation. We hear from an East Lansing lawyer for a gun rights group and an Owosso lawmaker. Other sponsors are from Lake City, Newaygo, Traverse City, Argentine Township  and Constantine. By Stephen Ingber.