Mackenzie Rigg

Mackenzie formerly covered health care, social services and immigration for the News-Times in Danbury and has more than a decade of reporting experience. She traveled to Uganda for the News-Times to report an award-winning five-part series about a Connecticut doctor's experience in Africa. A native of upstate New York, she started her journalism career at The Recorder in Greenfield, Mass., and worked at Newsday on Long Island for three years. She is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she wrote her master's thesis about illegal detentions in Haiti's women's prison.

Recent Posts

More ER docs turning to non-opioids to fight overdose epidemic

Emergency department physicians across the state are using more non-opioid treatments for conditions that historically have required powerful opioids for pain management, as they try to play a lead role in the overdose epidemic that kills on average 115 Americans every day. This change, coupled with other efforts, has resulted in a significant decrease in opioids ordered at emergency departments in at least two hospitals, Norwalk and Middlesex, from 2016 to 2017. Continue Reading →

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DSS increasing staff at its call center to combat long wait times

This is a photo of DSS Commissioner Roderick L. Bremby and George Chamberlin, who runs the benefits centers

The commissioner of the state Department of Social Services says his agency is increasing staff at its call center to reduce long wait times. Commissioner Roderick L. Bremby wrote about the increase in staffing in a letter to a group of Medicaid advocates, providers, and clients who recently penned a letter to the commissioner demanding action. “Notwithstanding these inaccurate descriptions of the Department’s access options and processes, the Department also understands that long wait times are deeply frustrating to those who need to contact a worker and prefer to use the telephone,” said Bremby in the letter. The DSS system for handling clients’ calls has been under scrutiny since it was implemented five years ago to improve service. The old system relied on each client reaching a specific worker, who kept case information in paper files. Continue Reading →

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Plaintiffs ask court to find DSS in contempt in Medicaid case

This is a picture of Social Services Commissioner Roderick L. Bremby.

The plaintiffs in a federal class action lawsuit who settled with the state Department of Social Services want a judge to find the state in contempt for failing to process certain types of Medicaid applications in the mandated timeframe. The state argued it shouldn’t be found in contempt because the plaintiffs did not prove all elements for contempt. Continue Reading →

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CT high school student behavior is less risky than national average

Connecticut high school students engaged less often in risky behaviors, like taking painkillers without a prescription, seriously considering suicide and texting or emailing while driving, when compared to their peers nationwide. Continue Reading →

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As opioid deaths soar, Esty backs bill that pays for more medical examiners

U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty Tuesday said she will propose legislation that will provide $10 million for police forensics and to help pay for more medical examiners. The Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is currently on provisional accreditation status because it has too few examiners to meet current demand.

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Study pegs Hurricane Maria deaths at 4,645. Gov’t count: 64

Federal lawmakers and advocates in Connecticut are calling for action after a new study’s results indicate that the official death count of 64 in Puerto Rico “is a substantial underestimate of the true burden of mortality after Hurricane Maria.”The study’s death count: 4,645. Continue Reading →

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Drug-price transparency bill passes legislature with no dissent

A bill designed to help Connecticut officials peer into the black box of drug pricing won final approval from a unanimous state Senate early Wednesday, and will now go to the governor. Proponents of the measure called it a necessary first step toward curbing expensive prescription drug prices. Continue Reading →

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Reforms to stem Whiting abuses head to the governor

Spurred by urgent demands that horrific abuse at Whiting Forensic never happen again, the state House of Representatives unanimously gave final approval to a series of reforms designed to increase oversight of the facility. The House vote was 148 to 0. Continue Reading →

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Bills approved mandating ‘essential benefits,’ helping uninsured pregnant women

A bill headed to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s desk would give uninsured women the ability to sign up for health insurance after they learn they are pregnant. A second bill sent to the governor requires individual and small-group health insurance policies to cover the same 10 “essential health benefits” the Affordable Care Act mandates. Continue Reading →

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Senate passes bill increasing oversight to stem abuse at Whiting

More than a year after the repeated, cruel abuse of a Whiting Forensic patient was captured on videotape, the state Senate approved a bill that would create an independent task force to oversee the maximum security psychiatric facility and would make staff there and other state behavioral health facilities subject to fines or even criminal charges if they fail to report abuse. Continue Reading →

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House unanimously passes bill to shine light on drug industry

The state House of Representatives unanimously approved a comprehensive bill that aims to shed light on the murky prescription drug industry, which state officials say is a necessary first step to lowering expensive drug costs. Continue Reading →

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