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Listen: California Banks on a Bold Treatment: Pay Drug Users to Stop Using

When Billy Lemon was trying to kick his methamphetamine addiction, he went to a drug treatment program at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation three times a week and peed in a cup. If it tested negative for meth, he got paid about $7. As the pandemic has raged, so has the country’s drug epidemic. Health …

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Death in Dallas: One Family’s Experience in the Medicaid Gap

For years, Millicent McKinnon of Dallas went without health insurance. She was one of roughly 1 million Texans who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid in the state but too little to buy their own insurance. That is, until she died in 2019. She was 64 and had been unable to find consistent care …

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These Schools Use Weekly Testing to Keep Kids in Class — And Covid Out

On a recent Monday morning, a group of preschoolers filed into the gymnasium at Hillside School in the west Chicago suburbs. These 4- and 5-year-olds were the first of more than 200 students to get tested for the coronavirus that day — and every Monday — for the foreseeable future. At the front of the …

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Pandemic Unveils Growing Suicide Crisis for Communities of Color

This story is a collaboration between KHN and “Science Friday.” Listen to the conversation between KHN national correspondent Aneri Pattani and John Dankosky, Science Friday’s director of news and radio projects. Rafiah Maxie has been a licensed clinical social worker in the Chicago area for a decade. Throughout that time, she’d viewed suicide as a problem …

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To Stoke Rural Vaccination Rates, Trusted Farmers Are Asked to Spread Word

When he became eligible for the coronavirus vaccine in Illinois, Tom Arnold, 68, said he didn’t need any convincing. He raises cattle, hogs and chickens in Elizabeth, a small town in the state’s northwestern corner. After all, who better to understand why herd immunity matters than a herdsman? “Being a livestock producer, I’m well aware …

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Fútbol, Flags and Fun: Getting Creative to Reach Unvaccinated Latinos in Colorado

Horns blared and drums pounded a constant beat as fans of the Mexican national soccer team gathered recently at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver for a high-profile international tournament. But the sounds were muted inside a mobile medical RV parked near the stadium, and the tone was professional. During halftime of Mexico’s game …

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In Missouri and Other States, Flawed Data Makes It Hard to Track Vaccine Equity

Throughout the covid-19 vaccination effort, public health officials and politicians have insisted that providing shots equitably across racial and ethnic groups is a top priority. This story is part of a reporting partnership that includes KCUR, NPR and KHN. It can be republished for free. But it’s been left up to states to decide how to do …

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In California, Nursing Home Owners Can Operate After They’re Denied a License

The pandemic has highlighted poor care in America’s nursing homes, where nearly 175,000 people have died of covid-19 — a third of all deaths from the disease nationwide. This story is part of a partnership that includes KPCC, NPR and KHN. It can be republished for free. Even before the pandemic, patient advocates pointed to dangerous conditions …

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Listen: Pandemics, Patents and Profits

President Joe Biden has thrown his support to an international effort to waive drugmakers’ patent rights on the covid vaccines, but the pharmaceutical industry vows to fight back. Julie Rovner, KHN’s chief Washington correspondent, joins The Atlantic’s “Social Distance” podcast, hosted by Dr. James Hamblin and Maeve Higgins, to talk about the current patent controversy …

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‘I Just Feel Like Myself’: A Nonbinary Child In Their Own Words

It’s 7:30 a.m. on a school day. Two parents are racing to get their three young children dressed, fed, packed for the day, into coats and out the door when 6-year-old Hallel runs downstairs, crying. This story is part of a partnership that includes WBUR, NPR and KHN. It can be republished for free. Ari, …

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Covid ‘Doesn’t Discriminate by Age’: Serious Cases on the Rise in Younger Adults

After spending much of the past year tending to elderly patients, doctors are seeing a clear demographic shift: young and middle-aged adults make up a growing share of the patients in covid-19 hospital wards. This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. It’s both a sign of the country’s success in …

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‘We’re Coming for You’: For Public Health Officials, a Year of Threats and Menace

[Editor’s note: This article contains strong language that readers might find offensive or disturbing.] SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. — Dr. Gail Newel looks back on the past year and struggles to articulate exactly when the public bellows of frustration around her covid-related health orders morphed into something darker and more menacing. Certainly, there was that …

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After Accident, Patient Crashes Into $700,000 Bill for Spine Surgery

Mark Gottlieb’s life changed in an instant when another driver crashed into his car, damaging four vertebrae in his upper spine and smashing six teeth. In the months following that January 2019 crash, Gottlieb got the teeth crowned and, for debilitating neck pain, tried injections, chiropractic care and physical therapy. The treatments were all covered …

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Mysterious Ailment, Mysterious Relief: Vaccines Help Some Covid Long Haulers

An estimated 10% to 30% of people who get covid-19 suffer from lingering symptoms of the disease, or what’s known as “long covid.” This story is part of a partnership that includes NPR and KHN. It can be republished for free. Judy Dodd, who lives in New York City, is one of them. She spent nearly a year plagued …

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‘It Didn’t Really Stick With Me’: Understanding the Rural Shrug Over Covid and Vaccines

At 70, Linda Findley has long been active in her small town of Fort Scott, Kansas, which sits more than an hour away from any major city. Findley, whose husband died in an accident just after the local hospital closed, helps with the Elks and fundraising, and — like many people in this part of …

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Her Doctor’s Office Moved One Floor Up. Her Bill Was 10 Times Higher.

Kyunghee Lee’s right hand hurts all the time. She spent decades running a family dry cleaning store outside Cleveland after emigrating from South Korea 40 years ago. She still freelances as a seamstress, although work has slowed amid the covid-19 pandemic. This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. While Lee …

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Stop Blaming Tuskegee, Critics Say. It’s Not an ‘Excuse’ for Current Medical Racism.

For months, journalists, politicians and health officials — including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Dr. Anthony Fauci — have invoked the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study to explain why Black Americans are more hesitant than white Americans to get the coronavirus vaccine. This story is from a partnership that includes NPR, KQED and KHN. It …

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Accidentally Trashed, Thawed or Expired: Reports of Covid Vaccine Spoilage

As the speed of covid vaccinations picks up, so do the reports of doses going to waste. And it’s more than just a handful at the end of the day because of a few appointment cancellations. Health officials are trying to rein in waste without slowing down vaccinations. This story is from a partnership that …

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Comparing Death Tolls From Covid to Past Wars Is Fraught

This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. Counting the dead is one of the first, somber steps in reckoning with an event of enormous tragic scope, be it war, a natural disaster or a pandemic. This dark but necessary arithmetic has become all too routine during the covid-19 outbreak. The …

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‘Cruel’ Digital Race For Vaccines Leaves Many Seniors Behind

With millions of older Americans eligible for covid-19 vaccines and limited supplies, many continue to describe a frantic and frustrating search to secure a shot, beset by uncertainty and difficulty.  This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. The efforts to vaccinate people 65 and older have strained under the enormous …

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Big Business Boosts Vaccine Effort, but It’s ‘Complex Choreography’ to Get Shots in Arms 

This story is part of a partnership that includes NPR and KHN. It can be republished for free. As states await the promise of a renewed federal pandemic response and expand the number of Americans who qualify for a shot, some governors are trying to scale up their covid vaccine operations — and smooth out the …

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Are You Old Enough to Get Vaccinated? In Tennessee, They’re Using the Honor System

In December, all states began vaccinating only health care workers and residents and staffers of nursing homes in the “phase 1A” priority group. But, since the new year began, some states have also started giving shots to — or booking appointments for — other categories of seniors and essential workers. As states widen eligibility requirements …

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A Battle-Weary Seattle Hospital Fights the Latest COVID Surge

As hospitals across the country weather a surge of COVID-19 patients, in Seattle — an early epicenter of the outbreak — nurses, respiratory therapists and physicians are staring down a startling resurgence of the coronavirus that’s expected to test even one of the best-prepared hospitals on the pandemic’s front lines. After nine months, the staff …

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What Happened When the Only ER Doctor in a Rural Town Got COVID

Kurt Papenfus, a doctor in Cheyenne Wells, Colorado, started to feel sick around Halloween. He developed a scary cough, intestinal symptoms and a headache. In the midst of a pandemic, the news that he had COVID-19 wasn’t surprising, but Papenfus’ illness would have repercussions far beyond his own health. Papenfus is the lone full-time emergency …

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Rural Areas Send Their Sickest Patients to Cities, Straining Hospitals

Registered nurse Pascaline Muhindura has spent the past eight months treating COVID patients at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri. But when she returns home to her small town of Spring Hill, Kansas, she’s often stunned by what she sees, like on a recent stop for carryout food. “No one in the entire restaurant was …

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Clots, Strokes and Rashes: Is COVID a Disease of the Blood Vessels?

Whether it’s strange rashes on the toes or blood clots in the brain, the widespread ravages of COVID-19 have increasingly led researchers to focus on how the novel coronavirus sabotages blood vessels. As scientists have come to know the disease better, they have homed in on the vascular system — the body’s network of arteries, …

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Listen: COVID Stresses Rural Hospitals Already ‘Teetering on the Brink’

When KHN Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Rosenthal heard a sample of the voices that correspondent Sarah Jane Tribble brought back from her reporting trip to rural Kansas, Rosenthal said she knew the story needed to be told through audio. That’s the genesis for “No Mercy,” season one of the podcast “Where It Hurts.” The series documents the …

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When False Information Goes Viral, COVID-19 Patient Groups Fight Back

For decades, people struggling with illnesses of all kinds have sought help in online support groups. This year, such groups have been in high demand for COVID-19 patients, who often must recover in isolation. But the fear and uncertainty regarding the coronavirus have made online groups targets for the spread of false information. And to …

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They Work in Several Nursing Homes to Eke Out a Living, Possibly Spreading the Virus

To make ends meet, Martha Tapia works 64 hours a week at two Orange County, California, nursing homes. She is one of thousands of certified nursing assistants who perform the intimate and physical work of bathing, dressing and feeding the nation’s fragile elderly. “We do everything for them. Everything you do for yourself, you have …

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Evictions Damage Public Health. The CDC Aims to Curb Them ― For Now.

In August, Robert Pettigrew was working a series of odd jobs. While washing the windows of a cellphone store he saw a sign, one that he believes the “good Lord” placed there for him. “Facing eviction?” the sign read. “You could be eligible for up to $3,000 in rent assistance. Apply today.” It seemed a …

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Swab, Spit, Stay Home? College Coronavirus Testing Plans Are All Over the Map

Yousuf El-Jayyousi, a junior engineering student at the University of Missouri, wanted guidance and reassurance that it would be safe to go back to school for the fall semester. He tuned into a pair of online town halls organized by the university hoping to find that. He did not. What he got instead from those …

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Deadly Mix: How Bars Are Fueling COVID-19 Outbreaks

From the early days of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, states have wrestled with the best course of action for bars and nightclubs, which largely have their economic prospects tied to social gatherings in tight quarters. As the virus has pinched the industry’s lifeblood, bar owners in a handful of states are fighting in court against …

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