Category: Audio

  • California May Require Labels on Pot Products to Warn of Mental Health Risks

    Liz Kirkaldie’s grandson was near the top of his class in high school and a talented jazz bassist when he started smoking pot. The more serious he got about music, the more serious he got about pot. And the more serious he got about pot, the more paranoid, even psychotic, he became. He started hearing […]

  • Listen: He Was Denied Care Because He Owed His Doctor Less Than $100

    Ariane and Samantha Buck of Arizona have had their lives upended by $50,000 in medical debt. They rely on family to provide Christmas gifts for their three children. But Ariane Buck was still surprised when his doctor refused to see him because he owed a balance of less than $100 to the practice. “That’s just […]

  • Listen: California Positions Itself as an Abortion Sanctuary State

    While half the states in the U.S. plan to ban or restrict abortion care if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, California is positioning itself to be a sanctuary of abortion access and preparing to welcome people from around the country seeking that care. The state’s Democratic-led legislature is considering 13 bills, a package […]

  • Her First Colonoscopy Cost Her $0. Her Second Cost $2,185. Why?

    Elizabeth Melville and her husband are gradually hiking all 48 mountain peaks that top 4,000 feet in New Hampshire. “I want to do everything I can to stay healthy so that I can be skiing and hiking into my 80s — hopefully even 90s!” said the 59-year-old part-time ski instructor who lives in the vacation […]

  • It’s Not Just Doctors and Nurses. Veterinarians Are Burning Out, Too.

    If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). At the park near Duboce Triangle in San Francisco, 5 p.m. is canine happy hour. About 40 dogs run around, chasing balls and wrestling, as their owners coo and ’90s hip-hop bumps out of a portable speaker. […]

  • When Symptoms Linger for Weeks, Is It Long Covid?

    Many Americans are discovering that recovering from covid-19 may take weeks or even months longer than expected, leaving them with lingering symptoms like intense fatigue or a racing pulse. But does that mean they have what’s known as long covid? Though such cases may not always amount to debilitating long covid, which can leave people […]

  • A Shortfall of ECMO Treatment Cost Lives During the Delta Surge

    Speaking from his hospital bed at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, James Perkinson’s voice was raspy. In February, he’d just been taken off ECMO, the last-ditch life support treatment in which a machine outside the body does the work of the heart and lungs. Full recovery is expected to take a year or […]

  • Climate Change May Push the US Toward the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ for West Nile Virus

    Michael Keasling of Lakewood, Colorado, was an electrician who loved big trucks, fast cars, and Harley-Davidsons. He’d struggled with diabetes since he was a teenager, needing a kidney transplant from his sister to stay alive. He was already quite sick in August when he contracted West Nile virus after being bitten by an infected mosquito. […]

  • The Case of the $489,000 Air Ambulance Ride

    Sean Deines and his wife, Rebekah, were road-tripping after he lost his job as a bartender when the pandemic hit. But while visiting his grandfather in a remote part of Wyoming, Sean started to feel very ill. Rebekah insisted he go to an urgent care center in Laramie. “‘Your white blood count is through the […]

  • Listen: An Unsettling Investigation Into the Closure of a Chain of Pain Clinics

    Last spring, Lags Medical Centers, a sprawling chain of pain clinics serving more than 20,000 patients in California, abruptly shuttered amid a cloaked state investigation into “credible allegations of fraud.” Tens of thousands of patients were left scrambling for care, most of them low-income Californians covered by state and federal insurance programs. Many have struggled […]

  • Listen: What We’ve Learned After Two Years of the Pandemic

    CNN’s Brian Stelter marks the two-year anniversary of the pandemic on his “Reliable Sources” podcast in conversation with KHN Editor-in-Chief Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal and James Hamblin, a former staff writer at The Atlantic. The journalists discuss how society grappled with the trauma of the covid-19 pandemic and the governmental missteps that compounded that trauma. “Everyone […]

  • Two Years In, Covid Leaves Montana Public Health Officials Feeling ‘Watched’

    Visit Yellowstone Public Radio or Montana Public Radio for a transcript of the episode. After covid-19 arrived in Park County, Montana, the local health officer, Dr. Laurel Desnick, became the face of pandemic measures and the focus of attention as never before. She’s been whispered about at the grocery store, yelled at on her way […]

  • An $80,000 Tab for Newborns Lays Out a Loophole in the New Law to Curb Surprise Bills

    When Greg and Sugar Bull were ready to start a family, health challenges necessitated that they work with a gestational surrogate. The woman who carried and gave birth to their twins lived two states away. The pregnancy went well until the surrogate experienced high blood pressure and other symptoms of preeclampsia, which could have harmed […]

  • Teen Traveled to Philly to Get Vaccinated Against His Parents’ Wishes

    High school junior Nicolas Montero stays busy. He runs track, works night and weekend shifts at Burger King, and keeps on top of his schoolwork at Neshaminy High School in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. But Nicolas’ packed schedule is also strategic: It’s a way to stay out of the house. Nicolas and his parents are separated […]

  • The Doctor Will See You Now — In the Hallway

    Nurse Heather Gatchet’s shift in the emergency department at Salem Health’s Salem Hospital in Oregon typically starts at 6 a.m. Before that, she packs her daughter’s lunch, drinks tea, and — to stave off her panic — calls her mom on the way to work. “My mom’s like my cup of coffee,” Gatchet said, her […]

  • Colorado Hospitals in ‘Critical Condition’ as State Weathers Another Surge

    Harold Burch’s home has a spectacular view in Paonia, a rural part of Colorado’s Western Slope at the foot of Mount Lamborn. But the landscape has been little consolation to the 60-year-old as he has battled a cascade of health problems during the pandemic. “It’s been a real rodeo,” Burch said. “It’s been a lot […]

  • ‘I Can Go Anywhere’: How Service Dogs Help Veterans With PTSD

    It was supper time in the Whittier, California, home of Air Force veteran Danyelle Clark-Gutierrez, and eagerly awaiting a bowl of kibble and canned dog food was Lisa, a 3-year-old yellow Labrador retriever. Her nails clicking on the kitchen floor as she danced about, Lisa looked more like an exuberant puppy than the highly trained […]

  • Texas Abortion Law Harms Survivors of Rape and Incest, Activists Say

    The Safe Alliance in Austin, Texas, helps survivors of child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence. Before Texas’ new abortion law took effect, the organization counseled a 12-year-old who had been repeatedly raped by her father. Piper Stege Nelson, chief public strategies officer for the Safe Alliance, said the girl’s father didn’t let her leave […]

  • As Constituents Clamor for Ivermectin, Republican Politicians Embrace the Cause

    When state senators in South Carolina held two hearings in September about covid-19 treatments, they got an earful on the benefits of ivermectin — which many of the lawmakers echoed, sharing experiences of their own loved ones. The demands for access to the drug were loud and insistent, despite federal regulators’ recent warning against using […]

  • ERs Are Swamped With Seriously Ill Patients, Although Many Don’t Have Covid

    Inside the emergency department at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan, staff members are struggling to care for patients showing up much sicker than they’ve ever seen. Tiffani Dusang, the ER’s nursing director, practically vibrates with pent-up anxiety, looking at patients lying on a long line of stretchers pushed up against the beige walls of the […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • ‘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, […]

  • ‘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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • ‘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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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, […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]