Health Industry

At an Overrun ICU, ‘the Problem Is We Are Running Out of Hallways’

BILLINGS, Mont. — Nurses fill the hospital room to turn a patient from his stomach to his back. The ventilator forcing air into him is most effective when he’s on his stomach, so he is in that position most hours of the day, sedated and paralyzed by drugs. Lying on his stomach all those hours …

At an Overrun ICU, ‘the Problem Is We Are Running Out of Hallways’ Read More »

Congress Cites KHN Investigation in Probe of National Academies

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform is requesting a ream of documents from the prestigious National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, spurred by a recent KHN investigation that revealed deep ties between pharmaceutical companies and two members of a committee that took a pharma-friendly stance in a recent report on drug waste. The …

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Covid-Overwhelmed Hospitals Postpone Cancer Care and Other Treatment

It’s a bad time to get sick in Oregon. That’s the message from some doctors, as hospitals fill up with covid-19 patients and other medical conditions go untreated. Charlie Callagan looked perfectly healthy sitting outside recently on his deck in the smoky summer air in the small Rogue Valley town of Merlin, in southern Oregon. …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Much Ado About Drug Prices

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Congressional Democrats are finding it harder to actually write legislation to lower drug prices than it is to make promises about it. But the drug price provisions of the $3.5 trillion social-spending bill …

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Under Pressure, Montana Hospital Considers Adding Psych Beds Amid a Shortage

Gary Popiel had to drive more than 200 miles round trip to visit his adult daughters in separate behavioral health facilities as they received psychiatric and medical treatment.   It was 2000, and the family’s only options for inpatient psychiatric beds were in Helena and Missoula — far from their Bozeman, Montana, home and from each …

Under Pressure, Montana Hospital Considers Adding Psych Beds Amid a Shortage Read More »

Journalists Explain Ramifications of Theranos Trial and Texas’ New Abortion Law

KHN Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Rosenthal discussed health tech and the start of the fraud trial of Elizabeth Holmes, who founded the biological screening company Theranos, on WGN’s “The John Williams Show” on Wednesday. Click here to hear Rosenthal on “The John Williams Show” KHN senior correspondent Julie Appleby discussed abortion law in Texas, covid-19 and vaccination …

Journalists Explain Ramifications of Theranos Trial and Texas’ New Abortion Law Read More »

Florida Spine Surgeon and Device Company Owner Charged in Kickback Scheme

A Florida orthopedic surgeon and designer of costly spinal surgery implants was arrested Tuesday and charged with paying millions of dollars in kickbacks and bribes to surgeons who agreed to use his company’s devices. Dr. Kingsley R. Chin, 57, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is the founder, chief executive officer and owner of SpineFrontier, a device …

Florida Spine Surgeon and Device Company Owner Charged in Kickback Scheme Read More »

Lack of a Vaccine Mandate Becomes Competitive Advantage in Hospital Staffing Wars

In the rural northeastern corner of Missouri, Scotland County Hospital has been so low on staff that it sometimes had to turn away patients amid a surge in covid-19 cases. The national covid staffing crunch means CEO Dr. Randy Tobler has hired more travel nurses to fill the gaps. And the prices are steep — …

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Jaw Surgery Takes a $27,119 Bite out of One Man’s Budget

For years, Ely Bair dealt with migraine headaches, jaw pain and high blood pressure, until a dentist recommended surgery to realign his jaw to get to the root of his health problems. The fix would involve two surgeries over a couple of years and wearing braces on his teeth before and in between the procedures. …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Vaccine Approval Moves the Needle on Covid

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The Food and Drug Administration gave full approval this week to the covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, which will henceforth be known as “Comirnaty.” It is …

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Microbiome Startups Promise to Improve Your Gut Health, but Is the Science Solid?

After Russell Jordan sent a stool sample through the mail to the microbiome company Viome, his idea of what he should eat shifted. The gym owner in Sacramento, California, had always consumed large quantities of leafy greens. But the results from the test — which sequenced and analyzed the microbes in a pea-sized stool sample …

Microbiome Startups Promise to Improve Your Gut Health, but Is the Science Solid? Read More »

Mission and Money Clash in Nonprofit Hospitals’ Venture Capital Ambitions

Cone Health, a small not-for-profit health care network in North Carolina, spent several years developing a smartphone-based system called Wellsmith to help people manage their diabetes. But after investing $12 million, the network disclosed last year it was shutting down the company even though initial results were promising, with users losing weight and recording lower …

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‘An Arm and a Leg’: Meet the Mississippi Lawyer Who Helped Start the Fight for Charity Care

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, famous for taking on Big Tobacco in the ’90s and winning, worked on a series of ill-fated national lawsuits against nonprofit hospitals. The goal? Get nonprofit — or “charity” — hospitals to actually provide charity care instead of price-gouging and dunning low-income patients.  Scruggs …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Booster Time

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. As covid-19 cases in the U.S. continue to rise, the Biden administration is countering with new strategies. The latest efforts include preparing for vaccine boosters starting this …

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Apple Aims to Push More Patient Data to Doctors. But Who Can Gauge Its Impact on Health?

Soon, Apple announced recently, it will enable doctors to monitor health data from their patients’ phones and watches between visits, part of the push into health care that Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, has declared will constitute the company’s greatest contribution to mankind. Since 2014, health systems around the country have partnered with Apple to tap …

Apple Aims to Push More Patient Data to Doctors. But Who Can Gauge Its Impact on Health? Read More »

Surgeons Cash In on Stakes in Private Medical Device Companies

Several orthopedic surgeons who invested in Renovis Surgical Technologies made big money when a Japanese technology giant snatched up the small California medical device company. Kyocera Corp., which was eager to expand its U.S. spine and joint implant sales, bought Renovis’ assets in 2019. While the parties kept the sale price under wraps, Renovis’ physician …

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Injuries Mount as Sales Reps for Device Makers Cozy Up to Surgeons, Even in Operating Rooms

Cristina Martinez’s spinal operation in Houston was expected to be routine. But after destabilizing her spine, the surgeon discovered the implant he was ready to put in her back was larger than he wanted to use — and the device company’s sales rep didn’t have a smaller size on hand, according to a report he …

Injuries Mount as Sales Reps for Device Makers Cozy Up to Surgeons, Even in Operating Rooms Read More »

Hard Lessons From a City That Tried to Privatize Public Health

If you were growing up in Detroit in the 1970s or ’80s, chances are you knew the city’s Herman Kiefer public health complex by both sight and reputation. Opened at the turn of the century and later enhanced by renowned industrial architect Albert Kahn, the imposing brick complex was named after a local infectious disease …

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Providence-KP Team Up to Attract Patients in California’s Growing High Desert Region

A plan by Providence and Kaiser Permanente to build a new medical center in the High Desert region of California is the latest example of leading hospital chains seeking market advantage. They intend to spend up to $1 billion to build a hospital in Victorville, a city of about 123,000 that sits 85 miles northeast …

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A Health Care Giant Sold Off Dozens of Hospitals — But Continued Suing Patients

Tennova Healthcare-Lebanon doesn’t exist anymore as a hospital. But it still sued Hope Cantwell. A knock came on the door of Cantwell’s Nashville, Tennessee, apartment early this year. She said she hadn’t been vaccinated against covid-19 yet and wasn’t answering the door to strangers. So she didn’t. But then several more attempts came over the …

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12,000 Square Miles Without Obstetrics? It’s a Possibility in West Texas

The message from Big Bend Regional Medical Center was stark: The only hospital in a sparsely populated region of far West Texas notified local physicians last month that because of a nursing shortage its labor and delivery unit needed to temporarily close its doors and that women in labor should instead be sent to the …

12,000 Square Miles Without Obstetrics? It’s a Possibility in West Texas Read More »

At Urgent Care, He Got 5 Stitches and a Big Surprise: A Plastic Surgeon’s Bill for $1,040

It was a Sunday morning in late November when Bryan Keller hopped on a bike for a routine ride to pick up his groceries, cruising with ease in a relatively empty New York City. The surprises came fast and hard: a fall that sent his head into the pavement and left him bleeding profusely and …

At Urgent Care, He Got 5 Stitches and a Big Surprise: A Plastic Surgeon’s Bill for $1,040 Read More »

Facing Recall, Newsom Draws Support from Health Care Allies

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Californians upset with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s pandemic rules — which shuttered businesses, kept schoolkids at home and mandated masks — helped fuel the September recall election that could spell the end of his political career. But among the allies rushing to Newsom’s defense are doctors, nurses, dentists and other health care interests …

Facing Recall, Newsom Draws Support from Health Care Allies Read More »

Diabetes Drug’s New Weight Loss Formula Fuels Cost-Benefit Debate

The long list of side effects that follow ads for the newer expensive drugs to treat Type 2 diabetes sometimes include an unusual warning: They might cause weight loss. That side effect is one that many people — especially those with Type 2 diabetes, which is associated with obesity — may desperately want. So it’s …

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Pfizer Court Fight Could Legalize Medicare Copays and Unleash ‘Gold Rush’ in Sales

Three years ago, pharma giant Pfizer paid $24 million to settle federal allegations that it was paying kickbacks and inflating sales by reimbursing Medicare patients for out-of-pocket medication costs. By making prohibitively expensive medicine essentially free for patients, the company induced them to use Pfizer drugs even as the price of one of those medicines, …

Pfizer Court Fight Could Legalize Medicare Copays and Unleash ‘Gold Rush’ in Sales Read More »

How a Doctor Breaks Norms to Treat Refugees and Recent Immigrants

AURORA, Colo. — Fatumo Osman, a 65-year-old Somali refugee who speaks limited English, was in a bind. She made too much money at a meal prep service job so she no longer qualified for Medicaid. But knee pain kept her from working, so her income had dropped. She could reapply for Medicaid, get her knee …

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The Pandemic Made Telemedicine an Instant Hit. Patients and Providers Feel the Growing Pains.

Crystal Joseph pays for two telemedicine video services to ensure that her small therapy practice in Silver Spring, Maryland, can always connect with its clients. She’s been burned before. During one hours-long service outage of SimplePractice in late May, PsycYourMind, which offers mental health counseling and group sessions for Black patients, lost about $600 because …

The Pandemic Made Telemedicine an Instant Hit. Patients and Providers Feel the Growing Pains. Read More »

Facing Headwinds on New Alzheimer’s Drug, Biogen Launches Controversial Campaign

Do you sometimes lose your train of thought or feel a bit more anxious than is typical for you? Those are two of the six questions in a quiz on a website co-sponsored by the makers of Aduhelm, a controversial new Alzheimer’s drug. But even when all responses to the frequency of those experiences are …

Facing Headwinds on New Alzheimer’s Drug, Biogen Launches Controversial Campaign Read More »

After 18 Months, Sutter Antitrust Settlement Finally Poised for Formal Approval

More than 18 months after Sutter Health agreed to a tentative settlement in a closely watched antitrust case joined by the California Attorney General’s Office, the judge presiding over the case indicated she would sign off on the terms, pending agreement on attorney fees. The nonprofit health care giant, based in Sacramento, stood accused of …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Delta Changes the Covid Conversation

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The resurgence of covid cases in the U.S. — largely attributable to the much more contagious delta variant — has given policymakers the jitters. The Biden administration …

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Biden’s July Executive Order Includes Drug Pricing Provisions. But Will They Do Enough?

President Joe Biden’s executive order of July 9 included various steps toward making good on campaign promises to take on pharmaceutical companies by allowing the importation of prescription drugs and curbing the high cost of medicines. These issues were key to candidate Biden’s 2020 health care platform, which stated he would “stand up to abuse …

Biden’s July Executive Order Includes Drug Pricing Provisions. But Will They Do Enough? Read More »

Hospital ‘Trauma Centers’ Charge Enormous Fees to Treat Minor Injuries and Send People Home

The care was ordinary. A hospital in Modesto, California, treated a 30-year-old man for shoulder and back pain after a car accident. He went home in less than three hours. The bill was extraordinary. Sutter Health Memorial Medical Center charged $44,914 including an $8,928 “trauma alert” fee, billed for summoning the hospital’s top surgical specialists …

Hospital ‘Trauma Centers’ Charge Enormous Fees to Treat Minor Injuries and Send People Home Read More »

Dying Patients With Rare Diseases Struggle to Get Experimental Therapies

At 15, Autumn Fuernisen is dying. She was diagnosed at age 11 with a rare degenerative brain disorder that has no known cure or way to slow it down: juvenile-onset Huntington’s disease. “There’s lots of things that she used to be able to do just fine,” said her mom, Londen Tabor, who lives with her …

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Teen Volunteers Get a Foot in the Door for Nursing Home Careers

Jasmine De Moya, 17, has dreamed for years of working in the medical field, and she yearned to spend time with older people, missing her grandparents, who live in the Dominican Republic. A program sponsored by the New Jewish Home health system in New York City that combines volunteering and free training for entry-level health …

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Drugmakers’ Spending on Stock, Dividends and Executive Pay Exceeds Research, Democrats Say

The largest drug companies are far more interested in enriching themselves and investors than in developing new drugs, according to a House committee report released Thursday that argues the industry can afford to charge Medicare less for prescriptions. The report by the House Oversight and Reform Committee says that contrary to pharmaceutical industry arguments that …

Drugmakers’ Spending on Stock, Dividends and Executive Pay Exceeds Research, Democrats Say Read More »

Effort to Decipher Hospital Prices Yields Key Finding: Don’t Try It at Home

A federal price transparency rule that took effect this year was supposed to give patients, employers and insurers a clearer picture of the true cost of hospital care. When the Trump administration unveiled the rule in 2019, Seema Verma, then chief of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, promised it would “upend the status …

Effort to Decipher Hospital Prices Yields Key Finding: Don’t Try It at Home Read More »

Federal Speech Rulings May Embolden Health Care Workers to Call Out Safety Issues

Karen Jo Young wrote a letter to her local newspaper criticizing executives at the hospital where she worked as an activities coordinator, arguing that their actions led to staffing shortages and other patient safety problems. Hours after her letter was published in September 2017, officials at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth, Maine, fired her, …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Un-Trumping the ACA

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The Biden administration this week proposed a series of changes aimed at boosting insurance enrollment under the Affordable Care Act, undoing changes made by the Trump administration …

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A Hospital Charged $722.50 to Push Medicine Through an IV. Twice.

Claire Lang-Ree was in a lab coat taking a college chemistry class remotely in the kitchen of her Colorado Springs, Colorado, home when a profound pain twisted into her lower abdomen. She called her mom, Jen Lang-Ree, a nurse practitioner who worried it was appendicitis and found a nearby hospital in the family’s health insurance …

A Hospital Charged $722.50 to Push Medicine Through an IV. Twice. Read More »

Doctors’ Lobby Scores ‘Major Victory’ on Bill to Hold Physicians Accountable

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The board that licenses and disciplines doctors in California is failing to hold bad actors accountable, endangering patients in the process. That’s the verdict of state lawmakers and patient advocates who have been working for years to reform the Medical Board of California. But an attempt this year to give the board …

Doctors’ Lobby Scores ‘Major Victory’ on Bill to Hold Physicians Accountable Read More »

Covid’s Lingering Effects Can Put the Brakes on Elective Surgeries

The week before Brian Colvin was scheduled for shoulder surgery in November, he tested positive for covid-19. What he thought at first was a head cold had morphed into shortness of breath and chest congestion coupled with profound fatigue and loss of balance. Now, seven months have passed and Colvin, 44, is still waiting to …

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The Hard Realities of a ‘No Jab, No Job’ Mandate for Health Care Workers

Christopher Richmond keeps a running tab on how many workers at the ManorCare skilled nursing facility he manages in western Pennsylvania have rolled up their sleeves for a covid-19 vaccine. Although residents were eager for the shots this year, he’s counted only about 3 in 4 workers vaccinated at any one time. The excuses, among …

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Device Makers Have Funneled Billions to Orthopedic Surgeons Who Use Their Products

Dr. Kingsley R. Chin was little more than a decade out of Harvard Medical School when sales of his spine surgical implants took off. Chin has patented more than 40 pieces of such hardware, including doughnut-shaped plastic cages, titanium screws and other products used to repair spines — generating $100 million for his company SpineFrontier, …

Device Makers Have Funneled Billions to Orthopedic Surgeons Who Use Their Products Read More »

In Alleged Health Care ‘Money Grab,’ Nation’s Largest Hospital Chain Cashes In on Trauma Centers

After falling from a ladder and cutting his arm, Ed Knight said, he found himself at Richmond, Virginia’s Chippenham Hospital surrounded by nearly a dozen doctors, nurses and technicians — its crack “trauma team” charged with saving the most badly hurt victims of accidents and assaults. But Knight’s wound, while requiring about 30 stitches, wasn’t …

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Doctor on Call? Lawmakers Debate How Much to Pay for Phone Appointments

It took covid-19 to give millions of Americans the option of telling their doctor about their aches and pains by phone. But now that more doctors and patients are returning to in-person appointments, policymakers across the country are divided over how much taxpayer money to keep spending on phone appointments. Although they were a lifeline …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Our 200th Episode!

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The Food and Drug Administration found itself in the hot seat this week when it approved a controversial new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease with scant evidence …

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Our 200th Episode! Read More »

Change to Gilead Assistance Program Threatens PrEP Access, HIV Advocates Say

Dr. John Carlo is concerned that patients at Prism Health North Texas who rely on the health care safety net will soon be struggling even more to stay on PrEP, a medication that prevents HIV transmission. Carlo, chief executive officer of the clinic, which runs three locations in Dallas, offers free PrEP to roughly 250 …

Change to Gilead Assistance Program Threatens PrEP Access, HIV Advocates Say Read More »

Can a Subscription Model Fix Primary Care in the US?

In April, San Francisco-based primary care company One Medical revealed an eye-popping compensation package for its chief executive and chairman, Amir Dan Rubin. His $199 million payday, particularly noteworthy at a company that has yet to turn a profit, made Rubin the second-highest-paid CEO in the United States last year — but only on paper. …

Can a Subscription Model Fix Primary Care in the US? Read More »

Trying to Avoid Racist Health Care, Black Women Seek Out Black Obstetricians

In South Florida, when people want to find a Black physician, they often contact Adrienne Hibbert through her website, Black Doctors of South Florida. This story is part of a partnership that includes NPR, WLRN and KHN. It can be republished for free. “There are a lot of Black networks that are behind the scenes,” …

Trying to Avoid Racist Health Care, Black Women Seek Out Black Obstetricians Read More »

Covid Was a Tipping Point for Telehealth. If Some Have Their Way, Virtual Visits Are Here to Stay.

As the covid crisis wanes and life approaches normal across the U.S., health industry leaders and many patient advocates are pushing Congress and the Biden administration to preserve the pandemic-fueled expansion of telehealth that has transformed how millions of Americans see the doctor. This story also ran on USA Today. It can be republished for …

Covid Was a Tipping Point for Telehealth. If Some Have Their Way, Virtual Visits Are Here to Stay. Read More »

From Racial Justice to Dirty Air, California’s New AG Plots a Progressive Health Care Agenda

California Attorney General Rob Bonta, a longtime Democratic state lawmaker, comes to his new role well known for pursuing an unabashedly progressive agenda on criminal justice issues. He has pushed for legislation to eliminate cash bail and to ban for-profit prisons and detention centers. But Bonta also has a distinctive record on health care, successfully …

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‘Better Than the Hospital’: Pandemic Boosts Care for Serious Illnesses at Home

Late last year, Janet Yetenekian was one of the thousands of people in Southern California whose case of covid-19 was serious enough to send her to the hospital. But Yetenekian’s recovery was not typical: She received hospital-level care in her own home in Glendale. “It was even better than the hospital,” Yetenekian said, laughing. “They …

‘Better Than the Hospital’: Pandemic Boosts Care for Serious Illnesses at Home Read More »

KHN Journalists Comment on Abortion Case, Wasted Covid Doses

KHN chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner discussed the Supreme Court’s decision to hear a challenge in an abortion case from Mississippi on Newsy on Tuesday. Click here to watch Rovner on Newsy KHN freelancer Sara Reardon discussed allegations by a rail company that a clinic in Libby, Montana, is defrauding Medicare by overdiagnosing asbestos-related diseases on …

KHN Journalists Comment on Abortion Case, Wasted Covid Doses Read More »

Colorado Will Pay Hospitals to Close Expensive Free-Standing ERs

Colorado health officials so abhor the high costs associated with free-standing emergency rooms they’re offering to pay hospitals to shut the facilities down. This story also ran on Fortune. It can be republished for free. The state wants hospitals to convert them to other purposes, such as providing primary care or mental health services. At …

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Why Your Dentist Might Seem Pushy

In 1993, Dr. David Silber, a dentist now practicing in Plano, Texas, was fired from the first dental clinic he worked for. He’d been assigned to a patient another dentist had scheduled for a crown preparation — a metal or porcelain cap for a broken or decayed tooth. However, Silber found nothing wrong with the …

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Doctors Now Must Provide Patients Their Health Data, Online and On Demand

Last summer, Anna Ramsey suffered a flare-up of juvenile dermatomyositis, a rare autoimmune condition, posing a terrifying prospect for the Los Angeles resident: She might have to undergo chemotherapy, further compromising her immune system during a pandemic. This story also ran on Los Angeles Times. It can be republished for free. After an agonizing three-day …

Doctors Now Must Provide Patients Their Health Data, Online and On Demand Read More »

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Drug Price Effort Hits a Snag

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. The high cost of prescription drugs is a top health issue for the public and politicians, but concerns raised by a group of moderate Democrats threaten to derail a bill being pushed by House Democratic leaders. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration has authorized the …

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Covid Testing Has Turned Into a Financial Windfall for Hospitals and Other Providers

Pamela Valfer needed multiple covid tests after repeatedly visiting the hospital last fall to see her mother, who was being treated for cancer. Beds there were filling with covid patients. Valfer heard the tests would be free. This story also ran on Fortune. It can be republished for free. So, she was surprised when the …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Sharing Vaccines With the World

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. The Biden administration — keeping a campaign promise — announced it would back a temporary waiver of patent protections for the covid-19 vaccines, arousing the ire of the drug industry. The administration is also picking a fight with tobacco companies, as the Food and Drug …

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A Primary Care Physician for Every American, Science Panel Urges

The federal government must aggressively bolster primary care and connect more Americans with a dedicated source of care, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine warn in a major report that sounds the alarm about an endangered foundation of the U.S. health system. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. The urgently …

A Primary Care Physician for Every American, Science Panel Urges Read More »

Mental Health Services Wane as Insurers Appear to Skirt Parity Rules During Pandemic

Therapists and other behavioral health care providers cut hours, reduced staffs and turned away patients during the pandemic as more Americans experienced depression symptoms and drug overdoses, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. The report on patient access to behavioral health care …

Mental Health Services Wane as Insurers Appear to Skirt Parity Rules During Pandemic Read More »

Two Unmatched-Doctor Advocacy Groups Are Tied to Anti-Immigrant Organizations

In their last year of medical school, fourth-year students get matched to a hospital where they will serve their residency. This story also ran on The Daily Beast. It can be republished for free. The annual rite of passage is called the National Resident Matching Program. To the students, it’s simply the Match. Except not …

Two Unmatched-Doctor Advocacy Groups Are Tied to Anti-Immigrant Organizations Read More »

What a Difference a Year Makes in Colorado’s Case for a Public Option Plan

DENVER — Before the pandemic, Colorado looked set to become the second state to pass what’s known as a “public option” health insurance plan, which would have forced hospitals that lawmakers said were raking in obscene profits to accept lower payments. But when covid-19 struck, legislators hit pause. Use Our Content It can be republished …

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Watch: What Happens When Car and Health Insurance Collide

“CBS This Morning,” in collaboration with KHN and NPR, tells the story of Mark Gottlieb, a marketing consultant in Little Ferry, New Jersey, who faced more than $700,000 in medical bills after surgery on his spine. Gottlieb was injured in a car accident, and, despite having the maximum amount of personal injury protection in his …

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Big Investors Push Nursing Homes to Upgrade Care and Working Conditions

Nursing homes and long-term care facilities, where 182,000 Americans perished during the covid pandemic, have taken heat from government regulators, residents and their families. Now the industry is hearing it from an unexpected source: their investors. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. Investors who own large shares of nursing home companies now …

Big Investors Push Nursing Homes to Upgrade Care and Working Conditions Read More »

Pandemic Imperiled Non-English Speakers More Than Others

In March 2020, just weeks into the covid-19 pandemic, the incident command center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston was scrambling to understand this deadly new disease. It appeared to be killing more Black and brown patients than whites. For Latinos, there was an additional warning sign: language. This story is part of a …

Pandemic Imperiled Non-English Speakers More Than Others Read More »

Virtual Care Spreads in Missouri Health System, Home to ‘Hospital Without Beds’

When Tom Becker was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat in March 2020, the 60-year-old EMS helicopter pilot from Washington, Missouri, worried he would never fly again. This story also ran on U.S. News & World Report. It can be republished for free. But his cardiologist, Dr. Christopher Allen, had served in the Air Force and …

Virtual Care Spreads in Missouri Health System, Home to ‘Hospital Without Beds’ Read More »

UVA Health Will Wipe Out Tens of Thousands of Lawsuits Against Patients

University of Virginia Health System, which for years has sued thousands of patients annually for unpaid bills, said Monday it will cancel a massive backlog of court judgments and liens resulting from those lawsuits dating to the 1990s. This story also ran on The Washington Post. It can be republished for free. Combined with reforms …

UVA Health Will Wipe Out Tens of Thousands of Lawsuits Against Patients Read More »

From Rotten Teeth to Advanced Cancer, Patients Feel the Effects of Treatment Delays

With medical visits picking up again among patients vaccinated against covid-19, health providers are starting to see the consequences of a year of pandemic-delayed preventive and emergency care as they find more advanced cancer and rotting and damaged teeth, among other ailments. This story also ran on The Washington Post. It can be republished for …

From Rotten Teeth to Advanced Cancer, Patients Feel the Effects of Treatment Delays Read More »

Pandemic Highlights Need for Urgent Care Clinics for Women

SAN JOSE — Last spring, only weeks into the pandemic, Christina Garcia was spending her days struggling to help her two young sons adjust to online schooling when she got such a heavy, painful period she could barely stand. After a few days, her vision began to blur and she found herself too weak to …

Pandemic Highlights Need for Urgent Care Clinics for Women Read More »

The FDA Seeks a New Way to Review Old Drugs Without Causing Prices to Soar

Chuck Peterson of Omaha, Nebraska, recently experienced a swollen, painful knuckle caused by arthritis. He got a prescription for colchicine. Doctors have used the drug for treating gout and other rheumatic conditions for well over two centuries. When Peterson went to the pharmacy, he was shocked to discover that a two-month supply of 120 pills, …

The FDA Seeks a New Way to Review Old Drugs Without Causing Prices to Soar Read More »

A Year Into Pandemic, Federal Officials Design New Mask Guidelines to Better Protect More Workers

Federal officials announced new measures to help get fresh, new N95 masks to health care workers and expand their use in other industries after scientists argued that the highly protective masks are essential to keep workers safe from covid-19. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. The changes come as U.S. mask-makers say …

A Year Into Pandemic, Federal Officials Design New Mask Guidelines to Better Protect More Workers Read More »

Orange County Hospital Seeks Divorce From Large Catholic Health System

In early 2013, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Orange County, California, joined with St. Joseph Health, a local Catholic hospital chain, amid enthusiastic promises that their affiliation would broaden access to care and improve the health of residents across the community. This story also ran on U.S. News & World Report. It can be republished …

Orange County Hospital Seeks Divorce From Large Catholic Health System Read More »

Covid Spawns ‘Completely New Category’ of Organ Transplants

In a year when covid-19 shattered the pleas of so many who prayed for miracles, a Georgia man with two new lungs is among the fortunate. Mark Buchanan, of Roopville, received a double-lung transplant in October, nearly three months after covid left him hospitalized and sedated, first on a ventilator and then on the last-resort …

Covid Spawns ‘Completely New Category’ of Organ Transplants Read More »

Biden Seeks $400 Billion to Buttress Long-Term Care. A Look at What’s at Stake.

There’s widespread agreement that it’s important to help older adults and people with disabilities remain independent as long as possible. But are we prepared to do what’s necessary, as a nation, to make this possible? This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. That’s the challenge President Joe Biden has put …

Biden Seeks $400 Billion to Buttress Long-Term Care. A Look at What’s at Stake. Read More »

Fauci Thanks US Health Workers for Sacrifices but Admits PPE Shortages Drove Up Death Toll

Dr. Anthony Fauci thanked America’s health care workers, who “every single day put themselves at risk” during the pandemic, even as he acknowledged that PPE shortages had contributed to the deaths of more than 3,600 of them. This story also ran on The Guardian. It can be republished for free. “We rightfully refer to these …

Fauci Thanks US Health Workers for Sacrifices but Admits PPE Shortages Drove Up Death Toll Read More »

12 Months of Trauma: More Than 3,600 US Health Workers Died in Covid’s First Year

This story also ran on The Guardian. It can be republished for free. More than 3,600 U.S. health care workers perished in the first year of the pandemic, according to “Lost on the Frontline,” a 12-month investigation by The Guardian and KHN to track such deaths. Lost on the Frontline is the most complete accounting …

12 Months of Trauma: More Than 3,600 US Health Workers Died in Covid’s First Year Read More »

Calls Mount for Biden to Track US Health Care Worker Deaths from Covid

This story also ran on The Guardian. It can be republished for free. Calls are mounting for the Biden administration to set up a national tracking system of covid-19 deaths among front-line health care workers to honor the thousands of nurses, doctors and support staffers who have died and ensure that future generations are not …

Calls Mount for Biden to Track US Health Care Worker Deaths from Covid Read More »

Para este enfermero de cuidados paliativos, la vacuna de covid llegó demasiado tarde

Antonio Espinoza amaba a los Dodgers de Los Angeles. Los quería tanto que para su velatorio lo vistieron con su camiseta del equipo. Su familia y amigos, incluido su hijo de 3 años, también usaron remeras, y gorras de béisbol azul y blancas, en su honor. Espinoza murió de covid a los 36 años, apenas …

Para este enfermero de cuidados paliativos, la vacuna de covid llegó demasiado tarde Read More »

For This Hospice Nurse, the Covid Shot Came Too Late

CORONA, Calif. — Antonio Espinoza loved the Los Angeles Dodgers. He loved them so much that he was laid to rest in his favorite Dodgers jersey. His family and friends, including his 3-year-old son, donned a sea of blue-and-white baseball shirts and caps in his honor. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. …

For This Hospice Nurse, the Covid Shot Came Too Late Read More »

Despite Covid, Many Wealthy Hospitals Had a Banner Year With Federal Bailout

Last May, Baylor Scott & White Health, the largest nonprofit hospital system in Texas, laid off 1,200 employees and furloughed others as it braced for the then-novel coronavirus to spread. The cancellation of lucrative elective procedures as the hospital pivoted to treat a new and less profitable infectious disease presaged financial distress, if not ruin. …

Despite Covid, Many Wealthy Hospitals Had a Banner Year With Federal Bailout Read More »

Families With Sick Kids on Medicaid Seek Easier Access to Out-of-State Hospitals

Three-year-old Elizabeth Zakutansky was born with a rare genetic condition that causes multiple seizures. Her neurologist, a top expert on treating her condition, practices at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, less than an hour’s drive from the Zakutanskys’ home in Hobart, Indiana. Her parents would like her to get all her care there. This story …

Families With Sick Kids on Medicaid Seek Easier Access to Out-of-State Hospitals Read More »

In California, Blue Shield’s Vaccination Takeover Fixes What Wasn’t Broken

In California’s Mendocino County, public health officials and community clinics say they have hit their vaccination stride. This story also ran on The Mendocino Beacon. It can be republished for free. Despite the county’s remoteness and its largely rural population spread among wooded mountains, rugged coastline and idyllic vineyards, about 40% of eligible adults have …

In California, Blue Shield’s Vaccination Takeover Fixes What Wasn’t Broken Read More »

Medicamentos ya conocidos, y baratos, podrían ser clave para tratar covid

¿Podría un antidepresivo que se usa desde hace décadas ser un arma secreta contra covid? Algunos científicos creen que sí, después de que dos pequeños estudios demostraran que la fluvoxamina, que se suele recetar para el trastorno obsesivo compulsivo (TOC), evitara que los participantes desarrollaran una forma grave de la enfermedad. Sería algo impresionante. Un …

Medicamentos ya conocidos, y baratos, podrían ser clave para tratar covid Read More »

Scientists Seek Covid Treatment Answers in Cheap, Older Drugs

Could a decades-old antidepressant be a secret weapon against covid? A few scientists think so, after two small studies showed that fluvoxamine, typically prescribed for obsessive-compulsive disorder, prevented serious illness in all participants who took the pills soon after developing symptoms. This story also ran on San Francisco Chronicle. It can be republished for free. …

Scientists Seek Covid Treatment Answers in Cheap, Older Drugs Read More »

The Great Undoing: Which of Trump’s Policies Will Biden Reverse?

KHN has put together an interactive tool of significant health policies implemented by the Trump administration using its own authority — executive orders, agency guidance or formal regulations — and is tracking Biden administration and court actions. We will update this chart as actions are taken. Topics: Affordable Care Act | HHS Operations | Immigration …

The Great Undoing: Which of Trump’s Policies Will Biden Reverse? Read More »

Birx Joins Air-Cleaning Industry Amid Land Grab for Billions in Federal Covid Relief

The former top White House coronavirus adviser under President Donald Trump, Dr. Deborah Birx, has joined an air-cleaning company that built its business, in part, on technology that is now banned in California due to health hazards. This story also ran on NBC News. It can be republished for free. The company is one of …

Birx Joins Air-Cleaning Industry Amid Land Grab for Billions in Federal Covid Relief Read More »

Blue Shield Spent Years Cultivating a Relationship with Newsom. It Got the State Vaccine Contract.

SACRAMENTO — Gavin Newsom was just making a name for himself as mayor of San Francisco in 2005 when Blue Shield of California wrote him its first major check. USE OUR CONTENT It can be republished for free. The young, business-friendly Democrat had exploded onto the national scene the year before by issuing same-sex marriage …

Blue Shield Spent Years Cultivating a Relationship with Newsom. It Got the State Vaccine Contract. Read More »

The Case for Donating US Covid Vaccines Overseas

A Senate committee grilled federal officials about the shortage of vaccines to protect Americans against a pandemic virus. Two months later, the U.S. public had lost interest in the virus, and millions of vaccines were sitting in warehouses — although poor countries still needed them. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. This …

The Case for Donating US Covid Vaccines Overseas Read More »

‘Painless’ Glucose Monitors Pushed Despite Little Evidence They Help Most Diabetes Patients

In the nation’s battle against the diabetes epidemic, the go-to weapon being aggressively promoted to patients is as small as a quarter and worn on the belly or arm. This story also ran on NBC News. It can be republished for free. A continuous glucose monitor holds a tiny sensor that’s inserted just under the …

‘Painless’ Glucose Monitors Pushed Despite Little Evidence They Help Most Diabetes Patients Read More »

University of Missouri Settles Lawsuits Over Knee Surgeries Involving Veterinarian

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The University of Missouri has settled a collection of personal injury and false advertising claims over knee surgeries for $16.2 million, in what appears to be one of its largest public payouts in recent years. This story also ran on St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It can be republished for free. The 22 plaintiffs, …

University of Missouri Settles Lawsuits Over Knee Surgeries Involving Veterinarian Read More »

CDC’s ‘Huge Mistake’: Did Misguided Mask Advice Drive Up Covid Death Toll for Health Workers?

Since the start of the pandemic, the most terrifying task in health care was thought to be when a doctor put a breathing tube down the trachea of a critically ill covid patient. This story also ran on The Guardian. It can be republished for free. Those performing such “aerosol-generating” procedures, often in an intensive …

CDC’s ‘Huge Mistake’: Did Misguided Mask Advice Drive Up Covid Death Toll for Health Workers? Read More »

Kaiser Permanente, Big Player in California Vaccine Effort, Has Had Trouble Vaccinating Own Members

USE OUR CONTENT It can be republished for free. As managed-care giant Kaiser Permanente assumes a prominent role in California’s new covid-19 vaccination strategy, it is drawing mixed reviews from members across the country for the way it has run its own vaccine program over the past two months. Conversations with 10 Kaiser enrollees in …

Kaiser Permanente, Big Player in California Vaccine Effort, Has Had Trouble Vaccinating Own Members Read More »

College Tuition Sparked a Mental Health Crisis. Then the Hefty Hospital Bill Arrived.

Despite a lifelong struggle with panic attacks, Divya Singh made a brave move across the world last fall from her home in Mumbai, India. She enrolled at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, to study physics and explore an interest in standup comedy in Manhattan. This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished …

College Tuition Sparked a Mental Health Crisis. Then the Hefty Hospital Bill Arrived. Read More »

As Covid Surged, Vaccines Came Too Late for at Least 400 Medical Workers

This story also ran on The Guardian. It can be republished for free. As health care workers in the U.S. began lining up for their first coronavirus vaccines on Dec. 14, Esmeralda Campos-Loredo was already fighting for oxygen. The 49-year-old nursing assistant and mother of two started having breathing problems just days earlier. By the …

As Covid Surged, Vaccines Came Too Late for at Least 400 Medical Workers Read More »

‘It Doesn’t Feel Worth It’: Covid Is Pushing New York’s EMTs to the Brink

This story also ran on The Guardian. It can be republished for free. In his 17 years as an emergency medical provider, Anthony Almojera thought he had seen it all. “Shootings, stabbings, people on fire, you name it,” he said. Then came covid-19. Before the pandemic, Almojera said it was normal to respond to one …

‘It Doesn’t Feel Worth It’: Covid Is Pushing New York’s EMTs to the Brink Read More »

Medicare Cuts Payment to 774 Hospitals Over Patient Complications

Use Our Content It can be republished for free. The federal government has penalized 774 hospitals for having the highest rates of patient infections or other potentially avoidable medical complications. Those hospitals, which include some of the nation’s marquee medical centers, will lose 1% of their Medicare payments over 12 months. The penalties, based on …

Medicare Cuts Payment to 774 Hospitals Over Patient Complications Read More »

Companies Pan for Marketing Gold in Vaccines

This story also ran on NBC News. It can be republished for free. For a decade, Jennifer Crow has taken care of her elderly parents, who have multiple sclerosis. After her father had a stroke in December, the family got serious in its conversations with a retirement community — and learned that one service it …

Companies Pan for Marketing Gold in Vaccines Read More »

‘I Wanted to Go in There and Help’: Nursing Schools See Enrollment Bump Amid Pandemic

This story also ran on USA Today. It can be republished for free. Last December, Mirande Gross graduated from Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, with a bachelor’s degree in communications. But Gross has changed her mind and is heading back to school in May for a one-year accelerated nursing degree program. The pandemic that has …

‘I Wanted to Go in There and Help’: Nursing Schools See Enrollment Bump Amid Pandemic Read More »

Bay Area Cities Go to War Over Gas Stoves in Homes and Restaurants

This story also ran on U.S. News & World Report. It can be republished for free. San Francisco restaurant owners, already simmering over covid-19 restrictions, are ready to boil over because of a city ban on natural gas stoves in new buildings that takes effect in June. The ban, which also affects other gas appliances, …

Bay Area Cities Go to War Over Gas Stoves in Homes and Restaurants Read More »

Rural Hospital Remains Entrenched in Covid ‘War’ Even Amid Vaccine Rollout

Editor’s note: KHN wrote about St. James Parish Hospital in April, when it was experiencing its first surge of covid-19 patients. Ten months later, we checked in to see how the hospital and its staff were faring. This story also ran on The Guardian. It can be republished for free. The “heroes work here” sign …

Rural Hospital Remains Entrenched in Covid ‘War’ Even Amid Vaccine Rollout Read More »

Vaccines Go Mobile to Keep Seniors From Slipping Through the Cracks

USE OUR CONTENT It can be republished for free. ANTIOCH, Calif. — A mobile “strike team” is bringing vaccines to some of Northern California’s most vulnerable residents along with a message: This is how you avoid dying from covid-19. So far, that message has been met with both nervous acceptance and outbursts of joy from …

Vaccines Go Mobile to Keep Seniors From Slipping Through the Cracks Read More »

Health Policy Valentines to Warm the Heart

Nothing warms our hearts like a few good Health Policy Valentines ― especially those that are sweet on KHN. Tweeters lit up our timeline in recent days with valentine messages about topics ranging from covid-19 vaccines and mask-wearing to the price of health care. Here are some of our favorites. ❤ Roses are red Violets …

Health Policy Valentines to Warm the Heart Read More »

Health Workers and Hospitals Grapple With Millions of Counterfeit N95 Masks

This story also ran on NBC News. It can be republished for free. Thousands of counterfeit 3M respirators have slipped past U.S. investigators in recent months, making it to the cheeks and chins of health care workers and perplexing experts who say their quality is not vastly inferior to the real thing. N95 masks are …

Health Workers and Hospitals Grapple With Millions of Counterfeit N95 Masks Read More »

Gene Screenings Hold Disease Clues, but Unexplained Anomalies Often Raise Fears

When her gynecologist recommended genetic testing, Mai Tran was reluctant. “I didn’t really want to do it,” recalled Tran, who had just turned 21 and was living in New York City, “but she kept on emailing me about it and was really adamant that I do it.” Tran knew she had an elevated risk of …

Gene Screenings Hold Disease Clues, but Unexplained Anomalies Often Raise Fears Read More »

Food Guidelines Change But Fail to Take Cultures Into Account

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services have once again developed new food guidelines for Americans that urge people to customize a diet of nutrient-dense food. For the first time, they make recommendations for infant nutrition and for different stages of life. But, as in past iterations, they lack …

Food Guidelines Change But Fail to Take Cultures Into Account Read More »

Journalists Stay on Top of Rocky Vaccine Rollout

California Healthline senior correspondent Anna Maria Barry-Jester discussed California’s rocky covid-19 vaccine rollout with KALW’s “Your Call” on Wednesday. Click here to hear Barry-Jester on KALW KHN data reporter Hannah Recht discussed covid vaccination gaps by race with Newsy’s “Morning Rush” on Thursday. Click here to watch a clip on Recht on Newsy Read “Black …

Journalists Stay on Top of Rocky Vaccine Rollout Read More »

If This Self-Sufficient Hospital Cannot Stand Alone, Can Any Public Hospital Survive?

In America’s health care system, dominated by hospital chain leviathans, New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina, is an anomaly. It is a publicly owned hospital that boasts good care at lower prices than most and still flourishes financially. Nonetheless, New Hanover County is selling the hospital to one of the state’s biggest …

If This Self-Sufficient Hospital Cannot Stand Alone, Can Any Public Hospital Survive? Read More »

Por qué ni siquiera la presión presidencial podría acelerar las vacunas contra covid

Miles de estadounidenses están muriendo a causa de covid-19, pero los esfuerzos para aumentar la producción de vacunas que potencialmente salvan vidas están en un callejón sin salida. Moderna y Pfizer-BioNTech, los fabricantes de las dos vacunas disponibles hasta el momento, están operando al máximo, bajo una enorme presión por expandir la producción o colaborar …

Por qué ni siquiera la presión presidencial podría acelerar las vacunas contra covid Read More »

Why Even Presidential Pressure Might Not Get More Vaccine to Market Faster

Americans are dying of covid-19 by the thousands, but efforts to ramp up production of potentially lifesaving vaccines are hitting a brick wall. Vaccine makers Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech are running their factories full tilt and are under enormous pressure to expand production or collaborate with other drug companies to set up additional assembly lines. That …

Why Even Presidential Pressure Might Not Get More Vaccine to Market Faster Read More »

California Is Overriding Its Limits on Nurse Workloads as Covid Surges

This story is from a reporting partnership that includes KQED, NPR and KHN. It can be republished for free. California’s telemetry nurses, who specialize in the electronic monitoring of critically ill patients, normally take care of four patients at once. But ever since the state relaxed California’s mandatory nurse-to-patient ratios in mid-December, Nerissa Black has …

California Is Overriding Its Limits on Nurse Workloads as Covid Surges Read More »

Patients Fend for Themselves to Access Highly Touted Covid Antibody Treatments

By the time he tested positive for covid-19 on Jan. 12, Gary Herritz was feeling pretty sick. He suspects he was infected a week earlier, during a medical appointment in which he saw health workers who were wearing masks beneath their noses or who had removed them entirely. His scratchy throat had turned to a …

Patients Fend for Themselves to Access Highly Touted Covid Antibody Treatments Read More »

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: On Capitol Hill, Actions Have Consequences

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. The reverberations from the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump continue. A broad array of business groups, including many from the health industry, are halting contributions to Republicans in the House and Senate who voted against certifying the …

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: On Capitol Hill, Actions Have Consequences Read More »

Feeling Left Out: Private Practice Doctors, Patients Wonder When It’s Their Turn for Vaccine

Dr. Andrew Carroll — a family doctor in Chandler, Arizona — wants to help his patients get immunized against covid, so he paid more than $4,000 to buy an ultra-low-temperature freezer from eBay needed to store the Pfizer vaccine. But he’s not sure he’ll get a chance to use it, given health officials have so …

Feeling Left Out: Private Practice Doctors, Patients Wonder When It’s Their Turn for Vaccine Read More »

An Urban Hospital on the Brink Vs. the Officials Sworn to Save It

Illinois and Chicago officials are trying to figure out how to stop a private company from closing a money-losing urban hospital in a poor, underserved Chicago neighborhood. Trinity Health, a national Catholic tax-exempt chain, wants to close Mercy Hospital and Medical Center on Chicago’s Near South Side by May 31. Last month, in an unusual …

An Urban Hospital on the Brink Vs. the Officials Sworn to Save It Read More »

Health Workers Unions See Surge in Interest Amid Covid

This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. The nurses at Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, declared on March 6 — by filing the official paperwork — that they were ready to vote on the prospect of joining a national union. At the time, they were motivated by the desire …

Health Workers Unions See Surge in Interest Amid Covid Read More »

‘An Arm And a Leg’: How a Former Health Care Executive Became a Health Care Whistleblower

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Former health care executive Wendell Potter spent part of 2020 publishing high-profile apologies for the work he used to do — the lies he said he told the American people for his old employers. These days, he said, he’s also trying to debunk myths he once sold. …

‘An Arm And a Leg’: How a Former Health Care Executive Became a Health Care Whistleblower Read More »

Is Your Covid Vaccine Venue Prepared to Handle Rare, Life-Threatening Reactions?

As the rollout of covid-19 vaccines picks up across the U.S., moving from hospital distribution to pharmacies, pop-up sites and drive-thru clinics, health experts say it’s vital that these expanded venues be prepared to handle rare but potentially life-threatening allergic reactions. “You want to be able to treat anaphylaxis,” said Dr. Mitchell Grayson, an allergist-immunologist …

Is Your Covid Vaccine Venue Prepared to Handle Rare, Life-Threatening Reactions? Read More »

In Los Angeles and Beyond, Oxygen Is the Latest Covid Bottleneck

As Los Angeles hospitals give record numbers of covid patients oxygen, the systems and equipment needed to deliver the life-sustaining gas are faltering. It’s gotten so bad that Los Angeles County officials are warning paramedics to conserve it. Some hospitals are having to delay releasing patients as they don’t have enough oxygen equipment to send …

In Los Angeles and Beyond, Oxygen Is the Latest Covid Bottleneck Read More »

‘An Arm and a Leg’: A Look Back at 2020 — What We Learned and Where We’re Headed

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. This episode turns the tables: Host Dan Weissmann gets interviewed about what he learned in 2020 and what’s ahead for the show — with T.K. Dutes, a radio host and podcast-maker who is also a former nurse, so she knows a thing or two about the health …

‘An Arm and a Leg’: A Look Back at 2020 — What We Learned and Where We’re Headed Read More »

La pandemia de covid-19 está devastando a los profesionales de salud de color

La primavera pasada, Maritza Beniquez, enfermera de una sala de emergencias de Nueva Jersey, fue testigo de “una oleada tras otra” de pacientes enfermos, cada uno con una mirada aterrada que se volvió familiar a medida que pasaban las semanas. Pronto, fueron sus colegas del Hospital Universitario de Newark, enfermeras, técnicos y médicos con los …

La pandemia de covid-19 está devastando a los profesionales de salud de color Read More »

Covid ‘Decimated Our Staff’ as the Pandemic Ravages Health Workers of Color in US

This story also ran on The Guardian. It can be republished for free. Last spring, New Jersey emergency room nurse Maritza Beniquez saw “wave after wave” of sick patients, each wearing a look of fear that grew increasingly familiar as the weeks wore on. Soon, it was her colleagues at Newark’s University Hospital — the …

Covid ‘Decimated Our Staff’ as the Pandemic Ravages Health Workers of Color in US Read More »

Video: The Healthy Nurse Who Died at 40 on the COVID Frontline: ‘She Was the Best Mom I Ever Had’

Yolanda Coar was 40 when she died of COVID-19 in August 2020 in Augusta, Georgia. She was also a nurse manager, and one of nearly 3,000 frontline workers who have died in the U.S. fighting this virus, according to an exclusive investigation by The Guardian and KHN. Read more of the health workers’ stories behind …

Video: The Healthy Nurse Who Died at 40 on the COVID Frontline: ‘She Was the Best Mom I Ever Had’ Read More »

As the Terror of COVID Struck, Health Care Workers Struggled to Survive. Thousands Lost the Fight.

This story also ran on The Guardian. It can be republished for free. Workers at Garfield Medical Center in suburban Los Angeles were on edge as the pandemic ramped up in March and April. Staffers in a 30-patient unit were rationing a single tub of sanitizing wipes all day. A May memo from the CEO …

As the Terror of COVID Struck, Health Care Workers Struggled to Survive. Thousands Lost the Fight. Read More »

Retiree Living the RV Dream Fights $12,387 Nightmare Lab Fee

Lorraine Rogge and her husband, Michael Rogge, travel the country in a recreational vehicle, a well-earned adventure in retirement. This spring found them parked in Artesia, New Mexico, for several months. This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. In May, Rogge, 60, began to feel pelvic pain and cramping. But …

Retiree Living the RV Dream Fights $12,387 Nightmare Lab Fee Read More »

‘Nine Months Into It, the Adrenaline Is Gone and It’s Just Exhausting’

USE OUR CONTENT It can be republished for free. In March, during the first week of the San Francisco Bay Area’s first-in-the-nation stay-at-home order, KHN spoke with emergency department physicians working on the front lines of the burgeoning COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, these doctors reported dire shortages of personal protective equipment and testing supplies. …

‘Nine Months Into It, the Adrenaline Is Gone and It’s Just Exhausting’ Read More »

With Few Takers for COVID Vaccine, DC Hospital CEO Takes ‘One for the Team’

This story also ran on Daily Beast. It can be republished for free. Administrators at Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C., were thrilled to be among the city’s first hospitals to get a COVID-19 vaccine, but they knew it could be a tough sell to get staffers to take the shot. They were right. The …

With Few Takers for COVID Vaccine, DC Hospital CEO Takes ‘One for the Team’ Read More »

No More ICU Beds at the Main Public Hospital in the Nation’s Largest County as COVID Surges

USE OUR CONTENT It can be republished for free. She lay behind a glass barrier, heavily sedated, kept alive by a machine that blew oxygen into her lungs through a tube taped to her mouth and lodged at the back of her throat. She had deteriorated rapidly since arriving a short time earlier. “Her respiratory …

No More ICU Beds at the Main Public Hospital in the Nation’s Largest County as COVID Surges Read More »

Behind Each of More Than 300,000 Lives Lost: A Name, a Caregiver, a Family, a Story

More than 300,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States. It is the latest sign of a generational tragedy — one still unfolding in every corner of the country — that leaves in its wake an expanse of grief that cannot be captured in a string of statistics. “The numbers do not reflect …

Behind Each of More Than 300,000 Lives Lost: A Name, a Caregiver, a Family, a Story Read More »

Desafío en hospitales: a qué trabajadores de salud vacunar primero contra COVID

Si existe una cita con el destino, está escrita en el calendario del doctor Taison Bell. Al mediodía del martes 15 de diciembre, Bell, especialista en cuidados intensivos del Sistema de Salud de la Universidad de Virginia será uno de los primeros en arremangarse para recibir la vacuna que lo protegerá del coronavirus. Bell, de …

Desafío en hospitales: a qué trabajadores de salud vacunar primero contra COVID Read More »

This Health Care Magnate Wants to Fix Democracy, Starting in Colorado

In the final weeks before the Nov. 3 election, supporters of a down-in-the-weeds effort to overturn a tax law in Colorado received a cascade of big checks, for a grand total of more than $2 million. All came from Kent Thiry, the former CEO of DaVita, one of the largest kidney care companies in the …

This Health Care Magnate Wants to Fix Democracy, Starting in Colorado Read More »

Hospitals Scramble to Prioritize Which Workers Are First for COVID Shots

This story also ran on NBC News. It can be republished for free. If there’s such a thing as a date with destiny, it’s marked on Dr. Taison Bell’s calendar. At noon Tuesday, Bell, a critical care physician, is scheduled to be one of the first health care workers at the University of Virginia Health …

Hospitals Scramble to Prioritize Which Workers Are First for COVID Shots Read More »

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 …

A Battle-Weary Seattle Hospital Fights the Latest COVID Surge Read More »

Dialysis Industry Spends Millions, Emerges as Power Player in California Politics

SACRAMENTO — The nation’s dialysis industry has poured $233 million into California campaigns over the past four years, establishing its leading companies as a formidable political force eager to protect their bottom line and influence state policy. This story also ran on Los Angeles Times. It can be republished for free. Most of the money …

Dialysis Industry Spends Millions, Emerges as Power Player in California Politics Read More »

Becerra, un candidato para el HHS con habilidad política pero sin experiencia en salud

Xavier Becerra, elegido por el presidente electo Joe Biden para dirigir el Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos (HHS), será un secretario de la era pandémica, sin experiencia en salud pública. Si eso importa o no, depende de quién conteste. Becerra construyó su carrera en la Cámara de Representantes de los Estados Unidos antes de …

Becerra, un candidato para el HHS con habilidad política pero sin experiencia en salud Read More »

In Becerra, an HHS Nominee With Political Skill But No Front-Line Health Experience

Xavier Becerra, President-elect Joe Biden’s choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services, is set to be a pandemic-era secretary with no public health experience. Whether that matters depends on whom you ask. Becerra built his career in the U.S. House of Representatives before becoming California’s attorney general, and some wonder whether his …

In Becerra, an HHS Nominee With Political Skill But No Front-Line Health Experience Read More »

Think Your Health Care Is Covered? Beware of the ‘Junk’ Insurance Plan

Looking back, Sam Bloechl knows that when the health insurance broker who was helping him find a plan asked whether he’d ever been diagnosed with a major illness, that should have been a red flag. Preexisting medical conditions don’t matter when you buy a comprehensive individual plan that complies with the Affordable Care Act. Insurers …

Think Your Health Care Is Covered? Beware of the ‘Junk’ Insurance Plan Read More »

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 …

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

After a Deadly COVID Outbreak, Maryland County Takes Steps to Protect Health Workers

This story also ran on The Associated Press. It can be republished for free. A Maryland health department is taking new steps to protect its workers six months after a COVID-19 outbreak killed a veteran employee who was twice denied permission to work from home. Chantee Mack, 44, died in May. More than 20 colleagues …

After a Deadly COVID Outbreak, Maryland County Takes Steps to Protect Health Workers Read More »

NYC Hospital Workers, Knowing How Bad It Can Get, Brace for COVID 2nd Wave

No single municipality in the country suffered more in the first wave of the pandemic than New York City, which saw more than 24,000 deaths, mainly in the spring. Medical staff in New York know precisely how difficult and dangerous overwhelmed hospitals can be and are braced warily as infections begin to rise again.  Around …

NYC Hospital Workers, Knowing How Bad It Can Get, Brace for COVID 2nd Wave Read More »

Come for Your Eye Exam, Leave With a Band-Aid on Your Arm

With multiple COVID-19 vaccines rapidly heading toward approval, optometrists and dentists are pushing for the authority to immunize patients during routine eye exams and dental cleanings. Across the country, these medical professionals say their help will be needed to distribute the vaccines to millions of Americans — and they already have the know-how. “When you …

Come for Your Eye Exam, Leave With a Band-Aid on Your Arm Read More »

Con récord de internaciones por COVID, la crisis ahora es la falta de personal médico

Los hospitales en gran parte del país están tratando de hacer frente a un número sin precedentes de pacientes con COVID-19. El lunes 30 de noviembre hubo 96,039 internaciones a lo largo del país, un récord alarmante que supera con creces los dos picos anteriores en abril y julio de poco menos de 60,000 pacientes …

Con récord de internaciones por COVID, la crisis ahora es la falta de personal médico Read More »

As Hospitals Fill With COVID Patients, Medical Reinforcements Are Hard to Find

Hospitals in much of the country are trying to cope with unprecedented numbers of COVID-19 patients. As of Monday, 96,039 were hospitalized, an alarming record that far exceeds the two previous peaks in April and July of just under 60,000 inpatients. But beds and space aren’t the main concern. It’s the workforce. Hospitals are worried …

As Hospitals Fill With COVID Patients, Medical Reinforcements Are Hard to Find Read More »

OSHA Let Employers Decide Whether to Report Health Care Worker Deaths. Many Didn’t.

As Walter Veal cared for residents at the Ludeman Developmental Center in suburban Chicago, he saw the potential future of his grandson, who has autism. This story also ran on The Guardian. It can be republished for free. So he took it on himself not just to bathe and feed the residents, which was part …

OSHA Let Employers Decide Whether to Report Health Care Worker Deaths. Many Didn’t. Read More »

Thousands of Doctors’ Offices Buckle Under Financial Stress of COVID

Cormay Caine misses a full day of work and drives more than 130 miles round trip to take five of her children to their pediatrician. The Sartell, Minnesota, clinic where their doctor used to work closed in August. Caine is one of several parents who followed Dr. Heather Decker to her new location on the …

Thousands of Doctors’ Offices Buckle Under Financial Stress of COVID Read More »

After Kid’s Minor Bike Accident, Major Bill Sets Legal Wheels in Motion

Adam Woodrum was out for a bike ride with his wife and kids on July 19 when his then 9-year-old son, Robert, crashed. “He cut himself pretty bad, and I could tell right away he needed stitches,” said Woodrum. This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. Because they were on …

After Kid’s Minor Bike Accident, Major Bill Sets Legal Wheels in Motion Read More »

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 …

Rural Areas Send Their Sickest Patients to Cities, Straining Hospitals Read More »

Need a COVID-19 Nurse? That’ll Be $8,000 a Week

DENVER — In March, Claire Tripeny was watching her dream job fall apart. She’d been working as an intensive care nurse at St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, Colorado, and loved it, despite the mediocre pay typical for the region. But when COVID-19 hit, that calculation changed. She remembers her employers telling her and her colleagues …

Need a COVID-19 Nurse? That’ll Be $8,000 a Week Read More »

Florida’s New Hospital Industry Head Ran Medicaid in State and Fought Expansion

With its choice of a new leader, the Florida Hospital Association has signaled that seeking legislative approval to expand Medicaid to nearly 850,000 uninsured adults won’t be among its top priorities. In October, Mary Mayhew became the association’s CEO. Mayhew, who led the state’s Medicaid agency since 2019, has been a vocal critic of the …

Florida’s New Hospital Industry Head Ran Medicaid in State and Fought Expansion Read More »

Government-Funded Scientists Laid the Groundwork for Billion-Dollar Vaccines

When he started researching a troublesome childhood infection nearly four decades ago, virologist Dr. Barney Graham, then at Vanderbilt University, had no inkling his federally funded work might be key to deliverance from a global pandemic. Yet nearly all the vaccines advancing toward possible FDA approval this fall or winter are based on a design …

Government-Funded Scientists Laid the Groundwork for Billion-Dollar Vaccines Read More »

Long-Term Care Workers, Grieving and Under Siege, Brace for COVID’s Next Round

In the middle of the night, Stefania Silvestri lies in bed remembering her elderly patients’ cries. “Help me.” “Please don’t leave me.” “I need my family.” Months of caring for older adults in a Rhode Island nursing home ravaged by COVID-19 have taken a steep toll on Silvestri, 37, a registered nurse. She can’t sleep, …

Long-Term Care Workers, Grieving and Under Siege, Brace for COVID’s Next Round Read More »

¿Es hora de discutir los potenciales efectos secundarios de las vacunas para COVID? Científicos dicen que sí

Se espera que la farmacéutica Pfizer solicite permiso federal para lanzar su vacuna para COVID-19 a fines de noviembre. Una medida que promete acorralar la pandemia, pero que no ofrece mucho tiempo para asegurarse de que los consumidores estén bien informados. Esta vacuna, y probablemente las otras, requerirá de dos dosis para funcionar, inyecciones que …

¿Es hora de discutir los potenciales efectos secundarios de las vacunas para COVID? Científicos dicen que sí Read More »

Time to Discuss Potentially Unpleasant Side Effects of COVID Shots? Scientists Say Yes.

Drugmaker Pfizer is expected to seek federal permission to release its COVID-19 vaccine by the end of November, a move that holds promise for quelling the pandemic, but also sets up a tight time frame for making sure consumers understand what it will mean to actually get the shots. This story also ran on NBC …

Time to Discuss Potentially Unpleasant Side Effects of COVID Shots? Scientists Say Yes. Read More »

Cinco preguntas críticas sobre la vacuna contra COVID-19 de Pfizer

El anuncio de Pfizer de que su vacuna contra COVID-19 prevendría que nueve de cada 10 personas contraigan la enfermedad hizo que el precio de sus acciones se disparara. Muchos titulares describieron a la vacuna como si fuera la liberación de la pandemia, aunque se dieron pocos detalles. Ciertamente hay para presumir: la vacuna de …

Cinco preguntas críticas sobre la vacuna contra COVID-19 de Pfizer Read More »

Five Important Questions About Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine

Pfizer’s announcement on Monday that its COVID-19 shot appears to keep nine in 10 people from getting the disease sent its stock price rocketing. Many news reports described the vaccine as if it were our deliverance from the pandemic, even though few details were released. There was certainly something to crow about: Pfizer’s vaccine consists …

Five Important Questions About Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine Read More »

Biden Plan to Lower Medicare Eligibility Age to 60 Faces Hostility From Hospitals

Of his many plans to expand insurance coverage, President-elect Joe Biden’s simplest strategy is lowering the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 60. But the plan is sure to face long odds, even if the Democrats can snag control of the Senate in January by winning two runoff elections in Georgia. Republicans, who fought …

Biden Plan to Lower Medicare Eligibility Age to 60 Faces Hostility From Hospitals Read More »

‘Is This Worth My Life?’: Traveling Health Workers Decry COVID Care Conditions

This story also ran on The Guardian. It can be republished for free. David Joel Perea called from Maine, Vermont, Minnesota and, ultimately, Nevada, always with the same request: “Mom, can you send tamales?” Dominga Perea would ship them overnight. That’s how she knew where her 35-year-old son was. The traveling nurse had “a tremendous …

‘Is This Worth My Life?’: Traveling Health Workers Decry COVID Care Conditions Read More »

¿Estás internado? Todavía puedes votar en gran parte del país

Johnathon Talamantes se rompió la cadera en un accidente de auto el 22 de octubre y se sometió a una cirugía cinco días después en un hospital público cerca del centro de Los Angeles. Talamantes tendrá que estar en el hospital del condado de LA USC Medical Center hasta pasadas las elecciones, algo que le …

¿Estás internado? Todavía puedes votar en gran parte del país Read More »

‘His Lies are Killing my Neighbors’: Swing-state Health Workers Try to Defeat Trump

Dr. Chris Kapsner intubated his first COVID-19 patient — a 47-year-old man who arrived short of breath at an emergency room in Minnesota’s Twin Cities — back in April. Now, seven months later, Kapsner, who lives across the border in Wisconsin, is weary and exhausted from the steady stream of patients arriving with a virus …

‘His Lies are Killing my Neighbors’: Swing-state Health Workers Try to Defeat Trump Read More »

Medicare Fines Half of Hospitals for Readmitting Too Many Patients

Nearly half the nation’s hospitals, many of which are still wrestling with the financial fallout of the unexpected coronavirus, will get lower payments for all Medicare patients because of their history of readmitting patients, federal records show. The penalties are the ninth annual round of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program created as part of the …

Medicare Fines Half of Hospitals for Readmitting Too Many Patients Read More »

Hospitalized? You Can Still Vote in Most Parts of the Country

Johnathon Talamantes, of South-Central Los Angeles, broke his hip in a car accident on Oct. 22 and underwent surgery five days later at a public hospital near downtown. His post-op recovery will keep him in the hospital, L.A. County+USC Medical Center, beyond Election Day, and as he prepared himself for the surgery, he wondered what …

Hospitalized? You Can Still Vote in Most Parts of the Country Read More »

Readers and Tweeters Shed Light on Vaccine Trials and Bias in Health Care

Letters to the Editor is a periodic feature. We welcome all comments and will publish a selection. We edit for length and clarity and require full names. On the ‘Subject’ of Vaccine Trial Participants In the piece about the AstraZeneca vaccine trial subject who suffered severe spinal cord inflammation, that person was repeatedly referred to as a …

Readers and Tweeters Shed Light on Vaccine Trials and Bias in Health Care Read More »

Telemedicine or In-Person Visit? Pros and Cons

As COVID-19 took hold in March, U.S. doctors limited in-person appointments — and many patients avoided them — for fear of infection. The result was a huge increase in the volume of remote medical and behavioral health visits. Doctors, hospitals and mental health providers across the country reported a 50- to 175-fold rise in the …

Telemedicine or In-Person Visit? Pros and Cons Read More »

North Carolina Treasurer Took On the Hospitals. Now He’s Paying Political Price.

Cartel is a term frequently associated with illegal narcotics syndicates. In North Carolina, it has become the favored word of State Treasurer Dale Folwell to describe the state’s hospital industry, the antagonist in his quest to lower health care prices for state employees. The treasurer manages the state employees’ health plan, which insures about 727,000 …

North Carolina Treasurer Took On the Hospitals. Now He’s Paying Political Price. Read More »

Déjà Vu for California Voters on Dialysis

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The survival of California’s dialysis clinics is in the hands of its voters this November. Sound familiar? Voters heard the same dire campaign claim two years ago, when the dialysis industry spent a record $111 million to defeat a statewide ballot measure that would have limited clinic revenues. Industry giants DaVita and …

Déjà Vu for California Voters on Dialysis Read More »

UVA Health Still Squeezing Money From Patients — By Seizing Their Home Equity

Doris Hutchinson wanted to use money from the sale of her late mother’s house to help her grandchildren go to college. Then she learned the University of Virginia Health System was taking $38,000 of the proceeds because a 13-year-old medical bill owed by her deceased brother had somehow turned into a lien on the property. …

UVA Health Still Squeezing Money From Patients — By Seizing Their Home Equity Read More »

Most Home Health Aides ‘Can’t Afford Not to Work’ — Even When Lacking PPE

In March, Sue Williams-Ward took a new job, with a $1-an-hour raise. The employer, a home health care agency called Together We Can, was paying a premium — $13 an hour — after it started losing aides when COVID-19 safety concerns mounted. Williams-Ward, a 68-year-old Indianapolis native, was a devoted caregiver who bathed, dressed and …

Most Home Health Aides ‘Can’t Afford Not to Work’ — Even When Lacking PPE Read More »

Stigma Against D.O.s Had Been Dissipating Until Trump’s Doctor Took the Spotlight

Dr. Katherine Pannel was initially thrilled to see President Donald Trump’s physician is a doctor of osteopathic medicine. A practicing D.O. herself, she loved seeing another glass ceiling broken for the type of doctor representing 11% of practicing physicians in the U.S. and now 1 in 4 medical students in the country. But then, as …

Stigma Against D.O.s Had Been Dissipating Until Trump’s Doctor Took the Spotlight Read More »

Does the Federal Health Information Privacy Law Protect President Trump?

Within one day, President Donald Trump announced his COVID diagnosis and was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment. The flurry of events was stunning, confusing and triggered many questions. What was his prognosis? When was he last tested for COVID-19? What is his viral load? The answers were elusive. Picture the …

Does the Federal Health Information Privacy Law Protect President Trump? Read More »

Republican Convention, Day 4: Fireworks … and Shining a Light on Trump’s Claims

President Donald Trump accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for president in a 70-minute speech from the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday night. Speaking to a friendly crowd that didn’t appear to be observing social distancing conventions, and with few participants wearing masks, he touched on a range of topics, including many related …

Republican Convention, Day 4: Fireworks … and Shining a Light on Trump’s Claims Read More »

Trump Again Claims He’s Bringing Down Drug Prices, But Details of How Are Skimpy

President Donald Trump has long considered lowering the high cost of prescription drugs to be one of his signature issues, and it is likely to be a talking point he relies on throughout the upcoming campaign. During his afternoon speech Monday ― delivered on the first day of the Repubublican National Convention after delegates had …

Trump Again Claims He’s Bringing Down Drug Prices, But Details of How Are Skimpy Read More »

Prognosis for Rural Hospitals Worsens With Pandemic

Jerome Antone said he is one of the lucky ones. After becoming ill with COVID-19, Antone was hospitalized only 65 miles away from his small Alabama town. He is the mayor of Georgiana — population 1,700. “It hit our rural community so rabid,” Antone said. The town’s hospital closed last year. If hospitals in nearby …

Prognosis for Rural Hospitals Worsens With Pandemic Read More »

LA Hospital Seeks Vaccine Trial Participants Among Its Own High-Risk Patients

The patients at Dr. Eric Daar’s hospital are at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19, and he’s determined to make sure they’re part of the effort to fight the disease. He also hopes they can protect themselves in the process. When Daar and his colleagues at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center on Wednesday announce the start …

LA Hospital Seeks Vaccine Trial Participants Among Its Own High-Risk Patients Read More »

‘An Arm and a Leg’: How to Fight Bogus Medical Bills Like a Bulldog

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. After Izzy Benasso had knee surgery, she and her dad received a letter from a surgical assistant giving notice that he “had been present” at the procedure. The surgical assistant was out-of-network and seemed to be laying the groundwork to get the Benassos to pay his fee. …

‘An Arm and a Leg’: How to Fight Bogus Medical Bills Like a Bulldog Read More »

Inside the Race to Build a Better $500 Emergency Ventilator

As the coronavirus crisis lit up this spring, headlines about how the U.S. could innovate its way out of a pending ventilator shortage landed almost as hard and fast as the pandemic itself. The New Yorker featured “The MacGyvers Taking on the Ventilator Shortage,” an effort initiated not by a doctor or engineer but a …

Inside the Race to Build a Better $500 Emergency Ventilator Read More »

As Georgia Reopened, Officials Knew of Severe Shortage of PPE for Health Workers

As the coronavirus crisis deepened in April, Georgia officials circulated documents showing that to get through the next month, the state would need millions more masks, gowns and other supplies than it had on hand. The projections, obtained by KHN and other organizations in response to public records requests, provide one of the clearest pictures …

As Georgia Reopened, Officials Knew of Severe Shortage of PPE for Health Workers Read More »

Teen Artist’s Portraits Help Frame Sacrifice of Health Care Workers Lost to COVID

As Xinyi Christine Zhang watched the COVID-19 death toll among health care workers rise this spring, she wanted to find a way to give solace — and thanks — to their families. The teenager, of South Brunswick Township, New Jersey, joined her church in commemorating members who had died of COVID-19. But she was driven …

Teen Artist’s Portraits Help Frame Sacrifice of Health Care Workers Lost to COVID Read More »

With COVID Vaccine Trial, Rural Oregon Clinic Steps Onto World Stage

MEDFORD, Ore. — From the outside, it appears to be just another suburban allergy clinic, a tidy, tan brick-and-cinder-block building set back from a busy highway and across the road from an auto parts store. But inside the offices of the Clinical Research Institute of Southern Oregon, Dr. Edward Kerwin and his staff are part …

With COVID Vaccine Trial, Rural Oregon Clinic Steps Onto World Stage Read More »

PPE Shortage Could Last Years Without Strategic Plan, Experts Warn

Shortages of personal protective equipment and medical supplies could persist for years without strategic government intervention, officials from health care and manufacturing industries have predicted. Officials said logistical challenges continue seven months after the coronavirus reached the United States, as the flu season approaches and as some state emergency management agencies prepare for a fall …

PPE Shortage Could Last Years Without Strategic Plan, Experts Warn Read More »

COVID Data Failures Create Pressure for Public Health System Overhaul

After terrorists slammed a plane into the Pentagon on 9/11, ambulances rushed scores of the injured to community hospitals, but only three of the patients were taken to specialized trauma wards. The reason: The hospitals and ambulances had no real-time information-sharing system. Nineteen years later, there is still no national data network that enables the …

COVID Data Failures Create Pressure for Public Health System Overhaul Read More »

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Kamala Harris on Health

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. California Sen. Kamala Harris, the newly named running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, doesn’t have a lot of background in health policy. But that’s unlikely to prevent Republicans from using her on-again, off-again support for “Medicare for All” against her in the …

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Kamala Harris on Health Read More »

Dying Young: The Health Care Workers in Their 20s Killed by COVID-19

Jasmine Obra believed that if it wasn’t for her brother Joshua, she wouldn’t exist. When 7-year-old Josh realized that his parents weren’t going to live forever, he asked for a sibling so he would never be alone. By spring 2020, at ages 29 and 21, Josh and Jasmine shared a condo in Anaheim, California, not …

Dying Young: The Health Care Workers in Their 20s Killed by COVID-19 Read More »

Primary Care Doctors Look at Payment Overhaul After Pandemic Disruption

For Dr. Gabe Charbonneau, a primary care doctor in Stevensville, Montana, the coronavirus pandemic is an existential threat. Charbonneau, 43, his two partners and 10 staff members are struggling to keep their rural practice alive. Patient volume is slowly returning to pre-COVID levels. But the large Seattle-area company that owns his practice is reassessing its …

Primary Care Doctors Look at Payment Overhaul After Pandemic Disruption Read More »

Nurses and Doctors Sick With COVID Feel Pressured to Get Back to Work

The first call in early April was from the testing center, informing the nurse she was positive for COVID-19 and should quarantine for two weeks. The second call, less than 20 minutes later, was from her employer, as the hospital informed her she could return to her job within two days. “I slept 20 hours …

Nurses and Doctors Sick With COVID Feel Pressured to Get Back to Work Read More »

Lost on the Frontline: Explore the Database

Journalists from KHN and the Guardian have identified more than 900 workers who reportedly died of complications from COVID-19 they contracted on the job. Reporters are working to confirm the cause of death and workplace conditions in each case. They are also writing about the people behind the statistics — their personalities, passions and quirks …

Lost on the Frontline: Explore the Database Read More »

Más de 900 trabajadores de salud han muerto por COVID-19 en los Estados Unidos. Y la cifra aumenta

Más de 900 trabajadores de atención médica esenciales han muerto por COVID-19, según una base de datos interactiva creada por The Guardian y KHN. Lost on the Frontline es una asociación entre las dos redacciones que tiene como objetivo contar, verificar y honrar a cada trabajador de salud de los Estados Unidos que ha muerto …

Más de 900 trabajadores de salud han muerto por COVID-19 en los Estados Unidos. Y la cifra aumenta Read More »

Public Health Officials Are Quitting or Getting Fired in Throes of Pandemic

Vilified, threatened with violence or in some cases suffering from burnout, dozens of state and local public health officials around the U.S. have resigned or have been fired amid the coronavirus outbreak, a testament to how politically combustible masks, lockdowns and infection data have become. One of the latest departures came Sunday, when California’s public …

Public Health Officials Are Quitting or Getting Fired in Throes of Pandemic Read More »

Amid COVID Chaos, California Legislators Fight for Major Health Care Bills

California lawmakers are barreling toward an end-of-month deadline to pass or kill bills amid the biggest public health crisis the state has faced in a century. Yet even in a year consumed by sickness, they’re considering significant — sometimes controversial — health policy measures that aren’t directly related to COVID-19. Much of this legislation predates …

Amid COVID Chaos, California Legislators Fight for Major Health Care Bills Read More »

‘An Arm and a Leg’: Financial Self-Defense School Is Now in Session

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. When you need medical care, it can be a lot like entering a casino — playing for your financial life with the deck stacked against you. But in this episode, reporter Celia Llopis-Jepsen offers insight and tips no dealer will divulge. She got a health care executive …

‘An Arm and a Leg’: Financial Self-Defense School Is Now in Session Read More »

Business Is Booming for Dialysis Giant Fresenius. It Took a $137M Bailout Anyway.

As the coronavirus pandemic paralyzed most nonemergency medical practices this spring, the dialysis business, vital to the survival of patients with kidney disease, rolled ahead and in some cases grew. Yet when the Trump administration sent billions in federal relief funds to medical organizations, at least $259 million went to dialysis providers, a KHN analysis …

Business Is Booming for Dialysis Giant Fresenius. It Took a $137M Bailout Anyway. Read More »

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Still Waiting for That Trump Health Plan

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. President Donald Trump keeps promising to unveil a comprehensive plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, but it keeps not appearing. However, this week he did order an expansion of telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries and a program to help struggling rural hospitals. Meanwhile, the administration …

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Still Waiting for That Trump Health Plan Read More »

Health Care Workers of Color Nearly Twice as Likely as Whites to Get COVID-19

Health care workers of color were more likely to care for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, more likely to report using inadequate or reused protective gear, and nearly twice as likely as white colleagues to test positive for the coronavirus, a new study from Harvard Medical School researchers found. The study also showed that …

Health Care Workers of Color Nearly Twice as Likely as Whites to Get COVID-19 Read More »

Hospital Merger in Washington State Stokes Fears About Catholic Limits on Care

The proposed merger of a well-regarded secular hospital system and a larger Roman Catholic system in Washington state has triggered new alarms about religious restrictions on patients’ access to care. Virginia Mason Health System and CHI Franciscan announced plans in mid-July to form a joint operating company including 12 hospitals and more than 250 other …

Hospital Merger in Washington State Stokes Fears About Catholic Limits on Care Read More »

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Republicans in COVID Disarray

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. President Donald Trump’s pivot to a more serious view of the coronavirus pandemic didn’t last long. This week, he was again touting hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug that has not been shown to work against the virus. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Republicans continue to struggle to …

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Republicans in COVID Disarray Read More »

Biden Is Right. Pay for Home Health Workers Is Paltry.

In a speech this month, former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, offered the third installment of a four-part economic plan being rolled out in advance of the Democratic National Convention in August. This set of proposals focused on caregivers — whether for children, older adults or people with disabilities — and is …

Biden Is Right. Pay for Home Health Workers Is Paltry. Read More »

Dental and Doctors’ Offices Still Struggling with COVID Job Loss

California’s outpatient health care practices largely shrugged off two recessions, adding more than 400,000 jobs during a two-decade climb from the start of 2000 to early 2020. It was an enviable growth rate of 85% and a trend largely mirrored on the national level. Then came COVID-19. Anecdotal stories abound about the crushing impact the …

Dental and Doctors’ Offices Still Struggling with COVID Job Loss Read More »

Watch: When a Surprise Helper During Surgery Is Out-of-Network

Gayle King of “CBS This Morning” spoke with KHN Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Rosenthal about the latest installment of KHN-NPR’s Bill of the Month. College student Izzy Benasso underwent surgery for a torn meniscus after a tennis injury last summer and was surprised to be contacted afterward by a surgical assistant, who said he would be billing …

Watch: When a Surprise Helper During Surgery Is Out-of-Network Read More »

The Color of COVID: Will Vaccine Trials Reflect America’s Diversity?

When U.S. scientists launch the first large-scale clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines this summer, Antonio Cisneros wants to make sure people like him are included. Cisneros, who is 34 and Hispanic, is part of the first wave of an expected 1.5 million volunteers willing to get the shots to help determine whether leading vaccine candidates …

The Color of COVID: Will Vaccine Trials Reflect America’s Diversity? Read More »

COVID Runs Amok in 3 Detroit-Area Jails, Killing At Least 2 Doctors

When Diana Trueblood visited the Wayne County Jail’s medical unit in Detroit in early March, she encountered a gentle and kind physician, Dr. Angelo Patsalis. Halfway through her incarceration for a probation violation, Trueblood remembered sitting “knee to knee” with Patsalis, who pulled down his face mask to speak to her about a tuberculosis skin …

COVID Runs Amok in 3 Detroit-Area Jails, Killing At Least 2 Doctors Read More »

Ever Heard of a Surgical Assistant? Meet a New Boost to Your Medical Bills

Izzy Benasso was playing a casual game of tennis with her father on a summer Saturday when she felt her knee pop. She had torn a meniscus, one of the friction-reducing pads in the knee, locking it in place at a 45-degree angle. Although she suspected she had torn something, the 21-year-old senior at the …

Ever Heard of a Surgical Assistant? Meet a New Boost to Your Medical Bills Read More »

Another Problem on the Health Horizon: Medicare Is Running Out of Money

Everyone involved even tangentially in health care today is completely consumed by the coronavirus pandemic, as they should be. But the pandemic is accelerating a problem that used to be front and center in health circles: the impending insolvency of Medicare. With record numbers of Americans out of work, fewer payroll taxes are rolling in …

Another Problem on the Health Horizon: Medicare Is Running Out of Money Read More »

For COVID Tests, the Question of Who Pays Comes Down to Interpretation

In advance of an upcoming road trip with her elderly parents, Wendy Epstein’s physician agreed it would be “prudent” for her and her kids to get tested for COVID-19. Seeing the tests as a “medical need,” the doctor said insurance would likely pay for them, with no out-of-pocket cost to Epstein. But her children’s pediatrician …

For COVID Tests, the Question of Who Pays Comes Down to Interpretation Read More »

Must-Reads of the Week

The Friday Breeze Want to read the best and most provocative stories from the week? Welcome to the Friday Breeze, where we compile them all — so you’re set with your weekend reading. While you, loyal reader, wait for a wonderful new permanent Friday Breeze writer to start breezing, welcome to this week’s rundown brought …

Must-Reads of the Week Read More »

States Allow In-Person Nursing Home Visits As Families Charge Residents Die ‘Of Broken Hearts’

Navigating Aging Navigating Aging focuses on medical issues and advice associated with aging and end-of-life care, helping America’s 45 million seniors and their families navigate the health care system. To contact Judith Graham with a question or comment, click here. Join the Navigating Aging Facebook Group. See All Columns States across the country are beginning to roll …

States Allow In-Person Nursing Home Visits As Families Charge Residents Die ‘Of Broken Hearts’ Read More »

Must-Reads Of The Week

The Friday Breeze Want to read the best and most provocative stories from the week? Welcome to the Friday Breeze, where we compile them all — so you’re set with your weekend reading. Another week has gone by, and the biggest news remains that COVID numbers aren’t looking much better as the disease spreads quickly …

Must-Reads Of The Week Read More »

Lost On The Frontline

America’s health care workers are dying. In some states, medical personnel account for as many as 20% of known coronavirus cases. They tend to patients in hospitals, treating them, serving them food and cleaning their rooms. Others at risk work in nursing homes or are employed as home health aides. “Lost on the Frontline,” a …

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KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: ‘Open The Schools, Close The Bars’

What The Health? · ‘Open The Schools, Close The Bars’ Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. Julie Rovner Kaiser Health News @jrovner Read Julie’s Stories Joanne Kenen Politico @JoanneKenen Read Joanne’s Stories Kimberly Leonard Business Insider @leonardkl Read Kimberly’s Stories Mary Ellen McIntire CQ Roll Call @MelMcIntire Read Mary Ellen’s Stories …

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Más pruebas para COVID, pero esperas demasiado largas por los resultados

Use Nuestro Contenido Este contenido puede usarse de manera gratuita (detalles). El 15 de junio, Elliot Truslow fue a una farmacia CVS en Tucson, Arizona, para hacerse el test para el coronavirus. El hisopado nasal en el sitio de pruebas al paso tardó menos de 15 minutos. Forma parte del grupo de Facebook de Kaiser …

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As COVID Testing Soars, Wait Times For Results Jump To A Week — Or More

Elliot Truslow went to a CVS drugstore on June 15 in Tucson, Arizona, to get tested for the coronavirus. The drive-thru nasal swab test took less than 15 minutes. More than 22 days later, the University of Arizona graduate student was still waiting for results. Elliot Truslow had a drive-thru COVID test at a CVS …

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Amid Surge, Hospitals Hesitate To Cancel Nonemergency Surgeries

Three months ago, the nation watched as COVID-19 patients overwhelmed New York City’s intensive care units, forcing some of its hospitals to convert cafeterias into wards and pitch tents in parking lots. Hospitals elsewhere prepped for a similar surge: They cleared beds, stockpiled scarce protective equipment, and — voluntarily or under government orders — temporarily …

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