Category: Health Industry

  • Watch and Listen: Examining the Risks of Covid’s Spread Within Hospitals

    KHN Midwest correspondent Lauren Weber appeared on Newsy’s “Evening Debrief” program to discuss her recent investigative series on the risks of covid’s spread within hospitals. The series, reported with Christina Jewett, documented how more than 10,000 patients were diagnosed with covid after being hospitalized for other medical conditions in 2020 — and how multiple gaps […]

  • Incidental Cases and Staff Shortages Make Covid’s Next Act Tough for Hospitals

    The Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Florida, on Jan. 11 was treating 80 covid-19 patients — a tenfold increase since late December. Nearly half were admitted for other medical reasons. The surge driven by the extremely infectious omicron variant helped push the South Florida hospital with 206 licensed beds to 250 patients. The rise in cases […]

  • Left Behind: Medicaid Patients Say Rides to Doctors Don’t Always Come

    Tranisha Rockmore and her daughter Karisma waited at an Atlanta children’s hospital in July for their ride home. Karisma had been at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to have her gastrostomy tube fixed, Rockmore said. The 4-year-old, who has several severe medical conditions, has insurance coverage from Medicaid, which provides transportation to and from nonemergency medical […]

  • Fire Closes Hospital and Displaces Staff as Colorado Battles Omicron

    The Colorado wildfire that destroyed more than 1,000 homes last month has forced the temporary closure of a hospital and upended the lives of health care workers as the state’s already strained health care system braces for another surge in covid-19 hospitalizations. Avista Adventist Hospital in Louisville, a community outside Boulder that was devastated in […]

  • Supreme Court Weighs Biden’s Workplace Vaccine Requirements

    The Supreme Court on Friday took up one of the most contentious issues of the covid-19 pandemic, hearing a series of cases challenging the Biden administration’s authority to require workers to get a covid vaccine or be tested for the virus regularly. The issue in the cases, which challenge rules set in November by the […]

  • California Ballot Will Be Heavy on Health Care

    SACRAMENTO — When Californians go to the polls later this year, they will confront contentious health care choices. Voters will weigh whether to overturn a state law that bans flavored tobacco products and will likely consider increasing the cap on medical malpractice awards. They may also vote on proposals that effectively legalize psychedelic mushrooms and […]

  • Hospitals Recruit International Nurses to Fill Pandemic Shortages

    BILLINGS, Mont. — Before Mary Venus was offered a nursing job at a hospital here, she’d never heard of Billings or visited the United States. A native of the Philippines, she researched her prospective move via the internet, set aside her angst about the cold Montana winters and took the job, sight unseen. Venus has […]

  • As Patients Fell Ill With Covid Inside Hospitals, Government Oversight Fell Short

    One by one, the nurses taking care of actress Judi Evans at Riverside Community Hospital kept calling out sick. Patients were coughing as staffers wheeled the maskless soap opera star around the California hospital while treating her for injuries from a horseback fall in May 2020, Evans said. She remembered they took her to a […]

  • An Anesthesiology Practice’s Busy Day in Court Collecting on Surprise Bills

    Owen Loney’s surprise bill resulted from an emergency appendectomy in 2019 at a Richmond, Virginia, hospital. Insurance covered most of the cost of the hospital stay, he said. He didn’t pay much attention to a bill he received from Commonwealth Anesthesia Associates and expected his insurance to cover it. A few months ago, he got […]

  • Nursing Homes Bleed Staff as Amazon Lures Low-Wage Workers With Prime Packages

    ERLANGER, Ky. — The sleek corporate offices of one of Amazon’s air freight contractors looms over Villaspring of Erlanger, a stately nursing home perched on a hillside in this Cincinnati suburb. Amazon Prime Air cargo planes departing from a recently opened Amazon Air Hub roar overhead. Its Prime semi-trucks speed along the highway, rumbling the […]

  • NICU Bill Installment Plan: That’ll Be $45,843 a Month for 12 Months, Please

    Close to midnight on Nov. 12, 2020, Bisi Bennett was sitting on the couch in her pajamas and feeling uncomfortable. She was about seven months pregnant with her first child, Dorian, and the thought that she could be in labor didn’t even cross her mind. Then, she felt a contraction so strong it knocked her […]

  • Local Pharmacists Fill Rx Void as Big Brands Pull Out of Rural Areas

    Bill Mather, a pharmacist in the small Iowa city of Greenfield, wanted to make sure his neighbors could fill their prescriptions without driving long distances or enduring long wait times. So when pharmacy chains and big-box stores began expanding into rural markets, he sold his drugstore in 2007 to Pamida, a grocery chain owned by […]

  • Nurses in Crisis Over Covid Dig In for Better Work Conditions

    Nurses and health care workers across the country are finding strength in numbers and with labor actions not seen in years. In California, which has a strong union tradition, Kaiser Permanente management misjudged workplace tensions during the covid-19 crisis and risked a walkout of thousands when union nurses balked at signing a four-year contract that […]

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

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

  • A Rural Georgia Community Reels After Its Hospital Closes

    CUTHBERT, Ga. — Lacandie Gipson struggled to breathe. The 33-year-old woman with multiple health conditions was in respiratory distress and awaiting an ambulance. About 20 minutes after the emergency call, it arrived. The Cuthbert home where Gipson lived was less than a mile from Southwest Georgia Regional Medical Center, but the ambulance couldn’t take her […]

  • Suit by Doctors, Hospitals Seeks Change in How Arbitrators Settle Surprise Billing Cases

    Two of the largest lobbying groups representing physicians and hospitals filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging a Biden administration decision on how to implement the law shielding patients from most surprise medical bills. The lawsuit from the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association does not seek to halt the law from going into effect […]

  • Some Montana Nonprofit Hospitals Fall Short of Peers in Required Charitable Giving

    Montana’s richest nonprofit hospitals receive millions of dollars in tax exemptions each year to operate as charities, but some fall short of other medical facilities in what they give back to their communities to get those breaks. Overall, Montana’s nearly 50 nonprofit hospitals directed, on average, roughly 8% of their total annual expenses toward community […]

  • Never Mind Toys, It’s Time to Ask Santa for Crutches and Catheters

    America’s hospitals, strained by nearly two years of fighting the covid-19 pandemic, are now scrounging for basic medical supplies. In another consequence of the global supply chain crisis, hospitals managing holiday covid surges and all their other patients are running short of many necessities of care: crutches, syringes, needles, tubing, gloves, catheters, drapes for surgery, […]

  • From ‘Physician Assistant’ to Medicare, Readers and Tweeters Mince No Words

    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 ‘Physician Assistant’: Watch Your Language I think this story left out a few critical pieces of information (“A Title Fight Pits Physician Assistants Against Doctors,” Dec. 3). The term “physician […]

  • A Title Fight Pits Physician Assistants Against Doctors

    After 23 years as a physician assistant, Leslie Clayton remains rankled by one facet of her vocation: its title. Specifically, the word “assistant.” Patients have asked if she’s heading to medical school or in the middle of it. The term confounded even her family, she said: It took years for her parents to understand she […]

  • Black Tech Founders Want to Change the Culture of Health Care, One Click at a Time

    When Ashlee Wisdom launched an early version of her health and wellness website, more than 34,000 users — most of them Black — visited the platform in the first two weeks. “It wasn’t the most fully functioning platform,” recalled Wisdom, 31. “It was not sexy.” But the launch was successful. Now, more than a year […]

  • Readers and Tweeters Find Disadvantages in Medicare Advantage

    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. I’m a clinicianI have a PhD in policyNavigating this crazy maze for my mom annually leaves me feeling helpless/useless…Seems impossible for the average beneficiary via @khnews — Atul Grover (@AtulGroverMD) October […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Why Health Care Is So Expensive, Chapter $22K

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Congress appears to be making progress on its huge social spending bill, but even if it passes the House as planned the week of Nov. 15, it’s […]

  • Researcher: Medicare Advantage Plans Costing Billions More Than They Should

    Switching seniors to Medicare Advantage plans has cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars more than keeping them in original Medicare, a cost that has exploded since 2018 and is likely to rise even higher, new research has found. Richard Kronick, a former federal health policy researcher and a professor at the University of California-San […]

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

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

  • Few Acute Care Hospitals Escaped Readmissions Penalties

    Preventable rehospitalization of the nation’s older adults has proved a persistent health and financial challenge for the U.S., costing Medicare hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Various analyses have found many readmissions within a month of discharge might have been avoided through better care and more attention paid to the patients after they left […]

  • Uninsured in South Would Win Big in Democrats’ Plan, but Hospitals Fear Funding Loss

    At least 2.2 million low-income adults — nearly all in Texas and the Southeast — would be eligible for government-funded health insurance under the Democrats’ $1.75 trillion social spending and climate change plan. That’s the number of people who are eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act but have been left uninsured because they […]

  • High Court Hears Cases on Novel Texas Law, but Outcome May Not Affect Abortion Access

    The Supreme Court, whose conservative majority is considered poised to overturn decades-old decisions guaranteeing abortion rights, heard its first two abortion cases of the 2021-22 term Monday. But the court could decide this case without deciding the fate of abortion rights in America. At stake is the future of a Texas law, which severely limits […]

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

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

  • Medicare Punishes 2,499 Hospitals for High Readmissions

    The federal government’s effort to penalize hospitals for excessive patient readmissions is ending its first decade with Medicare cutting payments to nearly half the nation’s hospitals. In its 10th annual round of penalties, Medicare is reducing its payments to 2,499 hospitals, or 47% of all facilities. The average penalty is a 0.64% reduction in payment […]

  • Look Up Your Hospital: Is It Being Penalized By Medicare?

    Under programs set up by the Affordable Care Act, the federal government cuts payments to hospitals that have high rates of readmissions and those with the highest numbers of infections and patient injuries. For the readmission penalties, Medicare cuts as much as 3 percent for each patient, although the average is generally much lower. The […]

  • Pharma Campaign Cash Delivered to Key Lawmakers With Surgical Precision

    The Biden administration and Congress are embroiled in high-stakes haggling over what urgent priorities will make it into the ever-shrinking social spending bill. But for the pharmaceutical industry there is one agenda: Heading off Medicare drug price negotiation, which it considers an existential threat to its business model. The siren call to contain rising drug […]

  • How Billing Turns a Routine Birth Into a High-Cost Emergency

    Caitlin Wells Salerno knew that some mammals — like the golden-mantled ground squirrels she studies in the Rocky Mountains — invest an insane amount of resources in their young. That didn’t prepare her for the resources the conservation biologist would owe after the birth of her second son. Wells Salerno went into labor on the […]

  • Pharma Cash to Congress

    Every year, pharmaceutical companies contribute millions of dollars to U.S. senators and representatives as part of a multipronged effort to influence health care lawmaking and spending priorities. Use this tool to explore the sizable role drugmakers play in the campaign finance system, where many industries seek to influence Congress. Discover which lawmakers rake in the […]

  • Direct Primary Care, With a Touch of Robin Hood

    MODESTO, Calif. — Britta Foster and Minerva Tiznado are in different leagues as far as health care is concerned. Foster, who married into the family that owns the $2.5 billion Foster Farms chicken company, has Blue Shield coverage as well as a high-octane primary care plan that gives her 24/7 digital access to her doctor […]

  • In Maine, Vaccine Mandate for EMTs Stresses Small-Town Ambulance Crews

    On a recent morning, Jerrad Dinsmore and Kevin LeCaptain of Waldoboro EMS in rural Maine drove their ambulance to a secluded house near the ocean, to measure the clotting levels of a woman in her 90s. They told the woman, bundled under blankets to keep warm, they would contact her doctor with the result. “Is […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Dems Agree to Agree, But Not on What to Agree On

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Negotiations over what to include in — and cut from — the domestic spending package on Capitol Hill are reportedly making progress, but so far all Democrats […]

  • Scientists Search for Cause of Mysterious Covid-Related Inflammation in Children

    Like most other kids with covid, Dante and Michael DeMaino seemed to have no serious symptoms. Infected in mid-February, both lost their senses of taste and smell. Dante, 9, had a low-grade fever for a day or so. Michael, 13, had a “tickle in his throat,” said their mother, Michele DeMaino, of Danvers, Massachusetts. At […]

  • Watch: Going Beyond the Script of ‘Dopesick’ and America’s Real-Life Opioid Crisis

    KHN and policy colleagues at our parent organization KFF teamed up with Hulu for a discussion of America’s opioid crisis, following the Oct. 13 premiere of the online streaming service’s new series “Dopesick.” The discussion explored how the series’ writers worked with journalist Beth Macy, author of the book “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Politics of Vaccine Mandates

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Should covid vaccines be mandated? The answer to that question has become predictably partisan, as with almost everything else associated with the pandemic. Even as the federal […]

  • Health Industry Wields Power in California’s High-Stakes Battle to Lower Health Care Costs

    SACRAMENTO — Gavin Newsom put California’s health care industry on notice when he was a candidate for governor, vowing in 2018 to go after the insurance companies, doctors and hospitals that leave many Californians struggling with enormous medical bills and rising insurance premiums. He pledged to lead California’s single-payer movement, a high-stakes liberal dream that […]

  • The Public Backs Medicare Rx Price Negotiation Even After Hearing Both Sides’ Views

    As Congress debates cutting prescription drug costs, a poll released Tuesday found the vast majority of adults — regardless of their political party or age — support letting the federal government negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries and those in private health insurance plans. The argument that pharmaceutical companies need to charge high prices to […]

  • Organ Centers to Transplant Patients: Get a Covid Shot or Move Down on Waitlist

    A Colorado kidney transplant candidate who was bumped to inactive status for failing to get a covid-19 vaccine has become the most public example of an argument roiling the nation’s more than 250 organ transplant centers. Across the country, growing numbers of transplant programs have chosen to either bar patients who refuse to take the […]

  • Hospitals Confront Climate Change as Patients Sick From Floods and Fires Crowd ERs

    When triple-digit temperatures hit the Pacific Northwest this summer, the emergency room at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center was ill prepared. Doctors raced to treat heat-aggravated illness in homeless people, elderly patients with chronic ailments, and overdosing narcotics users. “The magnitude of the exposure, this was so far off the charts in terms of our historical […]

  • Readers and Tweeters Feel Americans’ Pain

    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. This made me cry. I don’t think we understand yet the devastating impact this is having on our nurses, doctors, and other members of the healthcare workforce. At an Overrun ICU, […]

  • Biosimilar Drugs Are Cheaper Than Biologics. Are They Similar Enough to Switch?

    It took years for Elle Moxley to get a diagnosis that explained her crippling gastrointestinal pain, digestion problems, fatigue, and hot, red rashes. And after learning in 2016 that she had Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammation of the digestive tract, she spent more than four years trying medications before getting her disease under control with […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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. […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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. […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • ‘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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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, […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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, […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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, […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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. […]

  • 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,” […]

  • ‘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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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, […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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. […]

  • 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. […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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. […]

  • 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 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 […]

  • 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, […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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, […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • ‘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. […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • It’s Time to Scare People About COVID

    I still remember exactly where I was sitting decades ago, during the short film shown in class: For a few painful minutes, we watched a woman talking mechanically, raspily through a hole in her throat, pausing occasionally to gasp for air. This story also ran on The New York Times. It can be republished for […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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, […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • ‘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 […]

  • ¿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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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. […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • ‘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. […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • ‘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 […]