Archive


Category: States

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Roe v. Wade’s (Possibly Last) Anniversary

    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. Jan. 22 is the 49th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark abortion ruling, Roe v. Wade, and could well be its last. The conservative supermajority on the […]

  • Families Complain as States Require Covid Testing for Nursing Home Visits

    As covid-19 cases rise again in nursing homes, a few states have begun requiring visitors to present proof that they’re not infected before entering facilities, stoking frustration and dismay among family members. Officials in California, New York, and Rhode Island say new covid testing requirements are necessary to protect residents — an enormously vulnerable population […]

  • Wildfires and Omicron Prompt a Special Health Insurance Enrollment Period in Colorado

    A wildfire displaced thousands of Coloradans just as the omicron surge began sweeping through the state, so health insurance was likely not on many people’s minds when the regular enrollment period for the state’s health insurance marketplace ended Jan. 15. But now, because of those twin emergencies, everyone in the state will get another chance […]

  • ‘Heart’ of Little Shell: Newest Federally Recognized Tribe to Open First Clinic

    GREAT FALLS, Mont. — Louella Fredrickson has long created workarounds to fill gaps in the spotty medical care available to her as a member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana. The 86-year-old uses dollar-store reading glasses to improve her blurry vision because she’s worried about the cost of an eye appointment. […]

  • Funcionarios advierten sobre sitios de pruebas para covid de dudosa calidad

    NUEVA YORK, NY.- En los últimos meses, los sitios para pruebas de covid en carpas y camiones se han multiplicado en las calles como la mala hierba. A medida que la variante omicron atraviesa los Estados Unidos, la demanda de tests se ha disparado y las filas dan la vuelta a la esquina. Además de […]

  • As Omicron Surges, Effort to Vaccinate Young Children Stalls

    Two months after Pfizer’s covid vaccine was authorized for children ages 5 to 11, just 27% have received at least one shot, according to Jan. 12 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only 18%, or 5 million kids, have both doses. The national effort to vaccinate children has stalled even as the […]

  • With No End in Sight to Pandemic Life, Parents Find Disruption Is the New Normal

    As my kindergartner fumbled with his shoes, I stood at our door sifting through the mental parenting checklist newly lodged in my brain: backpack. Sweatshirt. Snacks. Sunscreen. Water bottle. KN95 mask. Vaccination card. Jesse asked for his cloth mask, and I explained again that if he wore that one he’d need to have on a […]

  • Long-Excluded Uterine Cancer Patients Are Step Closer to 9/11 Benefits

    Tammy Kaminski can still recall the taste of benzene, a carcinogenic byproduct of burning jet fuel. For nine months after the 9/11 attacks, she volunteered for eight hours every Saturday at St. Paul’s Chapel, just around the corner from ground zero in New York City. She breathed in cancer-causing toxic substances, like fuel fumes and […]

  • 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 […]

  • Aplicación ayuda a desestigmatizar la bancarrota para afrontar cuentas médicas

    Un embarazo no planificado, y complicado, puso a Carlazjion Constant, de Smyrna, Tennessee, al borde del abismo financiero. Durante el embarazo de alto riesgo, su seguro de salud con deducible alto no pagó prácticamente nada por las críticas visitas adicionales al obstetra. Justo cuando esas facturas por un total de $5,000 vencieron el año pasado, […]

  • Clinics Say California’s New Medicaid Drug Program Will Force Them to Cut Services

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s sweeping new program to buy prescription drugs for its nearly 14 million Medicaid patients has alarmed health clinics that say they will lose money and have to cut services. Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledged Monday that some clinics, which serve the poorest Californians, would lose funding, and he included $105 million for […]

  • App Attempts to Break Barriers to Bankruptcy for Those in Medical Debt

    An unplanned and complicated pregnancy pushed Carlazjion Constant of Smyrna, Tennessee, to the financial brink. Her high-deductible health insurance paid virtually nothing toward the extra obstetrician visits needed during her high-risk pregnancy. Just as those bills totaling $5,000 came due last year, a real estate company started garnishing her paycheck over a broken lease during […]

  • 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 […]

  • Black-Owned Hospice Seeks to Bring Greater Ease in Dying to Black Families

    This time, it didn’t take much persuading for Mary Murphy to embrace home hospice. When her mother was dying from Alzheimer’s disease in 2020, she had been reluctant until she saw what a help it was. So when her husband, Willie, neared the end of his life, she embraced hospice again. The Murphys’ house in […]

  • 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 […]

  • A Catch-22 Trips Up Some in Legal Guardianship Who Try to Regain Independence

    Ten years ago, Nicholas Clouse was riding shotgun in his friend’s Camaro when the car jerked and he felt himself flying through the air. Clouse’s head slammed against the passenger-side window. The traumatic brain injury he sustained in the wreck led to severe memory loss, headaches and insomnia. Clouse, who was 18 then, didn’t recognize […]

  • 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 […]

  • South Dakota Voters to Decide Medicaid Expansion

    South Dakota voters will decide in November whether the state should become the 39th to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a move that would provide coverage to 42,000 low-income residents. State officials on Monday officially placed the issue on the ballot after validating thousands of petition signatures. For nearly a decade, the Republican […]

  • With Sexually Transmitted Infections Off the Charts, California Pushes At-Home Tests

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California has become the first state to require health insurance plans to cover at-home tests for sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, chlamydia and syphilis — which could help quell the STI epidemic that has raged nearly unchecked as public health departments have focused on covid-19. The rule, part of a broader […]

  • Medical Marijuana Users Brace for Shortages as Montana’s Recreational Market Opens

    More than a year after voters approved legalizing marijuana for recreational use in Montana, anyone older than 21 can now enter a dispensary and buy cannabis. That has medical marijuana user Joylynn Mane Wright worried. Wright lives in Prairie County, the state’s fifth-least-populated county, with nearly 1,100 people. She already drives about 35 minutes to […]

  • Why an HBCU Med School Decided to Put CARES Act Money Into Students’ Pockets

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Just before students at Meharry Medical College went home for Thanksgiving, Dr. James Hildreth, the school’s president, emailed them a video message that he acknowledged seemed hard to believe. Or at least they had to give it a second listen. “We’ll gift each of you $10,000 in cash,” he said, looking at […]

  • ‘Then the Bill Came’: Year 4 of KHN-NPR’s Bill of the Month Is a Wrap

    In 2021, more than 880 of you submitted ideas for KHN-NPR’s Bill of the Month investigative series, trusting us with two of the most personal topics in life: your health and your money. We are deeply grateful. Our trove of bills and stories — building steadily to nearly 5,000 since February 2018 — tells us […]

  • 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 […]

  • Watch: One City’s Effort to Raise Vaccination Rates Among Black Residents

    About 72% of Americans have received at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine. During much of the vaccine rollout, Hispanic and Black Americans have been less likely than white Americans to get vaccinated. The gap between white and Hispanic Americans has largely closed, but the vaccination rate for the Black community still lags significantly […]

  • 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 […]

  • Rural Communities Left Hurting Without a Hospital, Ambulance or Doctors Nearby

    STATENVILLE, Ga. — Georgia’s Echols County, which borders Florida, could be called a health care desert. It has no hospital, no local ambulances. A medical provider comes to treat patients at a migrant farmworker clinic but, other than a small public health department with two full-time employees, that’s about the extent of the medical care […]

  • Record Number of Americans Sign Up for ACA Health Insurance

    A record 13.6 million Americans have signed up for health coverage for 2022 on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, with nearly a month remaining to enroll in most states, the Biden administration announced Wednesday. President Joe Biden’s top health advisers credited the increased government subsidies, which lowered out-of-pocket costs, for the surge in enrollment. They […]

  • Deep Roots Help This Chicago Pharmacist Avoid Creating Another Drugstore Desert

    CHICAGO — Del-Kar Pharmacy in the North Lawndale neighborhood has had a front-row seat to history. Martin Luther King Jr. bought his daily newspaper there when he lived in Chicago in the late 1960s. The Black Panthers’ local headquarters was a block away, and the pharmacy shared a building with the Conservative Vice Lords, a […]

  • As Pandemic Wears Down Hospital Staff, One Town Offers Groceries to Say Thanks

    PARK CITY, Utah — This mountain community — which comes alive during the winter ski season and annual Sundance Film Festival — is home to the Park City Hospital, which has 460 employees. As in countless hospitals across the country, the demands of covid-19 at times overwhelmed the facility and dramatically changed the way caregivers […]

  • Some Groups Are Left Out of Montana Covid Test Giveaway Program

    As Montana’s tally of new covid cases neared 1,000 each day in September, Shelly Stanley-Lehman worried about when the virus would reach her day care in Billings. She wanted to have covid tests on hand to help prevent an outbreak from sweeping through her business, but stores were sold out. She spent days making calls […]

  • 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 […]

  • Vaccine Promoters Struggle to Get People Boosted in California’s Fields

    Since the start of the pandemic, Luz Gallegos and her team of 56 advocates for immigrants have battled the scorching sun, illiteracy and deadly propaganda in the fields and fruit groves of the Coachella Valley. As they fanned out to educate farmworkers on how to protect themselves from covid-19, they quickly learned that rumors and […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Oh, Oh, Omicron

    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. This week, the U.S. passed the milestone of 800,000 dead from covid-19, as hospitals are starting to fill following the Thanksgiving holiday and the ominous omicron variant […]

  • 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 […]

  • Covid Shots for Kids Are Scarce — And Demand Is Mixed — In Rural Montana

    When children ages 5 to 11 were approved for Pfizer’s lower-dose pediatric covid-19 vaccine in November, Annie Edwards was eager to get her daughter Hannah, then 5, the shot because of underlying health conditions she has stemming from her premature birth. “She was on a ventilator for the first month of her life. Throughout this […]

  • 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 […]

  • Con más muertes por sobredosis, defensores claman por una naloxona de venta libre

    GREENSBORO, Carolina del Norte.- Louise Vincent cree que el grupo que lidera, North Carolina Survivors Union, salva al menos 1,690 vidas al año. El programa de servicios de jeringas y reducción de daños distribuye naloxona, el medicamento que revierte las sobredosis por opioides. La investigación sugiere que este enfoque es eficaz, ya que las personas […]

  • With Overdose Deaths Surging, Advocates on the Ground Push for Over-the-Counter Naloxone

    Treatment for addiction is available. For help, call the free and confidential treatment referral hotline (1-800-662-HELP), or visit findtreatment.gov. GREENSBORO, N.C. — Louise Vincent figures her group, the North Carolina Survivors Union, saves at least 1,690 lives a year. The harm-reduction and syringe service program distributes the opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone to people who […]

  • Wartime Trauma Hits Close to Home for Scholar of Dementia

    Oanh Meyer was a postdoctoral fellow studying the experiences of caregivers for those with dementia in 2012 when her research took a very personal turn. That year, her mother, a Vietnamese immigrant, began to show signs of dementia and paranoia that seemed to be linked to the trauma she had suffered during the long war […]

  • Journalists Discuss Omicron, Public Health, Culturally Competent Care

    KHN Midwest correspondent Cara Anthony discussed how Black tech entrepreneurs are trying to solve neglected health care issues on the America’s Heroes Group podcast Dec. 4. She talked about health technology and culturally competent care on KTVU on Dec. 1. Click here to hear Anthony on America’s Heroes Group Click here to watch Anthony on […]

  • Split Supreme Court Leaves Texas Abortion Law in Effect, but Says Providers May Sue

    In the second-most anticipated abortion case of the year, eight justices on the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday that abortion providers can challenge a Texas law that has effectively banned most abortions in the state since it was allowed to take effect in September. But the court also ruled that the federal Justice Department could […]

  • 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 […]

  • Sex Apps for Gay Men Join Forces to Fight Online Insults

    Editor’s note: This article contains references to racial and ethnic slurs. Corey Baker, a gay man in Columbus, Ohio, has seen many dating app profiles that include phrases like “Blacks — don’t apply.” Sometimes when he declines invitations, he said, men lash out with insults like “you’re an ugly Black person anyway.” And some of […]

  • 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 […]

  • ¿Ha llegado el momento de cambiar la definición de “totalmente vacunado”?

    A medida que aumenta el número de lugares que exigen una prueba de vacunación para entrar, y ante la llegada del invierno y de omicron, la nueva variante del coronavirus, científicos y funcionarios de salud pública debaten cuándo será el momento de cambiar la definición de “totalmente vacunado” para que incluya una vacuna de refuerzo. […]

  • When the Surges Just Keep Coming: A View From the Covid Vortex

    Dr. Rais Vohra has impeccable timing. He stepped into his role as interim health officer of Fresno County just months before the start of the covid-19 pandemic. Almost immediately, he found himself navigating the treacherous tensions between public health messaging and a skeptical population in a hub of industrial agriculture that is also one of […]

  • Is It Time to Change the Definition of ‘Fully Vaccinated’?

    As more indoor venues require proof of vaccination for entrance and with winter — as well as omicron, a new covid variant — looming, scientists and public health officials are debating when it will be time to change the definition of “fully vaccinated” to include a booster shot. It’s been more than six months since […]

  • New California Law Eases Aid-in-Dying Process

    During her three-year battle with breast cancer, my wife, Leslie, graciously endured multiple rounds of horrifically toxic treatment to eke out more time with our two young children. But after 18 cancer-free months, the disease returned with a vengeance in June 2003. It fractured her bones and invaded her spinal canal, bathing her brain in […]

  • A Tale of Two Medicaid Expansions: Oklahoma Jumps In, While Missouri Lags

    Temp worker James Dickerson applied for Medicaid because it will be cheaper than his current health plan. Home health aide Sharon Coleman looks forward to having coverage that will cover a hospital stay. Incoming medical student Danielle Gaddis no longer worries a trip to the doctor will leave her in debt. All three are among […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Roe v. Wade on the Rocks

    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. Judging by oral arguments this week, the Supreme Court appears ready to uphold a Mississippi law barring most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy — and possibly […]

  • Hospitals Refused to Give Patients Ivermectin. Lockdowns and Political Pressure Followed.

    HELENA, Mont. — One Montana hospital went into lockdown and called police after a woman threatened violence because her relative was denied her request to be treated with ivermectin. Officials of another Montana hospital accused public officials of threatening and harassing their health care workers for refusing to treat a politically connected covid-19 patient with […]

  • Conservative Justices Seem Poised to Overturn Roe’s Abortion Rights

    A newly conservative Supreme Court on Wednesday heard the most serious legal challenge in a generation to a woman’s right to obtain an abortion. And judging from the questions asked by the justices, it appeared possible — even likely — that a majority of them could vote to turn the thorny question of whether to […]

  • With Federal Covid Sick Leave Gone, Workers Feel Pressure to Show Up at Work

    Economists and public health experts alike say paid sick leave is an essential tool — like testing, masks and vaccines — in the effort to prevent covid-19 infection and keep workplaces safe. Yet the U.S. is in the midst of another covid holiday season, and federal laws that offered covid-related paid sick leave to workers […]

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

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

  • California Joins States Trying to Shorten Wait Times for Mental Health Care

    When Greta Christina fell into a deep depression five years ago, she called up her therapist in San Francisco. She’d had a great connection with the provider when she needed therapy in the past. She was delighted to learn that he was now “in network” with her insurance company, meaning she wouldn’t have to pay […]

  • Etching the Pain of Covid Into the Flesh of Survivors

    It was Saturday morning at Southbay Tattoo and Body Piercing in Carson, California, and owner Efrain Espinoza Diaz Jr. was prepping for his first tattoo of the day — a memorial portrait of a man that his widow wanted on her forearm. Diaz, known as “Rock,” has been a tattoo artist for 26 years but […]

  • Journalists Cover Issues From Pollution to Vaccines and the Spread of Covid in Hospitals

    KHN freelancer Jim Robbins discussed unhealthy ozone levels in the West on KUNC’s “Colorado Edition” on Tuesday. Click here to hear Robbins on “Colorado Edition” Read Robbins’ “Western Boom Cities See Spike in Harmful Ozone“ Christina Jewett, a senior correspondent with KHN’s enterprise team, detailed her findings on the spread of covid-19 in hospitals on […]

  • Por qué los piojos siguen acechando, a pesar del distanciamiento social

    Una noche reciente, la familia Marker recibió en su casa a una mujer vestida de púrpura, con una actitud militar hacia la limpieza. Linda Holmes, que ha trabajado como técnica con LiceDoctors durante cinco años, llegó directamente de su trabajo en un hospital después de recibir la llamada de un despachador de que la familia […]

  • A Covid Head-Scratcher: Why Lice Lurk Despite Physical Distancing

    PARKER, Colo. — The Marker family opened their door on a recent evening to a woman dressed in purple, with a military attitude to cleanliness. Linda Holmes, who has worked as a technician with LiceDoctors for five years, came straight from her day job at a hospital after she got the call from a dispatcher […]

  • What Happens After a Campus Suicide Is a Form of Prevention, Too

    If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Ethan Phillips was 13 years old when he first heard the term “suicide contagion.” It’s the scientific concept that after one person dies by […]

  • Vaccine-or-Test Requirements Increase Work and Costs for Governments

    Amanda Kostroski, a 911 dispatcher in Madison, Wisconsin, leaves her busy job once a week to go to a county health clinic to be tested for covid-19. She’s been making the 15-minute drive from work since late September, when Dane County mandated all employees get vaccinated or tested weekly. The testing is free, and she […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Boosting Confusion

    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. With covid caseloads rising across much of the country, several governors and mayors are unilaterally expanding access to booster shots, getting out ahead of federal health officials. […]

  • Schools, Pediatricians Look to Make Up Lost Ground on Non-Covid Vaccinations

    WESTMINSTER, Colo. — Melissa Blatzer was determined to get her three children caught up on their routine immunizations on a recent Saturday morning at a walk-in clinic in this Denver suburb. It had been about a year since the kids’ last shots, a delay Blatzer chalked up to the pandemic. Two-year-old Lincoln Blatzer, in his […]

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

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

  • California Plans for a Post-Roe World as Abortion Access Shrinks Elsewhere

    SACRAMENTO — With access to abortion at stake across America, California is preparing to become the nation’s abortion provider. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders have asked a group of reproductive health experts to propose policies to bolster the state’s abortion infrastructure and ready it for more patients. Lawmakers plan to begin debating the […]

  • Missouri’s Thin Dental Safety Net Stretched Amid Medicaid Expansion

    At the Access Family Care clinics in southwestern Missouri, the next available nonemergency dental appointment is next summer. Northwest Health Services, headquartered in St. Joseph, is booked through May. The wait is a little shorter at CareSTL Health in St. Louis — around six weeks. Roughly 275,000 Missourians are newly eligible this year for Medicaid, […]

  • Live Performers Find Red State Rules a Tough Act to Follow

    MISSOULA, Mont. — There was something a little different on stage at a recent performance of the musical “Sister Amnesia’s Country Western Nunsense Jamboree,” the first production for the Missoula Community Theatre since the beginning of the pandemic. All the actors wore clear face masks. That way, the audience could better see the actors’ expressions, […]

  • How Rural Communities Are Losing Their Pharmacies

    Batson’s Drug Store seems like a throwback to a simpler time. The independently owned pharmacy in Howard, Kansas, still runs an old-fashioned soda counter and hand-dips ice cream. But the drugstore, the only one in the entire county, teeters on the edge between nostalgia and extinction. Julie Perkins, pharmacist and owner of Batson’s, graduated from […]

  • 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 beneficiaryhttps://t.co/GJyvd1BmLo 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 […]

  • Western Boom Cities See Spike in Harmful Ozone

    The reduction of harmful ground-level ozone across most of the U.S. over the past several decades has been an air pollution success story. But in some parts of the country, especially in the heavily populated mountain valleys of the West, the odorless, colorless gas has remained stubbornly difficult to reduce to safe levels. Meanwhile, a […]

  • How One Health Center Is Leading Chicago on Kid Covid Shots

    CHICAGO — As the medical assistant put on rubber gloves and readied the syringe, 5-year-old Victoria Macias, wearing a pink Minnie Mouse mask and white blouse, turned her head away and closed her eyes. “It’s not going to hurt, OK? I’ll hold your hand, I’ll hold your hand,” said her older sister, Alondra, 8. “Deep […]

  • ‘Drinking Through a Lead Straw’ — $15B Approved to Fix Dangerous Water Pipes

    HOUSTON — No one knows exactly how many lead pipes deliver water to homes, schools and businesses throughout America — or even where they all are. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates at least 6 million lead service lines exist. Environmental groups say it’s probably many more. What is known is that with every pot of […]

  • Texas Providers See Increased Interest in Birth Control Since Near-Total Abortion Ban

    In September, when Texas’ near-total abortion ban took effect, Planned Parenthood clinics in the Lone Star State started offering every patient who walked in information on Senate Bill 8, as well as emergency contraception, condoms and two pregnancy tests. The plan is to distribute 22,000 “empowerment kits” this year. “We felt it was very important […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Compromise Is Coming — Maybe

    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. Democrats on Capitol Hill hope they are nearing the finish line in their months-long quest to enact President Joe Biden’s social spending agenda. After briefly dropping from […]

  • 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 […]

  • ¿No estás vacunado? Si falleces por covid tu familia se quedará sin beneficios

    En estos días, los trabajadores que se niegan a vacunarse contra covid-19 pueden enfrentar repercusiones financieras, desde primas de planes médicos más altas hasta la pérdida de sus trabajos. Ahora, las consecuencias financieras podrían seguirlos más allá de la tumba. Si mueren de covid y no fueron vacunados, es posible que sus familias no obtengan […]

  • Montana’s Governor Nixed a Kids’ Vaccine Campaign, So Health Officials Plan Their Own

    Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte’s administration quashed plans for a public service campaign to promote covid-19 vaccinations for eligible teenagers over the summer, a former state health official said. That has caused public health and medical experts to plan their own ad campaigns in anticipation that the administration won’t publicly back shots for kids as young […]

  • Unvaccinated? Don’t Count on Leaving Your Family Death Benefits

    These days, workers who refuse to get vaccinated against covid-19 may face financial repercussions, from higher health insurance premiums to loss of their jobs. Now, the financial fallout might follow workers beyond the grave. If they die of covid and weren’t vaccinated, their families may not get death benefits they would otherwise have received. New […]

  • 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 […]

  • California Law Aims to Strengthen Access to Mental Health Services

    The number of people with symptoms of depression and anxiety has nearly quadrupled during the covid pandemic, which has made it even more maddeningly difficult to get timely mental health care, even if you have good insurance. A California law signed Oct. 8 by Gov. Gavin Newsom could help. It requires that mental health and […]

  • Nursing Home Residents Overlooked in Scramble for Covid Antibody Treatments

    Of the dozens of patients Dr. Jim Yates has treated for covid-19 at his long-term care center in rural Alabama, this one made him especially nervous. The 60-year-old man, who had been fully vaccinated, was diagnosed with a breakthrough infection in late September. Almost immediately, he required supplemental oxygen, and lung exams showed ominous signs […]

  • 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 […]

  • Texas Abortion Law Gets Speedy High-Court Hearing Monday

    The Supreme Court on Nov. 1 will hear oral arguments challenging the constitutionality of a new Texas abortion law — just days after agreeing to hear the case. That’s just one of many unusual things about the Texas law, which halted almost all abortions in the nation’s second-most populous state. The court plans to hear […]

  • 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 […]

  • Democrats’ Plans to Expand Medicare Benefits Put Pinch on Advantage Plans’ Funding

    “Did you think we wouldn’t notice?” an older woman says, speaking into the camera. “You thought you could sneak this through?” an older man later adds. Others warn that Washington is “messing with” their Medicare Advantage health coverage and trying to raise their premiums. But the television ad, paid for by Better Medicare Alliance, a […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Understaffed State Psychiatric Facilities Leave Mental Health Patients in Limbo

    Many patients dealing with mental health crises are having to wait several days in an ER until a bed becomes available at one of Georgia’s five state psychiatric hospitals, as public facilities nationwide feel the pinch of the pandemic. “We’re in crisis mode,’’ said Dr. John Sy, an emergency medicine physician in Savannah. “Two weeks […]

  • 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 […]

  • 3 States Limit Nursing Home Profits in Bid to Improve Care

    Nursing homes receive billions of taxpayers’ dollars every year to care for chronically ill frail elders, but until now, there was no guarantee that’s how the money would be spent. Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York are taking unprecedented steps to ensure they get what they pay for, after the devastating impact of covid-19 exposed […]

  • ‘No Mercy’ Bonus Episodes: More From Fort Scott, Kansas

    Searching for the Nuns Who Ghosted Fort Scott Host Sarah Jane Tribble sets out on a mission to learn more about the Sisters of Mercy, the nuns who founded Fort Scott’s Mercy Hospital and were once prominent leaders of the community. Tribble’s first glimpse into their lives takes her to an old convent. To learn […]

  • ‘Down to My Last Diaper’: The Anxiety of Parenting in Poverty

    For parents living in poverty, “diaper math” is a familiar and distressingly pressing daily calculation. Babies in the U.S. go through six to 10 disposable diapers a day, at an average cost of $70 to $80 a month. Name-brand diapers with high-end absorption sell for as much as a half a dollar each, and can […]

  • 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 […]

  • The Yelp of Covid: Vigilantes Crowdsource Pandemic Safety Tips for Consumers

    ATHENS, Ga. — Melissa Lee had more to deal with than funeral planning when her husband, Dan Lee, died by suicide in January. She also was faced with continuing Dan’s 1,400-member Facebook group, “Athens, GA Mask Grades 2.0,” designed to help residents of Athens protect themselves from covid-19 by grading local businesses on their safety […]

  • California’s Mental Health Crisis: What Went Wrong? And Can We Fix It?

    Gov. Gavin Newsom is steering a major transformation of California’s behavioral health care system, with much at stake in the years ahead. On Oct. 6, the Sacramento-based publication Capitol Weekly invited KHN’s Angela Hart to moderate an expert panel tackling the origins of the state’s broken system and potential solutions ahead. The lively discussion featured […]

  • 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 […]

  • Hygienists Brace for Pitched Battles With Dentists in Fights Over Practice Laws

    This year, the Illinois legislature was considering measures to expand oral health treatment in a state where millions of people live in dental care deserts. But when the Illinois State Dental Society met with key lawmakers virtually for its annual lobbying day in the spring, the proposals to allow dental hygienists to clean the teeth […]

  • 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 […]

  • Q&A: How Will California’s New 988 Mental Health Line Actually Work?

    NEED HELP? If you or someone you know is in a crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. In September 2020, Congress passed bipartisan legislation creating a three-digit national suicide hotline: 988. Think of it as an alternative to 911 […]

  • Covid Testing, Turnaround Times Are Still Uneven This Far Into Pandemic

    In one recent week, a New Yorker got a free covid-19 test in a jiffy, with results the next day, while a Coloradan had to shell out $50 for a test two cities from her hometown after a frantic round of pharmacy-hopping. A Montanan drove an hour each way to get a test, wondering if, […]

  • Trabajadores de salud alertan sobre el aumento de la violencia en hospitales

    El departamento de emergencias del Hospital San Leandro, en California, donde trabaja la enfermera Mawata Kamara, se cerró de urgencia cuando un visitante, preocupado por no poder ver a un paciente por las restricciones de covid-19, amenazó con volver con un arma. No fue la primera vez que el departamento se enfrentó a una amenaza […]

  • ‘Are You Going to Keep Me Safe?’ Hospital Workers Sound Alarm on Rising Violence

    The San Leandro Hospital emergency department, where nurse Mawata Kamara works, went into lockdown recently when a visitor, agitated about being barred from seeing a patient due to covid-19 restrictions, threatened to bring a gun to the California facility. It wasn’t the first time the department faced a gun threat during the pandemic. Earlier in […]

  • Community Clinics Shouldered Much of the Vaccine Rollout. Many Haven’t Been Paid.

    Community clinics in California say they haven’t been paid for at least 1 million covid-19 vaccine doses given since January, creating a “massive cash flow problem” for some and complicating efforts to retain staff. Clinics in other states, including Michigan and Mississippi, are also awaiting payment. The delays stem from the distinct way federally qualified […]

  • Journalists Examine Vaccination Rates Among Student Nurses and in Covid Hot Spots

    Contributing writer and former KHN correspondent Michelle Andrews discussed difficulties in providing clinical training to student nurses who refuse to get vaccinated on CBS News on Thursday. Click here to watch Andrews on CBS News Read Andrews’ “Student Nurses Who Refuse Vaccination Struggle to Complete Degrees“ KHN Colorado correspondent Rae Ellen Bichell discussed San Juan […]

  • New Law Bans Harassment at Vaccination Sites, but Free Speech Concerns Persist

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — It’s now illegal in California to harass people on their way into a vaccination clinic, under a law signed Friday by Gov. Gavin Newsom. But First Amendment experts continue to raise legal questions about the law’s constitutionality, including its definition of harassment. The new law, which takes effect immediately, makes it a […]

  • Ser inmune a covid por haberlo tenido o estar vacunado, ¿es lo mismo?

    El doctor Aaron Kheriaty, profesor de psiquiatría en la Universidad de California-Irvine, pensó que no necesitaba vacunarse contra covid porque había sufrido la enfermedad en julio de 2020. Por eso, en agosto, presentó una demanda para frenar el mandato de vacunación del sistema universitario, alegando que la inmunidad “natural” le había dado a él y […]

  • 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 […]

  • NY Reaches Agreement With DOJ Over Vaccine Access for Blind People

    Five New York state and local government agencies agreed to fix covid-19 vaccine websites to make them accessible for blind users following a Department of Justice investigation spurred by a KHN story. New York State’s Department of Health, the City of New York’s Department of Health, New York City Health and Hospitals Corp., Nassau County […]

  • From Sewers to Golf Courses, Cities See Green With New Federal Covid Relief Dollars

    Duluth, Minnesota, is hiring a social worker to help people with addiction and mental health problems. Pueblo, Colorado, started paying homeless residents to clean city streets. Palm Beach Gardens, Florida — in Palm Beach County, home to 160 golf courses — is building a new golf course. These are among the thousands of ways cities […]

  • Covid Immunity Through Infection or Vaccination: Are They Equal?

    Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, a University of California-Irvine psychiatry professor, felt he didn’t need to be vaccinated against covid because he’d fallen ill with the disease in July 2020. So, in August, he sued to stop the university system’s vaccination mandate, saying “natural” immunity had given him and millions of others better protection than any vaccine […]

  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: How One State Protects Patients From Hospital Lawsuits

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. In Maryland, hospitals had been suing people — taking them to court and garnishing wages — even though these patients legally qualified for financial assistance, also known as charity care. Those lawsuits are now illegal, because of the state’s new Medical Debt Protection Act. But in many other […]

  • Our Covid Cocoon: The Parents Aren’t Alright (But Help May Be Coming)

    HELENA, Mont. — My unvaccinated 7-year-old son began hacking and sneezing in late September as the hospitals in our home state of Montana started buckling under the latest covid surge. I took him to get tested when his symptoms wouldn’t go away. The cotton swab went up his nostrils and Thomas bucked out of my […]

  • California Vaccine Mandate Extends to Aides for People With Disabilities

    Workers in adult and senior care facilities and in-home aides have been added to the list of California health workers who must be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Those who work directly with people with disabilities — such as employees paid through the state’s regional center network, aides contracted by agencies, and in-home support service […]

  • The Pandemic Forced My Transgender Wife to Fight Our Insurer Over Hormones

    GUNNISON, Colo. — For the past eight years, my wife, Ky Hamilton, has undergone gender-affirming hormone therapy. As a transgender woman, she injects Depo-Estradiol liquid estrogen into her thigh once a week. This drug has allowed her to physically transition as a woman, and each vial, which lasts around five weeks, was completely covered by […]

  • Youthful Advisers Help Shape a Mental Health Program for Their Peers

    Phebe Cox grew up in what might seem an unlikely mental health danger zone for a kid: tony Palo Alto, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley. But behind its façade of family success and wealth, she said, is an environment of crushing pressure on students to perform. By 2016, when Cox was in middle […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Health Agenda Still on Hold

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. Democrats on Capitol Hill missed their deadline to finish two huge bills that constitute the bulk of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda, but negotiations continue over expansions to major health programs, as well as ways to rein in prescription drug costs. Meanwhile, the Biden […]

  • 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, […]

  • ¿Un test de covid más caro que un Tesla? En Texas es posible

    Cuando covid-19 golpeó el año pasado, la compañía de Travis Warner se puso más ocupada que nunca. Instala sistemas de video e Internet, y con la gente repentinamente trabajando desde casa, las llamadas solicitando servicios aumentaron. Warner y sus empleados tomaron precauciones como usar máscaras y distanciarse físicamente, pero ir a las casas de los […]

  • As Democrats Bicker Over Massive Spending Plan, Here’s What’s at Stake for Medicaid

    Hours after the Supreme Court in 2012 narrowly upheld the Affordable Care Act but rejected making Medicaid expansion mandatory for states, Obama administration officials laughed when asked whether that would pose a problem. In a White House briefing, top advisers to President Barack Obama told reporters states would be foolish to turn away billions in […]

  • A Covid Test Costing More Than a Tesla? It Happened in Texas.

    When covid-19 struck last year, Travis Warner’s company became busier than ever. He installs internet and video systems, and with people suddenly working from home, service calls surged. He and his employees took precautions like wearing masks and physically distancing, but visiting clients’ homes daily meant a high risk of covid exposure. “It was just […]

  • Covid Is Killing Rural Americans at Twice the Rate of Urbanites

    Rural Americans are dying of covid at more than twice the rate of their urban counterparts — a divide that health experts say is likely to widen as access to medical care shrinks for a population that tends to be older, sicker, heavier, poorer and less vaccinated. While the initial surge of covid-19 deaths skipped […]

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

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

  • The ‘Burn Scars’ of Wildfires Threaten the West’s Drinking Water

    Colorado saw its worst fire season last year, with the three largest fires in state history and more than 600,000 acres burned. But some of the effects didn’t appear until this July, when heavy rain pushed sediment from damaged forests down mountainsides, causing mudslides that shut down sections of Interstate 70 for almost two weeks. […]

  • Wildfire Smoke Is Here to Stay. Here’s How to Clean the Air Inside Your Home.

    The fierce wildfires that broke out across much of the western United States this summer, spreading smoke across hundreds of miles, continue to pose a serious health hazard to millions. More are expected this fall. That’s a major health concern because microscopic particles in wildfire smoke, carried by the wind, can penetrate deep into your […]

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

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

  • Mounting Covid Deaths Fuel School Bus Drivers’ Fears

    GRIFFIN, Ga. — Natalia D’Angelo got sick right after school started in August. She was driving a school bus for special education students in Griffin-Spalding County School System about 40 miles south of Atlanta and contracted covid-19. One of her three sons, Julian Rodriguez-D’Angelo, said his mother, who was not vaccinated against the covid virus, […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Autumn of Democrats’ Discontent

    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. Democrats in Congress and the White House are feverishly negotiating to pass as much of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda as they can agree on, even as […]

  • Democrats Roll the Dice on Sweeping Abortion Rights Bill — Again

    A newly conservative Supreme Court agreed to hear a case most assumed it would use to overrule the 1973 landmark abortion-rights ruling, Roe v. Wade. And Democrats on Capitol Hill, convinced the issue would play to their political favor, vowed to bring up legislation that would write abortion protections into federal law. “We’ll debate it. […]

  • 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 […]

  • Home Births Gain Popularity in ‘Baby Bust’ Decade

    In a back-to-the-future twist on birth trends, California is seeing a sustained rise in the number of women choosing to deliver their babies in settings other than a hospital, a shift that accelerated as the pandemic created more risky and onerous conditions in many hospitals. About 5,600 people gave birth outside a hospital in California […]

  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: They Turned Grief Into Action

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. In 2004, 24-year-old Manny Lanza urgently needed surgery for a life-threatening brain condition. But he didn’t have insurance, so his hospital refused to schedule the treatment — until it was too late. Manny died waiting.  In the months that followed, Manny’s parents, Reynaldo Prieto and Levia Lanza, […]

  • California’s Reboot of Troubled Medi-Cal Puts Pressure on Health Plans

    When Denise Williams’ baby boy was 2 months old, she became alarmed by a rattling sound in his lungs and took him to the emergency room. While undergoing treatment, he spiraled into a disabling neurological disorder. Now 2 years old, Markeano is attached to breathing and feeding tubes. He can’t walk or move his arms. […]

  • I Got a ‘Mild’ Breakthrough Case. Here’s What I Wish I’d Known.

    The test results that hot day in early August shouldn’t have surprised me — all the symptoms were there. A few days earlier, fatigue had enveloped me like a weighted blanket. I chalked it up to my weekend of travel. Next, a headache clamped down on the back of my skull. Then my eyeballs started […]

  • 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. […]

  • Scientists Examine Kids’ Unique Immune Systems as More Fall Victim to Covid

    Eighteen months into the covid-19 pandemic, with the delta variant fueling a massive resurgence of disease, many hospitals are hitting a heartbreaking new low. They’re now losing babies to the coronavirus. The first reported covid-related death of a newborn occurred in Orange County, Florida, and an infant has died in Mississippi. Merced County in California […]

  • Leader of California’s Muscular Obamacare Exchange to Step Down

    Peter Lee, who has steered California’s Affordable Care Act marketplace since late 2011 and helped mold it into a model of what the federal health care law could achieve, announced Thursday he will leave his post in March. As executive director of Covered California, Lee has worked closely with the administrations of Democratic presidents Barack […]

  • 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 […]

  • No Papers, No Care: Disabled Migrants Seek Help Through Lawsuit, Activism

    Desperation led José Luis Hernández to ride atop a speeding train through northern Mexico with hopes of reaching the United States 13 years ago. But he didn’t make it. Slipping off a step above a train coupling, he slid under the steel wheels. In the aftermath, he lost his right arm and leg, and all […]

  • Over Half of States Have Rolled Back Public Health Powers in Pandemic

    Republican legislators in more than half of U.S. states, spurred on by voters angry about lockdowns and mask mandates, are taking away the powers state and local officials use to protect the public against infectious diseases. A KHN review of hundreds of pieces of legislation found that, in all 50 states, legislators have proposed bills […]

  • 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 […]

  • ICUs Are Filled With Covid — And Regret

    It’s a struggle for Joe Gammon to talk. Lying in his bed in the intensive care unit at Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, this month, he described himself as “naive.”  “If I would have known six months ago that this could be possible, this would have been a no-brainer,” said the 45-year-old father of […]

  • Health Care Unions Defending Newsom From Recall Will Want Single-Payer Payback

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Should Gavin Newsom survive the Republican-driven attempt to oust him from office, the Democratic governor will face the prospect of paying back supporters who coalesced behind him. And the leaders of California’s single-payer movement will want their due. Publicly, union leaders say they’re standing beside Newsom because he has displayed political courage […]

  • Georgia Eyes New Medicaid Contract. But How Is the State Managing Managed Care?

    Just before Frank Berry left his job as head of Georgia’s Medicaid agency this summer, he said the state “will be looking for the best bang for the buck” in its upcoming contract with private insurers to cover the state’s most vulnerable. But whether the state — and Medicaid patients — are getting an optimal […]

  • 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 […]

  • ECMO Life Support Is a Last Resort for Covid, and in Short Supply in South

    Hospital discharge day for Phoua Yang was more like a pep rally. On her way rolling out of TriStar Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, she teared up as streamers and confetti rained down on her. Nurses chanted her name as they wheeled her out of the hospital for the first time since she arrived […]

  • It’s Not Just Covid: Recall Candidates Represent Markedly Different Choices on Health Care

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom’s covid-19 rules have been a lightning rod in California’s recall election. But there’s a lot more at stake for Californians’ health care than mask and vaccine mandates. Newsom, a first-term Democrat, argues that their fundamental ability to get health insurance and medical treatments is on the line. Republicans are […]

  • ‘Religious’ Exemptions Add Legal Thorns to Looming Vaccine Mandates

    In Northern California, the pastor of a megachurch hands out religious exemption forms to the faithful. A New Mexico state senator will “help you articulate a religious exemption” by pointing to the decades-old use of aborted fetal cells in the development of some vaccines. And a Texas-based evangelist offers exemption letters to anyone — for […]

  • Even in Red States, Colleges Gravitate to Requiring Vaccines and Masks

    As students head to college this fall, hundreds of schools are requiring employees and students to be vaccinated against covid, wear masks on campus or both. But at some schools, partisan politics have bolstered efforts to stymie public health protections. Events at the University of South Carolina, in a deeply conservative state, demonstrate the limits […]

  • 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 […]

  • Colorado Clinic’s Prescription for Healthier Patients? Lawyers

    COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — In her 19 years of living with cerebral palsy, scoliosis and other ailments, Cynthia Enriquez De Santiago has endured about 60 surgeries and her heart has flatlined at least four times. But the most unusual doctor’s referral of her life came last year: Go see an attorney. Enriquez De Santiago sought […]

  • The Pandemic Almost Killed Allie. Her Community’s Vaccination Rate Is 45%.

    The Allie Henderson who stepped out of her mother’s car to a driveway full of cheering friends and family holding “Welcome Home” signs was a wisp of her former self. After 10 days in the hospital with a near-fatal case of covid inflammatory syndrome, the then-13-year-old softball phenom and beloved, straight-A student was lethargic and […]

  • Watch: Same Providers, Similar Surgeries, But Different Bills

    Ely Bair had similar surgeries, at the same hospital, with the same insurer. But he received very different big medical bills. KHN Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Rosenthal joins “CBS This Morning” to break down how this could happen to you and what you can do to avoid it.  KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that […]

  • Telemedicine Abortions Offer Cheaper Options but May Also Undermine Critical Clinics

    Allison Hansen had just gone through a breakup with her boyfriend last year when she discovered she was pregnant. She already had an 8-year-old son and did not want another child. Hansen called the Planned Parenthood facility near her home in Savannah, Georgia, to inquire about abortion services and was told the procedure would cost […]

  • Violación y pérdida de memoria, lo que la policía debería saber

    Annie Walker se despertó una mañana de 2019 con pocos recuerdos de la noche anterior. Tenía moretones en los brazos, las piernas, la muñeca y el bajo vientre. “Pero literalmente no tenía ni idea de lo que había pasado”, dijo. “Y durante días, estuve intentando armar las piezas”. Sabía que había ido a un bar […]

  • To Quarantine or Not: The Hard Choices Schools Are Leaving to Parents and Staff

    On the second day of high school in Texas, Natosha Daniels’ 14-year-old daughter went all day without eating because she did not want to remove her mask. The teen’s school has a couple of thousand students, and the cafeteria was crowded. Plus Round Rock Independent School District outside Austin didn’t require masks, so some students […]

  • Delta Cutting ‘Like a Buzzsaw’ Through Oregon-California Border Counties

    If you live in one of the rural communities tucked into the forested hillsides along the Oregon-California border and need serious medical care, you’ll probably wind up at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. It serves about nine counties on either side of the border.   It is one of three hospitals Asante owns in the region. […]

  • Beneficiarios de Medicaid se vacunan mucho menos contra covid

    Los beneficiarios de Medicaid se están vacunando contra covid-19 a tasas mucho más bajas que la población general, mientras los estados buscan las mejores estrategias para mejorar el acceso a las vacunas, y persuadir a quienes siguen indecisos. Los esfuerzos de las agencias estatales de Medicaid y los planes de salud privados que la mayoría […]

  • States Pull Back on Covid Data Even Amid Delta Surge

    Two state government websites in Georgia recently stopped posting updates on covid-19 cases in prisons and long-term care facilities, just as the dangerous delta variant was taking hold. Data has been disappearing recently in other states as well. Florida, for example, now reports covid cases, deaths and hospitalizations once a week, instead of daily, as […]

  • 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 […]

  • New Montana Law Sows Confusion, Defiance Over School Quarantines

    As classes get underway this week and next, Montana school and county health officials are grappling with how a new state law that bans vaccine discrimination should apply to quarantine orders for students and staffers exposed to covid-19. It’s the latest fallout from the law that says businesses and governmental entities can’t treat people differently […]

  • What Missouri Learned the Hard Way About Rapid Covid Testing in Schools

    Early in the tumultuous 2020-21 school year, Missouri officials made a big gamble: set aside roughly 1 million rapid covid tests for the state’s K-12 schools in hopes of quickly identifying sick students or staff members. The Trump administration had spent $760 million to procure 150 million rapid-response antigen tests from Abbott Laboratories, including 1.75 […]

  • Hot Spots Where Covid Vaccination Lags Push Experimental Antibody Treatment

    For months, Joelle Ruppert was among the millions of Americans who are covid vaccine holdouts. Her reluctance, she said, was not so much that she opposed the new vaccines but that she never felt “compelled” by the evidence supporting their experimental use. Nonetheless, after she fell ill with covid last month, Ruppert, a Florida preschool […]

  • Delta Double-Down: A Universal Health Plan Is Long Overdue.

    By MIKE MAGEE On March 25, 1966, during the Poor People’s March that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” This week, my niece in Orlando, Florida, sent her 8-year old son, masked, back to public school. He has […]

  • Headed Away to School? Here’s What Students With Health Issues Need to Know

    College is a time of transition, but for those managing chronic medical conditions, it may also be the first time they will be wholly responsible for their own health: setting appointments, securing supplies and pharmaceuticals, and monitoring symptoms. For those heading to schools far from home, it can be especially tricky navigating the complex world […]

  • 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 […]

  • Readers and Tweeters Ponder Vaccines and Points of Fairness

    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. Higher Insurance Rates for the Unvaccinated? Snuff Out That Idea This is about Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal’s comments on “All In With Chris Hayes” (“Analysis: Don’t Want a Vaccine? Be Prepared to […]

  • As Temperatures Rise, So Do the Health Risks for California’s Farmworkers

    COACHELLA, Calif. — Leoncio Antonio Trejo Galdamez, 58, died in his son’s arms on June 29 after spending the day laying irrigation pipes in California’s Coachella Valley. News of his death reverberated through the largely Latino community near the Mexican and Arizona borders — another casualty in a dangerous business. “Farmworkers are at the front […]

  • Biden’s No-Jab-No-Job Order Creates Quandary for Nursing Homes

    President Joe Biden’s edict that nursing homes must ensure their workers are vaccinated against covid-19 presents a challenge for an industry struggling to entice its lowest-paid workers to get shots without driving them to seek employment elsewhere. Although 83% of residents in the average nursing facility are vaccinated, only 61% of a home’s workers are […]

  • 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 […]

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

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

  • If the Unvaccinated Want to Work, They Face a Series of Hurdles

    With the delta variant surging, a growing number of employers are tiring of merely cajoling workers to get vaccinated against covid-19 and are following President Joe Biden’s protocol for federal workers: Either show proof of vaccination, or mask up and get regular testing if you want to work on-site. The federal government — the nation’s […]

  • Covid Politics and Fatigue Work Against Contact-Tracing Foot Soldiers

    Health departments nationwide scaled back their contact tracing in late spring or early summer when covid-19 cases started to decrease as vaccination efforts took center stage. Then delta hit. Now state and local health departments are trying to build back operations with depleted resources, as covid fatigue among their workers and the public alike complicate […]

  • Science Shows Mask-Wearing Is Largely Safe for Children

    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is one of a handful of Republican governors trying to block school districts from requiring masks in the classroom.  Under DeSantis’ direction, the state health department adopted a rule that lets families opt out of locally ordered school mask mandates. The State Board of Education approved another rule that allows parents to secure vouchers for their […]

  • Have Vaccines, Will Travel: On the Road With a Covid Entrepreneur

    VIRGINIA CITY, Mont. — While many businesses in this southwestern Montana “ghost town” reel in tourists with its mining and Wild West vigilante past, one businessman arrived offering a modern product: covid-19 vaccines. Kyle Austin, a traveling pharmacist, set up his mobile clinic in Virginia City on a recent Saturday, the latest stop on his […]

  • Heces: la nueva herramienta de detección de covid y otras enfermedades

    Desde la reapertura del campus de la Universidad de California-San Diego, el pasado verano, la institución ha recurrido a estrategias de salud pública de probada eficacia, como las pruebas y el rastreo de contactos. Pero también ha añadido una herramienta a su arsenal: excrementos. Esta herramienta alertó a los investigadores de un 85% de los […]

  • The Newest Disease Detection Tool for Covid and Beyond: Poop

    Since reopening campus at the University of California-San Diego last summer, university officials have relied on the tried-and-true public health strategies of testing and contact tracing. But they have also added a new tool to their arsenal: excrement. That tool alerted researchers to about 85% of cases in dorms before they were diagnosed, according to […]

  • In Rural America, Twisting Arms to Take a Covid Vaccine First Takes Trust

    CAIRO, Ill. — Lee Wright was hard at work, constructing a nail salon near the city’s abandoned hospital, when Jody Johnson stopped by to introduce himself on a recent afternoon. Johnson, who works for the University of Illinois Extension program, chatted with Wright casually in the summertime heat. For Johnson, it was the first step […]

  • How a Hospital and a School District Teamed Up to Help Kids in Emotional Crisis

    In 2019, the Rockville Centre school district in Long Island, New York, was shaken by a string of student deaths, including the suicides of a recent graduate and a current student. “When you get these losses, one after the other, you almost can’t get traction on normalcy,” said Noreen Leahy, an assistant superintendent at the […]

  • Veterans Push for Medical Marijuana in Conservative South

    RALEIGH, N.C. — Each time Chayse Roth drives home to North Carolina, he notices the highway welcome signs that declare: “Nation’s Most Military Friendly State.” “That’s a powerful thing to claim,” said Roth, a former Marine Corps gunnery sergeant who served multiple deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Now he says he’s calling on the […]