Month: October 2021

Posted in News

Journalists Explore Shadow Pandemics of Hospital Violence and Grieving Children

KHN Midwest correspondent Bram Sable-Smith discussed how the pandemic has exacerbated violence in hospitals on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “The Morning Show” on Wednesday. Click here to hear Sable-Smith on “The Morning Show“ Read Sable-Smith’s “‘Are You Going to Keep Me Safe?’ Hospital Workers Sound Alarm on Rising Violence” KHN chief…

Posted in News

If Congress Adds Dental Coverage to Medicare, Should All Seniors Get It?

William Stork needs a tooth out. That’s what the 71-year-old retired truck driver’s dentist told him during a recent checkup. That kind of extraction requires an oral surgeon, which could cost him around $1,000 because, like most seniors, Stork does not have dental insurance, and Medicare won’t cover his dental…

Posted in News

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…

Posted in News Texas

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….

Posted in News

What’s Scarier Than Covid? Halloween Health Haikus

Boo that we couldn’t treat all the readers participating in our third annual KHN Halloween Haiku Contest to their moment of gory glory. Your entries — like our health care system — ranged from frighteningly complex to haunting. And, based on a review by our panel of never-say-die judges, here’s…

Posted in News Texas

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Biden Social-Spending ‘Framework’ Pulls Back on Key Health Pledges

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. President Joe Biden unveiled a purported compromise on his social-spending plan shortly before taking off for a series of meetings in Europe….

Posted in News

Democrats’ Plans to Expand Medicare Benefits May Pinch 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…

Posted in News

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…

Posted in News

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…

Posted in News

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…

Posted in News

Medicare Plans’ ‘Free’ Dental, Vision, Hearing Benefits Come at a Cost

When Teresa Nolan Barensfeld turned 65 last year, she quickly decided on a private Medicare Advantage plan to cover her health expenses. Barensfeld, a freelance editor from Chatham, New York, liked that it covered her medications, while her local hospitals and her primary care doctor were in the plan’s network….

Posted in Colorado News

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…

Posted in Georgia News

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…

Posted in News

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…

Posted in News

Analysis: A Procedure That Cost $1,775 in New York Was $350 in Maryland. Here’s Why.

For the past 18 months, while I was undergoing intensive physical therapy and many neurological tests after a complicated head injury, my friends would point to a silver lining: “Now you’ll be able to write about your own bills.” After all, I’d spent the past decade as a journalist covering…

Posted in News

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…

Posted in News

Fresh Faces, Fewer Tools: Meet the New Bosses Fighting Covid

VIRGINIA CITY, Mont. — Emilie Sayler’s roots run deep in southwestern Montana. She serves on a nearby town council and the board of the local Little League. She went to college in a neighboring county and regularly volunteers in the schools of her three kids. Just a few months into…

Posted in New Jersey New York News

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…

Posted in News

“Este es el último pañal que me queda”: la ansiedad de ser padres en la pobreza

Para los padres que viven en la pobreza, la “matemática del pañal” es un cálculo diario, apremiante y angustiante, con el que están familiarizados. En los Estados Unidos, los bebés usan de seis a 10 pañales desechables al día, a un costo promedio de $70 a $80 al mes. Los…

Posted in News

Confronting Ageism in Health Care: A Conversation for Patients, Caregivers and Clinicians

Can’t see the video player? View the video here. What does ageism in health care look like? It can be a thoughtless quip that makes an older person feel diminished. Or an assumption that patients are unable to follow a conversation or make their own decisions. Maybe it occurs when…

Posted in News

Montana Tribes Want to Stop Jailing People for Suicide Attempts but Lack a Safer Alternative

POPLAR, Mont. — When Maria Vega was a senior in high school in 2015, she found the body of one of her closest friends, who had died by suicide. A few days later, devastated by the loss, Vega tried to take her own life. After the attempt failed, she was…

Posted in News

‘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…

Posted in News

‘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…

Posted in News

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,…

Posted in Georgia News

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…

Posted in News

DC’s Harllee Harper Is Using Public Health Tools to Prevent Gun Violence. Will It Work?

After four people were murdered in one week in early September — all in the same Washington, D.C., neighborhood — residents made a plea for help. “We’ve been at funerals all week,” said Janeese Lewis George, a City Council member who represents the neighborhood. “What can we do as a…

Posted in News Ohio

Worn-Out Nurses Hit the Road for Better Pay, Stressing Hospital Budgets — and Morale

In parts of the country where covid-19 continues to fill hospitals, a rotating cast of traveling nurses helps keep intensive care units fully staffed. Hospitals have to pay handsomely to get that temporary help, and those higher wages are tempting some staff nurses to hit the road, too. Nearly two…

Posted in News

Científicos buscan la causa de una misteriosa inflamación en niños relacionada con covid

Como la mayoría de los niños con covid, Dante y Michael DeMaino no parecían tener síntomas graves. Infectados a mediados de febrero, ambos perdieron los sentidos del gusto y del olfato. Dante, de 9 años, tuvo un día de fiebre baja. Michael, de 13, sintió un “cosquilleo en la garganta”,…

Posted in News

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…

Posted in News

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…