‘An Arm And A Leg’: Can They Freaking Do That?!?


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A woman gets a bill from a medical testing lab she’s never heard of, for $35. Not long after, a follow-up bill arrives. This one says if she doesn’t pay right away, the price is going up — way up ― to nearly $1,300.

Battling The Bullets From The Operating Room To The Community

Dr. Laurie Punch (center), a trauma surgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, shows Melissa Woeppel (left) and Stan Schloesser how to apply a tourniquet during a Stop the Bleed class last month in St. Louis.(Whitney Curtis for KHN)

ST. LOUIS — Dr. Laurie Punch plunged her gloved hands into Sidney Taylor’s open chest in a hospital’s operating room here, pushing on his heart to make it pump again after a bullet had torn through his flesh, collarbone and lung. His pulse had faded to nothing. She needed to get his heart beating.

U.S. watchdog finds $6.7 billion in questionable Medicare payments to insurers

(Reuters) – A U.S. government watchdog is raising fresh concerns that health insurers are exaggerating how sick Medicare patients are, receiving billions of dollars in improper payments as a result.

FILE PHOTO: Devices used to take blood pressure, temperature, and examine eyes and ears rest on a wall inside of a doctor’s office in New York March 22, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Health insurers selling Medicare Advantage plans to seniors and the disabled received an estimated $6.7 billion in 2017 after adding diagnoses to patients’ files that were not supported by their medical records, according to a report released on Thursday by the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General’s Office.

Only a quarter of U.S. childcare centers require kids to have flu shots

(Reuters Health) – Only a quarter of childcare centers in the United States require children in their care to get a flu shot, and even fewer require childcare workers to be vaccinated, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: A sign advertising the availability of flu shots is taped onto a door of a Duane Reade in New York, January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Young children are at increased risk of serious complications such as hospitalization and even death from seasonal influenza, but few centers charged with caring for young children require them to be immunized, Dr. Timothy Shope of UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and colleagues report in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society.

When Teens Abuse Parents, Shame And Secrecy Make It Hard To Seek Help

Nothing Jenn and Jason learned in parenting class prepared them for the challenges they’ve faced raising a child prone to violent outbursts.

The couple are parents to two siblings. They first fostered the children as toddlers and later adopted them. (KHN has agreed not to use the children’s names or the couple’s last names because of the sensitive nature of the family’s story.)

In some ways, the family seems like many others. Jenn and Jason’s 12-year-old daughter is into pop star Taylor Swift and loves playing outside with her older brother. He’s 15, and his hobbies include running track and drawing pictures of superheroes. The family lives on a quiet street in central Illinois, with three cats and a rescued pit bull named Sailor.

Among U.S. States, New York’s Suicide Rate Is The Lowest. How’s That?

“I just snapped” is how Jessica Lioy describes her attempt in April to kill herself.

After a tough year in which she’d moved back to her parents’ Syracuse, N.Y., home and changed colleges, the crumbling of her relationship with her boyfriend pushed the 22-year-old over the edge. She impulsively swallowed a handful of sleeping pills. Her mom happened to walk into her bedroom, saw the pills scattered on the floor and called 911.

U.S. diaper banks serve a fraction of families in need

(Reuters Health) – Many families living in poverty might benefit from diaper banks but don’t receive this support, a U.S. study suggests.

Nearly half of U.S. families with infants and toddlers live on less than $51,500 for a family of four, which is 200% of the federal poverty level, researchers note in the American Journal of Public Health. Many of these low-income households may struggle to afford rent and food as well as basic infant care needs, including a sufficient supply of diapers to keep babies clean, dry and healthy.

Decline in rural medical students likely to hurt rural physician workforce

(Reuters Health) – The rural U.S. is already in dire need of more doctors, and with decreasing numbers of medical students coming from rural towns, the problem is likely to grow, a study suggests.

Doctors who grew up in a rural area are more likely to practice in one, researchers note in a special issue of Health Affairs focused on rural health issues. But the proportion of students from rural areas entering medical school has been declining for 15 years, and by 2017 was less than 5%, the study team reports.

‘Food Pharmacies’ In Clinics: When The Diagnosis Is Chronic Hunger

There’s a new question that anti-hunger advocates want doctors and nurses to ask patients: Do you have enough food?

Public health officials say the answer often is “not really.” So clinics and hospitals have begun stocking their own food pantries in recent years.

One of the latest additions is Connectus Health, a federally qualified health clinic in Nashville, Tenn. This month, part of LaShika Taylor’s office transformed into a community cupboard.

“It’s a lot of nonperishables right now, just because we’re just starting out,” she said, but the clinic is working on refrigeration so it can also stock fresh food.

Wildfire, Floods, Extreme Heat: California Prepares For Climate Change

While the U.S. has moved away from the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change, the state of California has dug in. Alongside New York and Washington, it created the United States Climate Alliance, a coalition looking to uphold the agreement through state actions. It’s also fighting with the Trump administration over the state’s long-standing restrictions on car emissions, which traditionally have been more stringent than federal standards.