Hospitals gear up for a Hill fight over proposed pay cuts in Medicare

Many common outpatient services, like X-rays and check-ups, can cost Medicare twice as much in a hospital as in an independent clinic. Congress is actively considering nearly half a dozen pieces of legislation aimed at changing this. All of this bipartisan interest in Washington has the nation’s biggest hospitals on high alert. The proposed fix, […]

Medicare’s hospice experiment: Putting private insurers in charge

Hospice doctor Bethany Snider sees the writing on the wall: “The hospice care we’ve known and loved won’t be the same 10 years from now.” Hosparus Health, the Louisville-based hospice agency where Snider serves as chief medical officer, is one of more than 100 provider organizations partnering with some of the country’s largest health insurers […]

AEDs could save lives — but stocking them in schools isn’t easy

Jake West grew up in La Porte, Indiana, not far from Lake Michigan. His mother, Julie West, said he was always friendly to others. “He was just kind and he brought other people in,” West said. “He was a type of kid that if someone wasn’t included, he was going to make sure that child […]

A hospital went dark after it was hacked. It’s still reeling two years later

As the second year of the pandemic was nearing an end, employees at Johnson Memorial Health hoped they could catch their breath after dealing with a weeks-long tsunami of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths. But on a Friday at 3 a.m., the hospital CEO’s phone rang with an urgent call from the chief of nursing. “I […]

Who really benefits when damages are capped in medical malpractice lawsuits?

  On Feb. 17, 2017, Joe and Sarah Dudley were getting ready for a late Valentine’s Day celebration when Joe started complaining about feeling sick. He had a bad headache. “So I told him to go lay down, and we’d just celebrate another time,” Sarah said. Shortly after, Joe started running a high fever – […]

States are turning to Medicaid to help people leaving incarceration

Lee Reed spent his first night after getting out of prison sleeping in the stairwell of a parking garage in downtown San Francisco. Just a few days shy of his 62nd birthday, Reed had nowhere else to go. During his two decades in prison, his mom and wife had died, and he’d lost touch with […]

Evictions on the rise in the Midwest put public health at risk

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — The trouble for Rolland Carroll started last fall. That’s when the 61-year-old said his apartment complex in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, informed him that his federal housing aid for his one-bedroom apartment had been reduced months ago. Listen to this story here. He owed more than $2,000 in back rent. “I […]

Three health policy stories to watch in 2023

Considering the country’s divided Congress, Americans shouldn’t hold their breath for major health reform legislation this year. On the other hand, 2023 is shaping up to see some incredibly consequential health policy changes that could impact millions. Here’s a quick look at three of them: State officials are looking to pass new abortion laws and […]

When rural hospitals close, access to critical care is put in jeopardy

MEXICO, Mo. — A half-dozen Gouldian finches greet patients with their chirps from a cage in the waiting room of the Boone Health Primary Care clinic in Mexico, Missouri. The birds belong to Dr. Peggy Barjenbruch who, alongside Dr. Michael Quinlan, has served the Mexico community for decades. Listen to this story here. That […]

Abortion access, COVID disruptions, health inequities – Side Effects’ top stories of 2022

The third year of a global pandemic. An uncertain future for reproductive health care. Persistent health care inequities. This year, Side Effects Public Media reporters delivered high-impact, in-depth stories from across the Midwest and beyond, exploring 2022’s leading health concerns. Side Effects reporters and collaborators shed light on health care disparities, looked for solutions and […]

States will get billions in opioid settlement dollars. How will they spend it?

Legal battles have waged for years to force drug companies to pay for their role in America’s opioid epidemic. Finally, in landmark settlements over the last year, thousands of states, counties and local governments have won more than $50 billion from opioid makers, prescription drug distributors and pharmacies. But now these 3,000 state and local […]