Focus on Drinking, Suicide
May 24, 2016 By Tim Henderson
Drinking is more likely to be the cause of death in much of the Southwest than in other parts of the country. In parts of Appalachia and New England, it’s a drug overdose. Suicide by gun stands out as disproportionately lethal in parts of the Upper Midwest and Alaska.
Although the top causes of death are similar for most states, many states have their own peculiar hard cases —types of deaths whose rates are higher than the national norm, a Stateline analysis of 2014 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.
They Bear Fruit For Substance Abuse, Mental Illness
May 24, 2016 By Taylor Sisk
Every movement needs a champion, and in the largely rural counties of western North Carolina, Richie Tannerhill is a champion of the recovery-oriented care movement for people with mental health and substance abuse issues.
Recovery-oriented care is founded on the belief that people with behavioral health problems need guideposts to help them find their own routes back to a productive life — that medication compliance and symptom control aren’t ultimate treatment goals.
Their Worries Are at High Proportion to Rest of Country
May 24, 2016 By Bryan Thompson
NPR, Harvard University and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation partnered to survey Americans last year about their perceptions of healthcare.
Kansas was one of seven states — Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin were the others — singled out for a closer look. And the thing that stood out about Kansans was the degree of concern they expressed about the cost of healthcare.
May 17, 2016
Bolstered by the federal healthcare law, the number of lower income kids getting health coverage continues to improve, a recent study found.
Regional Outbreaks of Disease Reported
May 17, 2016 By Marsha Mercer
A year ago, Laura Hall felt tired all the time, was losing weight and had a bad cough.
The 41-year-old Spanish teacher from Shelburne, Vt., went to doctors for three months before they finally nailed the diagnosis: active tuberculosis.
“I was scared. I was horrified. Oh my gosh, how did I get this? Where did I get it?” Hall said in a video about TB survivors’ experiences. “I didn’t think that I could get TB, ever.”
Many children with insurance are not getting care
May 17, 2016 By Shefali Luthra
Forty-four states and the District of Columbia have laws on the books requiring health insurers to cover autism treatments. But new research evaluating the so-called “insurance mandates” suggests these efforts are failing in key ways to help people — especially children — get needed therapy.
These findings, which were to be presented Wednesday at a major conference on autism spectrum disorder and will appear this summer in JAMA Pediatrics, highlight the consequences of this shortfall.
But They Are Still Used by Relatively Few States
May 10, 2016 By Christine Vestal
For more than a decade, doctors, dentists and nurse practitioners have liberally prescribed opioid painkillers despite mounting evidence that people were becoming addicted and overdosing on the powerful pain medications.
Now, in the face of a drug overdose epidemic that killed more than 28,000 people in 2014, a handful of states are insisting that health professionals do a little research before they write another prescription for highly addictive drugs like Percocet, Vicodin and OxyContin.
Pressuring Lawmakers May be Seen as Avenue to Success
May 10, 2016 By Andy Marso
After another legislative session with no action on Medicaid expansion, advocates in Kansas are turning their attention to the upcoming state elections and urging voters to become more vocal on the issue.
A Monday rally in a Statehouse hearing room drew a standing-room-only crowd. It was better-attended than other similar rallies in the four years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states have discretion over whether they expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare.
Provider/Insurer Aims to Give Patients More Convenience, Transparency
May 10, 2016 By Anna Gorman
Lacee Badgley, the mother of a 7-year-old, works full time as an insurance adjuster. Like most working parents, she finds making time for doctor’s appointments a challenge.
“I don’t have the time or energy to drive around town and then wait,” she said.
That’s why Badgley, 36, switched from her previous doctors to Zoom+, a medical provider and health insurer that aims to give patients more control and transparency. She can make same-day appointments through a mobile app, and she’s usually in and out within 30 minutes.
Experts Say There is No End in Sight
May 3, 2016 By Michelle Andrews
At some hospitals, posters on the wall in the emergency department list the drugs that are in short supply or unavailable, along with recommended alternatives.
The low-tech visual aid can save time with critically ill patients, allowing doctors to focus on caring for them rather than doing research on the fly, said Jesse Pines, M.D., a professor of emergency medicine and director of the Office for Clinical Practice Innovation at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, who has studied the problems with shortages.
Far Larger Percentage of Mothers Die Than in Other Developed Nations
May 3, 2016 By Michael Ollove
The relatively high percentage of American women who die as a result of pregnancy, which exceeds that of other developed nations, is prompting a new national prevention campaign that is relying on the states to take a leading role.
The key element in that effort is to encourage all states to go beyond the information provided on a typical death certificate by having mortality review panels investigate the causes behind every maternal death that occurs during pregnancy or in the year after delivery.
New Regs Also Passed For Acupuncturists, Midwives
May 3, 2016 By Andy Marso
A “mega-bill” containing several provisions related to licensure of medical professionals survived a rules dispute to pass just before the Kansas Legislature adjourned early Monday morning.
Unless Gov. Sam Brownback vetoes the bill, the conference committee report combined in House Bill 2615 will require acupuncturists to be licensed, enter Kansas into a compact that will license physicians to practice across state lines and expand the authority of nurse midwives.
Lowe's Among The Companies Making Such Offer
Apr 26, 2016 By Michael Tomsic
Lowe’s home improvement company, like a growing number of large companies nationwide, offers its employees an eye-catching benefit: certain major surgeries at prestigious hospitals at no cost to the employee.
How do these firms do it? With “bundled payments,” a way of paying that’s gaining steam across the healthcare industry, and that Medicare is now adopting for hip and knee replacements in 67 metropolitan areas, including New York, Miami and Denver.
Health Plans Must Now Act Quickly If They Want Settlement Shares
Apr 26, 2016 By Michelle Andrews
Accidents happen, and if they’re someone else’s fault, you can go to court to try to get compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you win, though, the pot of gold you receive may be considerably smaller than you expect: Your health plan may claim some or all of it as reimbursement for money it spent on your medical care.
It’s completely legal and it happens all the time. But a recent Supreme Court decision gives consumers ammunition to push back.
They're 50th and 47th Nationwide
Apr 26, 2016 By Megan Hart
Kansas spends only about $12 per person on public health, making it one of the states putting the least money into preventing chronic and infectious diseases.
According to a recent report from the Trust for America’s Health, Kansas spent about $36 million in fiscal year 2015 on public health programs for its 2.9 million people, or about $12.40 per person. That ranked the state 47th in per capita spending compared to the other 49 states and the District of Columbia.
Politics Has Blocked Tool to Curb Drug Abuse
Apr 19, 2016 By Bram Sable-Smith
At Richard Logan’s pharmacy in Charleston, Mo., prescription opioid painkillers are locked away in a cabinet.
Missouri law requires pharmacies to keep schedule II controlled substances — drugs like oxycodone and fentanyl with a high addiction potential — locked up at all times.
Many Have Insurance, But Lack Funds
Apr 19, 2016 By Michelle Andrews
Denise Johnson works two jobs, but neither of them offers health insurance to part-timers like her. She signed up for a marketplace plan this year, but for routine medical care, Johnson still goes to the free clinic near her Charlottesville, Va., home.
The problem is her plan’s deductible of at least $1,000. She can’t recall the precise figure, but it doesn’t really matter. “It’s absolutely high,” said Johnson, 58. “Who can afford that?” She struggles to pay her $28 monthly premium.
Many Applicants Have Been Waiting For Months
Apr 19, 2016 By Andy Marso
Representatives of 15 groups that advocate for Kansas Medicaid populations sent a letter to state leaders this week urging them to eliminate a Medicaid application backlog that has left thousands of Kansans awaiting coverage.
The groups have formed a coalition called the KanCare Advocates Network. They represent children, pregnant women and Kansans who are elderly or disabled.
Up More Than 500 Percent
Apr 5, 2016 By Christine Vestal
When Ohio tallied what many already knew was an alarming surge in overdose deaths from an opioid known as fentanyl, the state asked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate.
The rash of fatal overdoses in Ohio — a more than fivefold increase in 2014 — was not an isolated outbreak. Fentanyl is killing more people than heroin in many parts of the country. And the death toll will likely keep growing, said CDC investigators Matt Gladden and John Halpin at the fifth annual Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit here.
Agency Being Urged to Change Policy
Apr 5, 2016 By Phil Galewitz
Nearly a third of people without health insurance, about 10 million, live in families that received a federal earned income tax credit (EITC) in 2014, according to a new study.
But the Internal Revenue Service doesn’t tell those tax filers that their low and moderate incomes likely mean their households qualify for Medicaid or subsidies to buy coverage on the insurance exchanges.
Justice Department Spearheads Investigation
Apr 5, 2016 By Dan Margoiles
Kansas is one of 10 judicial districts nationwide selected to form units to crack down on nursing homes providing “grossly substandard” care, the Justice Department announced last week.