Longer Looks: Interesting Reads You Might Have Missed
Each week, KHN finds longer stories for you to enjoy. This week's selections include stories on hospital payment systems, psychedelics, the hypothesis of “depressive realism," and more.
Hospitals Prepare For A Cash-Pay Future
For health systems that have long relied on payment from insurers, accepting money for services directly from patients requires modernizing their technology systems, educating staff and setting cash rates with an actuarial eye. It can still also mean negotiating with insurance companies. But some providers embracing the cash pay revolution say their bottom line benefits from faster reimbursement, lower administration costs and higher patient retention. (Tepper, 10/18)
Kingwood Hospital Treats Most Snakebites In The Nation
Single mom April Speight is typically a cautious person, but a lapse in her overprotective nature almost cost her her life when she was bitten by a copperhead snake on Aug. 5. While hers was a mild case, Speight became one of more than 50 people treated for snakebites in 2022 at HCA Houston Healthcare Kingwood, according to the North American Snakebite Registry for 2022. (Taylor, 10/19)
The New York Times:
Half The World Has A Clitoris. Why Don’t Doctors Study It?
Some urologists compare the vulva to “a small town in the Midwest,” said Dr. Irwin Goldstein, a urologist and pioneer in the field of sexual medicine. Doctors tend to pass through it, barely looking up, on their way to their destination, the cervix and uterus. That’s where the real medical action happens: ultrasounds, Pap smears, IUD insertion, childbirth. If the vulva as a whole is an underappreciated city, the clitoris is a local roadside bar: little known, seldom considered, probably best avoided. “It’s completely ignored by pretty much everyone,” said Dr. Rachel Rubin, a urologist and sexual health specialist outside Washington, D.C. “There is no medical community that has taken ownership in the research, in the management, in the diagnosis of vulva-related conditions.” ... This near-universal avoidance has consequences for patients. (Gross, 10/17)
Psilocybin Mushroom: Scientists Seek To Find How They Become 'Magic'
Scientists are using advanced genetic methods and behavioral experiments in a bid to uncover how mushrooms become magic and evolve psychedelic properties. Compounds found in so-called magic mushrooms are increasingly being recognized for their potential to treat health conditions including depression, anxiety, compulsive disorders and addiction. (Hayhurst, 10/17)
Babies Kept Dying In This City. People Worked Together To Understand Why
The United States has a higher infant mortality rate than most other developed countries. And Baltimore’s success in the past decade may make it a model for other U.S. cities and counties working to keep more of their babies alive. Not long ago, Charm City’s infant mortality rate had been staggeringly high, among the worst in the country. In 2008, the city reported 120 infant deaths. The next year was even worse — 128 dead babies. That year, the city recorded 13.5 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births, the worst rate in at least five years. (Ollove, 10/19)
The New York Times:
Sadder But Wiser? Maybe Not
The idea of “sadder but wiser” has been taught to decades of Intro Psych students and cited more than two thousand times by other scholars. It also percolated through our culture, introducing the idea that depression, for all its pain, may also provide its sufferers with some gifts. A study published this month in the journal Collabra: Psychology by Amelia S. Dev and others calls that conclusion into question. (Barry, 10/18)
Arizona Farm Gives Refuge From Pain, For Man And Beast Alike
The leader has the name of her dead baby spelled out in beads on her left wrist, and standing before her is a mother so grief-choked by her young son’s death that she flips on her side at one point in this creekside yoga class and sobs. In the next row, a woman whose daughter died by suicide goes through the poses next to a man with a tattoo of three little ducks, one for each of the children who was murdered .Just beyond, in the fields of this sanctuary for the grieving, is a sheep whose babies were snatched by coyotes, a goat saved from slaughter and a horse that was badly mistreated carrying loads at the Grand Canyon. ... There is no talk at Selah Carefarm of ending the pain of loss, just of building the emotional muscle to handle it. (Sedensky, 10/20)