Latest KFF Health News Stories
California Hospitals Seek a Broad Bailout, but They Don’t All Need It
As hospitals squeeze Democratic leaders in Sacramento for more money, health care finance experts and former state officials warn against falling for the industry’s fear tactics. They point to healthy profits and a recession-era financing scheme that allows rich hospitals to take tax money from poorer ones.
He Returned to the US for His Daughter’s Wedding. He Left With a $42,000 Hospital Bill.
After emergency surgery, an American expatriate with Swiss insurance now carries the baggage of a five-figure bill. Costs for medical care in the U.S. can be two to three times the rates in other developed countries, so foreigners and expats with good insurance in their home countries need travel insurance to protect themselves from “crazy prices.”
New Mexico Program to Reduce Maternity Care Deserts in Rural Areas Fights for Survival
A federally funded program in remote New Mexico has helped hundreds of pregnant mothers stay healthy, but it’s running out of time and money despite a growing national maternity care crisis. The four-year, nearly $3 million grant has provided telehealth, coordinated care, and social services to mothers in need.
As More Hospitals Create Police Forces, Critics Warn of Pitfalls
Nearly 30 states have active or proposed laws authorizing independent hospital police forces. Groups representing nurses and hospitals say the laws address the daily realities of patients who become aggressive or agitated. But critics worry about unintended consequences.
The Crisis Is Officially Ending, but Covid Confusion Lives On
The public health emergency declaration for covid-19 ends May 11, ushering in major changes in how Americans can access and pay for the vaccines, treatments, and tests particular to the culprit coronavirus. But not everyone will experience the same changes, creating a confusing patchwork of coverage — not unlike health coverage for other diseases. Meanwhile, outside advisers to the FDA formally recommended allowing a birth control pill to be sold without a prescription. If the FDA follows the recommendation, it would represent the first over-the-counter form of hormonal contraception. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Tami Luhby of CNN, and Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico join KFF Health News’ Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus for “extra credit” the panelists suggest health policy stories they read this week they think you should read, too.
Dancing Under the Debt Ceiling
House Republicans passed their plan to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, along with major cuts to health (and other domestic) programs. Unlikely to become law, it calls for new work requirements for adults on Medicaid. Meanwhile, state efforts targeting trans people bear a striking resemblance to the fight against abortion rights. Jessie Hellmann of CQ Roll Call, Shefali Luthra of The 19th, and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KFF Health News chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Renuka Rayasam, who reported the latest KFF Health News-NPR “Bill of the Month” feature, about a specialist’s demand to be paid as much as $15,000 before treating a woman’s serious pregnancy complication.
How a 2019 Florida Law Catalyzed a Hospital-Building Boom
In Wesley Chapel, Fla., near Tampa, residents will soon have three general hospitals within a five-minute drive. The new construction is part of a hospital-building boom across Florida unleashed almost four years ago, when the state dropped a requirement that companies obtain government approval to open new hospitals.
A $229,000 Medical Bill Goes to Court
Lisa French was told her surgery would cost $1,337. But the hospital sent her a bill for $229,000, then sued her. The case went all the way to the Colorado Supreme Court. The court’s ruling could have major implications for determining a “reasonable price” in health care.
Falta de doctores y residencias médicas impactan en la salud de las zonas rurales
Expertos dicen que los factores sistémicos son barreras comunes para establecer y mantener programas de capacitación para médicos en las zonas rurales de Estados Unidos.
Doctor Shortages Distress Rural America, Where Few Residency Programs Exist
Patients in rural northeastern Nevada soon will have fewer providers and resources, after a local hospital decided to close its medical residency program. Nationally, the number of rural residency slots has grown during the past few years but still makes up just 2% of programs and residents nationwide.
States Step In as Telehealth and Clinic Patients Get Blindsided by Hospital Fees
At least eight states have implemented or are considering limits on what patients can be billed for the use of a hospital’s facilities even without having stepped foot in the building.
A Doctor’s Love Letter to ‘The People’s Hospital’
Could a charity hospital founded by a crusading Dutch playwright, a group of Quakers, and a judge working undercover become a model for the U.S. health care system? In this episode of the podcast “An Arm and a Leg,” host Dan Weissmann speaks with Dr. Ricardo Nuila to find out.
A Progress Check on Hospital Price Transparency
Hospitals are facing mixed reviews regarding their efforts to comply with a federal requirement that they post information about prices related to nearly every health care service they provide.
ER’s Error Lands a 4-Year-Old in Collections (For Care He Didn’t Receive)
A Florida woman tried to dispute an emergency room bill, but the hospital and collection agency refused to talk to her — because it was her child’s name on the bill, not hers.
Congressman Seeks to Plug ‘Shocking Loophole’ Exposed by KHN Investigation
A federal lawmaker has introduced a House bill that would close one of a laundry list of oversight gaps revealed in a recent KHN investigation of the system regulators use to ban fraudsters from billing government health programs, including Medicare and Medicaid.
Banning Noncompete Contracts for Medical Staff Riles Hospitals
It’s about the money — on both sides — as arguments swirl about patient safety, rising prices, and paying back on-the-job training.
Legal Questions, Inquiries Intensify Around Noble Health’s Rural Missouri Hospital Closures
A year after private equity-backed Noble Health shuttered two rural Missouri hospitals, a slew of lawsuits and state and federal investigations grind forward. Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey recently confirmed an “ongoing” investigation as former employees continue to go unpaid and cope with unpaid medical claims.
End of Covid Emergency Will Usher in Changes Across the US Health System
The May 11 expiration of the federal government’s pandemic emergency declaration will affect patient care across a broad range of settings, including telemedicine, hospitals, and nursing homes.
Temp Nurses Cost Hospitals Big During Pandemic. Lawmakers Are Now Mulling Limits.
Missouri is considering making it a felony to jack up temporary health care staffing prices during a statewide or national emergency. It’s one of at least 14 states looking to reel in travel nurse costs, after many hospitals struggled to pay for needed staffers earlier in the covid pandemic.
Wrestling With a Giant: How to Dispute a Hospital Bill
One listener tried to dispute a $1,300 “facility fee” with the treating hospital, his insurer, a bill-mediation service provided by his employer, and finally a debt collector. He didn’t win, but he learned valuable lessons about advocating for hospital discounts.