Latest Kaiser Health News Stories
No one told a Washington state woman she was racking up massive out-of-pocket charges during a month-long emergency stay in an Oregon hospital. For six months, she and her husband were haunted by looming debt — and bill collectors.
Some plans are experimenting with the idea of closely tying hospital reimbursement rates to what Medicare pays. The approach could be a game changer in their effort to control health costs.
Most hospitals appear to be complying with the federal rule to post their prices online. Yet there is little follow-up by the government or industry and debate continues about whether the price lists are creating more confusion than clarity among consumers.
A proposed state law with bipartisan, bicameral support is on the move in Texas. It would force hospitals and insurers to settle surprise bills — instead of relying on patients to start the mediation process. The KHN/NPR “Bill of the Month” series is a catalyst for the effort.
Each year, Medicare punishes hospitals that have high rates of readmissions and high rates of infections and patient injuries. Check out which hospitals have been penalized.
The penalties are part of a program set up by the Affordable Care Act to prompt hospitals to pay more attention to safety issues that can lead to injuries, such as falls or hospital-acquired infections.
An animal lover stopped to feed a hungry-looking stray cat outside Everglades National Park in Florida. First, the cat bit her finger — then the hospital billed her close to $50,000 for a treatment that typically costs about $3,000.
Only a small percentage of people who survived an opioid overdose received in the next year some form of drug abuse treatment, according to an analysis of West Virginia Medicaid claims data. Experts say the findings underscore a national disconnect.
In Texas, many people have a right to mediation of medical bills. But the concept can be off-putting, and patients often think they need a lawyer, which isn’t the case.
Health was a featured player in President Donald Trump’s 2019 State of the Union address. The president set goals to bring down prescription drug prices, end the HIV epidemic in the U.S. and cure childhood cancer, among other things. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News and Alice Ollstein of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and, for “extra credit,” provide their favorite health policy stories of the week. Rovner also interviews KHN senior correspondent Phil Galewitz about the current “Bill of the Month” feature.
A new federal rule requires hospitals to post their prices online. These lists reveal the wildly different charges for basic procedures and services, but consumers will have a hard time putting this information to use.
The latest example is Sutter Health and Anthem Blue Cross, whose failure to seal a deal is causing Anthem members to worry they may not have access to one of the dominant hospital chains in Northern California. Across the U.S., the stakes in such contract fights have risen, as health systems and insurers battle to increase their market share.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is trying to prevent Santa Clara County from buying two local nonprofit hospitals unless it pledges to maintain certain critical health care services. County officials warn the hospitals will close if the attorney general succeeds, leaving area residents with fewer health care choices.
A growing number of community hospitals are forming alliances with some of the nation’s biggest and most prestigious institutions. But for prospective patients, it can be hard to assess what these relationships actually mean.
Hospitals often contract with market data firms to screen patients’ wealth. That software allows the hospitals to gauge patients’ propensity to donate based on public records, including property and stock ownership and campaign donations.
The Trump administration has ordered hospitals to reveal their prices. If patients and politicians pay attention, this could be a game changer for health care.
Hospitals and medical practices are battling outdated stereotypes and sometimes their own doctors to hire certified nurse midwives. Research shows that women cared for by certified nurse midwives have fewer cesarean sections, which can produce significant cost savings for hospitals.