Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

How Itchy Feet Led A Researcher To The Tick-Born Cause Of A Meat Allergy

One Saturday afternoon at a backyard cookout, St. Louis, Missouri, architect Dan Rosenberg enjoyed a cheeseburger – a food he’d enjoyed many times before. That night, a couple hours after he went to sleep, he woke up with a searing pain in his stomach—pain he describes as “a nine on the ten-scale.”
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The Senate unanimously approved legislation Monday night requiring hospitals across the nation to tell Medicare patients when they receive observation care but haven't been admitted to the hospital as inpatients.

The distinction is easy for patients to miss — until they get hit with big medical bills after a short stay.

George Ruiz via Flickr/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

MILFORD, Del. – When the only hospital in this southern Delaware town saw two of its four obstetricians move away, it knew it had to do something to ensure women in labor could always get immediate medical help. But recruiting doctors to the land of chicken farms and corn fields proved difficult.

Here's a bit of good news for Medicare, the popular government program that's turning 50 this week. Older Americans on Medicare are spending less time in the hospital; they're living longer; and the cost of a typical hospital stay has actually come down over the past 15 years, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

One Saturday afternoon at a backyard cookout, St. Louis, Missouri, architect Dan Rosenberg enjoyed a cheeseburger – a food he’d enjoyed many times before.

That night, a couple hours after he went to sleep, he woke up with a searing pain in his stomach—pain he describes as “a nine on the ten-scale.”


Transgender people are not getting adequate health care, and widespread discrimination is largely to blame, according to a recent World Health Organization report. And the story is told most starkly in the high rates of HIV among transgender women worldwide.

JoAnne Keatley, one of the authors of that study, puts it plainly.

Lima Pix via Flickr/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

What We've Been Reading This Week:

America's Kids Are Healthier, But Racial Divides Persist

Fewer children are dying in infancy and before adulthood and abusing drugs, and more have health insurance, according to an annual report on children and teens, published Tuesday. But poverty may be holding back some minority kids. Side Effects' Andrea Muraskin takes a look

Anyone who's fought cancer knows that it's not just scary, but pricey, too.

"A lot of my patients cry — they're frustrated," says Dr. Ayalew Tefferi, a hematologist at the Mayo Clinic. "Many of them spend their life savings on cancer drugs and end up being bankrupt."

The average U.S. family makes $52,000 annually. Cancer drugs can easily cost a $120,000 a year. Out-of-pocket expenses for the insured can run $25,000 to $30,000 — more than half of a typical family's income.

children of different races
McGeorge BLSA via Flickr/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

The health of America’s children is improving along four key metrics: low birthweight, health insurance coverage, child and teen death, and substance abuse. Economic indicators, however, paint a gloomier picture. That’s according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual Kids Count Data Book, published Tuesday. The report measures the effects of economics, education, family and health on children’s wellbeing. The researchers focused on changes between 2008 and 2013.

Will health insurance mergers help or hurt consumers?

Jul 23, 2015
D Gorenstein

Health insurer Anthem appears ready to throw down nearly $50 billion to purchase rival Cigna. This would be the second proposed mega-merger in the industry in less than a month.

Welcome to healthcare’s version of an arms race, where hospitals and insurers vie for supremacy. As these titans battle it out, the threat is that consumers end up losing no matter who winds up on top.

Carnegie Mellon economist Martin Gaynor says there’s a simple question we shouldn’t lose sight of in this new wave of potential deals.

“Are these mergers going to make us better off?” he asks.

No Escaping Medical Copayments, Even in Prison

Jul 23, 2015
Dr. David Mathis examines the ear of an inmate at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville in 2012. California is one of at least 38 states that authorize the collection of medical fees from inmates.
AP

Even going to prison doesn’t spare patients from having to pay medical copays.

In response to the rapidly rising cost of providing health care, states are increasingly authorizing the collection of fees from prisoners for medical services they receive while in state prisons or local jails. At least 38 states now do it, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law and Stateline reporting.

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Looking for the Sound Medicine Radio Hour?

After fifteen years on the air, the Sound Medicine Radio Hour, a weekly news magazine about medicine and health, broadcast and podcast its final new show on the last weekend in April 2015. The archive continues to live on this website. Learn more here.
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