Community Health Systems, a large, for profit hospital chain, shrank from more than 200 to 84 facilities. It is continuing to sue patients for hospitals that now exist as little more than legal entities.
Big Bend Regional Medical Center, the only hospital in a sparsely populated region of West Texas, announced that because of a nursing shortage its labor and delivery unit must close for days at a time and patients must go instead to a hospital an hour away.
A bicyclist from California competed in a Pennsylvania race that could have landed him in this month’s Tokyo Olympics. Instead, a crash on the velodrome track landed him in two hospitals where his out-of-state, out-of-network surgeries garnered huge bills.
U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas) introduced a bill to do away with a health insurance rule that dictates which parent’s plan becomes a new baby’s primary insurer. This could save some parents from unexpected, sometimes massive medical bills. Davids took up the issue after a KHN/NPR Bill of the Month story on one family’s unexpected $207,455 NICU bill.
A year and a half after Sutter Health agreed to a tentative settlement in a closely watched antitrust case, the San Francisco judge presiding over the case indicated she would sign off on the terms, pending agreement on another contentious issue: attorney fees.
With covid cases on the upswing again around the country, partisan division remains over how to address the pandemic. Meanwhile, the Biden administration proposes bigger penalties for hospitals that fail to make their prices public as required. Stephanie Armour of The Wall Street Journal, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Tami Luhby of CNN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest their favorite stories of the week they think you should read, too.
Only severely injured patients are supposed to be billed for “trauma team alert” fees that can exceed $50,000.
Two intractable failings of the U.S. health care system — addiction treatment and medical costs — come to a head in the ER, where patients desperate for addiction treatment arrive, only to find the facility may not be equipped to deal with substance use or, if they are, treatment is prohibitively expensive.
Your dutiful columnist tried to make use of a federal “transparency” rule to compare the prices of common medical procedures in two California health care systems. It was a futile exercise.
Policies mandating company approval before talking publicly about conditions in hospitals have been a source of conflict over the past year, as physicians, nurses and other health workers have been disciplined for speaking or posting about what they view as dangerous covid-19 safety precautions. The appeals court’s decision could mean that hospitals — and other employers — will need to revise their policies.