Legislative crackdowns on out-of-network bills haven’t kept specialists from hitting patients with unexpected charges running into thousands of dollars.
Rural areas such as Echols County, Georgia, have high levels of uninsured people and profound physician shortages that compound the lack of health care options, especially in the 12 states that have not expanded Medicaid.
Gunnison paramedics cover the largest response zone in Colorado. Because of covid and the lack of nearby hospital beds, patients increasingly are transported long distances, leaving few ambulances to respond to emergencies.
A record number of hospitals closed in rural America last year. For the residents of Cuthbert, Georgia, the loss has meant many problems, including delayed care for emergencies that can turn deadly.
With few options for health care in their rural community, a Tennessee couple’s experience with one outrageous bill could have led to a deadly decision the next time they needed help.
Certain patients who couldn’t get in to see a doctor earlier in the pandemic, or were avoiding the covid risks inside hospitals, have become too sick to stay away. Many ERs now struggle to cope with an onslaught of demand.
The covid vaccination rate for first responders in the state is more than 95%. But it’s lower in more rural areas, where ambulance crews can’t function if even just a few people quit.
California Assembly member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, who authored legislation to create and fund the state’s new 988 phone line for mental health emergencies, spoke with KHN about the effort and what more will be needed to create a full-fledged response network for people experiencing mental health crises.
Unvaccinated people are filling intensive care beds and dying of covid in record numbers in Tennessee and other Southern states. Many tell their nurses and doctors they regret the decision not to get the vaccine when they could.
Televisits took off during the worst days of the pandemic, but states are now rolling back the temporary rules that facilitated them. That’s adding fuel to debates about states’ authority over medical licensing.