For new medical residents, this has been a year like no other. In part that’s because getting from here to there — from medical school to residency training sites — has been complicated by the coronavirus.
The U.S. public health system has been starved for decades and lacks the resources necessary to confront the worst health crisis in a century. An investigation by The Associated Press and KHN has found that since 2010, spending for state public health departments has dropped by 16% per capita and for local health departments by 18%. At least 38,000 public health jobs have disappeared, leaving a skeletal workforce for what was once viewed as one of the world’s top public health systems. That has left the nation unprepared to deal with a virus that has sickened at least 2.6 million people and killed more than 126,000.
To assess the state of the public health system in the United States, KHN and The Associated Press analyzed data on government spending and staffing at national, state and local levels. Here’s what data we used and how we did it.
KHN and The Associated Press sought to understand how decades of cuts to public health departments by federal, state and local governments has affected the system meant to protect the nation’s health. Here are six key takeaways from the KHN-AP investigation.
As health workers were dying of COVID-19, federal work-safety officials filed just one citation against an employer and rapidly closed complaints about protective gear.
In an investigation last year, KHN detailed the rise and fall of Miami businessman Jorge A. Perez’s rural hospital empire, which spanned eight states and encompassed half of the rural hospital bankruptcies in 2019.
In a decision that surprised both sides of the polarized abortion debate, the Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law that would require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Jennifer Haberkorn of the Los Angeles Times join KHN’s Julie Rovner to break down what happened, what comes next and how this case could provide a clue to the one challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s liberals in the 5-4 decision that strikes down a state law requiring doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
Easy-breezy guest writer Rachel Bluth fills you in on a healthy dose of news from this past week.
KHN senior Colorado correspondent Markian Hawryluk joined KUNC’s Erin O’Toole on “Colorado Edition” and appeared on WNHN’s “The Attitude with Arnie Arnesen” to discuss his recent story on how difficult it is to measure the full death toll from the pandemic.