The Feed

Taking Cops out of Mental Health-Related 911 Rescues

Nationally, police officers carry the brunt of responding to mental health issues. In 2017, law enforcement agencies spent $918 million transporting people with severe mental illness, according to a 2019 survey from the Treatment Advocacy Center. It also estimated that officers spend 21% of their time responding to and transferring people for mental health issues.

Learn More

Why Hospitals Are Getting Into The Housing Business

Legally and morally, hospitals cannot discharge patients if they have no safe place to go. So patients who are homeless, frail or live alone, or have unstable housing, can occupy hospital beds for weeks or months — long after their acute medical problem is resolved. For hospitals, it means losing money because a patient lingering in a bed without medical problems doesn’t generate much, if any, income.

Learn More

The Deep Divide: State Borders Create Medicaid Haves And Have-Nots

State borders have become arbitrary dividing lines between Medicaid’s haves and have-nots, with Americans in similar financial straits facing vastly different health care fortunes. This affects everything from whether diseases are caught early to whether people can stay well enough to work. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The ACA, passed in 2010, called for extending Medicaid to all Americans earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level, around $17,000 annually for an individual. But the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 let states choose whether to expand Medicaid.

Learn More

Want To Reduce Suicides? Follow The Data

Officials in Washington County, Oregon believe they’ve chipped away at this problem through an initiative to use data. For example, data revealed a surprising number of suicides at hotels and motels. It also showed a number of those who killed themselves had experienced eviction or foreclosure or had a medical visit within weeks or days of their death. It revealed that people in crisis regularly turn their pets over to the animal shelter. Experts began offering training to motel clerks and housekeepers, animal shelter workers, pain clinic staffers and more and the suicide rate in the county has decreased.

Learn More

Despite Booming Economy, Uninsured Rate Ticks Up

The annual report from the Census Bureau, released last week, found that 27.5 million Americans were without health insurance last year, an increase of nearly 2 million from 2017. The 0.5 percentage point increase in the uninsured rate — to 8.5% — was the first in a decade and came as unemployment and other economic indicators have been good.

Learn More

Listen: Health Officials Warn People To Stop Vaping

As the number of patients combating mysterious lung illnesses grows, state and federal public health officials are warning people to stay away from e-cigarettes and vape pens, especially those obtained off the streets. As of Friday, public health officials were investigating more than 450 possible cases of severe pulmonary disease related to vaping, including five deaths, in 33 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Learn More

Back To School 2019: Backpack, Lunchbox And A Drug Test

The rise in drug testing is a reaction to the still-raging opioid epidemic and liberalized marijuana laws spreading across the country, according to health experts and educators. More schools are adopting drug testing even as research remains mixed on how effective it is at reducing teen drug use. Supporters say it gives kids a reason to say no to drugs and may identify students who need help with drug problems. But opponents argue it invades student privacy and diverts money from educational priorities like books.

Learn More

Coming Out About Mental Health On Social Media

While struggles with mental health were traditionally kept private, in recent years a growing number of sufferers are adopting the opposite tack: sharing their mental health battles with the world, via social media. People often connect with one another by using hashtags like #TalkingAboutIt and #mentalhealth that have a broad target audience.

Learn More

After A Rural Hospital Closes, Delays In Emergency Care Cost Patients Dearly

Nationwide, more than 110 rural hospitals have closed since 2010, and in each instance a community struggles to survive in its own way. In Fort Scott, home to 7,800, the loss of its 132-year-old hospital opened by nuns in the 19th century has wrought profound social, emotional and medical consequences. Kaiser Health News and NPR are following Fort Scott for a year to explore deeper national questions about whether small communities need a traditional hospital at all. If not, what would take its place?

Learn More