Business of Medicine

As Nursing Homes Evict Patients, States Question Motives

Jun 2, 2017

People complain about nursing homes a lot: the food's no good or there's not enough staff, and so on. It's a long list. But the top complaint, according to the federal government, is eviction from a nursing home.

Technically, it's known as involuntary discharge, and in 2015 it brought in more than 9,000 complaints. Now, a couple of states are looking for ways to hold nursing homes accountable for unnecessary evictions.

Doctors can save thousands of lives a year if they act promptly to identify sepsis, an often lethal reaction to infection. Sometimes called blood poisoning, sepsis is the leading cause of death in hospitals.

A 4-year-old regulation in New York state compels doctors and hospitals to follow a certain protocol, involving a big dose of antibiotics and intravenous fluids. It's far from perfect — about a quarter of patients still die from sepsis. But early intervention is helping.

More than half of people say they've suffered lower back pain in the past year, according to the latest NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll.

That's not a surprise; low back pain is very common, and one of the biggest reasons that people seek medical care. But people told us that they're making very different choices in how they treat that pain, with some stark differences among age groups and income levels.

Rory MacLeod / https://www.flickr.com/photos/macrj/

On Sunday, Marian University in Indianapolis graduated its first-ever medical school class, handing out 133 Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degrees. Next weekend, 331 Indiana University School of Medicine grads will collect their diplomas.

How U.S. Health Care Became Big Business

Apr 12, 2017

Health care is a trillion-dollar industry in America, but are we getting what we pay for? Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal, a medical journalist who formerly worked as a medical doctor, warns that the existing system too often focuses on financial incentives over health or science.

With Uptick In Home Births, Midwives Seek To Practice In More States

Jul 19, 2016
kc7fys/via Flickr

Jennifer Crook is a trained and certified midwife living in Birmingham, Alabama, who has presided over about 200 home births. But to do so, she and her pregnant patients had to drive two hours across the state line to Tennessee.

The reason for the border crossing was simple: Alabama is among 22 states that do not license midwives who deliver babies outside of hospitals. And practicing midwifery without a license in Alabama wasn’t worth the risk.

Drug And Device Makers Find Receptive Audience At For-Profit, Southern Hospitals

Jun 29, 2016

Where a hospital is located and who owns it make a big difference in how many of its doctors take meals, consulting and promotional payments from pharmaceutical and medical device companies, a new ProPublica analysis shows.

A higher percentage of doctors affiliated with hospitals in the South have received such payments than doctors in other regions of the country, our analysis found. And a greater share of doctors at for-profit hospitals have taken them than at nonprofit and government facilities.

Environmental services worker Jeanna Hibbert scrubs the hospital room to get rid of C-diff bacteria.
Michelle Faust / Side Effects Public Media

It’s usually doctors and nurses who are seen as the life-savers at hospitals. But when it comes to preventing certain lethal infections, the hospital’s cleaning staff play a vital role.  

The most common hospital-borne infection in U.S. hospitals is a stubborn spore that’s spreads easily and is tough to remove.


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