Why Your Dentist Might Seem Pushy

In 1993, Dr. David Silber, a dentist now practicing in Plano, Texas, was fired from the first dental clinic he worked for. He’d been assigned to a patient another dentist had scheduled for a crown preparation — a metal or porcelain cap for a broken or decayed tooth. However, Silber found nothing wrong with the tooth, so he sent the patient home.

This story also ran on U.S. News & World Report. It can be republished for free.

He was fired later the same day. “Never send a patient away who’s willing to pay the clinic money,” he was told.

Silber said what happened to him then still happens today, that some dentists who don’t think they receive enough from insurance reimbursement — whether private insurance or Medicaid — have figured out ways to boost their bottom lines. They push products and procedures a patient doesn’t need or recommend higher-cost … Read the rest

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Doctors Now Must Provide Patients Their Health Data, Online and On Demand

Last summer, Anna Ramsey suffered a flare-up of juvenile dermatomyositis, a rare autoimmune condition, posing a terrifying prospect for the Los Angeles resident: She might have to undergo chemotherapy, further compromising her immune system during a pandemic.

This story also ran on Los Angeles Times. It can be republished for free.

After an agonizing three-day wait, the results of a blood test came back in her online patient portal — but she didn’t understand them. As hours passed, Ramsey bit her nails and paced. The next day, she gave in and emailed her doctor, who responded with an explanation and a plan.

For Ramsey, now 24, instant access to her test results had been a mixed blessing. “If there’s something I’m really nervous about,” she said, “then I want interpretations and answers with the result. Even if it takes a few days longer.”

On April 5, a federal rule went … Read the rest

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‘Kicking You When You’re Down’: Many Cancer Patients Pay Dearly for Parking

For cancer patients, the road from diagnosis to survivorship feels like a never-ending parade of medical appointments: surgeries, bloodwork, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, scans. The routine is time-consuming and costly. So, when hospitals charge patients double-digit parking fees, patients often leave the garage demoralized.

This story also ran on NBC News. It can be republished for free.

Iram Leon vividly remembers the first time he went for a follow-up MRI appointment at Dell Seton Medical Center in Austin, Texas, after he had been treated at another hospital for a brain tumor.

The medical news was good: His stage 2 tumor was stable. The financial news was not. When he sat down at the receptionist’s desk to check out, Leon was confronted by a bold, red-lettered sign on the back of her computer that read: “WE DO NOT VALIDATE PARKING.”

Below that all-caps statement was a list of parking rates, starting with … Read the rest

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Drug Price Effort Hits a Snag

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The high cost of prescription drugs is a top health issue for the public and politicians, but concerns raised by a group of moderate Democrats threaten to derail a bill being pushed by House Democratic leaders.

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration has authorized the use of the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine for everyone age 12 and up, and Pfizer is applying for full licensure of that vaccine. It is currently being distributed under emergency authorization. Full approval could open the door to vaccine requirements in some workplaces, schools or other gathering spots, which will likely touch off more controversy.

And the Biden administration reinstated an Obama-era policy barring discrimination in health care for LGBTQ individuals, even as more states pass anti-LGBTQ legislation.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink … Read the rest

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What Does Approval of the Pfizer Vaccine for Teens and Preteens Mean for My Child?

Q: The federal government approved the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds. What does this mean for my child?

This story also ran on PolitiFact. It can be republished for free.

Extending the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to preteens and young adolescents adds nearly 17 million more Americans to the pool of those eligible to be immunized against covid-19, helping to build a vaccinated population closer to herd immunity. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are also testing the efficacy of their vaccines in teens and children.

Although children appear to catch covid less often and develop milder symptoms than adults, they can develop a rare, severe inflammatory response or “long-haul covid” symptoms. It also remains to be seen what, if any, long-term effects these younger patients may experience from covid.

The share of covid cases in children and teens is increasing — nearly a quarter of the new … Read the rest

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Los latinos son los que más quieren vacunarse, y los que más obstáculos enfrentan

Una nueva encuesta revela que los hispanos tienen el doble de interés en vacunarse “lo antes posible” que los blancos no hispanos o personas de raza negra no hispanas. Los datos muestran que los problemas de acceso siguen siendo difíciles para la población.

Un tercio de los hispanos no vacunados dicen que quieren las dosis, en comparación con el 17{380aeddbf14a84cd11c11cd488112056163e30cadda676ce0194921ef8f43b08} de los negros y el 16{380aeddbf14a84cd11c11cd488112056163e30cadda676ce0194921ef8f43b08} de los blancos, según la encuesta publicada por KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation).

“Los resultados reflejan una oportunidad para que los departamentos de salud pública y los gobiernos locales lleguen a los hispanos con información y equipos de vacunación”, señaló Liz Hamel, vicepresidenta y directora de opinión pública e investigación de encuestas en KFF, quien lidera las encuestas mensuales de la organización sobre la vacuna contra covid-19.

“Definitivamente, hay una gran parte de la población hispana que está deseando vacunarse, pero no han podido encontrar … Read the rest

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Latinos Are the Most Eager to Get Vaccinated, Survey Shows — But Face Obstacles

Hispanics who have yet to receive a covid shot are about twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites or Blacks to say they’d like to get vaccinated as soon as possible, according to a survey released Thursday. The findings hint at fixable, though difficult, vaccine access problems for the population.

One-third of unvaccinated Hispanics say they want the shots, compared with 17{380aeddbf14a84cd11c11cd488112056163e30cadda676ce0194921ef8f43b08} of Blacks and 16{380aeddbf14a84cd11c11cd488112056163e30cadda676ce0194921ef8f43b08} of whites, according to the survey released Thursday by KFF. (KHN is an editorially independent program of KFF.)

The results reflect an opportunity for public health departments and local governments to reach out to Hispanics with information and vaccinating teams, said Liz Hamel, vice president and director of public opinion and survey research at KFF and director of the organization’s monthly covid vaccine surveys.

“There definitely is a large chunk of the Hispanic population that’s eager to get it, but they just have either not … Read the rest

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Don’t Eat the Yellowstone Snow: Elite Ski Resort Aims to Turn Sewage Into Powder

An exclusive Montana resort wants to turn sewage into snow so that its rich and famous members can ski its slopes in a winter season that’s shrinking because of climate change.

This story also ran on Men’s Health. It can be republished for free.

The Yellowstone Club — a ski and golf resort just north of Yellowstone National Park that counts Bill Gates, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel among its members — has asked the Montana Department of Environmental Quality for a permit to allow it to use wastewater for snowmaking operations on its ski slopes.

About a dozen other ski areas across the U.S. have used wastewater to make artificial snow before, but the Yellowstone Club would be the first in Montana. The technique has also been used in Europe and Australia.

Officials at the club say the program would not only ensure the slopes can open on time, … Read the rest

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Masks at the Campfire: Summer Camps for Kids With Medical Needs Adapt to Covid

Olivia Klassen’s face lights up when she talks about summer camp. She loves to do the scavenger hunt with her camp friends. She also loves paddleboarding, swimming in the lake and “kitchen raids.” But what she loves most is being surrounded by kids who, just like her, have Type 1 diabetes — which allows her to focus on having fun instead of being different.

This story also ran on The Washington Post. It can be republished for free.

“Camp is a top priority for me,” Klassen, 13, said of Camp Ho Mita Koda. “I don’t really feel the same without camp. That’s my second family, my home away from home. Being there makes me feel like a normal kid, because everyone is doing the same things I do.”

Camp Ho Mita Koda, in Newbury Township, Ohio, is one of about 300 American summer camps focused on people with special health … Read the rest

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How Schools Can Help Kids Heal After the Pandemic’s Uncertainty

Kai Humphrey, 9, has been learning from home for more than a year. He badly misses his Washington, D.C., elementary school, along with his friends and the bustle of the classroom.

This story is part of a reporting partnership that includes NPR and Illinois Public Media. It can be republished for free.

“I will be the first person ever to have every single person in the world as my friend,” he said on a recent Zoom call, his sandy-brown hair hanging down to his shoulder blades. From Kai, this kind of proclamation doesn’t feel like bragging, more like exuberant kindness.

But when Kai’s school recently invited him back, he refused. That’s because his worry list is long, topped by his fear of getting covid-19 and giving it to his 2-year-old sister, Alaina. She was born with a heart condition, Down syndrome and a fragile immune system. To her, the disease … Read the rest

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