Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 9:55 am
Cook County, Ill., Sheriff Tom Dart walks the halls of his jail every day. With 10,000 inmates, this place is a small city — except a third of the people here are mentally ill.
Dart has created some of the most innovative programs in the country to handle mentally ill inmates, hiring doctors and psychologists, and training staff. But if you ask anyone here, even this jail is barely managing.
"I can't conceive of anything more ridiculously stupid by government than to do what we're doing right now," Dart says.
Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 10:06 am
I pulled back the curtain, ready to meet the next patient on my hospital rounds.
"Why are you standing there?" she asked me. "Come, have a seat, let's talk."
Lenore could have been my grandmother. She was 77 years old, and all of 93 pounds. What she lacked in girth, she more than made up for in chutzpah. She was one of the patients from intern year who I'll never forget.
Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 3:01 pm
Restaurants know customers eat more at fixed-price buffets than when they pay a la carte. Economists have been saying for years that the same kind of behavior goes on in the federal Medicare program for seniors and the disabled.
Dr. Christine Horner helped led the fight to make insurance companies pay for breast reconstruction after mastectomies. The third edition of her book Waking the Warrior Goddess has just come out and she joins me to discuss steps that women can take to decrease the risk of breast cancer.
Frostbite and hypothermia are cold-related emergencies that may quickly become life or limb threatening. Read the signs and symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia and how to treat both, from the American Red Cross.
Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 8:16 am
Wiping out malaria is a top goal for many leaders in global health.
Fewer people are dying now from the mosquito-borne disease than at any other time in history. "And there's a very, very strong belief now that malaria can be eliminated," says Joy Phumaphi, who chairs the African Leaders Malaria Alliance.
But when you look at the overall numbers on malaria, eradication almost seems like a pipe dream.
Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 3:43 pm
Federal regulators this month opened a new era in the treatment of a deadly liver virus that infects three to five times more people than HIV. Now the question is: Who will get access to the new drug for hepatitis C, and when?
The drug Sovaldi will cost $1,000 per pill. A typical course of treatment will last 12 weeks and run $84,000, plus the cost of necessary companion drugs. Some patients may need treatment for twice as long.
Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 8:08 am
When it comes to health care, the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was supposed to be measured in the millions. That's how many people were expected to sign up for insurance to begin on Jan. 1.
But for both supporters and opponents of the law, there's one number that sticks out above all others. Six. That's how many people actually managed to enroll through the federal HealthCare.gov website the first day it opened, Oct. 1.
Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 8:37 am
In recent months, NPR staff has published a series of questions-and-answer stories related to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Now we've compiled them into an interactive so you can explore answers that are most relevant to you.
There are nearly 80 questions, ranging from who's eligible to how much insurance might cost, among two dozen topics. Filter the list by selecting categories or asking questions.
Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 9:58 am
Around a million people get hip or knee replacements a year, and those operations cost Medicare and private insurers a lot of money. For the first time, the federal government is evaluating how good a job individual hospitals are doing.
Medicare has identified 95 hospitals where elderly patients were more likely to suffer significant setbacks and another 97 hospitals where patients tended to have the smoothest recoveries. (It's a long list that you can sift through here.)
Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 3:23 pm
About one-third of American adults say they have problems falling asleep. And prescriptions for sleeping medications are on the rise, with about 4 percent of people using the drugs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But sleep specialists say people should exercise caution before deciding to take medication to help them sleep.
Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 10:27 am
We all know James Bond had a hankering for martinis. But it looks like the international spy threw back far more Vespers, his martini of choice, than was good for him.
Dr. Indra Neil Guha, a liver specialist, and his colleagues at Nottingham University Hospital in England spent a year poring over Ian Fleming's James Bond books and tabulating how many drinks the suave spy drank a day.
Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 10:23 am
The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., one year ago sparked a national conversation about the country's troubled mental health system. Politicians convened task forces and promised additional funding and new laws. But today, despite those promises, patients and advocates say treatment for mental health is still in shambles.