Health News Roundup

Sky-high facility fees at local hospitals, giant retailers replacing your primary care doctor and more in this week’s roundup

health equity

Why America’s black mothers and babies are in a life-or-death crisis
Linda Villarosa, The New York Times Magazine, April 11
This tragedy of black infant mortality is intimately intertwined with another tragedy: a crisis of death and near death in black mothers themselves. The United States is one of only 13 countries in the world where the rate of maternal mortality — the death of a woman related to pregnancy or childbirth up to a year after the end of pregnancy — is now worse than it was 25 years ago.

Kids in tough neighborhoods head to the ER more often
Serena Gordon, U.S. News & World Report, April 6
Growing up in a disadvantaged neighborhood may mean more visits to the emergency room, a new study suggests. When children came from areas of “low opportunity,” they were about one-third more likely to have been treated at an urgent care center or an emergency room than kids from areas with more opportunity.


The disappearing doctor: How mega-mergers are changing the business of medical care
Reed Abelson, Julie Creswell, The New York Times, April 7
People are flocking to retail clinics and urgent care centers, where simple health needs can usually be tended to by health professionals much more cheaply than in a doctor’s office. “You call the doctor’s office to book an appointment,” said Matt Feit, a 45-year-old in Los Angeles who visited an urgent care center eight times last year. “They’re only open Monday through Friday from these hours to those hours, and, generally, they’re not the hours I’m free or I have to take time off from my job.


Hospitals bill more than $1 billion in facility fees over two years
Adam Wisnieski, Connecticut Health Investigative Team, April 12
Patients have long complained about facility fees, which hospitals charge for outpatient services at facilities they own to cover operational expenses. Of the 1.4 million outpatient visits in 2016 facility fees were charged for everything from five-minute office visits to diagnostic tests such as MRIs and mammograms.


Daily gun violence in New Orleans has spurred an epidemic of PTSD
Jimmie Briggs, Vice, April 11
This episode talks about the trauma that young men of color in communities plagued by violence are facing every day.