Photo by Alban Gonzalez is licensed under CC 2.0. https://www.flickr.com/photos/paingouin/2942937382/

When Insurers Deny Mental Health Coverage, Families In Crisis Struggle Even More

When Matthew Timion needed to get his son treatment for mental illness, he did not anticipate it would be so hard to get the insurance company to pay for it.

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The Workaround: A Video Series

The Workaround: A Video Series

A deeper look at how everyday people work around the American health care system.

In 1998, 25 weeks into her pregnancy, Sara Arey's cervix dilated and her amniotic sac started to descend into the birth canal. She was rushed to a hospital an hour and a half away from her home near Hickory, N.C., where she stayed for more than a week before her baby was born via emergency C-section. The baby, a girl, died 12 hours later in the hospital.

Photo by Gary Cassel is licensed under CC0. https://pixabay.com/en/phoropter-refraction-2297282/

Kentucky plans to restore vision and dental insurance to nearly half a million Medicaid recipients who lost coverage this month. The state cut coverage after a federal judge’s decision to deny its Medicaid waiver, but the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services said Friday those who lost their coverage should have it back by Aug.1.

West Nile Virus Found In Midwest Mosquitoes And People

Jul 20, 2018
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Mosquitoes aren’t just annoying pests at your outdoor barbecue. They’re spreading West Nile virus across the Midwest this summer. And already one person in Illinois has had the illness. Experts say it’s time to go beyond the bug spray and take some extra precautions when you’re outside.

Jake Harper / Side Effects Public Media

Alaska plans to use federal grant money to purchase a controversial device used in opioid addiction treatment.

Last week, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced it will use part of a $1.3 million federal grant to purchase the Bridge device, which is made in Indiana. The Bridge is a nerve stimulator that attaches around a patient's ear to reduce nausea, aches and other symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal.

Products Of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Metabolism Show Anti-Cancer Properties In Mice

Jul 19, 2018
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New research from the University of Illinois finds products of omega-3 fatty acid metabolism show anti-cancer properties in mice.

Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain development. When the body metabolizes these fats, it creates a class of compounds that help reduce pain and inflammation. Known as endocannabinoids, the molecules behave similarly to compounds in marijuana, but without the psychotropic effects.

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Dr. Elliot Tapper has treated a lot of patients, but this one stood out.

"His whole body was yellow," Tapper remembers. "He could hardly move. It was difficult for him to breathe, and he wasn't eating anything."

The patient was suffering from chronic liver disease. After years of alcohol use, his liver had stopped filtering his blood. Bilirubin, a yellowish waste compound, was building up in his body and changing his skin color.

Disturbing to Tapper, the man was only in his mid-30s – much younger than most liver disease patients.

ALEX SMITH / KCUR 89.3

When Cody Goodwin, of Independence, Missouri, was 24, he had already been hooked on opioids, including heroin, for years. His sister decided jail was the only way he could be cut off from drugs, so she reported him to the police. 

“I was mad at my sister at first, boy, you know, she got me locked up. I was upset. But now I look back and it saved my life,” Goodwin says.

When he got out, he found a methadone clinic where he could get medication-assisted treatment, but there was a catch that made him leery. If he wanted methadone, he’d have to do talk therapy as well.

Lauren Bavis/Side Effects Public Media

On a sunny Saturday morning, Samantha Wilmot helped a customer pick a fresh cantaloupe the best way she knows how, by smell. Satisfied, she accepted a few dollar bills from the man who stopped by her booth at the Columbus Farmers Market.

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To an outsider, the fancy booths at last month’s health insurance industry gathering in San Diego aren’t very compelling. A handful of companies pitching “lifestyle” data and salespeople touting jargony phrases like “social determinants of health.”

But dig deeper and the implications of what they’re selling might give many patients pause: A future in which everything you do — the things you buy, the food you eat, the time you spend watching TV — may help determine how much you pay for health insurance.

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Can't cool off this summer? Heat waves can slow us down in ways we may not realize.

New research suggests heat stress can muddle our thinking, making simple math a little harder to do.

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The Workaround

The Workaround: A New Podcast From Side Effects Public Media

These are stories of the difficult and sometimes shocking things people do to work around the American health care system.

Side Effects, Indiana

Public health news focused on Indiana

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On The Front Lines Of A Drug Crisis: A New Video Series

On The Front Lines Of A Drug Crisis: A New Video Series

The opioid addiction crisis is often reported on in desperate terms. But, to the people working on the frontlines of the problem, there are known and proven approaches that can help.