access to care

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An Illinois Senate bill aims to help children who are at risk of entering state custody because of issues caused by untreated mental illness. The measure comes as states grapple with ways to help parents who face a heartbreaking choice: giving up custody to obtain expensive treatment for a child.


Photo courtesy of Purdue University

A patient’s self-evaluation of mental health problems may be more accurate than previously thought according to new research out of Purdue University. 

Past studies indicate patient and therapist diagnoses of personality disorders do not align. But this new study found different results when patients and providers had the same diagnostic tool.

Lead author and Purdue professor Doug Samuels says patients and providers identified many of the same symptoms at the similar places on a personality assessment scale.

Medicaid Is Rural America's Financial Midwife

Mar 13, 2018
Maddie McGarvey / Kaiser Health News

Brianna Foster, 23, lives minutes away from Genesis Hospital, the main source of health care and the only hospital with maternity services in southeastern Ohio’s rural Muskingum County.

In 2005, Francis Brauner was a quarter of the way through a 20-year prison sentence at Dixon Correctional Institute in Louisiana, when he had an accident.

Brauner was imprisoned for a rape conviction, which he maintains was wrongful and part of a setup by a corrupt judge.

His sentence involved hard labor, and one day he was out in the fields, cutting the grass and he bent over to pick something up from the ground. He felt a sharp pain in his back.

Behind The Turntable, An Unexpected Resource For Assault Prevention

Feb 22, 2018

Bloomington, Indiana has no shortage of night clubs. A classic college town, on any day of the week, bar-goers can begin a crawl in the late afternoon and hit a dozen sticky dance floors by midnight.

Niko Si / Flickr

A law passed in 2014 was supposed to ensure Illinois families no longer have to give up custody of their children in order to get them necessary mental health treatment.

Steve Pivnick / US Air Force

Indiana Medicaid will now cover residential treatment, detoxification and peer recovery services. The federal government approved the expanded coverage earlier this month as part of the Healthy Indiana Plan’s Medicaid waiver extension.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

This story was originally published February 6. It has been updated as of February 9 at 1 pm.

The Atchison-Holt Ambulance District spans two counties and 1,100 square miles in the far northwest corner of Missouri. The EMTs who drive these ambulances cover nearly 10 times more land area than their counterparts in Omaha, the nearest major city. 

Sarah Fentem / Side Effects Public Media

Members who fail to renew coverage under Indiana’s Medicaid program will be subject to a six-month suspension period. That’s despite previous notice in 2016 from the federal government that the state can’t enforce such lockouts.

Illustration: Ela Trujillo / WHYY/The Pulse

“I hope to extend my life as long as possible for the sake of my children.”

Beth Van Dam / Flickr

While serving time in jail, Emma King had to go to great lengths to find something as common as tampons. She and other women in prison eventually learned how to make their own.


Treating Domestic Violence As A Medical Issue

Jan 30, 2018
Anna Gorman / Kaiser Health News

Fanny Ortiz, a mother of five who lives just east of downtown Los Angeles, spent nearly a decade married to a man who controlled her and frequently threatened her. Then, she said, his abuse escalated. “He would physically hit me in the face, throw me on the wall,” she recalled.


In a corner of Jymie Jimerson's house in the town of Sparta, in southwest Missouri, she has set up a kind of shrine. It has Native American art representing her Cherokee heritage alongside Willie Nelson albums, books and photos in remembrance of her late husband.

There's a copy of Willie's mid-'70s LP Red Headed Stranger. "When Steve was young, he had red hair and a red beard, so he always really identified with Willie's Red Headed Stranger," Jimerson says. "I try to keep it up there as a reminder of better days."

VA To Offer Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy For Some Veterans With PTSD

Jan 20, 2018
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Jason Emery is sitting at the dining room table in his Greenfield, Indiana home. He takes one of his guitars off the wall and starts strumming the notes to a song he wrote. It's here that Emery finds solace.

For those not familiar with Missouri, the so-called "Bootheel" refers to the wedge of the state that juts down between Tennessee and Arkansas — a area that's been profiled by Side Effect's own Bram Sable-Smith, who covered a struggling rural hospital there in 2017.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

On Friday, Kentucky became the first state with federal approval to implement a so-called work requirement for Medicaid recipients. The commonwealth is one of ten states, including Indiana, that have requested approval from the federal government for such a provision.


Kentucky got the green light from the federal government Friday to require people who get Medicaid to work. It's a big change from the Obama administration, which rejected overtures from states that wanted to add a work requirement.

Experts Question New Green Light On Medicaid Work Requirement

Jan 11, 2018

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced it will support state policies that require people to work for their Medicaid coverage. Ten states —including Indiana and Kentucky — have submitted proposals to add a so-called work requirement to their Medicaid plans.

http://www.msh.state.ms.us/

The state of mental health care in Mississippi has been in freefall for years.

As a consequence of the ripple effects of the financial crisis, Mississippi saw its state support for mental health care slashed by $42 million from 2009 to 2011, roughly 15 percent of the Department of Mental Health’s budget.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

When the hospital closed in rural Ellington, Missouri, a town of about 1,000, the community lost its only emergency room, too. 

That was 2016. That same year, a local farmer had a heart attack.


bxgd / Flickr

Schools in Illinois are adjusting to a new state-mandated rule that takes effect next week. Starting in January, they’ll be required to provide feminine hygiene products to students at no cost.

Lack Of Mental Health Services In Predominantly Black Schools Creates Detrimental ‘Domino Effect’

Dec 28, 2017
Salvation Army USA West / Flickr

For many black school-age youth, mental health needs can fly under the radar. They can lead some parents, teachers and other adults to perceive it as kids “acting out.” St. Louis Public Radio’s Marissanne Lewis-Thompson spoke with Dr. Marva Robinson, a licensed clinical psychologist in St. Louis about what happens when mental health resources aren’t available in predominantly black schools.


PTSD Complicates End-Of-Life Care For Some Veterans

Dec 19, 2017
Steven Tom / Flickr

Ron Fleming is 74 now, but he's spent most of his life trying to recapture what life felt like when he was 21, fighting in Vietnam.


urbanworkbench / https://www.flickr.com/photos/urbanworkbench/

Indiana emergency physicians are concerned a new insurance policy to curb emergency department visits could scare away patients. The policy, already in place in three other states, will take effect for Indiana Anthem policy holders next month.

Five Takeaways From The Congressional CHIP Impasse

Dec 14, 2017

Two months past its deadline, Congress has yet to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program, leaving several states scrambling for cash.

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