WIUM Tristates Public Radio

healthcare

CDC

The McDonough and Schuyler County Health Departments said they will begin administering the coronavirus vaccine on Monday, February 1, 2021.

Like other governors nationwide, Gov. JB Pritzker has recently taken to criticizing a slower-than-anticipated COVID-19 vaccination effort at Illinois’ long-term care facilities by pharmacy giants CVS and Walgreens.

Courtesy of Ananya Cleetus

People who have navigated tough situations in health care often have the best ideas for how to improve the system. 

Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly has examined dozens of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in St. Louis, but he still finds it jarring to see how the virus ravages their bodies.

The quiet excitement in the room was palpable as five OSF Saint Francis Medical Center health workers sat down in a cushy blue chair one by one, rolled up their sleeves, and received their first dose of Pfizer's newly authorized COVID-19 vaccine.

In Iowa, Maternal Mortality Highlights Deep Racial Divide In Health Care

Dec 15, 2020
Meryshia Hess

Black women in Iowa are six times more likely to die during or shortly after childbirth than white women, and the reasons why are complicated. But this well-documented disparity also shows the role systemic racism plays in our entire health care system.

OSF HealthCare is adapting lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic to expand breast cancer screening to low-income and minority women.

COVID-19 Patient Who Received Double-Lung Transplant Faces Long Road To Recovery

Aug 15, 2020
COURTESY OF NORTHWESTERN MEDICINE

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 28-year-old Mayra Ramirez was working as a paralegal for an immigration law firm in Chicago. She enjoyed walking her dogs and running 5K races. 

COVID-19: Physician says "We Can Control This"

Jul 15, 2020
HTTPS://WWW.CDC.GOV/CORONAVIRUS/2019-NCOV/PREVENT-GETTING-SICK/PREVENTION.HTML / CDC

An infectious disease specialist at the University of Iowa said unity is a critical part of stopping COVID-19.

Stroke patients in rural hospitals fare far worse than urban patients, according to new research from Washington University.

Based on the records of nearly 800,000 stroke patients in the U.S. collected over six years, rural residents were less likely to receive advanced, lifesaving treatments than urban patients — and more likely to die at the hospital.

COURTESY OF OSF HEALTHCARE

While emergency medical procedures have continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, non-emergency or "elective" surgeries and medical procedures have been put on hold.

Mary Altaffer/AP

Emergency physicians across Illinois are bracing for an onslaught of patients sick with the coronavirus disease COVID-19.

Rocky Rollout of Health Insurance Worries Foster Families

Mar 6, 2020
CHRISTINE HERMAN/ILLINOIS PUBLIC MEDIA

After Rebecca and Bruce Austin gave birth to their daughter, they struggled to get pregnant again. So they signed up to become foster parents.

Rich Egger

McDonough District Hospital in Macomb has operated without a Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for much of its history. But that is changing.

Last year, a school nurse in East Moline faced a moral dilemma when a diabetic student lost consciousness in her office. Now she’s trying to make sure no other school nurse has to face the same tough choice.

Low blood sugar can usually be cured with orange juice and a granola bar. But those snacks and glucose tabs weren’t helping the 7th grader sitting in Jennifer Jacobs’ office.

“Her blood sugar kept falling, and we kept pushing the snacks,” Jacobs says.

A small but growing number of U.S. women are choosing to give birth at home. However home birth midwives are not regulated by the state of Illinois. Many mothers still choose to stay home, despite the risks involved in not having a proper vetting system.

Why Are There So Few Black Men In Medicine?

Feb 18, 2019

Dr. Don Arnold’s home office overflows with medical textbooks, old anatomical prints and six pages of a recommendation letter from his first application to medical school - framed and hanging on the wall.

“It says I have very unique and viable talents that would serve me well, but on paper a very poor academic record,” he says. “So this is code. For those who don’t know. Nobody’s going to outwardly tell you not to take a person, but this is how they write it in code.”

The Prescription Drug Mystery

Feb 13, 2019

Recently I learned that I could get a necessary prescription medication cheaper if I didn't use my insurance.  I was happy – no more yearly forms to fill out, appeals to make, alternative drugs to try.  And then it dawned on me – I still had to pay my premium, but the insurance company didn't have to pay for my medication. Here is how it works for me. If I get my prescription through my coverage at OptumRx, my cost is $50 per month, and that includes  a detailed and lengthy approval process required by a nameless corporate entity who doesn't know me and whose concern is company profit. If I don't use the coverage, and purchase my prescription at a local pharmacy with an on-line discount coupon, my cost is $35 per month, no approval needed except by my trusted nurse practitioner Brenda Powell Allen.

Rural hospitals aren’t just providers of medicine and health care, but also are often major employers and a massive part of a town’s tax base. However, mounting challenges are forcing these hospitals to merge and close in droves.

Rich Egger

Dr. B.S. Kesavan became a much-beloved pediatrician during his four decades in Galesburg.  A stroke sidelined him a couple years ago. It left him wondering what he should do and how he might recover.

Illinois hospitals will soon receive money to treat millions of people who are covered through Medicaid. The federal government has approved state's latest hospital assessment program, which gives money to hospitals for treating its poorest individuals.


Gov. Reynolds today expressed confidence in Iowa’s privately-managed health care program for the poor and disabled, even as thousands of Medicaid patients are being pulled out of the new system.     

One of three for-profit companies managing the program, AmeriHealth Caritas, has dropped out.   Another company, AmeriGroup, can’t absorb some of AmeriHealth’s 215,000 patients.

As a result, at least 9,000 patients are going back to the traditional state-run Medicaid program, at least until AmeriGroup can build up capacity. 

During the more than two years that Illinois went without a state spending plan, hospitals, dentists and other health care providers waited months or even years to get paid for services to state employees and Medicaid patients.

The enrollment period is now open for getting coverage from the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The signup up period is just six weeks rather than twelve like previous years and ends December 15, 2017.

Bram Sable-Smith/Side Effects Public Media

When Sarah Scantling went into labor this summer, she had to drive 30 miles and across state lines.  Three years earlier, the only maternity ward where she lives in Pemiscot County, Missouri closed down. Scantling had to choose between a handful of other hospitals in the region between 20 and 70 miles away.

$1.25 million.

That’s the size of the bill that could have shuttered the only public hospital in rural Pemiscot County, Missouri in August 2013.

$750,000 for payroll. $500,000 for a bond payment. $1.25 million total. One August day in 2013, the hospital’s CEO Kerry Noble had to face facts: The money just wasn’t there. It took an emergency bailout from a local bank to keep their doors open. For now.

Alex Smith/for Harvest Public Media

24 year old Kalee Woody says that when she was growing up in Bronaugh, Missouri, she saw the small town slowly fading. Businesses closed, growth stagnated, and residents had to drive to other places to see a doctor.

Rich Egger

Researchers are trying to gain greater insights into why people experience different health outcomes.  A healthcare expert from Illinois believes those differences could be reduced through community coalitions.

Labor unions are attacking Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner for several vetoes issues late last week. The Republican governor rejected measures that would have raised wages for state contractors that take care of the elderly and disabled.

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