Monday, September 19, 2022 | Kaiser Health News

Study Links Medical Debt To Threats To Health And Housing

Medical debt is hitting more Americans, driving bad health outcomes regardless of insurance or income, a study finds. NBC News reports that 1 in 5 U.S. households suffers medical debt, including those with private insurance. Other news covers rising health costs, staffing issues, and private equity.

In related news about rising health care costs —

As financial troubles grow, so do staff shortages —

Dozens Of Oklahoma Families Fight Cuts To Private-Duty Nursing Hours

About 450 SoonerCare members receive private-duty nursing — just a fraction of the more than 1 million Oklahomans on SoonerCare. Since April, about 150 private-duty nursing recipients have gotten notifications that their hours would be scaled back or cut completely. Kevin Corbett, CEO of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and the state’s secretary for health and mental health, said the reevaluations for private-duty nursing are solely based on the medical necessity of the services and the patients’ clinical needs. (Branham, 9/17)

Nurse Claims Forced Arbitration Was Used To Trap Him In Job Juggling 40 Patients

A staffing agency that serves health-care facilities in New York state was accused in a lawsuit of using hardball legal tactics to stop workers from quitting low-paid jobs. The complaint, filed Friday by a nurse who immigrated to the US from the Philippines, is the latest to allege that employers are resorting to illegal means to trap foreign workers in assignments that burnt-out American caregivers no longer want. (Eidelson, 9/16)

On the shift to private equity firms —

Private Equity Sees The Billions In Eye Care As Firms Target High-Profit Procedures 

Christina Green hoped cataract surgery would clear up her cloudy vision, which had worsened after she took a drug to fight her breast cancer. But the former English professor said her 2019 surgery with Ophthalmology Consultants didn’t get her to 20/20 vision or fix her astigmatism — despite a $3,000 out-of-pocket charge for the astigmatism surgical upgrade. Green, 69, said she ended up feeling more like a dollar sign to the practice than a patient. “You’re a cow among a herd as you just move from this station to this station to this station,” she said. (Weber, 9/19)

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