$102,000 was the bill for her teen’s stay in a state mental hospital : Shots

Bridget Narsh at her home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Narsh’s son has autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, and ADHD. In 2020, he spent more than 100 days at Central Regional Hospital, a state-run mental health facility. The state billed the family nearly $102,000 for the hospitalizations.

Eamon Queeney/KFF Health News

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Eamon Queeney/KFF Health News

Bridget Narsh at her home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Narsh’s son has autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, and ADHD. In 2020, he spent more than 100 days at Central Regional Hospital, a state-run mental health facility. The state billed the family nearly $102,000 for the hospitalizations.

Eamon Queeney/KFF Health News

Bridget Narsh’s son, Mason, needed urgent help in January 2020, so she was offered the chance to send him to Central Regional Hospital, a state-run mental health facility in Butner, North Carolina.

The teen, who deals with autism and post-traumatic stress and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders, had started destroying furniture and running away from home. His mother worried for the safety of Mason and the rest of the family.

But children in crisis in North Carolina can wait weeks or months for a psychiatric bed because the state lacks the services to meet demand. And when spots do become available, they are expensive.

The standard rate at Central Regional was $1,338 a day, which Narsh could not afford. So, when a patient relations representative offered a discounted rate of less than $60 a day, her husband, Nathan, signed an agreement.

Mason, now 17, was hospitalized for more than 100 days in Central Regional over two separate stays that year, documents show.

But when requests for payment arrived the following year, Narsh said she was shocked. The letters — which were marked “final notice” and requested immediate payment — were signed by a paralegal in the office of Josh Stein, North Carolina’s attorney general. The total bill, $101,546.49, was significantly more than the roughly $6,700 the Narshes expected to pay under their agreement with the hospital.

“I had to tell myself to keep my cool,” says Bridget Narsh, 44, who lives with her husband and three children in Chapel Hill. “There is no way I could pay for this.”

Medical bills have upended the lives of millions of Americans, with hospitals putting liens on homes and pushing many people into bankruptcy. In recent years, lawmakers have railed against privately operated hospitals, and states have passed laws intended to make medical billing more transparent and limit aggressive debt collection tactics.

Some state attorneys general — as their states’ top law enforcement officials — have pursued efforts to shield residents from harmful billing and debt collection practices. But in the name of protecting taxpayer resources, their offices are also often responsible for collecting unpaid debts for state-run facilities, which can put them in a contradictive position.

Stein, a Democrat running for governor in 2024, has made hospital consolidation and health care price transparency a key issue during his time in office.

“I have real concerns about this

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Dental therapists enable patients in have to have of treatment stay away from the brush-off

Credit score: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

All six of Michelle Ehlert’s kids have Medicaid ideas that should address their dental care. But for years, she and her partner paid for dental care out-of-pocket—sometimes countless numbers of dollars a calendar year.

They could not locate a dentist near their household in Wilkin County, Minnesota, who accepted Medicaid. When a cellular clinic that would take care of Medicaid sufferers drove just about 200 miles from Minneapolis to the rural county on Minnesota’s western border, appointments that in good shape her family’s agenda ended up “hit-or-miss out on,” she stated.

That all improved when Ehlert’s relatives found a clinic in neighboring Otter Tail County operate by Apple Tree Dental, in which dental therapists, who prioritize dealing with Medicaid recipients, give significantly of the clinic’s care.

Now, “we in fact go to the dentist like we’re scheduled to,” Ehlert reported. “It really is indescribable how substantially of a variation it is created.”

Dental therapists are certified suppliers who present fundamental care usually supplied by dentists, such as fillings and simple tooth extractions. In excess of a dozen states have turned to them to boost access to oral health treatment, and federal advisers say at least 8 a lot more are thinking of carrying out the exact. Like Minnesota, some states have deployed therapists specifically to profit underserved populations, this sort of as rural residents, Medicaid recipients, and Native American tribes.

Nevertheless, dental therapists are not universally supported or accessible to most rural Individuals, inspite of insufficient accessibility to oral overall health providers in quite a few nonurban communities.

Karl Self, director of dental therapy at the College of Minnesota College of Dentistry, stated that recruiting these midlevel suppliers is a expense-efficient way to expand treatment in rural Minnesota.

Self has led the university’s program due to the fact the outset, immediately after surveying educational institutions in Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom for examples of how to train the new degree. Dental remedy has existed abroad since 1921 but was first practiced in the U.S. in 2004 inside the Alaska Tribal Well being System. These days, only 5 school courses offer dental therapy coaching.

Dental therapists provide a slice of specialised treatment that aids fill gaps, Self mentioned.

“Dental therapists are form of the restorative professionals,” he reported. “They commit the vast vast majority of their time undertaking a extremely little section of dentistry as a entire. But it is a really large percentage of the primary care requirements of people.”

Below the supervision of a dentist, dental therapists can entire oral evaluations, fill cavities, and extract kid’s toddler tooth. In Minnesota, dental therapists with state-of-the-art coaching can treat patients without the need of acquiring a dentist on-internet site.

That adaptability allows all those therapists to supply care in communities without having complete-time dentists.

Self explained dental techniques can deploy therapists to satellite workplaces, providing primary treatment several times per week and reserving far more difficult methods for occasional visits from a dentist.


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One Medical joins Amazon to make it easier for people to get and stay healthier

For a limited time, One Medical membership is available to new U.S. customers for $144 (28% discount) for the first year—the equivalent of only $12 per month.

Amazon and One Medical announced that Amazon completed its acquisition of One Medical. One Medical’s seamless in-office and 24/7 virtual care services, on-site labs, and programs for preventive care, chronic care management, common illnesses, and mental health concerns have been delighting people for the past 15 years. Together, Amazon and One Medical look to deliver exceptional health care to more people to achieve better health outcomes, better care experiences, and more value, within a better care team environment. For a limited time, One Medical is offering annual memberships at the discounted price of $144 for the first year (regularly $199 per year), the equivalent of $12 per month, to new customers. Redeem the One Medical membership promotion and learn more about what’s included.

“We’re on a mission to make it dramatically easier for people to find, choose, afford, and engage with the services, products, and professionals they need to get and stay healthy, and coming together with One Medical is a big step on that journey,” said Neil Lindsay, senior vice president of Amazon Health Services. “One Medical has set the bar for what a quality, convenient, and affordable primary care experience should be like. We’re inspired by their human-centered, technology-forward approach and excited to help them continue to grow and serve more patients.”

“One Medical has been on a mission to help transform health care through its human-centered and technology-powered model to delight people with better health, better care, and better value, within a better team environment,” said Amir Dan Rubin, CEO of One Medical. “We now set our sights on delivering even further positive impacts for consumers, employers, care teams, and health networks, as we join Amazon with its long-term orientation, history of invention, and passion for reimagining a better future.”

“If you fast forward 10 years from now, people are not going to believe how primary care was administered. For decades, you called your doctor, made an appointment three or four weeks out, drove 15-20 minutes to the doctor, parked your car, signed in and waited several minutes in reception, eventually were placed in an exam room, where you waited another 10-15 minutes before the doctor came in, saw you for five to ten minutes and prescribed medicine, and then you drove 20 minutes to the pharmacy to pick it up—and that’s if you didn’t have to then go see a specialist for additional evaluation, where the process repeated and could take even longer for an appointment,” said Amazon CEO Andy Jassy. “Customers want and deserve better, and that’s what One Medical has been working and innovating on for more than a decade. Together, we believe we can make the health care experience easier, faster, more personal, and more convenient for everyone.”

One Medical sets a high bar for human-centered primary care experiences:

Access to primary care where, when, and

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