A new COVID booster is here. Will those at greatest risk get it?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends new COVID-19 booster vaccines for all — but many who need them most won’t get them. About 75% of people in the United States appear to have skipped last year’s bivalent booster, and nothing suggests uptake will be better this time around. “Urging people to get boosters […]
Hit the snooze button: States debate later high school start times
California and Florida have become the first states to require later public school start times, a response to reams of research showing significant advantages for high school students who can get more sleep by beginning their day at 8:30 a.m. or later. But such changes come with difficult ripple effects — upended bus schedules, later starts […]
Drug decriminalization stumbled in Oregon. Other states are taking note.
PORTLAND, Ore. — Just before Portland’s city council approved a ban on public drug use last week, Mayor Ted Wheeler described what he’d observed on his way to work that afternoon: “The last time I saw somebody consuming what I believe to be fentanyl publicly on our streets was less than five minutes ago, three […]
You might need an ambulance, but your state might not see it as ‘essential’
When someone with a medical emergency calls 911, they expect an ambulance to show up. But sometimes, there simply isn’t one available. Most states don’t declare emergency medical services (EMS) to be an “essential service,” meaning the state government isn’t required to provide or fund them. Now, though, a growing number of states are taking […]
Most states have yet to permanently fund 988. Call centers want certainty.
This story was produced by KFF Health News. Since the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline transitioned a year ago to the three-digit crisis phone number 988, there has been a 33% increase in the number of calls, chats and texts to the hotline. But even with that early sign of success, the program’s financial future is […]
Sexual assault survivors can now track their rape kits in most states
It can take hours for a sexual assault victim to undergo the multiple swabs, hair samples, blood and urine collections, and other invasive procedures of a sexual assault examination. And then it can take months, sometimes years, for investigators to process that evidence kit. But now, responding to demands from survivors and their advocates, more […]
Some states back hospital mergers despite record of service cuts, price hikes
Some illnesses and injuries — say, a broken ankle — can send you to numerous health care providers. You might start at urgent care but end up in the emergency room. Referred to an orthopedist, you might eventually land in an outpatient surgery center. Four different stops on your road to recovery. But as supersized […]
It may have just gotten harder to protect minority communities from pollution
In recent years, some states have invested in air quality monitoring, applied extra scrutiny to permitting decisions and steered cleanup funding to minority communities that have borne the brunt of pollution for decades. Now, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision striking down race-conscious college admissions policies, state lawmakers are facing a […]
Abortion-ban states pour millions into pregnancy centers with little medical care
After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, Louisiana Republican state Sen. Beth Mizell looked for a way to address her state’s abysmal record on infant and maternal mortality, preterm births and low birth weight. Louisiana has one of the nation’s strictest abortion bans, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Mizell […]
Towns could save themselves from wildfire — if they knew about this money
PACKWOOD, Wash. — Last year, Don Pratt fled from his home as a wildfire swept down the mountainside here in Washington’s Cascade Range. “Heading out, I thought it was the last time I was going to see the house,” he said. As residents evacuated and smoke engulfed the small mountain community, fire crews with bulldozers […]
Stifling prison heat used to be just a Southern problem. Not anymore.
While sweltering heat in prisons without air conditioning has long been an issue in the South, extreme heat waves worsened by climate change are expanding the problem into Northern states. In recent years, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin have seen extreme heat in prisons. Many of these states lack the necessary infrastructure for […]
Hospitals block much-needed birth centers in the South
When Katie Chubb announced in 2021 she was planning to open a freestanding birth center in Augusta, Georgia, it seemed like everybody in town was excited about it. She met with local physicians and nurses who said they would welcome her Augusta Birth Center as a provider of midwifery services for low-risk pregnancies. Hundreds of […]