Health and Health Care

Mother Jones investigated the shady and often underregulated industry of addiction rehab centers, which barely resemble the rest of the medical industry. Evidence-based care is rare. Facility operators with little training stand to gain from relapses. Kickbacks and conflicts of interest are rampant. Patients are routinely paid — in money, drugs, free flights, and more — to attend rehabs, bringing in insurance money. Read the Story »

Becki Sarnicky, who lost her son Nick, at her home in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in January. Photo credit: Bryan Anselm/Redux for Mother Jones


Reporting on the dramatic increase in opioid addiction, from prescription pills to heroin and fentanyl, the Connecticut Health I-Team used data to show the effect in the Naugatuck River Valley, once a manufacturing powerhouse. A pharmacy in Ansonia sold 5.4 million pills, or 272 pills for every woman, man and child in the town. Read the Story »

Belt Magazine found that many people with opioid abuse disorder living on the streets in Chicago avoid going to a hospital for fear of becoming "dopesick" due to inadequate treatment. The story explored what hospitals can do better and how to remove such barriers to treatment. Read the Story »

A CalMatters series explores every aspect of California’s broken mental-health system, using a variety of storytelling formats from explainer card decks to video and public events. Evidence of the system breakdown can be found in California’s jails and prisons, hospitals and clinics, schools and colleges and touches those living in comfortable middle class suburbs, remote rural towns, and on big-city streets.
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Now that manufacturers have largely phased out production of flame-retardant chemicals known as PBDEs in the wake of concerns that they harm children’s brain development, reduce fertility and contribute to other adverse health effects, we’re safe – right? Wrong. Ensia reports that when we recycle plastics, we may be moving old PBDEs into new products, from kitchen utensils to children’s toys. This solutions journalism story provides information consumers can use now and raises awareness of an issue in future strategies for managing plastic waste. Read the Story »

New Mexico In Depth revealed an ignored epidemic of hepatitis C in state prisons, where 44% of inmates screened positive yet few can access treatment. One prison health services administrator said eligibility restrictions based on behavior amount to rationing of scarce health care dollars. The reporting led to a pledge by New Mexico's new governor to act on the issue. Read the Story »


Fernando Trujillo has struggled to beat a drug addiction and Hep C, a struggle that stints in prison just exacerbated. Photo credit: Ted Alcorn/ New Mexico In Depth


As the market for CBD-infused products booms, Science News magazine took a critical look at the gaping chasm that separates the sales pitches from the scientific evidence backing use of the products, while also reviewing the research supporting its use in certain forms of epilepsy. Read the Story »

Through a mix of reporting, personal essays, Q&As, playlists, illustrations and more from young content creators, YR Media’s #BeyondSelfCare is raising awareness, fighting stigma, and reframing the conversation about mental health as a shared experience and human right. Read the Story »

Washington Monthly showed how long-term care is a gaping hole in our social safety net—and how unpaid family caregivers are forced to fill it. The piece focused on why the issue hasn’t gained national political attention, and made the case for why addressing it is a natural fit for Democratic candidates. Soon after its publication, multiple Democratic presidential candidates announced eldercare policy proposals. Read the Story »

A four-part series plumbed the depths of the opioid crisis affecting public safety, health care, education, business and every other sector of Virginia's Piedmont region. Foothills Forum collaborated with the Piedmont Journalism Foundation and local weeklies and news sites to distribute the series in a region where opioids were linked to more than 700 deaths. Read the Story »

WFYI’s Side Effects Public Media investigated an Indianapolis opioid addiction clinic that touts a treatment with miraculous results. The reporting found that the therapy, used in clinics across the country, lacks a scientific basis and claims of a “cure” are wildly exaggerated. Read the Story »

An MLK50 investigation into the rapacious debt collection practices of nonprofit hospital Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare showed that between 2014 and 2018, the Memphis, Tennessee, hospital had sued more than 8,300 patients for unpaid hospital bills — including dozens of its own employees. In response, Methodist immediately suspended court collections, and later announced it would dramatically expand its financial assistance policy, stop suing its poorest patients and its own workers, and stop adding interest and attorney's fees to judgments. Read the Story »

Pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) have been known for misleading patients in order to cut costs, but little proof has surfaced. In an investigation triggered by a shocked consumer, Tarbell exposed how PBMs hire physicians to deny pescriptions that cost companies money, even if the action puts a patient at risk of unnecessary health issues. Read the Story »

A FairWarning investigation found rampant food safety violations, including insects, mold and unwashed hands, in nursing home kitchens across the United States. The reporting exposed an often overlooked threat to the health of vulnerable nursing home residents. Read the Story »

Investigative Post reported that a prominent pediatric surgeon serving as the director of trauma at John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, N.Y., was on probation after being charged with professional misconduct — including gross negligence and incompetence — by the state Department of Health. Read the Story »

As a result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, The War Horse uncovered shortcomings in well-funded mental health programs rushed out for military troops and their families after 9/11. The investigation included interviews with multiple senior military officials about a six-year review of 159 mental health programs that found “a large proportion” of these programs did not track spending and were “unable to document evidence of program outcomes.” Read the Story »

The California Health Report found that most counties in the state are failing to apply for millions of dollars in federal funding that could be used to broaden access to mental health care. The discrepancy raises questions about the effectiveness and equity of the state’s administrative claiming process for county mental health plans at a time when California is struggling to meet residents’ mental health needs. Read the Story »

For the 10-year anniversary of the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, North Carolina Heath News published a series of stories exploring the concept and practice of treating mental and physical health equally and its failure in the state. Read the Story »