Health & Spirit

'Warm' hotlines deliver help before mental health crisis heats up

Health / Health & Fitness /

A lonely and anxious Rebecca Massie first called the Mental Health Association of San Francisco "warmline" during the 2015 winter holidays.

"It was a wonderful call," said Massie, now 38 and a mental health advocate. "I was laughing by the end, and I got in the holiday spirit."

Massie, a San Francisco resident, later used the line multiple ...Read more

'Obamacare' back at Supreme Court, with billions for insurers on the line

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- More than $12 billion is at stake for the nation's health insurers Tuesday when the Supreme Court hears another Affordable Care Act case.

For the federal government, the potential damages could be far greater, as its reputation as a reliable partner to private businesses is on the line.

Unlike earlier Obamacare cases before the ...Read more

UnitedHealth Group buying specialty pharmacy

Health / Health & Fitness /

UnitedHealth Group's Optum division for health care services is acquiring a Michigan-based specialty pharmacy company that also provides infusion services for patients.

According to deal terms announced Monday, UnitedHealth is paying $4 per share for Diplomat Pharmacy Inc. while also assuming the company's debt.

The acquired pharmacy business ...Read more

Former Outcome Health executive pleads guilty to charges for alleged role in $1 billion fraud scheme

Health / Health & Fitness /

CHICAGO -- Former Outcome Health executive Ashik Desai pleaded guilty Monday to wire fraud charges for his alleged role in a nearly $1 billion fraud scheme at the Chicago-based company.

Desai was released on condition of bond after his federal court appearance in Chicago, and surrendered his passport Desai, now 26, served as Outcome's executive...Read more

As his wife's caregiver, a doctor discovers what's missing at health care's core

Health / Health & Fitness /

Caring for someone with a serious illness stretches people spiritually and emotionally, often beyond what they might have thought possible.

Dr. Arthur Kleinman, a professor of psychiatry and anthropology at Harvard University, calls this "enduring the unendurable" in his recently published book, "The Soul of Care: The Moral Education of a ...Read more

California surprise-billing law protects patients but aggravates many doctors

Health / Health & Fitness /

More than two years after California's surprise-billing law took effect, there's one thing on which consumer advocates, doctors and insurers all agree: The law has been effective at protecting many people from bills they might have been saddled with from doctors who aren't in their insurance network.

But the consensus stops there.

"In general,...Read more

Hair dye, straighteners may increase breast cancer risk, especially for black women, study

Health / Health & Fitness /

A large study led by government scientists is renewing concern about whether chemicals used to dye and straighten hair raise the risk of cancer.

National Institutes of Health researchers found an increased chance of breast cancer among women who regularly used permanent hair dye, particularly African-Americans. Black women who used dye at least...Read more

Healthy Men: The epidemic — and consequences — of male loneliness

Health / Health & Fitness /

Loneliness kills. According to former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, isolation and weak social connections "are associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking fifteen cigarettes a day and even greater than that associated with obesity." Even when it's not fatal, loneliness makes life a lot less pleasant. We'll talk...Read more

Candidates are betting big on health. Is that what voters really want?

Health / Health & Fitness /

The one thing we know about health care in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race is that it's a top issue for voters.

The latest Tracking Poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found 24% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said they want to hear the candidates discuss health care. That's twice the total for the next top ...Read more

Mayo Clinic Q&A: Scoliosis most often develops during growth spurt just before puberty

Health / Health & Fitness /

Dear Mayo Clinic: What causes scoliosis? Do genetics play a role? I was diagnosed with it as a teenager, and several of my cousins had it, too. Now I'm worried that my daughter, who's 8, may be affected when she gets older. Should she be checked for scoliosis soon?

A: The exact cause of scoliosis isn't known. But it tends to run in families, ...Read more

UnitedHealth Group touts Optum effect on its corporate growth

Health / Health & Fitness /

UnitedHealth Group is projecting revenue growth to pick up a bit next year led by its Optum division for health care services, which includes a fast-growing network of medical clinics and surgery centers.

The Minnesota-based company provided its first financial outlook for 2020 during an investor conference Tuesday in New York.

Chief executive...Read more

He's only 2 and facing health problems far from home. Donors will help at Christmas

Health / Health & Fitness /

Yobania and Jeffrey Nieto are more than 3,000 miles from home, and on a desperate mission they never anticipated would last this long, or be this hard: finding medical help for their 2-year-old son, Jesseht.

Jesseht suffers from a disorder called hypotonia, or an abnormally low level of muscle tone, and other conditions that affect his ...Read more

Mayo Clinic Q&A: Mitral valve repair with minimally invasive heart surgery

Health / Health & Fitness /

Dear Mayo Clinic: Is minimally invasive heart surgery to repair a mitral valve a safer option than open-heart surgery? Is it common for a surgeon to have to switch to an open-heart procedure after starting the surgery?

A: Both minimally invasive heart surgery and traditional surgery that involves opening the chest bone -- a procedure known as ...Read more

Research shows South Asians make up 60% of heart disease patients

Health / Health & Fitness /

CHICAGO -- Munaf Patel is an active husband and father. He plays cricket, basketball and volleyball, and runs around with his young kids in the family's yard near the city's Far Northwest Side.

So when he had an "uneasy" feeling in his chest in September 2015, he took some aspirin and followed up with his doctor. He was concerned but didn't ...Read more

Alzheimer's disease usually worsens slowly

Health / Health & Fitness /

Q: My mother has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, but she seems to be declining rapidly. Doesn't Alzheimer's usually get worse slowly?

A: Yes, Alzheimer's disease usually worsens slowly. But its speed of progression varies, depending on a person's genetic makeup, environmental factors, age at diagnosis and other medical conditions.

...Read more

Feds file criminal charges against four former Outcome Health executives, alleging massive $1 billion fraud

Health / Health & Fitness /

CHICAGO -- Outcome Health and its former executives, Rishi Shah and Shradha Agarwal, were shining stars in Chicago's tech scene.

There were plans to put the company's name on a skyscraper. A fund co-founded by J.B. Pritzker and units of Goldman Sachs and Google made investments in the company. Shah was the youngest newcomer to the Forbes 400 ...Read more

UnitedHealthcare opening centers in Walgreens stores

Health / Health & Fitness /

UnitedHealthcare is launching new service centers for Medicare beneficiaries in more than a dozen Walgreens stores -- a second partnership in as many years between the pharmacy giant and Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealth Group, which is parent company to United's large health insurance business.

Scheduled to open in January, the service ...Read more

Startup seeks to hold doctors, hospitals accountable on patient record requests

Health / Health & Fitness /

When Kelly Shanahan had her OB-GYN practice in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., she was meticulous about providing medical records promptly to all patients who requested them, she said.

But since being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2013, an event that forced her into retirement, Shanahan has discovered that not all of her doctors are as ...Read more

Fact check: Do 160 million Americans really like their health plans? Kind of

Health / Health & Fitness /

Articulating his proposal for health care reform, former Vice President Joe Biden emphasized the number of Americans who, he said, were more than perfectly satisfied with the coverage they have.

"160 million people like their private insurance," Biden said during last week's Democratic presidential primary debate.

That argument is at the heart...Read more

Healthy Men: How to save your husband's life

Health / Health & Fitness /

Dear Healthy Men: I love my family, but I'm very frustrated about having to manage almost everyone's health. While my daughter and I schedule our own doctor visits and mammograms, my husband and two teenage sons never do. In fact, I just spent half the morning making appointments (physicals for my sons, and a physical, colonoscopy, EKG, and ...Read more