Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

Healthcare

Dan Weissman

The cost of healthcare in the U.S. has become so untenable that many news outlets now highlight outrageous medical bills – like a $100,000 heart attack or $56,000 ambulance ride in Texas.

Courtesy Larry Jarocki

This year, National Public Radio asked students and teachers to put on some headphones, grab microphones and turn stories into sound, all for NPR’s first ever Student Podcast Challenge. Thousands of podcasts were entered from more than 1500 schools nationwide. Topics ranged from gun control to mental health, from mythology to hedgehogs. Today, we’re going to talk to one of the finalists in the high school category. Her name is Megan Tucker and she’s a sophomore at El Diamante High School in Visalia. Her podcast is called “The Lack of Specialized Health Care in Small Towns.”

Community Hospitals/ UCSF Fresno

If you or a loved one needed to go to the emergency room, how would you pay the bill? If you’re like most Americans, you don’t have huge cash funds socked away for a trip to the ER. Most of us are overwhelmed by the high cost of healthcare—and it doesn’t help that medical costs are often hidden.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

In a loading dock in northeast Fresno, two men pull up to the warehouse at Saint Agnes Medical Center in a white moving van. They meet a contract coordinator with the hospital named Heather Ritter, who pulls out a clipboard and asks them to sign a form. “As is, no warranty, no service, you know the drill,” she says. “And no charge, how's that!”

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Clinica Sierra Vista introduced their new CEO and opened a new clinic in north Fresno Wednesday. The Bakersfield-based clinics have historically served rural and low income communities. CEO Brian Harris says that serving those communities remains their goal.

 

“If you look at who's going to the medical emergency rooms in our community, it is the poor and underserved,” says Harris. “They're using that as their primary care home. So we need to open up clinics near the hospitals.”