Trending News Today: Rural Americans Lack Access to Mental Healthcare

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

Obtaining mental health services poses a significant challenge to Americans living in rural areas, especially those with providers many miles away, according to Kaiser Health News. The lack of access to care can sometimes be complicated if patients do not drive and have to rely on transportation services. In areas like Wyoming County, West Virginia, patients experience depression and other mental health issues due to a lack of employment and a downturn in the economy related to the coal industry, according to Kaiser. Without treatment for mental health conditions, children may develop the same issues as their parents and continue the cycle.

Although the recently approved (tisagenlecleucel) Kymriah has a price tag of $475,000, the total cost of care for approved and investigational gene therapies could exceed more than $1 million per patient, according to Kaiser Health News. Since these drugs require high-touch care, it causes a cascade of other medical costs, including hospital care. Nearly half of patients administered gene therapy experience a cytokine storm, which is an immune system overreaction, Kaiser noted. Patients who experience this reaction and other side effects—such as stroke-like symptoms and coma—require hospitalization that adds to treatment costs, according to the article.

Yesterday, President Donald Trump urged lawmakers to draft a short-term bill to fix the individual insurance market, according to The New York Times. Trump said the goal was to make insurance more affordable for Americans and said that a bipartisan bill followed by a GOP long-term plan was the best way to move forward; however, it is unclear whether legislators will pursue a bipartisan plan. Trump also said that he plans to work on controlling drug costs that have been rising significantly over the past few years, according to the article.