Three years ago Riley Hospital for Children opened a psychiatric unit amid much fanfare, saying it would provide much-needed care for children and adolescents with conditions ranging from anxiety to eating disorders to bipolar disorder.

But this spring, the hospital quietly shuttered the 20-bed unit, which included safe rooms especially designed for patients who might harm themselves.

And Riley is not the only hospital to make such a decision, experts say, as insurers direct patients to treatments that don't involve expensive hospitalizations.

The closing at Riley does not leave the parents of troubled children without options, but it does come at a time when advocates for pediatric mental health services decry a lack of resources, including available hospital beds for patients whose needs cannot be addressed outside of a hospital setting.

Yet hospital officials declined to go into detail about the rationale behind the closure. In an emailed statement Riley officials said only that they were considering the best way to provide dedicated behavioral health services.

A simmering US health crisis has bubbled to the surface. As the global maternal mortality rate fell 44 percent between 1990 and 2015, maternal mortality and pregnancy-related deaths in the US have gone in the opposite direction, increasing 139 percent since 1987. The stark disparities by race have persisted for the past six decades, with black women still three to four times more likely to die pregnancy-related deaths in the US as the rates continue to climb. This is a serious problem without a simple solution, but one finally getting the attention it deserves from policy makers and the general public. Significantly reversing the trend will require honest introspection about the health care system’s role in contributing to the increasingly poor outcomes and high costs of maternity care.

Under the current system, the total payment for a pregnancy and birth includes professional services fees for prenatal care, labor, birth, and postpartum care, in addition to facility fees for the birth and cesarean section, if applicable. Some insurance plans will group all professional fees for maternity-related services under a “global maternity fee,” reimbursed to the individual or group obstetrics practice, while professional fees and facility fees for newborn care are almost always billed separately.

A mother of a 4-year-old son with special needs is suing a British hospital alleging they failed to test for the condition — otherwise she would've had an abortion.

Edyta Mordel, 33, of Reading, wants almost $250,000 in compensation for the cost of raising her son, Aleksander, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome in a case termed "wrongful birth," according to The Mirror.

“Miss Mordel would have been offered an abortion and she and her partner, Aleksander’s father Lukasz Cieciura, agreed they would have terminated the pregnancy,” Mordel's lawyer, Clodagh Bradley QC, told the High Court in London, the outlet reported.

When Maricela Martinez immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, she didn’t know where to go for a medical check up. After Matilde Cachiguango arrived from Ecuador, delivering her baby in an American hospital was the worst medical experience of her life.

Martinez and Cachiguango want things to be easier for other Spanish speakers in Dane County, especially pregnant women or women with new babies. To that end, they’re part of a recently formed local health cooperative owned entirely by Latina and indigenous Latina women providing health services and education.

All six women in Raíces para el Cambio, or Roots4Change, are doulas and community health workers, providing services like postpartum support, prenatal yoga and health and wellness education, and are working to offer breastfeeding support.

Playgrounds that mimic the natural environment have physical and mental benefits for preschool children, according to a study published last month in Children, Youth, and Environments and coauthored by professors at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The research project set out to redesign the outdoor play space at a Knoxville Head Start facility—a preschool program for children from low-income households and their families—to include features inspired by natural green spaces and forests, and to learn how the changes impact children’s play patterns. The incorporation of natural elements in playgrounds was shown to positively influence children’s motor skill development and physical activity and to enrich the preschool curriculum.

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