KHN Morning Briefing

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‘Change-Agent’ Tapped To Head HHS Mental Health Office, And Even Some Liberal-Leaning Psychiatrists Are Cheering

Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, Trump's pick to lead the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is a proponent of shifting away from education-based approaches to aggressive treatment.

Stat: Trump's Pick To Run Mental Health Agency Is Poised To Shake Things Up
President Trump’s pick to run federal mental health services has called for a bold reordering of priorities — shifting money away from education and support services and toward a more aggressive treatment of patients with severe psychiatric disorders. The proposal has some psychiatrists — a generally liberal bunch — cheering despite their distrust of the Trump administration. But it’s also sparked concern among other health professionals, who worry that the administration will put too much emphasis on medicating and hospitalizing patients, and remove supports that might help them integrate successfully into society. (Keshavan, 5/11)

In other administration news —

Los Angeles Times: Four Things Americans Should Know About Dr. Scott Gottlieb, The New Head Of The FDA
America, you have a new commissioner at the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a 44-year-old physician, was confirmed by the Senate this week in a 57-42 vote. Many Democrats expressed concern about Gottlieb’s financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who chaired the panel that forwarded the nomination to the Senate floor, countered that Gottlieb’s extensive experience in the drug industry would be an asset in his regulatory role. Here are four things you’ll want to know about Gottlieb. (Healy, 5/10)

Stat: Tom Price Commends Police Who Arrested Journalist Asking Questions
Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price on Wednesday commended police in West Virginia for “doing what they thought was appropriate” in arresting a journalist who shouted questions at him, but added that it wasn’t his call to say whether they took the proper measures. Price said the reporter confronted him while he was walking down a hallway. “That gentleman was not in a press conference,” he said. Daniel Ralph Heyman, a reporter for the independent Public News Service, was arrested and charged with willful disruption of governmental processes, a misdemeanor, after police in West Virginia’s Capitol building said he was “aggressively” trying to get past Secret Service agents while yelling questions at Price. (Joseph, 5/10)

Chicago Tribune: Chicago Company Hires Andy Slavitt, Former Obama Health Care Official
A Chicago health care company has hired Andy Slavitt, a former top government health care official who oversaw Medicare and Medicaid under President Barack Obama and was instrumental in helping to build Obamacare. Avia announced Wednesday that Slavitt would act as a senior adviser to the company, which works to help hospital systems find digital ways to improve their operations, clinical work and finances. (Schencker, 5/10)

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