KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

The ‘Parallel Challenge:’ Coordinating Care For Mental And Physical Health Issues

While the Los Angeles Times reports on the challenges of helping patients who struggle with physical and mental illnesses, the Boston Globe reports on a creative approach to reduce hospital readmissions. 

Los Angeles Times: Treatments Of Physical And Mental Health Are Coming Together
Physicians and therapists traditionally haven't collaborated much when treating the same patient, but the federal healthcare law is spurring a change. ... As the nation seeks to extend healthcare coverage to millions of new and in many cases chronically ill patients, ... [o]fficials expect many newly insured patients arriving at doctor's offices and urban and rural clinics to have mental health complications. Beginning next year, some 2.3 million additional people may require mental health services through Medicaid, the public health insurance program for the poor, according to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry (Gorman, 6/9).

Boston Globe: Meals To Help Patients In The Healing Process
Since she was diagnosed with heart failure earlier this year, Betty Winstead, 84, has become a familiar face at Carney Hospital. ... Last Monday, Steward Health Care launched a new approach for Winstead and patients like her. … Steward is spending $66,000 to buy food for one month for 55 heart failure patients, focusing on a disease with one of the highest readmission rates. One-quarter to one-third of these patients land back in the hospital within 30 days of being sent home, and many physicians believe too much salt is one culprit (Kowalczyk, 6/10).

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