KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Many Florida Hospitals Show ‘Tremendous Spirit’ In Face Of Hurricane And Remain Open

At least 35 hospitals in the states that are or have been affected by the storm had to be closed or partially evacuated though. Meanwhile, clinicians evaluate the theory that hurricanes induce labor, Georgia faces Irma, and mental health professionals prepare for the strain a natural disaster puts on children.

Stat: Irma Forces At Least 35 Hospitals To Evacuate Patients. Here's A Rundown
At least 35 hospitals in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina have either closed entirely or ordered partial evacuations in advance of Hurricane Irma. The decisions come as officials have ordered nearly 7 million people to leave their homes, causing a mass exodus north before the storm begins to lash the Florida coast. (Blau, 9/9)

Health News Florida: Public Health Emergency Declared For Florida
A public health emergency was declared for Florida on Thursday ahead of Hurricane Irma. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price made the declaration and took action that gives HHS’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs. (Ochoa, 9/8)

Stat: Can A Hurricane Induce Labor? Women In The Path Of Irma Are Worried
Many of Florida’s hospitals are built to withstand hurricane winds in order to protect patients. While most don’t act as emergency shelters, some make exceptions for expectant mothers facing high-risk pregnancies. They allow them to inflate mattress inside their walls, provided they bring their own sheets and snacks, in case they enter labor. The reason is rooted in the idea that low barometric pressure induces labor. The debate has fascinated local reporters for years: Back in 1992 the Sun Sentinel reported that at least 1,500 women were hospitalized during Hurricane Andrew. A handful of studies — including a 2007 retrospective study published in the Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics — further suggests there’s a connection between low barometric pressure and the likelihood that fetal membranes will rupture. (Blau, 9/8)

The New York Times: Life After The Storm: Children Who Survived Katrina Offer Lessons
The children upended by Hurricane Katrina have no psychological playbook for the youngsters displaced by Harvey, or those in the path of Irma, the hurricane spinning toward Florida. In the aftermath of Harvey, more than 160 public school districts and 30 charter schools have closed in the sprawling Houston metropolitan area. Families have scrambled to higher ground, some to other cities like Dallas or San Antonio, others into shelters. Thousands of children will have to adjust on the fly, bussed for hours to new schools from makeshift housing. Texas officials are scrambling to coordinate mental health support; the state’s psychology board is issuing temporary licenses for out-of-state therapists. (Carey, 9/8)

Texas Tribune: Harvey Deals A Blow To Texas' Already Struggling Child Welfare System
Texas' child welfare system was already in crisis before Hurricane Harvey. Now, perhaps hundreds of foster families in Houston and along the Gulf Coast have been displaced by the storm and hundreds of child welfare workers have been unable to return to work, said the state official who oversees Child Protective Services on Friday. (Evans, 9/8)

Elsewhere —

NPR: Smoke From Western Wildfires Can Make It Hard To Breathe
It's an unusually bad wild fire season in the West, and for weeks people across the region have been breathing air thick with smoke. "There's smoke from Canada, smoke from Idaho, smoke from California and Montana. There's smoke everywhere," says Greg Svelund, a spokesman for Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality. (Greenhalgh, 9/11)

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