KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Reproductive Services May Become Harder To Access As More Hospitals Affiliate With Catholic Church

“This alone represents a substantial cost to women, who must subsequently rely on other, more inconvenient suboptimal forms of contraception,” finds a study of the trend toward hospital consolidation. In other industry news: Tenet considers selling, troubles at a D.C. hospital, an infection pattern at a Wisconsin facility, and more.

Stat: Catholic Hospitals Are Multiplying, Impacting Reproductive Health Care
The rapid growth of Catholic-affiliated hospitals in the U.S. could significantly reduce access to inpatient sterilization procedures, according to a new study that examines the rising influence of religion on reproductive health services. The study, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, estimates that Catholic hospitals reduce the per-bed annual rates of inpatient abortions by 30 percent, and tubal ligations, or sterilization, by 31 percent. (Ross, 9/14)

Modern Healthcare: Tenet Shares Jump In After-Hours Trading Amid Reports It's Considering Sale
Shares of Tenet Healthcare Corp. rose sharply in after-hours trading Wednesday amid reports that the troubled hospital chain is exploring strategic options, including the possible sale of the company. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday afternoon that Tenet had hired bank advisers to review its strategic options. Tenet spokesman Dan Waldmann said the company does not comment on market speculation. (Barkholz, 9/13)

USA Today: Hospital's Patients Range From D.C.'s Poorest To Its Most Powerful
Sewage that leaks down the walls and on the operating room floors is among the many problems at the go-to hospital for Congress and the White House, according to interviews and documents obtained by USA TODAY. The D.C. health department is now investigating the leaks at MedStar Washington Hospital Center only after the department received a complaint, not because it was alerted by the hospital. The problems included the room in which Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise had his last surgery after being shot at a congressional baseball practice in June. (O'Donnell, 9/13)

Stat: Why Five Patients In The Same Hospital Contracted A Rare Blood Infection
As an infectious disease doctor, Nasia Safdar is a detective of sorts at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison. She tracks the patterns of infections, from the type of illness to the organism at its root, and in spring 2014, she noticed something odd: A cluster of bloodstream infections caused by an uncommon, and potentially deadly, bacteria. The microbe, Serratia marcescens, can infect the lungs, bladder, blood, and skin, and usually causes a few infections per year at Safdar’s hospital; some studies estimate that about 1 out of 100,000 people fall prey to a blood infection from the bacteria annually. So it was strange that five cases had occurred in just five weeks, and Safdar did a double take. (Bond, 9/14)

The Washington Post: ‘That Will Kill You’: GW Hospital Chief Of Trauma Says Helipad Needed To Save Lives
The morning a gunman opened fire on a Republican congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Babak Sarani cleared three operating rooms and readied his team. But the shooting victims, which included House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, needed to be airlifted from the open field. That meant they couldn’t be taken to George Washington University Hospital.For Sarani, chief of the hospital’s trauma and acute care surgery, that was frustrating. (Itkowitz, 9/13)

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