KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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State Highlights: After Police-Nurse Altercation In Utah, Officers Barred From Patient Care Areas; Last Abortion Clinic In Ky. Braces For Fight

Media outlets report on news from Utah, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, Georgia, Minnesota, Colorado, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Ohio and Tennessee.

The New York Times: Utah Hospital Bars Police From Patient-Care Areas After Nurse’s Arrest
Police officers will be barred from patient-care areas at a hospital in Utah that drew widespread notice for an officer’s arrest of a nurse, hospital officials said this week. The new policy, announced at a news conference on Monday, was put into effect soon after a Salt Lake City police officer arrested Alex Wubbels, who on July 26 refused to allow an officer to take a blood sample from an unconscious patient at University of Utah Hospital. Video footage of the encounter surfaced last week, leading to fierce condemnation of the police tactics, including a rally in Salt Lake City on Saturday. (Victor, 9/5)

The Hill: Utah Hospital Bars Police From Interacting With Nurses 
The Utah hospital where a nurse was arrested for refusing to give a patient’s blood sample to police  announced new policies to keep police away from its nursing staff. Margaret Pearce, chief of nursing at the University of Utah health system, announced the changes in response to the incident. In a video that went viral last week, an officer is seen forcefully grabbing nurse Alex Wubbels and arresting her as she cries for help. (Sullivan, 9/5)

NPR: Kentucky Could Become The Only State Without A Clinic That Performs Abortions
Kentucky is down to only one clinic that performs abortions: the EMW Women's Surgical Center in Louisville. A trial kicking off Wednesday morning in federal court in Louisville will decide whether Kentucky will become the first state without a single such clinic. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin tried to shut down the EMW center earlier this year after his administration told the clinic it was failing to meet state health regulations requiring clinics that provide abortions to have transfer agreements with local hospitals and ambulance services in case of medical emergencies. (McCammon, 9/6)

Boston Globe: Amid Expansion Plans, Steward Health Care Shows No Signs Of Sharing Financial Data
The privately held Boston-based company has failed to submit information about its finances and merger plans, as required by state law, and it hasn’t paid a number of fines imposed for its lack of transparency. It has not officially notified the state about its plans involving two big transactions: the pending acquisition of 18 hospitals outside of Massachusetts owned by IASIS Healthcare of Franklin, Tenn., and the purchase of eight hospitals from Community Health Systems Inc. that closed earlier this year. (Dayal McCluskey, 9/1)

The New York Times: City Hospital System Is Expanding Children’s Mental Health Programs
Recognizing that negative childhood experiences can affect a person’s health long into adulthood, New York City’s public hospital system is expanding its mental health programs for children and adolescents. The programs, which NYC Health & Hospitals plans to announce on Wednesday, are designed to address the challenges facing many of the hospital system’s young patients, such as poverty, violence and substance abuse — circumstances that doctors said make children more likely to need mental health treatment but less likely to get it. (Wang, 9/5)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Nursing Home Resident Dies After Found In Ditch In Gilmer County
A North Georgia nursing home resident in a wheelchair was found in a nearby ditch and later died after officials say she fell while leaving the facility after a fire alarm was pulled, unlocking the doors. Dorothy Broome, an 83-year-old resident of Gilmer Nursing Home in Ellijay, was found face down along the southbound lanes of South Main Street last month, according to a police report. (Foreman, 9/5)

The Star Tribune: Blue Cross Payment Cuts Prompt Protest By Minn. Mental Health Providers
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota began making the reductions in July as part of an effort to cut overall mental health care spending after a review found that billing for standard one-hour therapy sessions had exceeded national averages over the past two years. As therapists began seeing reimbursements cuts of 15 to 33 percent, word quickly spread within the profession, prompting some therapists to organize a protest outside the insurer’s Eagan headquarters one week from Thursday. (Howatt, 9/6)

Stateline: Cities Look To Public Restrooms To Clean Up Downtowns, Attract Tourists
Denver is one of several U.S. cities using bathrooms not only to clean up areas rife with public urination and defecation, but also to increase tourism and foot traffic. Portland, Oregon, has become famous for its Portland Loo, a stand-alone steel bathroom stall that sits on a city sidewalk and, unlike a traditional port-a-potty, connects to public water and sewer. San Antonio, San Francisco, Seattle, and a host of smaller cities have experimented with similar bathrooms. (Breitenbach, 9/5)

Seattle Times: How Long Will You Live? It Might Depend On Your King County Neighborhood
At first glance, King County looks like a pretty healthy place, with life expectancies among the highest in the nation. But a new analysis that zeros in on individual neighborhoods reveals deep disparities in how long people live and the health problems they face. Men in the affluent, Eastside city of Clyde Hill enjoy an average life span of 86.7 years. The longest-lived neighborhood for women is Bryant, in Northeast Seattle, with an average life expectancy of 88.4 years. But in a south-central Auburn neighborhood with the county’s shortest life spans, average life expectancy is more than 18 years lower for men and more than 14 years lower for women. (Doughton, 9/5)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Fortis Care Facilities Would Get New Operators Under Proposal
The receiver for Fortis Management Holdings is asking for court approval to transfer the operations of 64 of the 65 nursing homes and assisted-living centers previously managed by Fortis to four companies, including North Shore Healthcare in Glendale. Fortis Management, based in Milwaukee, reached an agreement in July with its landlords to have a receiver oversee the company’s operations until management of its skilled-nursing and long-term care facilities could be transferred to new operators. (Boulton, 9/5)

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