KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: After Settlement, Tufts Health Plan Revises Autism Treatment Policies; Mass. Home Health Agency Cuts Staffers

News outlets report on health issues in Massachusetts, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Utah, Iowa and California.

The Boston Globe: Tufts Health Plan Revises Autism Treatment Policies After Settlement
Tufts Health Plan will revise its coverage policies and pay a $90,000 fine after settling allegations from the attorney general’s office that the health insurer restricted treatment for autism services. Attorney General Maura Healey said Tufts violated autism insurance, mental health parity, and consumer protection laws when it restricted access to applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy, a treatment for autism spectrum disorders. (Dayal McCluskey, 2/17)

The Boston Globe: Amid Probe, Home Care Agency Cuts Most Staffers
A Worcester home health care agency that is the target of a fraud investigation says it laid off most of its workers, disrupting services for hundreds of patients, after the state cut off payments. The Massachusetts attorney general’s office is investigating Compassionate Homecare Inc. for allegedly filing false claims and defrauding the state’s Medicaid program, known as MassHealth, the Globe reported earlier this month. In December, MassHealth officials took the unusual step of suspending payments to the company because of the allegations. (Dayal McCluskey, 2/17)

The Chicago Tribune: U. Of C. Commits To Adult Trauma Service, Wants To Expand Hospital
The University of Chicago is using its commitment to bring adult trauma services to the South Side to win state approval of a significant expansion of the Hyde Park medical center. University of Chicago Medicine plans to announce Thursday that it would like to increase the size of its 617-bed hospital by 188 beds, a 30 percent increase. The new beds are needed to reduce overcrowding at the hospital and improve access to care for patients with complex conditions such as cancer and heart disease, said Sharon O'Keefe, president of the medical center. (Sachdev, 2/18)

USA Today/Indianapolis Star: Indiana Medical-Waste Firm Fined For Handling Fetal Tissue
A medical-waste company here has been fined for accepting fetal tissue, amplifying calls from anti-abortion advocates to restrict how fetal remains are handled. MedAssure Services, a private medical-waste disposal company based in Farmingdale, N.J., that operates in a dozen states, accepted three to six 31-gallon containers a week during the past four years from Pathology Services, a Missouri lab that services Planned Parenthood, a women's health and abortion provider. Some of those containers contained fetal tissue, in violation of the company's solid waste permit, according to a settlement the company signed Tuesday with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. (Cook, 2/17)

The Associated Press: State Agency Fines Hospital In Forcible Removal Case $45,000
Florida's health care agency issued a $45,000 fine to the hospital where a black woman died after being forcibly removed from the emergency room by a white police officer. The Agency for Health Care Administration lists four counts against Calhoun-Liberty Hospital in a 30-page administrative complaint issued Wednesday. Three counts are related to access to emergency care and services, and one is related to the Blountstown hospital's risk management program — patient grievance analysis. (2/17)

Bloomberg: Health Care In America: Cancer, Coverage And Costs
Vivian Lee, chief executive officer at University of Utah Health Care, talks about advances made in the fight against cancer, the state of health care in the United States, and efforts to control health care costs. She speaks on "Bloomberg Surveillance." (1/17)

The Associated Press: California Considers Condoms For Porn Actors
Condoms could be coming to porn studios across California if the state agency in charge of enforcing workplace safety adopts proposed new regulations aimed at protecting actors who make adult films. The state Division of Occupational Safety and Health was scheduled to vote on the regulations following a hearing Thursday in Oakland. (Rogers, 2/18)

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