KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: Allina Spent Millions To Keep Minn. Hospitals Open During Nurses’ Strike; Virginia Groups Partner To Fight Antibiotic Resistance

Outlets report on health news from Minnesota, Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Washington, Florida, Texas, California, Massachusetts and Georgia.

The Star Tribune: Allina Spent $104M To Keep Hospitals Open During Strikes
Allina Health spent more than $104 million to keep its Twin Cities hospitals open during two nursing strikes this year, according to a financial report released Monday. The total matched the amounts that had been rumored on the picket lines, where striking nurses grumbled that all the stopgap spending could have been spent to preserve their benefits. (Olson, 11/15)

Cleveland Plain-Dealer: Nurse Home Visiting Program Gets $560,000 In State Funds To Enroll 140 First-Time Low-Income Moms
A nurse home visiting program with a proven track record for reducing infant mortality among first-time low-income mothers has received a $560,000 state grant to help MetroHealth enroll up to 140 families in its first year. Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), which was brought to the Cleveland area last year with a $2 million grant from several local foundations, is designed to monitor and address health issues, improve parenting skills, share child development information and encourage positive health behaviors. (Zeltner, 11/14)

Des Moines Register: Grinnell Hospital May Join UnityPoint, UI Health Care
A financially struggling central Iowa hospital hopes to join forces with two of the state’s biggest health-care systems. Grinnell Regional Medical Center announced Monday that it is negotiating an agreement with the UnityPoint Health System and University of Iowa Health Care. Chief Executive Officer Todd Linden said the negotiations could lead to a sale of the Grinnell hospital or an agreement under which it would be managed by UnityPoint, which is based in Des Moines. The talks also could lead to a less extensive partnership, he said in an interview Monday morning. The Grinnell hospital lost more than $2.1 million last year, and it has lost a total of more than $4 million over the past three years, according to an annual report posted by the Iowa Hospital Association. (Leys, 11/14)

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Council Committee To Consider Bills To Combat Lead Poisoning
A committee of City Council will consider on Wednesday a package of bills aimed at protecting against lead poisoning, including one that would mandate testing at day-care facilities in homes built before 1978....Last year, the city's Department of Public Health checked the houses of about 500 children who showed elevated lead levels, according to the Toxic City report, though nearly 2,700 children displayed levels at or above what the federal government says should prompt officials to intervene. (Nadolny, 11/15)

Seattle Times: 3 More Children Hospitalized With Rare, Polio-Like Illness
Three more children in Washington have been hospitalized with symptoms of a rare, polio-like illness, state health officials said Monday. If the new cases of suspected acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) are confirmed, they will bring the total in the state this fall to 11. The children are between the ages of 3 and 14 and all showed signs of weakness or paralysis in one or more limbs and distinctive spinal-cord changes that are required for a diagnosis of AFM, said Julie Graham, a spokeswoman for the Washington state Department of Health. (Aleccia, 11/14)

Miami Herald: CareCloud Raises $31.5 Million To Compete In Changing Healthcare Market 
In CareCloud’s world, when you walk into your physician’s office, you aren’t handed that ubiquitous clipboard but rather a tablet and you enter your information — just once. And after the appointment, your doctor can serve up a bill for the growing portion not covered by your insurance with a transparent, consumer-friendly way to pay. To that end, CareCloud, a Miami-based management platform for high-growth medical groups, announced Tuesday it has raised $31.5 million to finance its continued growth. (Dahlberg, 11/15)

San Jose Mercury News: Santa Cruz Mental Health Services Under Microscope After Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting
Members of the greater Santa Cruz community sat inside the United Church of Christ Nov. 1 and took the first steps of a raw, difficult journey; a process that has become all too familiar in communities across the U.S. They asked why. Why, in the midst of a rainstorm at 3 a.m. Oct. 16, did a Santa Cruz police officer shoot Sean Arlt, 32, a mentally ill man — once in the head and once in the chest? (Masters, 11/14)

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Patient Says Pro-Trump Doctor Kicked Her Out For Disagreeing
All Heidi Kravitz Dunn wanted when she went to the doctor at 8:50 Friday morning was to get a physical. Instead, the Havertown woman said, she got a "rant" from her doctor of eight years about the "riots" on college campuses that followed Donald Trump's election as president. Within minutes,  she said, she had been kicked out of his practice for disagreeing with his political views. "The best person is now elected," she said family physician Joseph LaBricciosa told her. "He will be good for us." Dunn, who was feeling shaky because she has hypoglycemia and had fasted all night for blood work, didn't want a political discussion, but said she disagreed and said the students had a right to protest peacefully. "I just wanted to get my blood taken so I could eat a banana," she said. Uncomfortable with his angry reaction, she said, she got up to leave. (Burling and Wood, 11/14)

Georgia Health News: Smoke From Wildfires Casts Pall Over Georgians’ Health 
State health officials said Monday that significant increases in the number of emergency room visits for asthma occurred in the Dalton, Gainesville, Jasper and metro Atlanta areas last week, at a time when smoke from wildfires drifted over those areas. The state Department of Public Health told GHN that it’s not possible to determine with certainty that these visits were attributable to smoke from the ongoing wildfires in North Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. (Miller, 11/14)

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