KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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State Highlights: Analysis Details Diabetes’ Hefty Price Tag In Minn.; In Pa., Back-To-School List Includes Vaccines

Media outlets report on news from Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Kansas, California, Colorado and Hawaii.

The Star Tribune: Minnesota Pays Huge Price For Diabetes, Blue Cross Study Finds
One in 16 privately insured Minnesotans suffer a “loss of good health” due to diabetes, according to a new analysis by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, which adds up to thousands of people who will never reach their full life expectancies or will suffer chronic disabilities. The analysis, released Tuesday, is based on a new national Blue Cross “health index” tool that estimates the prevalence and cost of diseases in states and counties based on the private insurance claims of 40 million Americans. (Olson, 8/8)

The Philadelphia Inquirer/Philly.com: New Pa. Health Rule: Get Your Kids Vaccinated Or They Can't Go To School
Parents, before you snap up those discounted notebooks, pencil-and-pen multi-packs, and that new hot-character backpack, do this first: Get your kids immunized. Now. Under new Pennsylvania state health rules, parents must see to it that their children have the required vaccinations by the first day of school. “If you don’t do that, your child may not be able to start school. And more importantly, your child may not be protected against serious diseases,” said Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas A. Farley in a Tuesday joint news conference with city school Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. (Giordano, 8/9)

The Associated Press: Judge: Board Erred In Punishing Doctor For Retrieving Pills
A judge has overturned a Delaware medical licensing board’s disciplinary decision regarding a doctor accused of misconduct after allegedly allowing prison medical workers to give an inmate expensive pills that had been thrown into a syringe-filled “biohazard” medical waste box. The board last year ordered 90 days of probation and a $1,000 fine for Dr. Laurie Ann Spraga after an incident in which 12 prescription hepatitis pills — costing $1,000 each — were discarded in a “biohazard” medical waste box after being spilled onto the floor. The pills were later retrieved and given to an inmate at the maximum-security prison in Smyrna. (Chase, 8/8)

Houston Chronicle: Area Colleges Get Students Ready For Health Care Roles 
The number of health care jobs continues to grow. The Texas Workforce Commission expects jobs in the health care sector in Texas to increase by more than 32 percent from 2014 to 2024. Of those, the top five are nurse practitioners, registered and licensed nurses, physical therapists, dental assistants and heath information technicians. "Five of Lone Star College's six campuses offer nursing programs to meet the high demand for nurses in Houston," said Linda Luehrs-Wolfe, dean of sciences and health occupations, LSC-Kingwood. "Lone Star College also is developing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program to meet the area's growing demand." (Benton, 8/8)

Stat: Lawmaker On A Personal Quest To Address Texas's Maternal Death Rate
Recent reports show that African-American women in Texas have disproportionately high rates of maternal death, which has, in turn, given Texas the highest maternal mortality rate not only in the U.S. but in the developed world. By 2014, the state’s maternal death rate reached 35.8 per 100,000 live births, according to a study in Obstetrics and Gynecology. That’s significantly higher than any other country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development group of wealthy nations with the exception of Mexico, the study reports. (Samuel, 8/9)

Arizona Republic: Judge Upbraids Arizona Prisons Chief Over Criticism Of Courts In Memo
Last month, after testifying in U.S. District Court in Phoenix about inadequate health care at Arizona prisons, two inmate-witnesses claimed that they were retaliated against by prison staff by having belongings removed from their cells, being publicly scolded and having a cellmate transferred. In response, on July 25, Duncan issued an order that the department take no actions that harass or intimidate, or do anything "which could reasonably be viewed as having a chilling effect on witness testimony by utilizing group punishments, or actions against other prisoners who could in turn blame or target the witnesses." (Kiefer, 8/8)

KCUR: Death Linked To Bourbon Virus Raises Questions About Tick-Borne Diseases 
After a week, as her fatigue and rash worsened, [Tammy] Wilson checked into a hospital in St. Louis. Doctors there were stumped. But Wilson stayed in good spirits and joked with co-workers who drove up from the park to visit. ...But more than two weeks later, after test results came back from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, her mother was told she had contracted the Bourbon virus. Before, there had been only two confirmed cases of the Bourbon virus and one of the patients died. May says her mother started getting nervous. (Smith, 8/9)

California Healthline: California Funds Nonprofits To Serve Food As Medicine
Federico Guzmán moved from Mexico to San Francisco in 1992, fleeing anti-gay sentiment and searching for AIDS treatment. He couldn’t find a job and sometimes went hungry until friends introduced him to Project Open Hand, a nonprofit organization that began serving free, nutritious meals to HIV patients in 1985. (Browning, 8/9)

Denver Post: CHSAA Disputes Colorado's Last-Place Ranking In High School Sports Safety Guidelines Study
A study released by the Korey Stringer Institute on Tuesday ranked Colorado last among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in its High School Sports Safety Policy Rankings, with scores based on state associations meeting evidence-based best practice guidelines addressing the four major causes of sudden death. CHSAA’s overall score across the study’s five equally weighted sub-sections — sudden cardiac arrest, exertional heat stroke, traumatic head injury, appropriate health care coverage and emergency preparedness — was 23 percent, far behind leader North Carolina’s 78.75 percent and the mean of 47.1 percent. (Newman, 8/8)

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