KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: Calif. Failing To Screen Social Services Workers Properly, Audit Finds; Ala. Investigating Possible Bird Flu Cases

Outlets report on news from California, Ohio, Kansas, Alabama, Georgia, Texas and Minnesota.

Sacramento Bee: Audit Slams Background Checks At California Care Facilities
The California Department of Social Services’ Community Care Licensing Division, which oversees and regulates nearly 75,000 facilities statewide, is charged with ensuring the safety of a wide range of people, including those with disabilities and illnesses, elderly adults and children. It reviews background checks from the state Department of Justice on applicants for jobs at the facilities and decides whether those with criminal convictions can be hired. But auditors found that the state Department of Justice stopped routinely providing social services with sentencing information in 2016 because state law didn’t explicitly require it. (Opsahl, 3/14)

Bloomberg: Bird Flu Cases Probed In One Of The Largest U.S. Chicken States
Alabama, one of the leading U.S producers of chicken meat, is investigating suspected cases of bird flu in three northern poultry flocks and has introduced some restrictions on the transportation of birds. A commercial chicken-breeding farm in Lauderdale County and a backyard flock in Madison County are among the facilities under investigation, the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries said in a statement Tuesday. The state is also probing a flea market in Jackson County and has issued an order limiting the movement of some poultry. (Dursin, 3/14)

Cleveland Plain-Dealer: Akron Children's Hospital Program Helps Kids With Asthma Breathe Easier, Avoid Hospital Visits
Community health assessments conducted in 2013 and 2016 have shown that asthma is a significant health need for children in Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Wayne, Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana and Richland counties. But thanks to an evidence-based asthma management program implemented by Akron Children's Hospital two years ago, the hospital has seen a has seen a significant decrease in the number of asthma-related ER visits and hospitalizations. The program, Easy Breathing, is helping to standardize the diagnosis and treatment of asthma in Akron Children's primary care offices throughout the region. (Becka, 3/14)

KCUR: Getting Innovators To Come To Work — At A Children's Hospital
Health care providers who work with kids are natural innovators, says Krista Nelson, Children’s Mercy Hospital’s director of innovation development. Nelson, an expert in innovation — not medicine, was hired by the hospital to run its new Center for Pediatric Innovation. “In the children’s hospital or pediatric environment, we really deal with every size of child from a premature baby all the up to the captain of the football team at one of our big high schools,” says Nelson. (Ellison, 3/15)

Columbus Dispatch: Virtual Reality Aids Medical Trauma Training
The virtual-reality experience is new for residents training in trauma care at the Downtown hospital... The virtual-reality scenarios — there are three — were filmed in July by a team from Ohio University that hung or mounted three softball-size camera and microphone units in the emergency department to capture 360-degree experiences, said Eric Williams, co-creator of the new Immersive Media Initiative at the Athens school. Patients consented to be in the videos. (Viviano, 3/15)

Georgia Health News: Can Mobile Apps Help Fill Sex Education Gaps?
The sex education course at Clarke Central in Athens is taught over two weeks during the first semester of ninth grade. Teachers will continue to talk about sex ed and health topics in the following years of high school, but STIs, birth control methods and HIV/AIDS probably won’t be mentioned again. However sporadic it may be, the F.L.A.S.H. curriculum taught in the Clarke County School District may be better than what’s taught in many other school systems around the state. (Knight, 3/14)

Texas Tribune: Texas Senate Tentatively Approves "Bathroom Bill"
The Texas Senate on Tuesday tentatively signed off on the “bathroom bill” on a 21-10 vote with one Democrat — state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. of Brownsville — voting in favor of the bill. Senate Bill 6, a legislative priority of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, would require transgender people to use bathrooms in public schools, government buildings and other publicly-owned facilities that match their “biological sex” and not gender identity. And it would preempt local anti-discrimination laws meant to allow transgender residents to use public bathrooms that match their gender identity. (Ura, 3/14)

The Star Tribune: Complaint Puts New Age Healers On Minnesota Regulators' Radar
Unconventional healing practices, from energy readers to faith healers, typically operate below the state’s radar screen unless a complaint is made... t’s a tricky issue. The Health Department’s mandate isn’t to evaluate whether a treatment is effective or fraudulent. It’s to determine whether the department has jurisdiction over a provider, and if so, to decide whether the provider is following state rules, such as providing a Client Bill of Rights and factual advertising. (Hopfensperger, 3/15)

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