KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: Calif. Health Regulator To Pay Fine For Helping Kaiser Permanente During Audit; Ind. Prisoners Sue State Over Tuberculosis Cases

News outlets report on health care developments in California, Indiana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Minnesota, Oregon, Ohio, Kansas and Arizona.

Los Angeles Times: Former California Health Regulator Agrees To A Fine For Helping Kaiser
A former top regulator for the state who was involved in an audit of Kaiser Permanente before going to work for the HMO has admitted she acted improperly and has agreed to pay a fine, according to documents released Monday. Marcella Faye Gallagher was supervising attorney for the state’s Department of Managed Health Care while it audited Kaiser to make sure the HMO’s mental health plan complied with state law by providing timely access to services. (McGreevy, 1/11)

The Associated Press: Pendleton Prisoners Sue Indiana Over Cases Of Tuberculosis
Dozens of inmates at Pendleton Correctional Facility in central Indiana are suing the state after cases of tuberculosis at the prison. An inmate at the facility was moved into isolation at another prison in June 2014 after testing positive for active tuberculosis, and state officials said that he received a standard four-drug treatment. State Department of Health spokesman Ken Severson said an outbreak believed to have started with the inmate resulted in three active tuberculosis cases and 75 latent infections among Pendleton inmates. (1/11)

The Associated Press: Feds: South Carolina Should Stop Regulating Health Care Investments
The federal government has recommended South Carolina repeal requirements that health facilities get state permission for many kinds of construction and expansion, backing up something Gov. Nikki Haley has sought for years. In a letter and attached statement to Haley, who sought officials’ opinion in November, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission wrote that laws requiring something known as a certificate of need impede competition and make such projects more expensive. (Kinnard, 1/11)

The Star Tribune: For Hundreds Of Minnesotans, The Wait For Disability Services Is Over
The number of Minnesotans with disabilities who endure prolonged waits for crucial social services has fallen sharply in recent months, as the state removes long-standing barriers to families most in need of assistance. State officials are pressuring counties to spend more of the billions of dollars allocated annually — much of it unspent in recent years — for a coveted form of Medicaid assistance that helps people with disabilities build more independent lives in the community. (Serres, 1/11)

The Oregonian: A+ For Oregon On Birth Control, Sex Education, Reproductive Rights
Oregon received an A plus in reproductive heath and rights, according to The Population Institute's 2015 report card. Oregon was one of four states, including California, New Jersey and Washington, to get an A grade or higher, according to the report. The United States as a whole was graded a D plus, down from a C the year before. (Frazier, 1/11)

The Associated Press: Survey Gauges Ohio Nursing Home Emergency Prep
A survey of Ohio nursing homes has found they have plans for coping with natural disasters and other emergencies, yet many haven’t coordinated with key local agencies and facilities. Researchers at Miami University’s Scripps Gerontology Center added questions about emergency preparedness to their latest biennial survey for state authorities. Some nursing home residents in other states have been harshly affected by disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. (Sewell, 1/11)

The Associated Press: Kansas Panel Wants Study Of Family Structure In Foster Care
A foster family’s structure should be an important factor when Kansas places abused and neglected children in temporary homes, a legislative panel said Monday in a recommendation that one lawmaker said would encourage discrimination against gays and lesbians. The foster care study approved a recommendation that the Department for Children and Families use “evidence-based” factors in placing foster children. (Hanna, 1/12)

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