KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: Calif. To Give $20M In Emergency Grants To Health Clinics; Legionnaires’ Strikes Again In New York

Media outlets report on news from New York, Massachusetts, California, Georgia, Oklahoma, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Ohio and Texas.

Reuters: California To Give Health Clinics $20 Million To Counter Possible Trump Cuts
California on Monday will announce plans to award $20 million in emergency grants to local health and Planned Parenthood clinics in anticipation of possible U.S. healthcare funding cuts, according to State Treasurer John Chiang's office. California and more than a dozen other Democratic-leaning states are fighting against regulatory changes and policies coming from Republican President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress. (Lambert, 6/16)

The New York Times: Legionnaires’ Outbreak On Upper East Side Kills One And Sickens Six
One person is dead and six other people have been sickened in an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the city health department announced on Friday. The patients with the bacterial infection, which is typically contracted through contaminated water, fell ill within the past 11 days in the Lenox Hill neighborhood, said the agency, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. (Nir, 6/16)

Boston Globe: Water At State’s Largest Prison Raises Concerns  
A Globe review of state records found that 43 percent of all water samples collected at MCI-Norfolk since 2011 showed elevated levels of manganese, a prime component of the sediment from the wells. The naturally occurring mineral, found in many foods, can be dangerous when ingested at heightened levels for prolonged periods, potentially leading to tremors, slowed speech, and other neurological disorders that resemble Parkinson’s disease. (Abel, 6/17)

Los Angeles Times: L.A. County Health Officials Say 42 People Have Been Infected With Mumps
A mumps outbreak in Los Angeles County this year has infected 42 people, most of whom live on the Westside, health officials said this week. There have been several mumps outbreaks nationwide in recent years, including some that are ongoing in parts of Texas, Arkansas and Washington state. Last year there were 5,833 cases of mumps nationwide, the highest number in a decade, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Karlamangla, 6/17)

The Associated Press: Shooting Of Mentally Ill Man Raises Policing Questions
Joshua Barre's mental health was spiraling out of control before he grabbed two butcher knives and went outside. The 29-year-old black man with bipolar disorder had been off his medication and holed up at home, cycling through depression, anxiety and paranoia. His mother pleaded for an intervention from Oklahoma's first line of defense for mental health: law enforcement. And Tulsa County deputies responded: Officers with the agency's mental crisis unit, trained in de-escalation techniques, went to Barre's house three times in the days before their final encounter on June 9. (Juozapavicius, 6/17)

Sacramento Bee: California Assisted Death Battle Continues 
More than a year after California became the fifth state to allow assisted death, the controversial policy is still embroiled in court. But opponents, who have raised concerns about the devaluing of life and potential abuses against vulnerable Californians, are still seeking a way to overturn the policy. Though they previously failed to put a referendum on the ballot, a lawsuit filed last June shortly before the assisted death law took effect, alleging that it violates the civil rights of terminally ill patients, is ongoing in Riverside County. (Koseff and Svirnovskiy, 6/16)

Boston Globe: With Life-Sciences Center, Bayer Raises Its Profile In Mass. 
Bayer, which last week formally opened a life science center outside of Cambridge’s Kendall Square, trumpeted its arrival last year with a pair of outsize early-stage investments in biotech startups that are using cutting-edge technology. The company in August plowed $300 million into Casebia Therapeutics, a Cambridge joint venture with CRISPR Therapeutics that will use a gene-editing tool called Crispr-Cas9 to develop genetic-based treatments for heart disease, blindness, and blood disorders. (Weisman, 6/18)

The Baltimore Sun: Maryland's Children Fare Well In Well-Being 
Maryland children are thriving in most areas of life, but a recent spike in deaths unveiled in an annual report on the well-being of young people is raising concern among advocates. Maryland ranked 16th among states for the well-being of its children in the 2017 Kids Count Data Book, released each year by the nonprofit Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore. The report determines how well kids are thriving by ranking states on 16 indicators across four key areas: health, education, economic well being and family and community. (McDaniels, 6/17)

The Philadelphia Inquirer/ Pa. Reviews Infant Heart Deaths; N. Philly Program To Reopen
Twenty percent of newborns who underwent surgery for heart defects died within a month of their procedures at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, the highest mortality rate among five hospitals analyzed in a new state of Pennsylvania report covering 2012 through 2015.At each of the four other institutions in the report, mortality rates following the delicate surgeries were below 10 percent during that four-year period, according to the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council. (Avril, 6/16)

The Oregonian: Legacy Health Waives Medical Costs For MAX Stabbing Victim 
To honor his heroism during last month's horrific attack on a MAX train, Legacy Health has waived all medical costs for surviving stabbing victim Micah Fletcher. Fletcher, 21, visited Legacy's headquarters Friday to thank Legacy CEO and President Dr. George Brown.  Fletcher briefly choked up as he told Brown how much the waiver meant to him and his family. The men sat across from each other at a table in Brown's office, accompanied by representatives from the Muslim Educational Trust. (Matsumoto, 6/18)

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Processing Rape Kits Saves Heartache And Money, Cuyahoga Prosecutors Tell Congressional Task Force 
Anthony Sowell's horrific crime spree revealed systemic problems with how Cleveland-area law enforcement agencies handled rape cases, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O'Malley told a newly-formed congressional task force dedicated to fighting sexual violence. Though Sowell was jailed for rape before he committed 11 murders that imprisoned him for life, his DNA wasn't entered into criminal databases upon his initial prison release. (Eaton, 6/17)

Los Angeles Times: L.A. County Reports 2017's First Case Of West Nile Virus
San Gabriel Valley resident was hospitalized with West Nile virus in what health officials say is the first case in Los Angeles County this year. The patient ended up in the hospital in March and has since recovered, officials announced this week. West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, and officials say this winter’s heavy rains could breed more mosquitoes and lead to a higher chance of infection statewide. (Karlamangla, 6/16)

Houston Chronicle: Is Criminalizing Mental Illness In Texas The Best Means For Care? 
Texas in recent years ranked 49th in per capita mental health spending. While strapped systems exist for people thought to be a danger to themselves or to others, limited options are in place to help them remain stable in the periods in between. If parents do not want a volatile child with mental illness at home or on the streets, advocates note that scant affordable options exist where that person might live, receive treatment and find stability. (Foxhall, 6/16)

KQED: Refinery, Tanker Firm Cited For Fumes That Sickened Scores In Vallejo
Local air regulators have issued notices of violation to the Phillips 66 refinery in Rodeo and to the operator of an oil tanker for spilling crude oil they say caused an overpowering odor that sickened Vallejo residents last September. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District says it has concluded its investigation into the incident and now believes the spill near the refinery’s marine terminal is to blame for fumes that prompted more than 1,400 odor complaints. (Goldberg, 6/16)

WBUR: Mass. Senate Draft Bill Keeps 12 Percent Marijuana Tax 
The marijuana tax rate in Massachusetts would remain capped at 12 percent under a draft bill released Friday by the state Senate. It's in sharp contrast to the 28 percent tax rate in a House bill -- although that legislation is being revised. (Bebinger, 6/16)

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