KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: California’s Revamp On Health Plan Tax Faces Bumps; Massachusetts To Use Untested Legal Theory to Challege Gilead

News outlets report on health care developments in California, Ohio, Massachusetts, Illinois, Hawaii, Florida, Minnesota, Texas and Delaware.

Los Angeles Times: Revamping The Tax On Healthcare Plans Proves Tougher Than Gov. Brown Thought
Three weeks ago, Gov. Jerry Brown confidently predicted that the vexing question of how to extend a tax on healthcare plans in order to fund state medical coverage for the poor was well on its way to being solved. "We need the [managed care organization] tax now — this month," Brown said. "We’re going to get it. We’ve got to get it." But as January has come to a close, his administration has yet to nail down an overhaul that can win support from the insurers, much less secure the Republican votes necessary to pass the Legislature. (Mason, 2/1)

The Associated Press: Budget Fight Leaves Illinois Stuck With Overdue Bills
As Illinois politicians continue to squabble over a budget that should have taken effect July 1, hundreds of state contractors have been left with little more than I.O.U.s, according to more than 500 pages of documents — just since Nov. 1 — released to The Associated Press under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. From a $28.44 late-notice water and sewer bill at the 1848 Mt. Pulaski Courthouse — which had neither when Abraham Lincoln practiced law there — to $4.8 million that Illinois owes Michigan for a health partnership, vendors have flooded the Capitol with disconnect warnings, credit-hold notices, desperate pleas and even a frowny face stamp in an effort to get paid. The state owes $2 million to Ashley's Quality Care in Chicago, which provides in-home care workers to keep seniors out of nursing homes, according to chief accountant Michael Robinson. (1/31)

The Associated Press: HMSA's New Rule For Imaging Exams Frustrates Physicans
The Hawaii Medical Service Association is imposing a new pre-authorization requirement that doctors say is delaying critical imaging tests and resulting in harmful consequences for patients. The state's largest health insurer, with 720,000 members, is now requiring physicians to go through a third party on the mainland to approve diagnostic imaging exams including MRI scans and computerized tomography, or CT, scans, and certain cardiac-related procedures in an effort to reduce unnecessary costs. The new rules started on Dec. 1. (1/31)

The Associated Press: $16M Given To Florida Groups For Cancer Research
Organizations across the state are getting money for cancer research and tobacco-related diseases. The Florida Department of Health announced Thursday that over $16 million in research funding was awarded to 17 different projects. These funds will support researchers in their efforts to improve prevention, diagnosis, treatment and develop cures for cancer and tobacco-related diseases. (1/29)

The Orlando Sentinel: South Florida Undergoes Boom In Medical Education
South Florida's medical schools are rapidly expanding and upgrading, in hopes of turning the region into a major hub for health care. The University of Miami announced Thursday it has received a $50 million donation to build a new state-of-the-art building to house its medical program. Nova Southeastern University just named a dean for its soon-to-open second medical school, while Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University have been adding more residency programs to train young doctors. (Travis, 1/31)

The Associated Press: Lawmakers Consider 3rd Crisis Center In Southern Idaho
Jimmy Moss, an Idaho Falls resident suffering from a traumatic brain injury, was facing homelessness when his family brought him to the recently opened crisis center in eastern Idaho last year. "I was really bitter," Moss, 38, said. "I was fed up with life. I didn't want to come in, but I was agitated. I didn't know where it was coming from — from the medication or the brain injury." (Haake, 1/31)

The Daily Chronicle: Student's Death Shows Need For Mental Health Services
Quintonio LeGrier was an amiable young man, one of his high school math teacher’s favorite students. He was an inspiration, a determined person who motivated others to be better. At least, that was how friends and relatives described the 19-year-old Northern Illinois University sophomore at his funeral Jan. 9. But fellow students’ accounts and police records hint that the avid chess enthusiast and playground basketball player, who spent most of his childhood in foster care, might have been among the growing population of people who suffer from mental illness. (Gillespie, 1/31)

The Pioneer Press: Salmonella Outbreak In Minnesota Linked To Meal Replacement Shake
An outbreak of salmonella infections in Minnesota and six other states has been linked to Garden of Life Raw Meal Organic Shake & Meal Replacement powder, the Minnesota Department of Health said Friday. Two people in Minnesota — a child and an adult in his 30s — were sickened by the outbreak strain of salmonella, according to a news release issued by the MDH. One of them ate the company’s chocolate shake while the other ate its vanilla shake, the news release said. Both have since recovered. (Woltman, 1/29)

The Houston Chronicle: Child Care Providers Taught To Give Medications
On any day, thousands of Connecticut children need to be given medication while in child care centers, but many providers don’t know how to properly administer the medications, studies show. To change that equation, the Yale School of Nursing developed a curriculum and has trained 75 nurse consultants to teach child-care providers how to correctly give medication to children in their daily care. More than 200 providers have been trained statewide. (RosnerConn, 1/30)

New Hampshire Public Radio: Dover May Ban Vaping In Non-Smoking Areas
Electronic cigarettes could soon be banned in all places where regular cigarettes are already prohibited in a New Hampshire city. Foster's Daily Democrat reports the Dover City Council has moved an ordinance along to a public hearing that would ban e-cigarettes in all locations that current tobacco products are already prohibited from. (1/29)

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