KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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State Highlights: Deep Funding Cuts Hit Fla.’s Fragile Mental Health System Hard; Tenn. Awards $473M Contract For Inmate Health Care To Private Company

Media outlets report on news from Florida, Tennessee, Maryland, Ohio, Georgia, Texas, Minnesota, Washington and South Carolina.

Orlando Sentinel: Cuts To Mental Health Care Could Leave Thousands Without Help, Advocates Say
Central Florida’s already fragile mental health system is reeling from millions of dollars in cuts negotiated by state lawmakers — a loss that has already triggered layoffs at two major providers and is expected to leave several thousand people without care. ...Some mental health providers said they didn’t know the full extent of the cuts until just before the start of the July 1 fiscal year. (Santich, 8/7)

Nashville Tennessean: New Tennessee Health Contract Could Top $473 Million
Inmate health care will remain in the hands of the private company currently overseeing health care in all public Tennessee prisons, at a potential cost of more than $473 million over five years. Bid documents for the contract also point to a possible new approach to care for more inmates affected by the prison system's Hepatitis C epidemic. Tennessee announced in late July its intent to award Centurion of Tennessee the contract. Centurion previously had a three-year, $270 million contract. (Boucher, 8/7)

The Baltimore Sun: MedStar To Open New Regional Orthopaedic Center In Timonium 
MedStar Health will open a new orthopaedic super center in Timonium Tuesday that will house several specialties in one building in order to provide patients more comprehensive care. The 46,000-square-foot building on Greenspring Dr. will offer medical services that include orthopaedics, spine, sports medicine, physiatry, pain management, outpatient surgery and rehabilitation. The center’s administrators say having all these services in one location will allow patients to get diagnostic testing and see several doctors all in one day, and doctors will also be able to more easily consult with other specialists. (McDaniels, 8/7)

The Star Tribune: Hennepin County Focuses On Infants To Break Child Protection Cycle
Hennepin County officials, seeking to find ways to help its youngest citizens grow up in stable households, have hit upon something new: Infant Court. It’s part of the county’s three-year Infant Team pilot program, a $1 million project that provides families with intensive coaching to mend a fractured or even nonexistent bond between a baby or toddler and a caregiver. (Smith, 8/7)

Seattle Times: Swedish Health Largely Bans Overlapping Surgeries
Swedish Health has decided to largely prohibit its doctors from conducting overlapping surgeries, responding to the concerns of patients who were troubled by the practice. Swedish’s new CEO, Dr. Guy Hudson, said in an interview Monday that the new policies are the product of a review he launched in recent months that involved collecting input from doctors, nurses, experts and patients. (Baker, 8/7)

Kaiser Health News: S.C. Taps Private Donors To Expand In-Home Services For At-Risk Moms
Deona Scott was 24 and in her final semester at Charleston Southern University in South Carolina when she found out she was pregnant. She turned to Medicaid for maternity health coverage and learned about a free program for first-time mothers that could connect her with a nurse to answer questions about pregnancy and caring for her baby. The nurse would come to her home throughout her pregnancy and for two years after her child’s birth. (Andrews, 8/8)

Miami Herald: Parkinson's Foundation Launches A Bi-Weekly Podcast
The cause of Parkinson’s disease remains unknown, but people who want a hands-free way to stay up-to-date on new developments about the disease can listen to a podcast launched recently by the Parkinson’s Foundation. The podcast, “Substantial Matters: Life and Science of Parkinson’s,” will be produced every other week and feature discussions about exercise, clinical trials and nutrition, among other subtopics. (Runcie, 8/7)

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