KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: Fla.’s Proposal To Protect Against Surprise Medical Bills At Risk; Conn. Gov. Holds Back Health Center Funds Due To Budget Squeeze

News outlets report on health issues in Florida, Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Washington, North Carolina and Minnesota.

The Miami Herald: Late Changes May Doom Florida Proposal To Protect Patients From Surprise Medical Bills
A proposal led by Miami-Dade lawmakers to protect patients from receiving unexpected medical bills for out-of-network care — a goal that doctors, hospitals and health insurers all say they support — is in trouble in the Florida Legislature this week after a last-minute change that consumer advocates worry is undermining support for the legislation. The coalition of political support behind the bill is a “delicate agreement,” said Laura Brennaman, director of Florida Community Health Action Information Network, or CHAIN. An amendment to the bill tacked on in the Senate, a week before the end of the legislative session, could be “an effort to scuttle the bill altogether without any real validity,” she said. (Chang, 3/7)

The Connecticut Mirror: Malloy Holds Back Community Health Center Funds
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration is withholding $3.89 million in payments for community health centers, a response to projections that show a ballooning budget deficit. The move is similar to one the administration made in suspending $140 million in payments to hospitals, and led health center officials to warn that it could cost jobs and set back services for poor patients. (Levin Becker, 3/4)

The Wall Street Journal: Colorado Looks To Broaden Therapists’ Power To Prevent School Shootings
In a state that has been battered by mass shootings, Colorado lawmakers are trying a new, focused approach to stopping bloodshed in schools. A proposed bill would broaden the circumstances under which mental-health professionals can report a student that they believe poses a threat, an issue that has drawn increasing attention around the country. Colorado law requires mental-health workers to alert authorities if a patient expresses a specific, imminent threat, and mandates that they warn those being threatened. The proposal would permit therapists to alert school administrators about a potentially dangerous student even if that danger isn’t immediate. (Frosch, 3/6)

The Denver Post: No Changes For Health Center At Downtown Auraria Campus, For Now
Plans to change the health care center operations at Metropolitan State University of Denver have been tabled, officials say. Catherine Lucas, a spokeswoman for the school, said the Board of Trustees had to prioritize a list of 27 projects at a meeting last month. Finding a new operator for the health center through a request for proposals, as was planned, ended up among 10 projects deemed a low priority. (Robles, 3/4)

The Orlando Sentinel: Pathways To Care Offers Rare Healing Oasis For Homeless
Donald Testa had just had three surgeries, part of one foot amputated and a fresh diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes when an Orlando hospital discharge planner announced he was well enough to go home. There was just one problem: Testa had no home. The 49-year-old had been living out of a motel and working day-labor jobs when blisters from a new pair of boots led to a nasty infection. An initial trip to the emergency room turned into repeated hospital stays and, at discharge, he was in a wheelchair, on intravenous antibiotics and taking 10 prescription medications plus insulin, which had to be refrigerated. The hospital found him a bed at Pathways to Care — a rare place of respite for the homeless. (Santich, 3/6)

The Seattle Times: High School Kids Need Chickenpox Shots By Fall, New Rules Say
Washington state health officials are reminding parents of a new state requirement that adds high-school students to the list of those required to be vaccinated against chickenpox starting this fall. In the 2016-2017 school year, all students in public and private school grades kindergarten through 12 must show proof of two doses of chickenpox vaccine, proof of previous disease or a blood test showing immunity to chickenpox or herpes zoster, a related infection. Or, they can provide an approved exemption. (Aleccia, 3/5)

North Carolina Health News: Distant Echoes Of Slavery Affect Breast-feeding Attitudes Of Black Women
As certified nurse-midwife Stephanie Devane-Johnson works with her patients in Greensboro, she talks to them about a lot of health issues. But for her pregnant clients, one of the biggest topics is breast-feeding. “I’m asking about whether they’re going to breast-feed or bottle-feed,” Devane-Johnson said. “If they say they’re going to bottle feed, I say, “What about breast-feeding?’’ But to her frustration, for many black women breast-feeding their babies isn’t the first option. (Hoban, 3/4)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.