KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: Md. Seeks Feds’ OK To Expand Hospital Cost-Control Program; Health Disparities Rampant In Appalachia Ohio

Media outlets report on news from Maryland, Ohio, Iowa, California, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Florida and Pennsylvania.

The Baltimore Sun: Maryland Seeks To Expand Hospital Cost-Control Program To Include Doctors, Other Providers
Maryland is seeking federal approval to expand a hospital cost-savings program to include doctors, rehabilitation facilities, skilled-nursing centers and others who treat patients insured by Medicare. The 10-year program, which would take effect in January 2019, aims to provide an incentive for health care providers to work more closely with hospitals to improve quality and reduce Medicare costs. The plan calls for Maryland to save $300 million in annual Medicare costs by the end of 2023. (Gantz, 8/24)

Columbus Dispatch: Health Disparities Increase For Appalachia Ohio
A new report released Thursday shows the 25 million people living in Appalachia — which includes residents of 32 Ohio counties — have fallen further behind the rest of the nation for premature deaths and other key health factors. The 13-state region, stretching from Mississippi through eastern and southern Ohio to New York, has higher rates than the rest of the nation in seven of the 10 leading causes of death, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke. (Candisky, 8/25)

The Associated Press: Iowa Agency Ends Nursing Home Visits Amid Budget Cuts
An Iowa agency that advocates for the elderly and people with disabilities will no longer send staff to visit nursing homes because of budget cuts. The Iowa Long-Term Care Ombudsman's office has eliminated in-state travel after losing a quarter of its nearly $2 million budget this fiscal year, The Des Moines Register reported . In-state travel can cost up to $85,000 annually. (8/24)

Los Angeles Times: Naked, Filthy And Strapped To A Chair For 46 Hours: A Mentally Ill Inmate's Last Days
For 46 hours, Andrew Holland’s legs and arms were shackled to a chair in the San Luis Obispo County jail. The inmate, who suffered from schizophrenia, was left in his own filth, eating and drinking almost nothing. He was naked, except for a helmet and mask covering his face and a blanket that slipped off his lap, exposing him to jail staff who passed by his glass-fronted cell. (St. John, 8/24)

The Wall Street Journal: NYC Calorie Count Is Under Legal Fire
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and city restaurant and convenience store organizations will attempt to have a New York City law requiring calorie counts on menus for certain food establishments overturned during a Friday hearing in federal court. The New York City calorie-labeling law was first established in 2008, making the city the first in the country to require restaurant calorie counts. Under current city provisions, chains with 15 or more stores must provide patrons with calorie counts and nutritional information on their products. (Alfaro, 8/24)

The Oregonian: Providence Lays Off 210, Plans Continued Cost-Cutting
Providence Health & Services began a series of layoffs last week as the giant health system attempts to bring its costs in line with revenue. ... The cuts at Providence are more evidence that hospitals are facing challenging times. The enormous nonprofit saw its financial position deteriorate markedly in 2016. (Manning, 8/23)

ProPublica: Florida Lawmakers To Review Law Targeting Injured Undocumented Workers
The second-highest ranking member of the Florida Senate pledged a legislative review of a state law that has allowed injured undocumented workers to be arrested and potentially deported rather than paid workers’ compensation benefits. ... Flores spoke in response to a recent NPR and ProPublica investigation and a subsequent statement by the nation’s largest insurance fraud group, which called on Florida lawmakers to change the law. (Berkes and Gravell, 8/24)

Sacramento Bee: Sacramento Councilwoman Says Smoke Shops Are A Crime Magnet, Calls For More Restrictions
After an armed robbery at a Natomas tobacco shop, Councilwoman Angelique Ashby is calling for more restrictions on businesses that specialize in tobacco and smoking paraphernalia. At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Ashby showed her fellow council members a photo of a masked assailant armed with a gun who allegedly was one of a trio that tied up a store employee during a Friday night robbery at the Tobacco Plus store on Club Center Drive in North Natomas. (Chabria, 8/24)

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