KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: Minn. Marks New Measles Case; Three Mass. Hospitals Reach Merger Agreement

Media outlets report on news from Minnesota, Massachusetts, Georgia, Missouri, California, Ohio, Michigan, Texas and Florida.

The Star Tribune: New Measles Case In Minnesota Extends Threat
A new measles case in Minnesota, reported just as the recent outbreak seemed to be winding down, has state health officials on alert because it involved a white adult who had visited public places in Hennepin, Ramsey and Carver counties while infectious and who had circulated among several people known to be unvaccinated. Reported Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health, the case brings the total for the current measles outbreak to 79. (Olson, 7/13)

WBUR: Proposed Beth Israel-Lahey Merger Includes 13 Hospitals
A proposed hospital merger, spearheaded by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health, became formal Thursday with the signing of a definitive agreement and a filing with the state's Health Policy Commission. If approved, it would be the largest hospital merger in Massachusetts since Partners HealthCare formed in 1994 — and it would include more hospitals. (Bebinger, 7/13)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia To Pursue $49 Million For School Nurses
In a joint effort with the Georgia Department of Education, the Department of Community Health board voted to approve a nursing services reimbursement program that would draw an estimated $48.6 million in additional federal dollars, assuming no major changes to Medicaid. There were 1,629 nurses and 307 unlicensed health care and clinic workers in Georgia schools last spring. (Tagami, 7/13)

The Associated Press: Confusion Over How Anti-Abortion Bill Could Affect St. Louis
Missouri lawmakers are at a standstill on broad anti-abortion legislation more than a month after Republican Gov. Eric Greitens called them into a special session to deal with abortion issues. The legislation calls for several new regulations, such as annual state inspections of abortion clinics. But one of the provisions causing the most confusion addresses a St. Louis ordinance that city leaders say is intended to prevent discrimination based on reproductive health decisions, such as pregnancy and abortion. (7/14)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Best Hospitals In US: 8 Georgia Hospitals Among Most Advanced In Tech
And according to Hospitals and Health Networks 19th annual “Most Wired Hospitals and Health Systems” survey, eight Georgia hospitals or health systems (including four in metro Atlanta) rely heavily on digital innovation “to improve population health, capitalize on data analytics, boost patient engagement and introduce new efficiencies" ...The survey, conducted with the help of the American Hospital Association and health care experts, showed 82 percent of the nation’s hospitals and hospital systems use technological analysis tools to help improve quality and reduce costs, both clinically and administratively. (Pirani, 7/13)

Detroit Free Press: Beaumont Trumpets, Defends New Pricey Proton Beam Cancer Center
Beaumont Health officials showed off their new $40-million cancer-fighting machine on Thursday — the first of its kind in Michigan and purportedly more advanced and less costly to operate than earlier models of the sometimes controversial technology. The proton beam device is the centerpiece of the new Proton Therapy Center on Beaumont's Royal Oak hospital campus and one of just 25 in the country. (Reindl, 7/13)

Austin American-Statesman: Lawmakers Propose Reining In Health Costs For Texas Retired Teachers
After failing to temper soaring health care costs for retired teachers, state lawmakers are considering giving retired teachers up to $1,200 more a year and pumping $200 million into their health care over the next two years. Starting in January, many retired teachers, particularly those under the age of 65, will see higher premiums and deductibles grow as much as 10 times what they’re paying now. (Chang, 7/13)

Minnesota Public Radio: Crisis Connection Hotline Rescued, As Least Temporarily
A mental health hotline that's served Minnesotans for nearly 50 years will keep operating thanks to an eleventh-hour infusion of money. Crisis Connection had been scheduled to shut down Friday evening, but a grant from the state health department means the service will continue linking people suffering mental health emergencies to professional counselors. (Sepic, 7/14)

The Star Tribune: Minnesota Mental Health Crisis Line Gets Rescued At The Last Minute
In a last-minute move, the agency agreed late Thursday to provide enough funding, $139,000, to keep the crisis hot line open until late September. Canvas Health, the Oakdale-based nonprofit agency that operates the service, had previously announced the hot line would go dark on Friday, citing financial difficulties and a lack of state funding. The planned closing of Crisis Connection concerned state health officials and mental health advocates, because the line is so widely used and remains the only mental health crisis line that serves the entire state. (Serres, 7/13)

Health News Florida: Federal Judge Dismisses Request To Stop Spraying Pesticide Naled In Miami-Dade County
A federal judge has dismissed a request to stop aerial spraying of the pesticide Naled in Miami-Dade County, describing the plaintiffs' complaint as "poor" and recommending they get a lawyer before pursuing further legal action. Judge Federico Moreno, of the Southern District of Florida, gave the two Miami Beach residents who filed the complaint 60 days to amend it by clarifying why the case belongs in federal court and which laws they contend are being violated. (Stein, 7/13)

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