KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: San Diego Hepatitis A Breakout Claims 5 Lives; Colorado’s ‘Baby Box’ Effort Aimed At Reducing Infant Mortality

Media outlets report on news from California, Colorado, Maryland, Illinois, Florida, Missouri, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Ohio.

Los Angeles Times: Hepatitis A Outbreak In San Diego County Claims 5th Victim
A fifth person has died in San Diego County’s ongoing hepatitis A outbreak — the state’s largest in two decades, public health officials said Wednesday. The outbreak started in November and has grown among the region’s homeless population. There have been 228 confirmed infections, including 161 people who had to be hospitalized, according to the county’s Health and Human Services Agency. (Sisson, 7/12)

Denver Post: All New Mothers In Colorado Can Receive Baby Boxes, Thanks To New Program
New and expectant mothers across Colorado will soon be eligible to receive a free gift: a cardboard box that health workers hope will reduce infant mortality. The box comes courtesy of The Baby Box Co., a for-profit maker of the kinds of boxes that mothers in Finland have received for decades. The boxes include a basic foam mattress and can serve as a safe sleep space for infants up to about 6 months old. A smattering of other items — such as diapers, wipes and onesies — are also included with the boxes. (Ingold, 7/12)

Sacramento Bee: Single Payer Health Care Still On Wish-List In California
Toni Atkins grew up without health insurance in a “crossroads out in the middle of nowhere. ”The family lived in rural Virginia, where her father worked as a miner and her mother was a seamstress. Her mom broke an arm at one point, reducing the family to one income while medical bills stacked up. “We had to get food stamps. It was excruciating,” Atkins said. (Luna, 7/13)

The Baltimore Sun: University Of Maryland Medical System Board Approves Affiliation With Dimensions Health
The University of Maryland Medical System board of directors executive committee voted Wednesday to bring Dimensions Health Corporation under the UMMS banner. The vote authorizes, Robert A. Chrencik, UMMS president and chief executive officer, to enter into an affiliation agreement with Dimensions in Prince George's County.The Dimensions board voted last month to allow the merger to go through. (McDaniels, 7/12)

Chicago Tribune: Abbott, Silicon Valley Company Partner To Develop System For Diabetes Patients 
When Jeffrey Brewer's son was 15, the boy nearly lost his life because he took too much insulin. The diabetic teen took insulin to eat a large bag of chips late at night. But about 20 minutes later, he forgot about that first dose and took another. He spent two days in the hospital, his father said...Now, Bigfoot Biomedical and north suburban-based Abbott Laboratories hope to help prevent such problems — and make life easier for millions of people with diabetes — with a new partnership announced Thursday. The partnership aims to combine several technologies to make it easier for diabetics to monitor their glucose levels and figure out how much insulin to take throughout the day. (Schencker, 7/13)

Health News Florida: More Rain Means More Mosquitoes In Orange County
There’s a downside to the rainy season in Florida: Mosquitoes. Orange County Mosquito Control has seen a tenfold increase to about 100 calls for service every day. The calls are primarily for nuisance mosquitoes, not the mosquitoes that can transmit Zika virus and other diseases. The county urges residents to drain standing water to cut down on mosquito breeding areas. (Aboraya, 7/12)

Health News Florida: Newtown Celebrates New ‘One-Stop-Shop’ Clinic
A new adult-care clinic in Newtown opened this month.  A community-wide partnership aims to make the clinic a ‘one-stop-shop’ for a variety of needs for the community just north of the city of Sarasota, where access to medical care and other services has been a challenge. (Davis, 7/12)

KQED: Is The New Tobacco Tax Causing A Drop In Smoking? Big Time, Indicators Suggest
Last fall, California voters approved the biggest increase in cigarette taxes since the state first began levying tobacco in the 1950s. Advocates for Proposition 56, which passed with a fairly overwhelming 64 percent of the vote, argued that a $2-per-pack tax hike would hurt pocketbooks enough to nudge millions of California smokers to quit, or at least to light up less frequently. (Levin, 7/12)

Modern Healthcare: SSM Health To Acquire Wisconsin Hospitals From The Congregation Of Sisters Of St. Agnes
SSM Health will acquire two Wisconsin-based systems from the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes, the Catholic-sponsored providers announced Wednesday. The systems are Agnesian HealthCare and Monroe Clinic. St. Louis-based SSM Health owns St. Mary's Hospital in Madison, Dean Clinic and hospitals in Baraboo and Janesville. The facilities will likely carry the SSM Health brand. (Kacik, 7/12)

San Francisco Chronicle: Group Seeks Referendum On Flavored Tobacco Ban In S.F.
A San Rafael lawyer has filed a referendum measure to strike down the Board of Supervisors’ ban on flavored tobacco, which passed unanimously in June. ... The group represents tobacco manufacturers R.J. Reynolds and Altria, as well as several vaping advocacy groups and the Arab American Grocers Association, whose members opposed the supervisors’ ordinance, saying it hurt immigrant business owners. (Swan, 7/12)

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