KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: States Mull Letting Pharmacists Prescribe Birth Control; Flint Health Centers Get $500K In Federal Aid

News outlets report on health issues in Michigan, Wyoming, Ohio, Maryland, Iowa, Kansas, Florida, Colorado and South Dakota.

Stateline: States Start To Let Pharmacists Prescribe Birth Control Pills
Since January, Charley McGrady has been doling out hormonal contraceptive pills and patches to women who come to her Eugene, Oregon, pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription for birth control. A new state law allows McGrady to consult women about pregnancy prevention and write prescriptions for contraceptives that previously required a doctor’s signature. (Breitenbach, 2/19)

The Associated Press: Flint To Get More State, Federal Aid For Water Bills, Pipes
State and federal officials acted to send more help to Flint to deal with its lead-contamination crisis, as the Michigan House approved $30 million on Thursday to help pay residents' water bills and Gov. Rick Snyder announced a $2 million grant to help the city replace some of its pipes. The federal government is giving $500,000 to two health centers that are treating and testing Flint residents exposed to the lead-tainted water. (2/18)

The Columbus Dispatch: Partnership Aims To Lower Infant Mortality In Columbus
In a few months, 24 workers will fan out across the city in hopes of tackling the high rates of infant mortality that plague their neighborhoods. The group will be the first of 72 workers trained at Ohio State University's College of Nursing to help connect new mothers, pregnant women and women of childbearing age to health and community services. (Kurtzman, 2/18)

The Associated Press: Health Panel To Hold Hearing On Right To Die Measure
A hearing is scheduled for a measure to allow terminally ill Maryland residents to legally end their lives with drugs prescribed by a doctor. The hearing is set for Friday in the House Health and Government Operations Committee. The bill would allow mentally capable, terminally ill patients with less than six months to live to obtain prescription drugs they could ingest themselves, if their suffering becomes unbearable. (2/19)

The Des Moines Register: Dementia Care Bill Stalls Amid Nursing Home Resistance
Legislators apparently won’t pass a bill to require nursing-home employees to show they understand how to serve people with dementia, a key lawmaker said Wednesday. House Study Bill 566 was supported by the Alzheimer’s Association but opposed by the nursing-home industry. It would require training about dementia for new employees and would require them to demonstrate they understand the lessons. (Leys, 2/18)

ProPublica: Florida Lawmakers Look To Roll Back Favored Status For For-Profit Group Home
Florida legislators are looking to end what one lawmaker calls a “monopoly” written into state law that benefits a for-profit company with a history of abuse at group homes for the disabled. AdvoServ’s sprawling Carlton Palms Educational Center in central Florida houses nearly 30 percent of all state residents who are in group homes because of developmental and intellectual disabilities and challenging behavior. Roughly 200 adults and children live there. (Vogell, 2/18)

The Denver Post: Lower Teen Sex And Birth Rates Improve Colorado Health Report Card
Teenagers are leading the way toward a healthier Colorado. In their 10th annual health report card, the Colorado Health Institute and Colorado Health Foundation laud teens in five of 10 good-news categories. Twenty-three percent of Colorado teens are sexually active, the lowest rate in the nation. The teen birth rate has dropped by nearly half since 2007, to 23 per thousand girls. More children are getting dental care, fewer are binge drinking and two-thirds now participate "in vigorous physical activity." (Olinger, 2/18)

The Des Moines Register: Breast-Feeding Breaks Now Part Of Iowa Bar Exam
Iowa's Board of Law Examiners is officially giving breast-feeding mothers a break. The board has clarified its policies to allow new moms time to breast-feed during the Iowa Bar Exam, which they must pass before practicing law in Iowa, said Dave Ewert, assistant director for admissions for the Iowa Bar Exam. "We want to make sure they feel comfortable there," Ewert said. (Haley, 2/18)

NPR: Want To Get A Great Night's Sleep? Head To South Dakota
It's well known that Americans are not getting enough sleep. But some parts of the United States do it better than others. If you bed down in Minnesota, South Dakota or Colorado, you're likely getting seven or more hours a night. But you're less in luck if you live in Hawaii, where only 56 percent of adults get enough rest. Not that the rest of the country is doing much better. Of the roughly 444,000 Americans polled, about 65 percent got more than seven hours a night according to the study, which was published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Chen, 2/18)

The Kansas City Star: Prairie Village Looks At Raising Tobacco Age For Purchases
The city of Prairie Village is looking to add its name to the list of Kansas City-area communities that have raised the age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21. At its regular meeting Tuesday, the City Council asked the city’s legal staff to develop an ordinance similar to a model proposed by Tobacco 21, a campaign seeking to get the age limit for tobacco products and electronic cigarettes raised in cities across the country to 21. Already Kansas City, Independence, Olathe, Gladstone and Kansas City, Kan., have raised the tobacco purchase age within their borders. (Twiddy, 2/18)

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