KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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State Highlights: Texas Tries To Tackle High Maternal Mortality Rates; Judge Strikes Down Ala. Law Instituting Trials For Pregnant Girls

Media outlets report on news from Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Colorado.

Texas Tribune: House Passes Four Maternal Mortality Bills
House lawmakers tentatively approved a series of bills Monday aimed at helping Texas curb its unusually high rate of women dying less than a year after childbirth. The primary measure, House Bill 9, would direct the state’s Task Force on Maternal Mortality and Morbidity to continue studying pregnancy complications and maternal deaths until 2023. (Evans, 7/31)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Health Policy Splits Georgia Gov Candidates After Repeal’s Fail
Not surprisingly, the six leading candidates to succeed the governor are split over how Georgia should proceed now that the Affordable Care Act seems destined to remain the law of the land. Democrats advocate a full expansion of the Medicaid program, while most of the Republicans are receptive to waivers that would grant Georgia more flexibility in spending federal dollars. (Bluestein, 8/1)

Boston Globe: State Allows Psychiatric Hospital Cited For Patient Care Lapses To Reopen
Westwood Lodge, a psychiatric hospital cited for repeated patient care problems, will be allowed to reopen Tuesday under increased oversight, the Baker administration has decided. State regulators had stopped admissions to the Westwood Lodge children’s unit on April 26 and then closed the unit entirely after discovering serious lapses, including the case of a 9-year-old boy who had been given the wrong medication for nine days. (Kowalczyk, 7/31)

Boston Globe: Boston Nursing Program Gets Warning From State
The nursing program at MCPHS University in Boston was given a formal warning from the state after students’ sagging scores on the nursing licensure exam triggered a review that uncovered larger problems, documents show. State officials believe the school has run afoul of regulations regarding oversight, instructor qualifications, and student evaluations in the nursing program, according to a letter sent to the school by the state. (Krantz, 8/1)

The Baltimore Sun: Baltimore Enlists Doulas To Help Bring Infant Mortality Rate Down 
The city health department has started a pilot program to train [Kendra] Nelson and four other city residents to become doulas — non-medical companions who provide emotional support and comfort to women during delivery. Doulas can also play a guiding role during pregnancy. They help moms develop birth plans, and can work in conjunction with physicians to make sure expectant mothers have the medical information they need to lead a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy. (McDaniels, 8/1)

KCUR: Hep C Lawsuit Against Missouri Prison System To Go Forward As Class Action 
A lawsuit alleging the Missouri Department of Corrections systematically denies medical treatment to prisoners with chronic hepatitis C has taken a big leap forward after a judge certified it as a class action. U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey last week ruled that the lawsuit, which was filed in December, meets all the requirements for class certification, including numerous plaintiffs and common issues of law and fact. (Margolies and Smith, 7/31)

NH Times Union: New Hampshire Hospital Review Would Be Paid For By D-H, Council Told 
The Executive Council on Wednesday will be asked to approve an $85,000 contract for an outside review of staffing and quality of care at New Hampshire Hospital, paid for by Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Medical staffing at the state-run psychiatric hospital has been a concern since the summer of 2016, when the state agreed to a $36 million contract with Dartmouth-Hitchcock health systems to provide psychiatrists, nurses and administrators. (Solomon, 7/31)

New Hampshire Union Leader: On The Cutting Edge: Seacoast Surgeon Trains Others In Use Of Latest Technology In Knee Replacement 
Recent advancements in robotic technology will help patients achieve better results during total knee replacement, says a surgeon who is training his peers on new methods. Dr. Akhil Sastry, of Atlantic Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Portsmouth, was one of the first surgeons to try the Mako Total Knee with Triathlon Knee System for Stryker, one of the largest developers and manufacturers of total knee replacement systems in the world. When the company began selling their newest technology for total knee replacements last year, Sastry started teaching surgeons in the United States and around the globe how to use it. (Haas, 7/31)

Coloradoan: Work In Legal Weed? Want To Take Out A Loan? Good Luck.
The so-called “gray market” of marijuana in states that have legalized the drug’s use comes with various barriers from conflicts with federal laws. Banking is among those conflicts, with dispensary owners facing difficulties of being cash-only businesses unable to get business loans or offer workers payroll deductions for their federal income taxes. (Coltrain, 7/31)

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