KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: Va. Senate Stops Hospital Deregulation Effort; Iowa Gov. Advances Effort To Address State’s Psychiatrist Shortage

News outlets report on health issues in Virginia, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, California, Florida and New Hampshire.

The Associated Press: Hospital Deregulation Efforts Fail In Virginia Legislature
An effort by doctors, tea party groups, conservative lawmakers and others to loosen government oversight of new or expanded health care facilities failed Monday, marking a much-lobbied win for the state’s hospitals. The Virginia Senate used a procedural move Monday to effectively kill legislation aimed at reforming the state’s decades-old certificate of public need law, which requires medical providers to prove to the State Board of Health that proposed new facilities, expansions or major equipment purchases are necessary in a geographic area. (3/7)

Iowa Public Radio: Critical Shortage Of Psychiatrists In Iowa Addressed
A shortage of mental health physicians could be alleviated under a program Governor Branstad announced today. Iowa ranks 41st in the nation in the number of practicing psychiatrists. So the state will spend $4 million for new psychiatric residency programs at three Des Moines medical centers, Broadlawns, UnityPoint Health, and Mercy Hospital. (Russell, 3/7)

St. Louis Public Radio: St. Louis County's Prescription Database May Catch On Elsewhere
Don’t look now, but St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and company may be trailblazers – at least when it comes to setting up a prescription drug monitoring program. With the Missouri General Assembly unlikely to approve a statewide drug tracking program, Stenger and the St. Louis County Council gave their blessing to a county database last week. It’s aimed at stopping someone from getting certain controlled substances at multiple pharmacies, which database supporters say is a big precursor to heroin abuse. (Rosenbaum, 3/7)

The Wall Street Journal: Theranos Ran Tests Despite Quality Problems
A federal inspection report said a Theranos Inc. laboratory ran an important blood test on 81 patients in a six-month period despite erratic results from quality-control checks meant to ensure the test’s accuracy, people familiar with the report said. The report hasn’t been publicly released but is far more detailed than the letter that summarized the results of last fall’s inspection of the Newark, Calif., lab by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and was sent to Theranos in late January, these people said. (Carreyrou and Weaver, 3/7)

Los Angeles Times: Deadly Superbugs From Hospitals Get Stronger In The Sewers And Could End Up In The Pacific Ocean
Every day Southern California hospitals unleash millions of gallons of raw sewage into municipal sewers. The malodorous muck flows miles to one of the region's sewage plants, where it is treated with the rest of the area's waste and then released as clear water into a stream or directly to the Pacific. Scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency recently announced they had discovered a lethal superbug — the same one that caused outbreaks at UCLA and two other Los Angeles-area hospitals — in sewage at one of those plants. They declined to name the facility. (Petersen, 3/7)

St. Louis Public Radio: Traumatic Stress In St. Louis' Marginalized Communities And What We Can Do About It
For some children in the St. Louis area, traumatic stress is an unavoidable part of growing up. Chronic poverty, racism and discrimination, experienced over time, contribute to children’s stress levels, which have an adverse impact on the way they grow up and contribute to their community. Vetta Sanders Thompson’s research at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University focuses specifically on traumatic stress that is impacting marginalized communities in St. Louis. This week, she’s a featured speaker at the Missouri Institute for Mental Health’s Traumatic Stress: New Mechanisms and Effective Treatment conference, which runs March 9-10. (Moffitt, 2/7)

The Concord Monitor: Patients At 2 Medical Centers Warned Of Exposure To Scabies
New Hampshire health officials say patients and staff at two Manchester clinics may have been exposed to scabies. Health officials in Manchester issued the scabies alert Friday. WMUR reported that a patient was diagnosed and treated for scabies Wednesday at Dartmouth-Hitchcock clinic in Manchester. The same patient reportedly was treated at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester in February. (3/7)

The Charlotte Observer: After Chickenpox Outbreak, 15 Union County Schoolchildren Without Vaccinations Sent Home For 21 Days
Five-year-old Katie Hedrick doesn’t have chickenpox. But five other elementary students in Union County do. And because Katie hasn’t been vaccinated against the childhood illness, she is one of 15 children who have been ordered by the county health director to stay out of school, in quarantine, for 21 days. Katie’s mother, Chelsea Hedrick of Indian Trail, is confused and angry about the health department’s decision. She questions why her child – and the other healthy, unvaccinated children – should be sent home when the vaccination didn’t prevent the other children from getting sick. (Garloch, 3/7)

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