KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: Hospital Safety, Infant Mortality, Immigration And More

Officials in Oregon say hospitals accidentally killed 32 patients; in Texas, as the immigration debate simmers, the government is tallying illegal immigrants' health costs.

The (Portland) Oregonian: "At least 32 patients died as a result of preventable errors in Oregon hospitals last year, according to a report released Thursday by the Oregon Patient Safety Commission. … Hospitals reported 136 incidents in 2009. In 22 percent of cases, patients suffered minimal or no detectable harm. But half of the incidents resulted in serious injury or death" (Rojas-Burke, 8/19).

The Dallas Morning News: "Texas taxpayers spent at least $250 million last year in state prison and health care costs for illegal immigrants, but figuring out the precise cost will be difficult, state officials testified on Wednesday." The report is a preliminary review meant to help pave the way for debate over tougher, Arizona-style immigration laws (Hoppe, 8/18).

The Wall Street Journal: "[I]n his zeal to make… connections for four residency-training candidates at Harlem Hospital, [a businessman whose firm places doctors at medical centers] went too far, Manhattan prosecutors allege. They have accused him of submitting forged documents and giving thousands of dollars in bribes to a hospital employee dealing with the residency applications-payments prosecutors say he described as a 'thank you' and an 'Easter love gift'" (Rothfeld, 8/20).

Kansas Health Institute: "A months-long effort to draft a plan for a Kansas health information exchange is nearing completion and the finished document, which likely will number more than 300 pages, is scheduled for delivery to federal officials for review by the end of the month. … Members of the e-Health Advisory Council on Thursday heard what might be a final update on the plan, which essentially spells out the next steps to be taken for advancing a statewide health information exchange" (Shields, 8/19).

The Birmingham News: "Alabama's infant mortality rate has dropped to a record low, welcomed news for a state that traditionally ranks among nation's worst, state health officials said Wednesday[.] In 2009 the state had 513 infant deaths for a rate of 8.2 deaths per 1000 live births. That's the lowest rate since record keeping began more than a century ago" (Chandler, 8/19).

The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal: "Delaware's shadowy process for regulating health insurance rates could be opened up to the public with the help of $1 million from the federal government. Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services handed out $46 million in grants to 45 states and the District of Columbia to beef up health insurance rate reviews" (Starkey, 8/19).


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