KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

N.Y.C. Council To Consider Strict Disclosure Requirements For Crisis-Pregnancy Centers; Nurses Plan Walkout At Oakland Hospital

The Wall Street Journal: "The [New York] City Council plans to unveil legislation Tuesday that would establish strict disclosure requirements for crisis-pregnancy centers, some of which, abortion-rights advocates charge, deceive women into believing they're full-serve reproductive health facilities by masking their antiabortion agenda. The legislation, backed by Speaker Christine Quinn, would require the centers to disclose to clients that they do not provide abortion services or contraceptive devices, or make referrals to organizations that do. Centers that don't have licensed medical providers onsite would also have to disclose that information. ... Denounced by abortion-rights opponents as government harassment and a violation of their First Amendment rights, the legislation is similar to laws in Baltimore, Montgomery County, Md., and Austin, Tex." (Saul, 10/12).

San Francisco Chronicle: "More than 700 registered nurses at Children's Hospital Oakland are set to walk off their jobs for three days starting today over a dispute in negotiations for a new contract. The major sticking point is the health care benefit, with nurses arguing that hospital management is forcing them to pay more for their coverage. … The hospital and the nurses, who are represented by the California Nurses Association, have been negotiating for a new contract since May" (Colliver, 10/12).

Omaha World-Herald: "The University of Nebraska Medical Center hopes to chip away at the nursing shortage by opening a new building devoted to producing nurses and nursing professors. UNMC's $14 million Center for Nursing Science officially opens during a ceremony Wednesday morning. … The problem has diminished as nurses who had stopped working have returned to the work force to contribute to family incomes during the recession. But for the long term, experts say, a huge shortage may cause major problems for medical care in the Midwest and nationwide" (Ruggles, 10/12).

USA Today reports on the unexplained deaths of 10 infants at the Fort Bragg military base in the past four years. "The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission is conducting environmental tests at military housing at Fort Bragg as part of an Army investigation. Army officials say they are focusing in particular on the cases of three babies who at some point had lived in the same house, built and owned by a private military housing company (Welch, 10/12).

The Boston Globe: "A private equity firm's proposal to buy Caritas Christi Health Care stands to clear another major hurdle this week, with the staff of the state Department of Public Health recommending that licenses be granted to operate the six Caritas hospitals under the new for-profit owner (Weisman and Smith, 10/12).

The Baltimore Sun: "It was two years ago that Myron Weisfeldt, chairman of internal medicine at the [Johns] Hopkins School of Medicine, took a hard look at health trends in Baltimore. The picture was not encouraging. Weisfeldt, a cardiologist, decided to take action" and partnered with two fellow medical practitioners "to dream up a program that could change urban medicine. Hopkins, he said, would find a way to fund it. … Their proposal had four basic parts. The residency would allow doctors to be certified in both pediatrics and internal medicine. They would get outside the hospital and into community clinics, treating patients and their families and following their progress. They'd do rotations in nontraditional urban settings. And they'd be schooled in the financial end of health care, learning what it takes to change minds on hospital boards, at insurance companies and in government" (Pitts, 10/10).

Lehigh Acres (Fla.) Citizen: "Lee Memorial Health System announced today that it is ending its contractual agreement with United Healthcare for the insurer's Medicare Advantage products - including Secure Horizon and Evercare - effective Dec. 31 of this year. Ending the contract will affect only hospital services provided to members of United's Medicare Advantage plans on or after Jan. 1, 2011. Members of United's commercial plan and United Medicare Advantage plan members who receive physician services will not be affected by this change, Lee Memorial Health System officials said" (10/11).

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