KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Highlights: Kan. Mental Health Funding; EHR Problems Claim CEO’s Job

A selection of health policy stories from Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Ohio, and Wyoming.

Kansas Health Institute: Kansas Gov. Finds Additional $9.5M For Mental Health 
Gov. Sam Brownback today announced that his administration will spend an additional $9.5 million on services for the mentally ill in the fiscal year that begins July 1. “This is a major, important issue,” Brownback said during an afternoon press conference at the Statehouse. Most of new money - $7 million – will come from the state’s federally funded Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant (Ranney, 5/27).

Modern Healthcare: Ga. Hospital CEO Resigns After Bumpy Electronic Health Record Rollout 
Athens (Ga.) Regional Medical Center President and CEO James Thaw resigned amid complaints from the medical staff that his administration bungled the implementation of an electronic health-record system, according to local news reports. The rollout of a Cerner Corp. EHR system went live May 4 in “most areas” of the organization, according to a news release issued at the time. Plans called for the system to extend to Athens Regional's employed physician offices and its four urgent-care centers on Tuesday (Tahir, 5/27).

The Associated Press: As Tribal Health Care Woes Mount, Feds Get Blame 
Misdiagnosed illnesses, denied payments and a shortage of trained medical personnel in government-run clinics are wrecking the federal health care system for Native Americans, tribal leaders said Tuesday as they pressed officials to overhaul a system beset with problems. With the head of the Indian Health Service listening on, representatives of seven Montana and Wyoming reservations delivered a litany of health care woes suffered by their members during a U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee field hearing in Billings (Brown, 5/28).

The Associated Press: Ohio Programs Win Funds To Help Moms Addicted To Heroin 
Four programs in Ohio are receiving grant money to help pregnant women who are addicted to heroin or other opiates as the state looks to combat drug abuse and its effects on children. The $4.2 million, three-year pilot project is expected to help close to 300 women who are addicted to prescription painkillers and heroin. The state recently awarded some funds to treatment and counseling programs in Cuyahoga, Athens, Franklin and Hamilton counties. Ohio officials hope to reach the expectant mothers early in their pregnancies and work with them through their recovery process (Sanner, 5/27).

Miami Herald: To Promote Breastfeeding, Hospitals Stop Giving Out Infant Formula Samples 
In an effort to promote breastfeeding, Jackson Health System is no longer handing out goody bags with infant formula samples and instead is giving new mothers its own breastfeeding discharge bags that include information on support groups, where to find breast pumps and how to collect and store breast milk. The change in the longtime policy is part of an effort to achieve the Baby Friendly designation, a global standard of care program launched by the World Health Organization and UNICEF to encourage breastfeeding and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer support for what the American Academy of Pediatrics considers the optimal level of infant feeding (Veciana-Suarez, /27).

The Associated Press: Orthodontist Challenges Ark. Law On Stand-alone Services 
A Jonesboro orthodontist has filed a federal court challenge to an Arkansas law that bars dental specialists from offering stand-alone basic services such as cleanings and X-rays. The lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Little Rock argues that it is unconstitutional to prohibit orthodontists — dentists who specialize in straightening teeth — from performing nonemergency stand-alone services outside of their specialty. Dr. Benjamin Burris, who operates offices in Blytheville, Forrest City, Jonesboro, Paragould and West Memphis, signed a consent order in November with the Arkansas Board of Dental Examiners in which he agreed to stop offering cleanings and X-rays to patients he's not fitting for braces (Bartels, 5/27). 

The Associated Press: Rape Kit Testing Rules Move Forward In Michigan Legislature 
When 11,000 untested rape kits were discovered in Detroit in 2009, Michigan officials faced two major questions going forward: How to resolve the backlog, and how to keep new rape kits from meeting the same fate. As analysis of those kits continues, lawmakers are considering legislation to speed up testing for future rape kits, which contain DNA and other evidence collected after a reported sexual assault. The state House unanimously passed a bill Thursday that would set time limits for kit retrieval and analysis by law enforcement (5/27).

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