KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Texas Gov. Vetoes Legislation To Create A Public Defender Office For People With Mental Health Disorders

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott did sign measures that give a boost for telemedicine and provide for postpartum depression screening for low-income women, among others. Meanwhile, guns and abortion measures have been hot topics in Kansas.

Houston Chronicle: Telemedicine Industry Expects Boost From New Texas Law 
The multimillion-dollar telemedicine industry is poised for a lucrative run across Texas now that some of the toughest restrictions in the nation have finally been lifted by the state. A new law signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, who has championed the issue, opens a huge market that could potentially connect millions of Texans to doctors who can now diagnose patients by video chat. This is welcome news in a state where elbow room is measured in the hundreds of miles and doctor shortages are chronic. (Deam, 6/15)

Texas Tribune: Postpartum Depression Screening Bill Gets Abbott's Signature 
Texas mothers taking their new babies for checkups through Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program will be able to get postpartum depression screenings and counseling under a bill Gov. Greg Abbott signed Thursday. The goal of House Bill 2466 is to get low-income mothers screened for postpartum depression early — during their baby's initial doctor visits. (Evans, 6/15)

Texas Tribune: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Signs "Sandra Bland Act" Into Law 
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday signed into law a measure that seeks to address the circumstances that led to the death of Sandra Bland, a black woman found dead in a county jail days after being arrested during a routine traffic stop. The Sandra Bland Act mandates county jails divert people with mental health and substance abuse issues toward treatment, makes it easier for defendants to receive a personal bond if they have a mental illness or intellectual disability, and requires that independent law enforcement agencies investigate jail deaths. (Silver, 6/15)

Austin American-Statesman: Sandra Bland Act Signed Into Law To Address Mental Health Of Prisoners
Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law the Sandra Bland Act which, among several provisions, requires more training for jailers on mental health issues of prisoners... County jails also will have to provide prisoners with access to mental health professionals, in person or through electronic means, and a medical professional would have to review “as soon as possible” any prescription medication that a prisoner was taking when placed in custody. (Chang, 6/15)

KCUR: Closed-Door Negotiations Produce Abortion Bill No Missouri Legislator Is Happy With 
Republican lawmakers pushed an abortion bill through the Missouri Senate this week, but were unable to secure many of the provisions they wanted. Democrats are happy with a watered-down bill, but unhappy with having to deal with another attempt to further restrict access to abortion and that it came during a special legislative session. The Senate sent the House a scaled-back bill early Thursday morning after Republican and Democratic negotiators spent roughly 14 hours behind closed doors hammering out a compromise version that could get through the upper chamber without being blocked by a filibuster. (Griffin, 6/16)

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