KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Viewpoints: A Multipronged Approach To Taking On Drug Addiction; Prison Is A Bad Fit For People With Mental Illness

A selection of public health opinions from around the country.

Cincinnati Enquirer: Multipronged Approach Needed To Turn Tide In Addiction Fight
Improving the health of our communities is at the very heart of Mercy Health’s mission and there are few greater immediate threats to our communities than the opiate epidemic, which has hit southwest Ohio particularly hard. Thinking about how to tackle this nationwide crisis can be overwhelming, yet it demands a robust, collaborative response. (Michael W. Garfield, 5/11)

Miami Herald: Prison Wrong Place For Darren Rainey, Others With Mental Illness
It is only because of dogged investigative reporting by the Miami Herald that people know of the horrific 2012 death of Florida prison inmate Darren Rainey. Rainey, incarcerated at the Dade Correctional Institution (DCI), was locked by guards in a shower stall for two hours under a torrent of scalding water — reportedly up to 160 degrees. ... But this conversation has been too narrow: The policy makers who sustain our criminal-justice system are also culpable. Rainey was completing a two-year sentence for possession of a small amount of cocaine and had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. What was a mentally ill man with a drug addiction, convicted of a nonviolent crime, doing in prison in the first place? (Howard L. Simon, 5/11)

The New England Journal Of Medicine: The Future Of Transgender Coverage
In tandem with the growing visibility and acceptance of transgender people in the United States, we have seen a rapid increase in insurance coverage for health care services related to gender transition. Despite ongoing court battles over federal nondiscrimination protections for transgender people and uncertainty over the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), this trend is likely to continue: Medicare, many state-regulated private plans, some state Medicaid programs, and an increasing number of employer-sponsored plans now cover transition-related care for transgender people. These changes are driven by a growing expert consensus on the medical necessity of gender transition, new legal interpretations prohibiting insurance discrimination against transgender people, and mounting evidence that transgender-inclusive coverage is cost-effective. (Kellan E. Baker, 5/11)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: SLU School Of Medicine On Probation?
Over 50 percent of doctors suffer from burnout, and we lose more than 400 doctors a year to suicide caused by a toxic work environment. About one-third of resident physicians suffer from burnout. It starts in medical school. Three years ago, the Journal of the American Medical Association-Psychiatry published an article titled “Med student depression, suicide: National response required.” [St. Louis University] has been one of the most active and undeniably the most successful medical school to address this ongoing tragedy, basing medical education on the Jesuit underpinnings of educating and nurturing the whole person: mind, body, spirit and heart. (Keith Frederick and Bob Onder, 5/12)

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