KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Viewpoints: Mental Health Issues And Schools; Electronic Medical Records — The Bane Of Doctors’ Existence?

A selection of public health opinions from around the country.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Mental Health Issues Becoming Pervasive For Schools
There doesn’t appear to be much in the way of precise numbers, but experts in the field say there has been an increase nationwide in mental health needs of kids. Possibly, a factor may be that we’re paying more attention and doing more about problems. The statement is frequently made that one in five school-age children have mental health issues that go beyond normal, and 80% do not get professional help. (Alan Borsuk, 5/13)

WBUR: Death By A Thousand Clicks: Leading Boston Doctors Decry Electronic Medical Records
Electronic medical records, or EMRs, were supposed to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of health care, and provide instant access to vital patient information. Instead, EMRs have become the bane of doctors and nurses everywhere. They are the medical equivalent of texting while driving, sucking the soul out of the practice of medicine while failing to improve care. To fix them, hospital administrators and clinicians need to work together to demand better products from EMR manufacturers and to urge government to relax several provisions of the HITECH Act, the 2009 law that spawned many of the problems with EMRs. (John Levinson, Bruce Price and Vikas Saini, 5/12)

Austin American-Statesman: Amid Shift In Healthcare, Nurses Remain A Constant
During our combined 74 years working in this field, medical advances have revolutionized healthcare, allowing us to provide patients with an unparalleled level of care. At the same time, these changes have presented new challenges. Regardless of what happens with our nation’s healthcare system, one thing has not changed — the steadfast support provided by nurses. (David Huffstutler and Sheila Fata, 5/15)

The Washington Post: The Simple Moment When My Autistic Son Was Treated Like Any Other Person
Unlike with most of the important changes I go through, I can pinpoint the exact moment when I stopped grieving a recent traumatic event in my son’s life. This unexpected shift happened during one of those crazy-hot days we had in April. The sky was hazy with the new green from baby leaves; the cherry trees were bursting with pink confetti. I had taken my son, Nat, home with me for the afternoon — he lives in a group home with other intellectually disabled adults. He’s supposed to stay at the home on weekends, to get used to this new house, to become independent of us. But on that sunny Sunday, I just wanted him with me. (Susan Senator, 5/12)

Stat: Failing In Public Can Teach Doctors Much-Needed Lessons In Humility
Beyond the immediate guilt of overlooking a diagnosis, I felt the shame that comes from the professional exposure of failure. I pulled aside my supervising resident physician, who was attending to the baby. We talked about my assessment of the baby and where I had fallen short. She discreetly but directly covered the consequences of moving too quickly and viewing an X-ray through the dingy overhead light of a county hospital. She recognized that I had learned from my failure the most important lesson it could have taught me. Medical internship is a remarkable time. In the course of a year, a person moves from being a brand-new medical school graduate to an almost independently thinking physician. The transformation brings a level of confidence that has you believing you can see a sliver of air between the chest and lung through the glare of a fluorescent light. (Bryan Vartabedian, 5/12)

The New York Times: Why Marathons Are More Dangerous For Nearby Residents Than Runners
At least 21 runners died in United States marathons from 2000 through 2009, most from heart problems. Seven more died a day later. Those results from a study published in 2012 sound scary, until you consider that this was out of more than 3.7 million participants. A recent study suggests that the far bigger cardiovascular danger is not faced by runners, but by older people who live in the cities where marathons are occurring and might be delayed from receiving care. (Aaron E. Carroll, 5/15)

Los Angeles Times: Make Good On A Tobacco Tax Promise To Pay Higher Rates To Medi-Cal Doctors
The $183.4-billion revised spending plan Brown unveiled Thursday restores some things that were on the chopping block in January and even finds a little more money to hand out. There’s $1.4 billion more for education above the amount required by Proposition 98. There’s $500 million more to pay child care providers. There’s about $400 million more to help counties pay for in-home health services and $6.5 million more for the California attorney general to fight President Trump. But no more for Medi-Cal providers? (5/12)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.