KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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‘We Did Really Well’: After Bracing For Disaster, Florida Hospitals Breathe Sigh Of Relief

Most hospitals fared well during the storm, and hospital officials credited changes and additions they've made in the past decade to strengthen their buildings against natural disasters.

The Washington Post: Florida’s Hospitals Weather The Storm
Doctors, nurses and staff at hospitals up and down Florida's Gulf and Atlantic coasts were nearly breathless with surprise and relief Monday: Their patients — and their buildings — had survived the monster named Irma. “We're wonderful,” said Cheryl Garn, spokeswoman for Lee Health's four hospitals in Fort Myers. “Minimum damage. The sun is out and shining. We have some leaks where wind or rain blew in, but the patients are safe and comfortable.” (Nutt, 9/11)

Miami Herald: Hurricane Irma: South Florida Hospitals Begin Returning To Normal
In the wake of Hurricane Irma, Florida hospitals are returning to regular operations, discharging high-risk patients who had sheltered at their facilities during the storm, and preparing for an influx of emergency room visits from people suffering falls, cuts and other mishaps related to the recovery. But not all hospitals and healthcare facilities are ready to rebound after Irma. (Chang, 9/11)

Reuters: Hospital Shares Rise As Irma Damage Lighter Than Feared
Stocks of U.S. hospital companies rose on Monday as damage from Hurricane Irma in Florida appeared to be lighter than feared. Shares of Tenet Healthcare Corp rose 3.9 percent, Community Health Systems Inc shares were up 2.8 percent, Envision Healthcare Corp rose 1.7 percent and HCA Health shares were up 1.4 percent in morning trading. (Erman, 9/11)

Orlando Sentinel: Hurricane Irma: Data On Hurricane-Related Injuries Remains Scant
Before Hurricane Irma arrived, Dr. Kenneth Alexander decided to put together a list of anticipated short-term and long-term injuries after the hurricane so that he and his colleagues could better prepare at the hospital. He started researching the current literature, and to his surprise there were very few studies on the topic. (Miller, 9/11)

Georgia Health News: Power Outages Spread Across South Georgia As Irma Rolls In
The northern bands of Tropical Storm Irma knocked out power to more than 400,000 Georgia Power and EMC customers in coastal and South Georgia on Monday morning. More than 80,000 Georgia Power customers were without power in the Savannah area, as were another 94,000 from Brunswick and St. Simons south to St. Marys, at the Florida line, the AJC reported. (Miller, 9/11)

Meanwhile, in Texas —

The New York Times: Houston’s Floodwaters Are Tainted With Toxins, Testing Shows
Floodwaters in two Houston neighborhoods have been contaminated with bacteria and toxins that can make people sick, testing organized by The New York Times has found. Residents will need to take precautions to return safely to their homes, public health experts said. It is not clear how far the toxic waters have spread. But Fire Chief Samuel Peña of Houston said over the weekend that there had been breaches at numerous waste treatment plants. The Environmental Protection Agency said on Monday that 40 of 1,219 such plants in the area were not working. (Kaplan and Healy, 9/11)

Texas Tribune: Fifteen No-Cost Abortions Scheduled Through Harvey Relief Effort
Fifteen patients have scheduled no-cost abortions as part of an effort launched by Whole Woman's Health Clinic to pay for procedures for women affected by Hurricane Harvey. Six of those abortions will take place in the clinic's San Antonio location and nine are scheduled in Austin, a spokeswoman for the clinic said. (Platoff, 9/11)

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