KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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West Virginia Bill Would Shield Hospitals From State, Federal Anti-Trust Regs

The proposal is drawing increasing scrutiny as some are concerned it would draw large hospital monopolies to the state. News outlets also report hospital-related developments in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Illinois and Louisiana.

Marketplace: West Virginia Hospital Deal In National Spotlight
There’s a big healthcare battle brewing in West Virginia that could have national implications. A vote could come Friday on a bill that would protect certain hospitals from federal and state anti-trust regulation. Put it another way, if this legislation passes, its possible West Virginia could become home to massive hospital monopolies. (Gorenstein, 3/4)

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Hospitals Continue To Make Progress In Reducing Infections, But Work Remains
On average, almost three people die each day in Wisconsin from sepsis, a complication from infections. The infections often occur in hospitals and other health care settings. And new strains of bacteria are increasingly resistant to antibiotics. The potential risks were shown last week when the state Department of Health Services announced that bacteria causing sepsis had been linked to 18 deaths and 44 cases of infection in southern Wisconsin since late December. (Boulton, 3/5)

North Carolina Health News: Rural Hospitals Embrace Population Health In Quest For Relevance
There are some 2,000 rural hospitals in the U.S. today, and, one could argue, those hospitals face nearly as many challenges to their viability. North Carolina’s rural hospital administrators find themselves grappling to gain footing in a shifting economic and health care landscape, pursuing paths they trust will lead to solutions to fit the communities they serve. (Sisk, 3/4)

The Chicago Sun-Times: Late Jump In Flu Cases Has Chicago Hospitals Limiting Visits
An unusual jump in late-winter flu cases has prompted hospitals in the Chicago area to restrict visitors to protect very ill patients from picking up the flu. The Illinois Department of Public Health says officials statewide are seeing a flu increase. The Chicago-area flu season usually lasts from October to May and peaks in early January. Health professionals say this year’s late-season increase might be due in part to milder temperatures. (3/5)

The Associated Press: Accident Or Crime? VA Worker Faces Trial In Patient's Death
Hospital officials called it an accident when a 70-year-old psychiatric patient was fatally injured in an altercation with a nursing assistant at a Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in central Louisiana three years ago. But the case became fodder for the VA's congressional critics after local prosecutors charged the employee, 54-year-old Fredrick Kevin Harris, with manslaughter in the death of Air Force veteran Charles Lee Johnson. (Kunzelman, 3/3)

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