KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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State Highlights: Calif. Assembly Speaker Faces Recall After Sidelining Single-Payer Bill; Vermont Grapples With Funding Care For Those With Disabilities

Media outlets report on news from California, Vermont, Kansas, Wisconsin, Ohio, Texas, Michigan, Minnesota, Florida, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania.

The Associated Press: California Speaker Recall Effort Reflects Democratic Tension
Democrats control every lever of power in California state government, and free from worrying about major losses to Republicans, they’re training fire instead on each other. The latest example is a recall effort against Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, a strong progressive now targeted by party activists upset that he derailed a bill seeking government-funded health care for all. (8/5)

WBUR: As Clients And Caregivers Age, Vermont Revamps Services To People With Disabilities
Vermont has long been a leader in supporting adults with developmental disabilities: It was one of the first states in the U.S. to shut down its institutional hospital and move adults with disabilities out into their communities. But the state is now grappling with how to fund quality services for those with disabilities as they — and their caregivers — age. (Weiss-Tisman, 8/4)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Community Health Workers Offer A Bridge To Health In Low-Income Areas
Community health workers often are trusted members of the communities they work in and are able to connect residents to health and social services that are specific to their needs. ...Because these workers are familiar with the communities where they work, they have shared experiences and often understand their residents better than a health professional with multiple degrees would. (Guerra Luz, 8/4)

Columbus Dispatch: More Ohio Parents Don't Want Kids Vaccinated, But Numbers Still Small
This time of year, parents are checking the items off their child’s back-to-school list: pencils, pens, scissors, glue, notebooks, backpack. But there’s another back-to-school-list some parents forget: DTaP, chickenpox, MMR, hepatitis B, polio, and meningococcal — the six vaccinations Ohio law requires students receive before attending school. (Williams, 8/6)

NPR: South Texas Launches New Effort To Diagnose And Treat Tuberculosis
At San Antonio's largest homeless shelter, huge fans cool off the temporary residents. The courtyard can get crowded. One of the hundreds of nightly boarders is James Harrison. "I lost my apartment and had nowhere else to go," he explains. Like most people at Haven for Hope, Harrison, who is 55, doesn't plan on staying long. But while he's here, he's taking advantage of some free medical testing — a screening for dormant tuberculosis. (Rigby, 8/4)

Los Angeles Times: What We Know About California's Largest Toxic Cleanup: Thousands Of L.A. County Homes Tainted With Lead
By this fall, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control plans to begin removing lead-tainted soil from 2,500 residential properties near the shuttered Exide Technologies battery recycling plant in Vernon. The cleanup — the largest of its kind in California history — spans seven southeast Los Angeles County neighborhoods, where plant operations have threatened the health of an estimated 100,000 people. (Barboza and Poston, 8/6)

Kansas City Star: Dangerous Chemicals In KC Area Water Listed In Database
It’s easy to check, using a database published last week by the national Environmental Working Group, which allows anyone to punch in their ZIP code and see a list of potentially harmful chemicals found in the local tap water. The database, which includes water utilities from all over the Kansas City area, shows test results collected from nearly 50,000 public water systems in all 50 states. (Cummings, 8/4)

Detroit Free Press: Thousands Expected To Seek Free Medical, Dental Care At At Cobo Center
Thousands of uninsured or underinsured metro Detroiters are expected to flood Cobo Center this week for free medical and dental care through a nonprofit that serves the needy population across the country and worldwide. The Motor City Medical Mission (MCMM), which could turn out to be the largest health care clinic ever in Detroit, will operate Thursday through Saturday in downtown Detroit. No identification, address or documentation of need is required. Nor are attendees being asked to register, just simply walk in. Attendees will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis. (Pais-Greenapple, 8/7)

Los Angeles Times: Rich And Powerful Figures Will Set USC Course In Wake Of Scandal, From Behind Closed Doors
How USC handles one of the biggest scandals in its history will be decided behind closed doors by a small group of wealthy and powerful people. Composed of 57 voting members, USC’s board of trustees includes noted philanthropists, accomplished alumni, Hollywood insiders and industrial tycoons. ... It is this elite group that is overseeing the investigation into how the university handled the case of former medical school dean Dr. Carmen A. Puliafito. The Times reported last month that Puliafito, while leading USC’s Keck School of Medicine, partied with a circle of addicts, prostitutes and other criminals who said he used drugs with them, including on campus. (Kohli, Parvini, Hamilton and Elmahrek, 8/6)

KCUR: KU Cancer Center To Persist In Quest For Prestigious ‘Comprehensive’ Designation 
The director of the University of Kansas Cancer Center says it will continue to pursue “comprehensive” status after the National Cancer Institute denied it that coveted designation this week. “We’re just going to be absolutely fearless in moving forward with this initiative,” says Dr. Roy Jensen, who has led the KU Cancer Center since 2004.Jensen says it typically takes 10 to 15 years to attain comprehensive status, a recognition that an institution has demonstrated a high level of excellence over an extended period of time. The KU Cancer Center only received National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation in 2012 – a status that was renewed for another five years this week – so the denial of comprehensive status was not entirely unexpected. (Margolies, 8/4)

Tampa Bay Times: How The 'No Wrong Door' Approach To Mental Health Treatment Is Playing Out In Hillsborough County
The facility, the only one of its kind in the Tampa Bay area, serves as a behavioral health emergency room with a coordinated web of services to ensure the person in crisis is getting the right level of care, said Gracepoint CEO Joe Rutherford. The concept has existed for years but gained steam statewide last year with the passage of a law that overhauled mental health and substance abuse treatment and mandated a "no wrong door" approach for people entering the system. (Varn, 8/4)

The Star Tribune: Minneapolis City Council Approves Menthol Tobacco Restriction
The City Council approved a restriction on menthol tobacco Friday, limiting sales to adult-only tobacco shops and liquor stores. The vote was the culmination of a community-led effort to reduce access to menthol tobacco, a product that historically has been marketed to black smokers and that anti-smoking activists say makes it easier for young people to start smoking. (Nelson, 8/4)

San Jose Mercury News: Santa Clara: Family Sues City After Police Killed Their Son
Underneath the red, purple and yellow poncho from Colombia bearing the name of her slain son, Amanda Sommers’ shoulders trembled. The mother of Jesús A. Geney, a 24-year-old man killed by Santa Clara police while suffering a mental breakdown, stood in front of Santa Clara City Hall on Saturday to announce her family is suing the city. (Giwargis, 8/5)

The Associated Press: Doctor Told To Stop Marketing 3-Person Baby Technique
U.S. regulators on Friday warned a New York fertility doctor to stop marketing an experimental procedure that uses DNA from three people — a mother, a father and an egg donor — to avoid certain genetic diseases. The doctor, John Zhang, used the technique to help a Jordanian couple have a baby boy last year. (Johnson, 8/4)

The Star Tribune: University Of Minnesota Bioethicist Takes On Clinics Touting Stem-Cell Studies
Listed on a government website, they present the opportunity to participate in clinical trials to test the potential of one of the most promising tools in medicine — the body’s own stem cells. ...Now, with a national debate raging over the future of one of the hottest frontiers in 21st-century medicine, a University of Minnesota bioethicist has taken center stage in questioning whether many of these services are legitimate. (Carlson, 8/5)

The Associated Press: Nurse Pleads Guilty To Secretly Filming Female Patients
Authorities say a Pennsylvania nurse has pleaded guilty to secretly filming unclothed female patients as they underwent medical procedures. Bucks County prosecutors say 45-year-old James Close admitted Friday that he videotaped the women, including a 17-year-old girl, during dermatology treatments at Penn Medicine in Yardley. (8/4)

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