KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: Calif. Patient Files Lawsuit Over Hospital Denying Him Hysterectomy; N.J. Goes After Psychologist For Disclosing Diagnoses

Media outlets report on news from California, New Jersey, Texas, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Florida, Illinois and New Mexico.

Sacramento Bee: Transgender Patient Sues Dignity Health For Discrimination Over Hysterectomy Denial 
More than seven months after a Dignity Health hospital refused a hysterectomy to a Sacramento-area transgender patient, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Wednesday on his behalf. The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, alleges that Dignity discriminated against Evan Michael Minton, 35, a former state Capitol legislative aide, when he sought a hysterectomy as part of his transition from female to male. (Buck and Caiola, 4/20)

ProPublica: New Jersey Seeks To Sanction Psychologist For Disclosing Patients’ Diagnoses In Court Filings 
The State of New Jersey is moving to revoke or suspend the license of a prominent psychologist, accusing him of failing to prevent details of patients’ mental health diagnoses and treatments from being disclosed when his practice sued them over unpaid bills. The complaint against the psychologist, Barry Helfmann, a past president of the New Jersey Psychological Association, followed a ProPublica story published in The New York Times in December 2015 that described the lawsuits and the information they contained. (Ornstein, 4/19)

Texas Tribune: For Troubled Texas Foster Kids, Sleeping In Offices Is "Rock Bottom" 
No one is supposed to sleep or spend more than a few hours in this little building at the Harris County Youth Services Center, called the Point of Entry... But Texas’ embattled child welfare system doesn't have enough available beds, so office spaces like the Point of Entry are now being used as temporary homes for foster kids that nobody else wants. (Satija, 4/20)

Los Angeles Times: Mother Of Baby Who Caught Superbug Says UC Irvine Hospital Didn’t Tell Her About The Outbreak
The mother of one of 10 infants hit by a potentially lethal superbug at UC Irvine Medical Center disputed this week the hospital administration’s claim that parents were told about the outbreak. Briana Walker of Mission Viejo said the hospital staff did not explain when her son tested positive for the bacteria last month that other infants were already being treated for the same infections. She had begun to believe, she said, that her husband or another family member had unknowingly brought the superbug into the intensive care unit from outside. (Petersen, 4/19)

The Philadelphia Inquirer/ Siemens Healthineers Buys Health Tech Firm
Siemens Healthineers, of Malvern, has agreed to buy Medicalis Corp., a health care technology company based in San Francisco and Kitchener, Ontario, Siemens said Wednesday. The price was not disclosed. Medicalis is expected to add to Siemens's services in population health management, which is a term used to describe the practice of keeping track of patients even when they are not in the clinic, Siemens said. (Brubaker, 4/19)

The Star Tribune: 2 New Measles Cases Bring Total To 11 In Recent Minn. Outbreak 
State health officials confirmed two additional measles cases on Wednesday, bringing the total to 11 in an outbreak first detected last week. With the case count still rising, public health officials have asked more than 200 people to voluntarily quarantine themselves if they might have been exposed to the highly contagious virus. (Howatt, 4/20)

California Healthline: California Lawmakers Consider Mandatory Labels On Salon Products To Protect Workers
Beauty salon workers who paint the nails and treat the hair of millions of Californians are regularly exposed to toxic chemicals — and they may not know it, advocates say. The advocates are asking California lawmakers to approve legislation requiring cosmetic companies to list the ingredients of beauty products used in professional salons. The bill, which passed the Assembly health committee Tuesday, will next be heard by the environmental safety committee. (Bartolone, 4/20)

Chicago Tribune: Area Senior Services Provider To Shutter Its Personal Care Program 
CJE SeniorLife will close its Personal Care Program later this month due to inadequate state funding and the financial crisis in Springfield, officials recently announced." For eligible older adults, CJE provides personal care services at home through a subsidized program for low income seniors administered by the Illinois Department on Aging," CJE SeniorLife says about the program on its website. "These services, for those who qualify, include assistance with bathing, grooming, dressing, errands, light housekeeping, meal preparation and respite." (Isaacs, 4/20)

Texas Tribune: West Texas Nuclear Waste Project On Hold — For Now
Waste Control Specialists, which currently stores low-level radioactive waste in Andrews County, has asked the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to temporarily suspend a review of its application to store tens of thousands of metric tons of spent nuclear fuel currently scattered at reactor sites throughout the country. The Dallas-based company pitched the massive expansion as a solution to a problem that has bedeviled policymakers for decades. (Malewitz and Collier, 4/19)

The Associated Press: Audit: US Grant Funds Misused To Pay For Medical Marijuana
An audit by independent investigators with the U.S. Justice Department has determined a New Mexico program that helps crime victims allowed federal grant funds to be used to reimburse the purchase of medical marijuana by crime victims. The review released this week by the agency’s inspector general identified $7,630 in questionable costs for four marijuana purchases. (Bryan, 4/19)

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