KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: Chicago Teachers Push Back Against Outsourcing School Nurses; Pa. Works To Reduce Number Of Foster Kids On Psychiatric Meds

News outlets report on health issues in Illinois, Pennsylvania, California, Ohio and New York.

The Chicago Tribune: Chicago Teachers Union Says Outsourcing Nurses Bad For Students
The Chicago Teachers Union wants the district to scrap a multimillion-dollar deal for outsourced school nurses, saying in a newly released report that hiring nonunion nurses puts the system's 400,000 students at risk. The union-produced report says "privatizing the nursing department will create a health disaster in Chicago," and calls on Chicago Public Schools to hire a full-time registered nurse for each school, as well as additional support staff. (Perez, 2/23)

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Too Many Pa. Foster Children Are On Psychiatric Meds
Following a report last summer that large numbers of Pennsylvania children on Medicaid, especially those in foster care, are taking psychiatric medications, state officials Tuesday announced steps to address the problem. Those include requiring pre-authorization for antipsychotics, developing guidelines for psychiatric medication use, and creating an "electronic dashboard" that will make it easier for the state Department of Human Services (DHS) to monitor what children are taking. (Burling, 2/24)

Kaiser Health News: Latino Youth In California See Significant Rise In Psychiatric Hospitalizations
Psychiatric hospitalizations of Latino children and young adults in California are rising dramatically — at a much faster pace than among their white and black peers, according to state data. While mental health hospitalizations of young people of all ethnicities have climbed in recent years, Latino rates stand out. Among those 21 and younger, they shot up 86 percent, to 17,813, between 2007 and 2014, according to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. (Weiner, 2/24)

The Wall Street Journal: Nonprofits Grow Wary Of Financial Squeeze
It was just over a year ago when David Rivel, chief executive of the Jewish Board of Family & Children’s Services, got a call that would shape the future of his organization. An official with New York state’s office of mental health reached him at home on a Sunday with an urgent request: Could the Jewish Board immediately take on $75 million in social-services programs serving thousands of the state’s neediest? The call was followed up the next day by an identical one from the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. What led to the phone calls—and the Jewish Board’s decision to say yes—was the sudden closure of another New York nonprofit, Federation Employment & Guidance Service. (West, 2/23)

The Associated Press: San Francisco Declares Homeless Tent City A Health Hazard
San Francisco health officials declared a tent city that has been growing along a city street a health hazard and gave homeless people living on the sidewalk 72 hours to clear the area. The Department of Public Health said notices declaring the area along Division Street a public nuisance and encouraging homeless people to move to city shelters would be posted Tuesday. (2/23)

The Associated Press: Allegheny Technologies, Steelworkers Reach Tentative Deal
The United Steelworkers union has reached a tentative four-year agreement with Allegheny Technologies Inc. after 2,200 workers were locked out more than six months ago. A spokesman for the Pittsburgh-based specialty metals firm declined to comment beyond confirming the agreement, but union president Leo Gerard called it "a tremendous victory for a very brave group of workers." (2/23)

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