KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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State Highlights: DC’s VA Medical Center Diagnosed With ‘Serious Deficiencies’; Ind. Senate Moves To Make It Tougher For Minors To Get Abortions

Outlets report on news from the District of Columbia, Indiana, Georgia, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Florida, Idaho, Texas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, California, Missouri, Maryland and Iowa.

CQ HealthBeat: VA Medical Center In D.C. Found To Have 'Serious' Deficiencies
Veterans seeking care at the VA Medical Center in Washington were placed at unnecessary risk by shortages of oxygen tubes, dialysis bloodlines, needles and other surgical equipment, federal watchdogs said in a scathing interim report released Wednesday. VA officials told CQ that they were thankful for the Office of Inspector General’s “quick work” in the review and “considers this an urgent patient-safety issue.”“Effective immediately, the medical center director has been relieved from his position and temporarily assigned to administrative duties,” the agency said in a statement. (Mejdrich, 4/12)

New Hampshire Union Leader: NH Hospitals Ranked 7th In U.S. In Patient Safety 
New Hampshire hospitals ranked seventh nationally in patient safety, according to a survey released Wednesday by a nonprofit group that has been grading hospitals across the country on patient safety measures. Of the 13 major New Hampshire hospitals included in the Leapfrog Group hospital grades for spring of 2017, seven received an A — the highest mark possible in the analysis based on factors including errors, accidents and infections. Three Granite State hospitals included in the survey received a B and the remaining three got a C. (Alden, 4/13)

The Star Tribune: Child Abuse Reports Soar Across Minn., Straining System
A dramatic surge in child maltreatment reports is putting new strains on Minnesota’s child protection system, as local agencies struggle with soaring caseloads and stagnant funding, according to state and county officials. Maltreatment reports to county and tribal governments rose 25 percent last year, with 39,531 children suspected of being abused and neglected, according to state data released Tuesday. (Serres, 4/12)

Kaiser Health News: In Remote Idaho, A Tiny Facility Lights The Way For Stressed Rural Hospitals
Just before dusk on an evening in early March, Mimi Rosenkrance set to work on her spacious cattle ranch to vaccinate a calf. But the mother cow quickly decided that just wasn’t going to happen. She charged, all 1,000 pounds of her, knocking Rosenkrance over and repeatedly stomping on her. “That cow was trying to push me to China,” Rosenkrance recalls. Dizzy and nauseated, with bruises spreading on both her legs and around her eye, Rosenkrance, 58, nearly passed out. Her son called 911 and an ambulance staffed by volunteers drove her to Lost Rivers Medical Center, a tiny, brick hospital nestled on the snowy hills above this remote town in central Idaho. (Gorman, 4/13)

Texas Tribune: Texas To Lose Brazos Valley Children's Therapy Provider
Approximately 230 children in the Brazos Valley area are slated to lose a provider offering speech, physical and occupational therapy at the end of August. The state's Early Childhood Intervention program has already lost a dozen providers in recent years as state lawmakers have cut program funds. (Evans, 4/12)

The Philadelphia Inquirer/ Penn Medicine's New Deal With Independence Blue Cross Focuses On Quality And Cost
A new contract between the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Independence Blue Cross contains a guarantee that neither IBC nor the IBC member will be charged for a hospital readmission within 30 days of an inpatient stay or surgery. That is one example of how the five-year deal, announced Wednesday, between the Philadelphia region’s largest health system and its largest health insurer attempts to shift toward shared accountability and risk for quality and cost of care in place of a legacy system that could enrich health-care providers for redoing their work. (Brubaker, 4/12)

California Healthline: State Lawmakers Seek $2M To Boost Valley Fever Research, Monitoring
New state legislation that would allocate $2 million to support valley fever research and monitoring is the most recent effort to increase awareness of the fungal disease, which is typically mild but can be very dangerous in some cases. The bill, authored by Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), would take the money from the state’s General Fund and allot it to an already existing valley fever fund operated by the state’s Department of Public Health. The fund supports research for a vaccine to protect against valley fever. The new money would be used to buy research equipment, develop a tracking method and conduct community outreach, according to the text of the legislation. (Ibarra, 4/12)

St. Louis Public Radio: State Senate Passes Bill To Buy Homes Near West Lake Landfill
A bill to create a buyout program for homes near the West Lake Landfill Superfund site in Bridgeton has been overwhelmingly approved by the state Senate... As many as 91 families could have the option to move away from the World War II-era radioactive contamination at the West Lake Landfill, which sits about 600 feet from the underground smoldering fire at the Bridgeton Landfill. (Chen, 4/12)

The Washington Post: Md. Legislative Leaders In Stand-Off Over Special Session On Medical Marijuana
Advocates who want to diversify and expand Maryland’s medical marijuana industry are calling on the General Assembly to hold a one-day special session to get the job done. But the top politicians in Annapolis are again at odds on the issue, imperiling the chances for a deal. Democratic lawmakers agree that the state should approve five new minority growers to join the 15 mostly white-owned companies already pre-approved to open cultivation sites. (Nirappil, 4/12)

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