KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: In Addition To Homeless Populations, Gay Men Are Hard Hit In Calif.’s Hep A Outbreak; Texas Health Department In ‘Disarray’

Media outlets report on news from California, Texas, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Florida and Maryland.

The San Diego Union-Tribune: Are Gay Men In The Crosshairs Of San Diego's Hepatitis Outbreak?
Hepatitis A outbreaks underway among gay men in many different cities show that it is not just homeless people and drug users who face significant risk from the disease, the physician said. ...Given that recent epidemiological evidence shows that gay men are at a higher risk of hepatitis A infection than the general population, it would not be an unreasonable approach to double down on education and vaccination efforts in this demographic group, [Dr. Robert] Schooley said. (Sisson, 9/29)

Los Angeles Times: Burbank And Glendale Work To Get Ahead Of Countywide Hepatitis A Outbreak
With health officials declaring a hepatitis A outbreak in Los Angeles County last week, the cities of Burbank and Glendale have been working on protecting their homeless populations from the virus. Both cities have started reaching out to the homeless in order to get them screened and vaccinated against hepatitis A. The L.A. County Department of Public Health has said homeless people are most at risk for the infection. (Nguyen, 9/29)

Dallas Morning News: In Effort To Save Lives, Texas Maternal Mortality Task Force Identifies Death Risk Factors For New Moms 
Knowing certain risk factors could help health care providers prevent pregnancy-related deaths in Texas, whose maternity mortality rate is the highest in the developed world. The Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force discussed identifying risk factors for maternal deaths Friday at the Department of State Health Services. It was the first time the task force met since lawmakers extended the group's existence during the special legislative session in July. (Wang, 9/29)

Boston Globe: Minn. Dental Therapists Offer Lessons As Mass. Weighs Expanding Role Of Mid-Level Providers
Now the debate over dental therapy is playing out in Massachusetts, where — as in other states — the proposal has sparked controversy among dentists, who worry that lower-paid workers with fewer qualifications will be given too much responsibility to care for patients. Many dentists also are concerned about their futures: If clinics can save money by employing dental therapists to provide most care, where will that leave dentists? (Dayal McCluskey, 9/30)

Nashville Tennessean: Uninsured And Underinsured Patients Seek Free Medical Care At Saint Thomas Medical Mission
More than 600 health care volunteers representing 30 organizations offered free medical care throughout the day, helping those with limited access to health care. Pharmacists, vision specialists, dentists, doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, chaplains and other hospital staff dedicated their day to free lab work, radiology exams, teeth extractions, mammograms and vision screenings. “This is really about making sure everyone has access to medical care they need,” said Chief Nursing Officer Amy Wilson. “This is about bringing the care to the community who needs it and making it easy and accessible for them in one convenient location.” (McGee, 9/30)

The Philadelphia Inquirer/ Sale Triggers Loss Of In-Network Status For Five Area Hospitals
Brandywine Hospital, Chestnut Hill Hospital, Jennersville Regional Hospital, Phoenixville Hospital, and Pottstown Memorial Medical Center are now out-of-network for Independence Blue Cross after Reading Health System, the new owner of the facilities, rejected Independence’s last offer of a deal before Reading completed its purchase Friday, Independence said Sunday. The disruption for the 120,000 Independence members who use those hospitals is the most significant fallout yet from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s push into Southeastern Pennsylvania. UPMC has a joint venture with Reading Health to sell health insurance in Bucks, Chester, and Montgomery Counties. (Brubaker, 10/1)

Dallas Morning News: A Second Tenet Ex-Executive Facing Criminal Charges In Scheme That Defrauded Medicaid 
Another former Tenet Healthcare executive has been indicted on criminal charges over a scheme that the U.S. Justice Department says defrauded state Medicaid programs of at least $400 million. The indictment relates to a whistleblower case against Tenet that dates back nearly a decade, for which the Dallas-based hospital chain agreed to pay a $514 million settlement last year. (Rice, 9/29)

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