KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: Infant Deaths Hit Historic Low In Ohio County — But Still Worst In Nation; Calif. Nurses Push Single-Payer Plan

Outlets report on news from Ohio, California, Arizona, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

Arizona Republic: 45% In Mental-Health Crisis Said Phoenix Police Made Matters Worse
Nearly half of mentally ill individuals who said they had contact with Phoenix police said the officers actually made the situation worse, according to a city survey. The survey, conducted by the Phoenix Mayor’s Commission on Disability Issues, questioned 244 individuals with mental-health issues found in Phoenix mental health clinics, residential programs and those who were homeless. (Cassidy, 4/10)

The Oregonian: Portland VA To Temporarily Stop Removing Vets From Caregiver Program
Under pressure from Oregon's congressional leaders, the Portland VA said Monday that it has temporarily stopped removing people from a program that pays spouses of disabled veterans to be caregivers. Daniel Herrigstad, a Portland VA spokesman, said the suspension affected one veteran whose eligibility was being actively reviewed. The halt will remain in place "until we receive further guidance" from the caregiver program's national director and regional officials, he said. (Davis, 4/10)

The Associated Press: Jury Returns $454M Fraud Verdict In Hospital Gown Lawsuit
Kimberly-Clark and its spinoff medical technology firm Halyard Health have been hit with $454 million in compensatory and punitive damages, after a federal jury found the companies misled California buyers about the impermeability of their MicroCool surgical gowns. Jurors in Los Angeles returned the verdict Friday in a class-action lawsuit brought by more than 400 hospitals and health centers in California. (4/10)

San Jose Mercury News: Epilepsy Breakthrough: Silicon Valley Firm's Implant Helps Stop Brain Seizures
Experts say the causes of epilepsy are generally unknown, though some cases may be genetic, while others can be brought on by head trauma, stroke or central nervous system infection... But the so-called responsive neurostimulation system, or RNS for short, developed by Mountain View-based NeuroPace, treats adults with epilepsy who don’t respond to medication or for whom surgery is too risky. (Seipel, 4/10)

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Funds From Tech Guru Parker Speed Penn Study Of Skin Cancer
When skin cancer has spread to other organs, even the most promising class of drugs fails in half of all patients. But in a new University of Pennsylvania study, authors report they can pinpoint why the drugs fail with a simple blood test, and they can do it just six weeks after starting the therapy – allowing for rapid deployment of a second kind of treatment. (Avril, 4/10)

The Oregonian: Gag Order Keeps Oregon From Telling Public About Cancer-Causing Pollutant
Oregon officials think they've found high levels of a cancer-causing chemical in the air near a Lebanon battery parts maker, but a judge won't let them say a word about it. Linn County Circuit Court Judge Thomas A. McHill on Friday agreed to Entek International's request for what appears to be an unprecedented gag order against state environmental and health regulators. Entek would be "irreparably harmed" if the regulators told the public about the preliminary finding, McHill wrote. (Davis, 4/10)

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