KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: Mass. General Struggles With Overcrowding; N.H. Officials Monitor Pediatric Cancer Cluster

News outlets report on health issues in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, New York and California.

The Tampa Bay Times: Tampa General, All Children's Take Hit In State Hospital Funding
Late Monday, lawmakers released the additional payments some hospitals will receive in next year’s state budget. The plan, released at 9:30 p.m. Monday, is among the most anxiously-awaited parts of the state’s health care budget, as it included more than $1 billion in supplemental money for hospitals. Across the board, hospitals took hits owing to a $400 million reduction in the Low Income Pool, a pot of state and federal money that pays for uncompensated charity care. Among the hardest hit by the drop in LIP: the state’s safety net hospitals, which include public hospitals, specialty children’s hospitals and teaching hospitals. (Auslen, 2/29)

The Associated Press: Ex-Phoenix VA Hospital Exec Failed To Disclose Yearly Gifts
The former director of the Phoenix VA Health Care System — which had management problems that drew national outrage — has pleaded guilty to making false financial disclosures to the federal government about yearly gifts, prosecutors said Tuesday. Sharon Helman was accused of failing to list more than $50,000 in gifts she received from a lobbyist in 2012-14, according to authorities. (3/1)

The Las Cruces Sun-News: Ex-Las Cruces Provider Sues NM Mental Health Contractor
A former behavioral health provider in Las Cruces filed a lawsuit this month against the main company that for years held the purse strings of state Medicaid dollars in New Mexico. La Frontera, in a 36-page lawsuit, alleges United Healthcare engineered a cover-up of its own failings by accusing 15 community providers across New Mexico of fraud in 2013. La Frontera is accusing United Healthcare — and its subsidiary, OptumHealth New Mexico — of fraud and misrepresentation that led to La Frontera losing millions of dollars while providing behavioral health-services in southern New Mexico, according to the lawsuit. (Soular, 2/29)

The Associated Press: New York Restaurants Post Salt Warnings, And Diners Shrug
As warning labels go, the small salt shaker emblems that began showing up on some New York City restaurant menus recently are fairly unobtrusive, but each is supposed to carry a powerful message. If the black and white logo appears next to a dish, it means it contains more salt, by itself, than doctors recommend that a person ingest in an entire day. Getting diners to pay attention to the logos, though, is another matter. (Dobnik, 3/1)

The Associated Press: San Francisco Raises Age To Buy Tobacco To 21
San Francisco supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to boost the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21, despite arguments from opponents that cities and counties cannot trump California law. San Francisco becomes the second-largest city after New York City to raise the minimum age to buy cigarettes and other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Hawaii and Boston also require tobacco buyers to be 21. (Har, 3/1)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.