KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: Massachusetts Insurers List 2016 Issues To Watch; Drug Transparency Measure Stalls In Virginia Assembly

New outlets report on health care developments in Massachusetts, Virginia, Kansas, Iowa, California, Illinois, Texas and Missouri.

The Boston Globe: Three Health Insurance Issues To Track In 2016
Health care costs in Massachusetts are among the highest in the nation, and they’re continuing to rise. Against that backdrop, representatives from several major health insurance companies convened Thursday to share their outlooks for the year. Their comments came at a forum in Newton, organized by the New England Employee Benefits Council, an association of employee benefits professionals. (Dayal McCluskey, 2/4)

The Associated Press: Drug Price Transparency Bill Fails; Set For Further Study
Legislation to make drug makers reveal how much they spend marketing high-priced drugs has stalled in the Virginia General Assembly, at least for this year. State senators said the bill wasn’t ready for prime time, but was an issue worth reviewing after further study. A Senate panel voted Thursday to delay consideration of the bill until next year. (Suderman, 2/4)

The Kansas Health Institute News Service: Hospitals, AARP Remain At Impasse On Caregiver Act
AARP Kansas still believes the state needs a law requiring hospitals to notify designated caregivers of patient discharge instructions and, if necessary, demonstrate those instructions. Kansas hospitals still disagree. AARP introduced the Caregiver Act last year following a pre-session advertising blitz, but the bill ran into skepticism from lawmakers who questioned whether legislation was the best way to reach the goal of smoother transitions to home care. (Marso, 2/4)

The Des Moines Register: Medicap Pharmacy Warns Of Possible Data Breach
Medicap Pharmacy is warning customers about a possible data breach. The company said in a notice that an external hard drive was "inadvertently" disposed of on Nov. 5, 2015. The hard drive contained personal information. Medicap believed all of the information was encrypted, but said it learned on Dec. 3 that some information did not have encryption. (Patane, 2/4)

The Sacramento Bee: Jerry Brown Selects California’s First Medical Marijuana Chief
California has found its czar for medical marijuana. On Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown announced the appointment of Lori Ajax, currently the chief deputy director of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, to the newly-created post overseeing the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation in the Department of Consumer Affairs. (Koseff, 2/4)

The Daily Southtown: Sunny Hill Nursing Home Converts To Private Rooms
Will County's Sunny Hill Nursing Home will be converting to mostly private rooms over the next 18 months -- in response to a growing trend in the health care field. "Ask any resident what they want and they will say 'a private room,'" Sunny Hill administrator Karen Sorbero told the county board's public health committee during Thursday's meeting. (Lafferty, 2/4)

The Center for Investigative Reporting: Medical Neglect Can Be Fatal In Privatized Immigrant-Only Prisons
Big Spring is different from other federal prisons. It is one of 11 Bureau of Prisons facilities used exclusively for noncitizens. Some are held for crimes that anyone could commit: Garay was incarcerated for selling drugs. But of the nearly 23,000 inmates in this shadow prison system, 40 percent are serving time for immigration crimes, according to 2014 data – mostly “illegal re-entry,” or crossing back over the border after being deported. And nearly unique within the federal prison system, private corporations operate all of these facilities. Five of them, including Big Spring, are run by The Geo Group Inc.; medical care in many of these facilities is provided by subcontractors. (Wessler, 2/4)

The Kansas City Star: 11 Are Indicted In Oxycodone Conspiracy
Eleven people are charged in federal court in Kansas City with a $1.2 million conspiracy to distribute oxycodone obtained by forged and fraudulent prescriptions, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday. The defendants allegedly obtained the Drug Enforcement Administration registration numbers of health care providers to prepare false prescriptions that were then filled at pharmacies in Kansas City and elsewhere in the region. The drugs were then distributed to others. (Campbell, 2/4)

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