KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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State Highlights: Mich. Doctor Faces Genital Mutilation Charges; Judge Chastises New York Over Failure To Relocate Mentally Ill

Outlets report on news from Michigan, D.C., New York, Tennessee, Texas, California, Minnesota, Ohio, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

The New York Times: Michigan Doctor Is Accused Of Genital Cutting Of 2 Girls
A Michigan doctor has been accused of performing genital cutting on two 7-year-old girls at a medical clinic, in a case that federal officials believe to be the first prosecution under a law banning the brutal practice. The doctor, Jumana Nagarwala, 44, was arrested on Wednesday on charges that she performed the genital cutting at an unnamed medical clinic in Livonia, Mich.; transported minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity; and lied to federal agents. (Fortin, 4/13)

Pioneer Press: MI Doctor Charged With Genital Mutilation Of MN Girls, Age 7
A Detroit emergency room doctor is accused of performing genital mutilation on two 7-year-old girls from Minneapolis. Dr. Jumana Nagarwala is charged with performing the procedure out of a clinic in Livonia, Mich., in February, according to charges filed in U.S. District Court on Thursday. It’s believed to be the first case to be brought under the federal law criminalizing female genital mutilation of girls. The investigation suggests there are “multiple” other child victims of Nagarwala.  (Legge, 4/13)

The New York Times: New York Falls Short In Resettling Mentally Ill Adults, Angering Judge
Four years ago, after more than a decade of litigation and negotiation, New York State officials agreed that the system of often dismal and dangerous adult homes was no place for the mentally ill. They agreed to move as many as 4,000 mentally ill residents out of their apartments and into supportive housing, a hard-fought recognition that people with disabilities should have the opportunity to live independently and participate in all aspects of community life. (Santora, 4/14)

CQ Roll Call: VA's Shulkin Names New Leader At Troubled DC Medical Center
Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin personally intervened and appointed a member of his own staff to lead the VA Medical Center in the nation's capital Thursday, after a scathing interim report from federal investigators. “We will not put veterans at risk, and you will see in this administration when we believe there is unnecessary or unacceptable risk, we will take decisive action,” Shulkin said in a press call with reporters. A VA Office of Inspector General report publicized Wednesday revealed patients at the Washington hospital were being placed at risk because of the sloppy management of medical supplies and equipment. (Mejdrich, 4/13)

The Associated Press: AG Agrees Tennessee Will Stop Enforcing 2 Abortion Limits
Tennessee's attorney general has agreed that the state will drop two abortion limits similar to Texas laws struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, according to federal court filings Thursday. One of the requirements mandated that abortion providers have hospital admitting privileges. The other forced abortion clinics to meet hospital-level surgical standards. (Mattise, 4/13)

Houston Chronicle: Local Couple Appear In Federal Court For $24 Million Medicare Fraud Scam
First, investigators contacted the couple's clients — all maintained they had never heard of them. Next, investigators talked to physicians who supposedly worked on Medicaid bills for the couple's home health care companies but they, too, had never heard of the Amoses. These discoveries were among the clearest signs to prosecutors that Oluyemisi Amos, 35, and her husband Felix Amos, 66, would represent the latest scam in a string of Houston health care fraud cases. The couple pled not guilty in Houston federal court Thursday following an indictment for multiple counts of health care fraud totaling more than $24 million. (Meyer, 4/13)

Minnesota Public Radio: 3 Measles Cases Confirmed In Minnesota
The Minnesota Department of Health is investigating three measles cases. All three patients are toddlers from Hennepin County. State health officials say they haven't figured out how the children contracted the disease and are trying to track down anyone who may have had contact with them. (Richert, 4/13)

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Hospitals Investing In Transit To Provide Access, Improve Health For Clevelanders 
With the announcement of MetroHealth System's decision to sponsor the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority's newest Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route, all three major health systems in the county soon will be on board with public transit. The new BRT line will start rolling in October. At that time, what is known as the No. 51 line will be rebranded as the MetroHealth Line - a new BRT line sponsored by the MetroHealth System for the same fare as existing routes. (Christ, 4/14)

New Orleans Times-Picayune: LSU Medical Schools Facing Another Budget Cut, This Time $3.6 Million 
LSU Health Sciences Center and medical school in New Orleans have lost research dollars and struggled to restore faculty to pre-Hurricane Katrina levels as a result of state budget cuts over the past decade, says Larry Hollier, the school's chancellor. Now they're facing another round of cuts unless the Legislature raises taxes or reduces other public services. Over the past eight years, Louisiana has trimmed funding for health sciences centers in New Orleans and Shreveport by $38 million. At the same time, state-mandated costs on the centers have increased by $22 million, causing more fiscal problems, Hollier said. (O'Donoghue, 4/13)

The Philadelphia Inquirer/ Virtua Wins Health Planning Board OK To Build A $1 Billion Medical Campus In Westampton
Virtua Health can proceed with its plans to build a $1 billion hospital complex in Westampton,  Burlington County, as long as it meets 13 conditions, the New Jersey Health Planning Board decided Thursday after reviewing the proposal. The board voted unanimously to approve the plans but also adopted 12 recommendations made by the staffers of the Health Department who analyzed the proposal.  The board then added one additional stipulation – that Virtua obtain approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection prior to construction. (Hefler, 4/13)

WBUR: New WPI Center Aims To Accelerate Smart Medical Device Production
Worcester Polytechnic Institute is opening a new medical and technology development center it hopes will speed up the production of cutting edge medical devices and therapies for patients. PracticePoint at WPI, a public/private partnership announced Thursday, will include several testing suites to allow clinical researchers, engineers and manufacturers to more easily collaborate and commercialize robotic and other smart devices and systems. (Zimmerman, 4/13)

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Akron, Cleveland, Youngstown Air Pollution Still Is Among Ohio's Worst 
Three metropolitan areas in Northeast Ohio were among 72 areas in the U.S. that suffered through more than 100 days of unhealthy air pollution in 2015, according to a report released today by the Environment America Research & Policy Center. The Akron area paced Northeast Ohio with 188 days of moderate to unhealthy levels of soot particles in the air, followed by Cleveland-Elyria with 175, and Youngstown-Warren-Boardman with 142. (McCarty, 4/13)

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Philly Breast Cancer Survivor Helps Other Black Women Through The Challenge, Beautifully
Every time Traci Smith walked into chemotherapy at Lankenau Medical Center in 2013, she made sure she was looking her best. When Smith arrived, patients, nurses, and doctors complimented her, telling her she didn’t look sick, which, given that she had lost all her hair, fingernails, and appetite, felt good. “It was important to me,” says Smith, 48, who cofounded the nonprofit Traci’s B.I.O. (Beautiful Inside and Out) with business partner Phyllis Young in 2014. The organization works to support, educate, and pamper African American women with breast cancer. (Rush, 4/14)

Boston Globe: Partners To Use Wind Power To Cut Costs, Emissions 
Partners HealthCare, one of Massachusetts’ largest companies and biggest energy users, has signed an agreement with a New Hampshire wind farm to help power its hospitals and other facilities. Partners said the deal will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 110 million pounds per year. The agreement is with New York-based Walden Green Energy LLC, which is building a wind farm in Antrim, N.H. Construction is expected to be completed in 2019. (Dayal McCluskey, 4/13)

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