KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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State Highlights: N.Y. Hospitals Struggle To Meet Electronic Prescribing Deadline; Calif. Battle Heats Up Between Public Health Consortium, Insurers

News outlets report on health issues in New York, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Puerto Rico and Minnesota.

The Wall Street Journal: New York Hospitals Strain To Meet Deadline On Electronic Prescriptions
New York hospitals and physicians are scrambling to meet a state mandate to electronically prescribe all medications, with some institutions asking for extra time to comply with a 2012 law to curb prescription drug abuse, medical errors and fraud. New York is the first state to mandate e-prescribing for all prescriptions with penalties for noncompliance, said Zeynep Sumer-King, vice president of regulatory and professional affairs at the Greater New York Hospital Association. (Ramey, 2/22)

WGRZ: Auditors: NY Slow To Penalize Nursing Homes For Violations
State auditors say the New York Health Department has been slow to penalize nursing homes for violations, often choosing not to levy fines or taking several years to actually impose them. In a report Monday, the comptroller's office says its analysis shows that from January 2014 to last July the department collected only 12 fines totaling $152,000, less than one-fourth of the fines levied in 2011. (2/22)

The Associated Press: New Mexico's High Court Will Hear Workers' Comp Case
The New Mexico Supreme Court plans to review a lower court ruling that cleared the way for farm and ranch laborers across the state to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The appellate court issued an opinion last year that declared unconstitutional a decades-old provision in state law regarding farm and ranch laborers. That provision, on the books since the 1930s, excluded those employees whose duties focus primarily on growing and harvesting crops, meat or dairy products from receiving benefits if injured on the job. (Bryan, 2/22)

The Associated Press: Fourth California Prison Fails Health Review; 7 Passed Test
California's inspector general gave a failing grade to medical care at a fourth prison Monday as the state tries to regain responsibility for health treatment after a decade of federal control. Valley State Prison in Chowchilla received a failing grade in nine of the 14 benchmarks used by inspectors. Medical records often were missing, misfiled, incomplete or illegible. Medicine often was not provided as needed. Essential supplies and basic equipment were missing from many examination rooms. (Thompson, 2/22)

KTAR: Alzheimer's In Arizona: The Calm Before The Storm
It is the fourth leading cause of death in Arizona and the Department of Health Services predicts the number of people who will die from it will more than double by the year 2025. It is Alzheimer’s. Three years ago, the leading edge of the post World War II Baby boomer generation hit 65. A generation that came about starting in 1947 when returning soldiers married their sweethearts and started building families. That image does not elude Fitzpatrick the director of Alzheimer’s programs and advocacy in Arizona, New Mexico, and southern Nevada. (Moore, 2/22)

Reuters: Puerto Rico May Issue Delayed Audited 2014 Statements In April
Entities subject to going concern assessments, Garcia Padilla wrote, include not only the government itself, but PREPA, the island’s sole power utility; HTA, which operates the island’s major roads; the Metropolitan Bus Authority, which transports thousands in the San Juan area; the Puerto Rico Medical Services Administration, the island’s main hospital and trauma center; and PRIHA, which oversees Medicaid benefits for 1.6 million poor residents. (2/22)

The Poughkeepsie Journal: More Grandparents Are Parenting Grandchildren
When Debra Aldridge became her grandson’s primary caregiver, she was making $7.50 per hour as a cook. The alternative for the newborn, she was told, was to put him up for adoption. “I took one look at the little fella, and that was it,” said Aldridge, now 62. “I couldn’t let go.” For more than 11 years, Aldridge, who is divorced and lives in Chicago, has struggled to feed, house and clothe her “baby,” Mario. As she ages, Aldridge sinks deeper into poverty. (Cancino, 2/22)

The Associated Press: New Mexico Adopts New Rules For Medical Marijuana Producers
The names of licensed nonprofit medical marijuana producers and those seeking licenses from the state will become public under new rules taking effect next week, the New Mexico Department of Health announced Monday. The confidentiality surrounding producers was challenged last year in a lawsuit filed by freelance journalist Peter St. Cyr and the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government. They argued the health department was violating public records law by keeping producers' names secret. (Bryan, 2/22)

The Star Tribune: Teen's Death After Oral Surgery Prompts Suspension Of Edina Dentist's License
State regulators have suspended the license of an Edina dentist whose teenage patient died last June after a procedure to have her wisdom teeth removed. Sydney Galleger, a junior at Eden Prairie High School, went into convulsions during the June 9 surgery and was rushed to a hospital, where she died. The Minnesota Board of Dentistry cited "imminent risk of harm" in its order against Dr. Paul Tompach of Edina Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. (Walsh, 2/22)

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