KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: N.Y. State Assembly OKs Single-Payer Bill; Ga. Scrambles To Address Nursing Shortage

Media outlets report on news from New York, Georgia, Massachusetts, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, California, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Oregon.

The Wall Street Journal: N.Y. Single-Payer Health-Care Bill Passes State Assembly
Democrats in the New York Assembly are relaunching a push for a statewide single-payer health-care program in hopes that the national debate over health care will give their legislation new momentum. The “Medicare-for-all” bill—designed to provide health insurance to all state residents—passed the predominantly Democratic Assembly Tuesday afternoon following several hours of partisan back-and-forth on the chamber floor. (Vilensky, 5/16)

Georgia Health News: Re-Entry Program Brings Former Nurses Back Into The Profession
According to the Georgia Nurses Association, more than 50 percent of the nursing workforce is nearing retirement age. Meanwhile, the aging of the population as a whole means that more nurses and health professionals are needed to act as caregivers. In the Northwest Georgia mountains, Blue Ridge Area Health Education Center (AHEC) is scrambling to relieve the nursing shortage. (Thomas, 5/16)

KXAN: Report: Texas Falling Short On Police Safety During Mental Health Crises 
This investigation involved a 10-month analysis of court and police records, medical histories, media reports and dash and body camera footage, much of it obtained under the Texas Public Information Act. The research revealed shortfalls in police protection statewide: a need for improved mental health training for officers and better communication between law enforcement agencies about potentially violent individuals with mental health issues. (Hinkle and Barer, 5/16)

Orlando Sentinel: Dead Optometry Bill May Be Seen Again
The optometry bill, which for a few weeks reignited the so-called “eyeball wars” between doctors of optometry and doctors of medicine, died in the Legislature this year, but that doesn’t mean the war is over. The state optometry association will decide later this year if it’s going to once again pursue efforts to expand the scope of practice for optometrists in Florida. (Miller, 5/16)

Chicago Tribune: Seniors Seek Affordable Dental Care Options
Like many older people on a fixed income, Ed Slavik knew he couldn't keep up with the high cost of dental care. So a few years ago, the retired school teacher was relieved to find the Dental Division at Stickney Public Health District, where he had fillings and other routine dental work done for free...But public health researchers are hoping to persuade legislators to add a dental benefit to Medicare by highlighting the many seniors forgoing care until their dental health has deteriorated, sometimes causing trouble eating, swallowing or speaking, and igniting other health problems. (Neumann, 5/16)

The Baltimore Sun: State Approves Apprenticeship Program For Hospital Workers 
State officials have approved Maryland's first apprenticeship for environmental care supervisors, who work in hospitals cleaning areas such as surgical rooms...Apprentices will receive technical instruction through the Community College of Baltimore County and be paired with mentors Baltimore-area hospitals. Trainees' wages will increase when they show proficiency in a list of predetermined job functions. Johns Hopkins Hospital will be the first institution to offer the on-the-job training. (Mirabella, 5/16)

Orlando Sentinel: Global Cyberattack Spares Local Health Systems 
The malicious software that quickly spread across six continents last week and locked more than 200,000 computers, including U.K.’s National Health Service, has not affected Central Florida’s two major health systems, officials told the Orlando Sentinel. But their relief is by no means a reassurance for protection from future cyberattacks. (Miller, 5/16)

Sacramento Bee: Botulism Outbreak From Gas Station Nacho Cheese Prompts Lawsuit 
Sacramento County health officials have confirmed five cases of botulism in patients who ate at the Valley Oak Food and Fuel gas station, and are investigating three other probable cases and one suspect case, with all nine patients still hospitalized. Officials believe the outbreak is linked to nacho cheese sauce that was served at the station, but the exact cause of the poisoning is still under investigation, officials said. (Caiola, 5/16)

Pioneer Press: HealthEast, Fairview Merger To Be Completed June 1
The boards of Fairview and HealthEast have approved the merger of the two metro-area hospital systems, and the deal is now expected to be completed June 1, the two organizations announced Tuesday. The combined system will be led by Fairview President and CEO James Hereford. HealthEast CEO Kathryn Correia will join the senior executive team as chief administrative officer. (5/16)

Miami Herald: How Profitable Will Medical-Marijuana Shops Be? Very, Says Confidential Pitch For Investors
A private equity firm’s confidential pitch deck obtained by the Miami Herald shows that only days ago Surterra Florida was seeking investors to buy a $10 million minority stake while also arguing against limits on the number of retail outlets any licensed operator can open. Some potential investors were lured with projections that show Surterra grossing $138 million in sales by 2021 thanks largely to the operation of 55 retail outlets — nearly four times the cap desired by the Florida Senate. (Smiley and Auslen, 5/16)

The Oregonian: Oregon Day Care Closes As Kids Fall Sick After Insecticide Exposure 
A Coos Bay day care center shut down Monday in the aftermath of an insecticide-spraying incident that left at least a half-dozen children and two staff members suffering from inflamed eyes and breathing problems. State regulators opened an inquiry into the May 5 incident but have not sent anyone to visit the Coos Bay Children's Academy Inc., which had an enrollment of about 80 kids. Instead, the owner voluntarily closed the center Monday as several key employees quit and parents pulled children en masse over concerns about transparency and safety. (Schmidt, 5/16)

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