KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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State Highlights: Nurses At Mass. Hospital Plan One-Day Strike; Calif. Free Health Clinic Draws 1,500 Patients

Media outlets report on news from Massachusetts, California, Missouri, Maryland and Virginia.

Boston Globe: Nurses At Pittsfield Hospital Plan One-Day Strike
The Massachusetts Nurses Association is planning its third labor strike of the year, this time at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield. The union, which represents about 800 nurses at Berkshire, said Friday that it would stage a one-day strike on Oct. 3 to protest what it calls unfair labor practices. (Dayal McCluskey, 9/22)

Sacramento Bee: Free Health Clinic Draws 1,500 People
While the number of uninsured Californians has decreased from 8.6 percent to 7.3 percent in 2016, according to U.S. Census figures, millions still can’t afford health insurance or the costly copayments and deductibles that come with their policies. At the California CareForce clinic, about half reported having no insurance, 20 percent said their insurance didn’t cover their needs and 10 percent were insured but couldn’t afford the cost of their deductible. (Sullivan, 9/24)

Los Angeles Times: Head Of L.A. County's Health System, One Of The Largest In The Country, Announces Departure
Dr. Mitchell Katz, tapped by Los Angeles County seven years ago to lead the nation’s second-largest public healthcare system out of a period of instability and mismanagement, has announced he will leave his post at the end of the year. Katz oversees the county’s Health Agency, the umbrella health organization with a budget of approximately $8 billion and 32,000 employees. He will return to his native New York to take care of his two elderly parents and to become chief executive of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp., which operates the city’s public hospitals, clinics and nursing homes. (Agrawal, 9/23)

Los Angeles Times: West Nile Virus Has Killed 8 Californians This Year. In Parts Of L.A. County, The Risk Is Especially High
Julie Shepherd ended up in the hospital earlier this month after her neighbor found her on the floor of her West Covina home, unable to move. Shepherd, 84, was paralyzed and had lost the ability to speak. Doctors diagnosed her illness as West Nile virus. Humans contract the virus through a mosquito bite. There’s no vaccine or cure for the disease, so Shepherd’s family could only wait to see if she recovered on her own. (Karlamangla, 9/23)

CQ: Planned Parenthood Asks Court to Block Missouri Abortion Law
A Planned Parenthood group asked the Supreme Court on Friday to reverse a lower court ruling that it says would allow Missouri to enforce requirements that would keep three of the state's five abortion clinics shuttered. Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains and others, in an application to the Supreme Court, wrote that it obtained a preliminary injunction against the requirements: abortion providers must have admitting privileges with a local hospital, and be licensed as ambulatory surgical centers. (Ruger, 9/22)

USA Today: White House, Congress Could Take Helicopter To Walter Reed If Approved
A disagreement between the state of Maryland and the federal government is preventing the use of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as a Washington-area trauma center, eliminating the potential for an alternative to the troubled MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Maryland emergency services officials quietly rebuffed Walter Reed's proposal in July to start treating civilian trauma patients, citing the needs of nearby civilian hospitals, although local emergency rooms are overcrowded and the area has a higher-than-usual risk of terrorist attacks. (9/24)

The Baltimore Sun: Yumi Hogan Launches Art Therapy Program At UM Children's Hospital
[Artist-in-residence Marty] Weishaar was hired this summer as the University of Maryland hospital’s first artist in residence with funding from the Yumi C.A.R.E.S. Foundation, a nonprofit started by Maryland first lady Yumi Hogan. An artist who has made art therapy her key issue, Hogan has sold her own paintings at fundraisers to benefit art therapy programs. She started the program at the children’s hospital, because her husband, Gov. Larry Hogan, was treated for non-Hodgkins lymphoma at the medical system shortly after taking office in 2015. During his stay, the Hogans were inspired by pediatric patients and their families who showed “optimism and positive energy,” despite dealing with grave illnesses, Yumi Hogan said via e-mail. (McDaniels, 9/25)

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