KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: Texas Low-Cost Health Plan Expands; Calif. Gov. Presents Budget As ‘Imperiled’ Federal Health Care Funding Looms Large

Outlets report on health news from Texas, California, Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, Colorado, Minnesota, Georgia, Florida and Wisconsin.

San Antonio Express: Low-Cost Health Plan Expands In State
A Texas-based company that provides members access to primary and urgent care doctors for a small fee has added local clinics to its direct care network in Connecticut. Healthcare2U, which entered the state’s health care market in mid-2016, offers a non-insurance-based health plan for less than $100 a month that allows its members to visit primary and urgent care clinics in its network for $10 a visit, without the need to file a claim against the individual’s insurance plan. (Torres Ocasio, 1/10)

Sacramento Bee: Jerry Brown Presents 2017-2018 California Budget Proposal
California Gov. Jerry Brown, warning about the double-barreled fiscal risk posed by Republican-controlled Washington and an impending economic downturn, presented a $177.1 billion proposed budget Tuesday that assumes the state will take in billions of dollars less than lawmakers previously estimated. But the Democratic governor refrained from laying out how the state might react if it loses federal funding, saying it’s premature to predict how the Trump administration will act on climate change, illegal immigration and health care. (Miller and Cadelago, 1/10)

The Washington Post: After 40 Years, U.S. Court Ends Supervision Of D.C.’s Care For Mentally Disabled Citizens
A federal judge Tuesday ended 40 years of court supervision of the District’s care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, concluding what city leaders called the longest-standing U.S. class-action lawsuit of its kind. U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle’s order ended a legal odyssey for 479 surviving class members and a larger group of thousands of the city’s most vulnerable residents, many of whom over the years experienced abuse, neglect or whitewashed death investigations after they died while wards of the city. (Hsu, 1/10)

KCUR: Court: Doctors Who Misdiagnose Sexual Abuse Not Liable For Malpractice Under Kansas Law 
Kansas doctors who mistakenly diagnose a case of child abuse are not liable for malpractice, a court has ruled. In a case of first impression, the Kansas Court of Appeals found that the Kansas law requiring health providers to report suspected cases of physical, mental or emotional abuse of children protects physicians and other health providers from civil liability. The case involved the parents of a nine-month-old girl who brought her to The University of Kansas Hospital for a respiratory infection. (Margolies, 1/10)

California Healthline: Merger May Revitalize California’s Flagging Effort To Pool Medical Records
After a sluggish start, the Cal INDEX medical database has agreed to a merger that would create one of the largest repositories of patient records in the country. The nonprofit California Integrated Data Exchange, launched by insurers Blue Shield of California and Anthem Inc. with much fanfare in 2014, announced Tuesday that it intends to merge with the Inland Empire Health Information Exchange. Together, they would have insurance claims and medical records of 16.7 million people. (Terhune, 1/10)

Denver Post: Denver Creates Potential For Competition In City Tax Dollars For Developmentally Disabled 
For a dozen years, Denver tax funds tagged for people with developmental disabilities have gone to one agency. That could change following a Denver City Council decision this week that allows the money — $14.5 million annually — to go to agencies other than Rocky Mountain Human Services. Rocky Mountain is one of 20 community-centered boards in Colorado that determine who is eligible for city, state and federal benefit money and help people with developmental and intellectual disabilities receive services, including family respite care, therapy and job training. The council’s vote was the latest of the changes regarding Rocky Mountain since a city audit in 2015 found egregious misspending, including that the agency was using more than 15 percent of mill levy funds for administrative costs. (Brown, 1/10)

The Star Tribune: Reports Of Abuse And Neglect Among Vulnerable Minnesotans Rise Sharply
Reports of abuse and neglect in state-licensed services for vulnerable Minnesotans increased sharply last year, new state figures show, a result of statewide reforms that make it easier to report maltreatment. Maltreatment reports for vulnerable adults and children rose 35 percent, to 4,373, in the year ending June 2016, predominantly among people receiving services in their homes and community, according to a recent state report. Reports of neglect, the largest category of maltreatment, rose a startling 43 percent. (Serres, 1/11)

Georgia Health News: 1,300 On List To Get Medical Marijuana
More than 1,300 people have been registered as medical cannabis patients in Georgia, state officials said Tuesday. That patient number has grown since the first Georgia medical marijuana registration card was issued in July 2015. Sheila Pierce of the Department of Public Health told the agency board Tuesday that 311 physicians have registered to certify patients for medical cannabis. (Miller, 1/10)

Tampa Bay Times: Pinellas County Considers Moratorium On Medical Marijuana 
Amid passionate pleas from residents, Pinellas County commissioners took the first step Tuesday to consider enacting a sixth-month moratorium on medical marijuana facilities in the county. With a tentative ordinance being considered, 12 residents offered reasons why commissioners should pass and reject the proposal. It's rare for 12 residents to speak on any issue before the board. (Puente ,1/10)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Patient Care To Be Sold
Patient Care, a Milwaukee company that helps employees navigate the health care system, has agreed to be bought by DirectPath, the companies announced Tuesday. DirectPath, based in Birmingham, Ala., provides health-benefit services to companies. Patient Care, founded in 2001 by Jane Cooper, contracts with employers to help employees and family members navigate the health care system and provides information on health care prices. (Boulton, 1/10)

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