KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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State Highlights: Wash. Makes Progress In Improvements At State’s Largest Psych Hospital; Conn. Independent Living Centers Reeling From Proposed Budget Cuts

Outlets report on news from Washington, Connecticut, New York, Louisiana, Arizona, Minnesota, Ohio, California, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania.

The Associated Press: State Making Improvements At Troubled Psychiatric Hospital
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday that he's encouraged by changes made to ensure the state's largest psychiatric hospital is safer for patients and staff, but some workers are critical of the efforts. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services cited Western State Hospital last year over health and safety violations and gave it until July 2 to fix the problems or lose millions of federal dollars. (Bellisle, 4/11)

The CT Mirror: Independent Living Centers At Risk From State, Federal Budget Cuts
The state’s centers for independent living, already reeling from deep cuts, appealed Tuesday for legislators to reject a proposal to eliminate all state funding for their facilities. The five centers, first established under state law in 1988, provide a wide array of training, counseling and referral services to thousands of residents with physical and mental disabilities, the elderly and the poor. (Phaneuf, 4/11)

The Associated Press: Clinic's Closure Leaves 3 Abortion Providers In Louisiana
The closure of an abortion clinic in northwestern Louisiana leaves just three other such clinics in the state. The Bossier City Medical Suite's phone number was no longer in service Tuesday and the website was down. State business records show the company's officers are the same Texas-based principals of Causeway Medical Suite, a suburban New Orleans facility that closed last year. They could not be reached for comment. (4/11)

Arizona Republic: 'Always In-Network'? AG Probes Complaints About Gilbert Hospital Billing
The state Attorney General’s Office has probed consumer billing complaints involving Gilbert Hospital, a for-profit facility that once promoted itself as “always in-network” for emergency health services, even though it does not contract with most private health insurance companies. A spokesman for the Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich confirmed that the agency investigated consumer complaints about Gilbert Hospital's billing but declined to specify details. (Alltucker, 4/11)

The Star Tribune: Family Wins Right To Sue Senior Home Over Death Of Minnesota Man 
In a recent decision, Anoka County Judge Sean Gibbs upheld the right of a family to sue an assisted-living facility over the sudden death of an 89-year-old man, Gerald Seeger, who died of complications related to a common hernia. The facility, Lighthouse of Columbia Heights, had argued in court that, despite the man’s death, the family had forfeited the right to a jury trial by signing an arbitration agreement at the time of his admission. (Serres, 4/11)

Cleveland Plain Dealer: United Way 2-1-1, Four Local Hospitals To Connect Patients To Social Services With CMS Grant
Starting in about a year, United Way of Greater Cleveland will begin deploying its 2-1-1 specialists into seven area hospitals and health clinics to offer low-income patients screening for social service needs such as housing, food and transportation. With a $4.5 million, five-year grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), United Way will partner with the Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and Care Alliance Health Center to screen 75,000 patients a year and connect them to community resources. (Zeltner, 4/12)

Fresno Bee: How Safe Is Your Hospital? Only 1 Valley Hospital Earns ‘A’ In National Report Card
Only one Valley hospital earned a top grade for patient safety in a nationwide report card released Wednesday. Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia was one of 823 hospitals nationwide to earn an “A” from the Leapfrog Group, which gave grades to 2,639 hospitals nationwide. The group gives report-card grades to hospitals twice a year, in spring and fall. Kaweah has earned an “A” grade since spring 2015. (Anderson, 4/11)

Kaiser Health News: In ‘Stealth Move,’ Mich. Refines Vaccine Waivers, Improves Rate Among Kids
Just three years ago, Michigan had the fourth-highest rate of unvaccinated kindergartners in the nation. But when a charter school in northwestern Traverse City reported nearly two dozen cases of whooping cough and several cases of measles that November, state officials were jolted to action. Without much fanfare — or time for opponents to respond — they abandoned the state’s relatively loose rules for getting an exemption and issued a regulation requiring families to consult personally with local public health departments before obtaining an immunization waiver. (Gugliotta, 4/12)

Health News Florida: Orange County Looks To Make More Sidewalks ADA Compliant
The Orange County Board of Commissioners is looking to update sidewalks to make them comply with the Americans with Disabilities act. The commission votes Tuesday on a contract worth up to $2.7 million in construction over three years, but only the first year’s funding is guaranteed. Orange County has 3,000 miles of sidewalks that don’t comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. (Aboraya, 4/11)

The Philadelphia Inquirer/ Penn State Mumps Outbreak Still Growing As Blue-White Weekend Approaches
Mumps is in no hurry to leave students at Pennsylvania State University alone. The number of probable and confirmed cases has reached 68, said Shelley Haffner, infectious disease manager at Penn State's student health center.  She said she hopes the end of the school year — finals week is the first week of May — will break the cycle of exposures, but said outbreaks at some other colleges have lasted more than a year. (Burling, 4/11)

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