KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State News: New York Governor Wants Regulation On Rx Gifts To Doctors And Other State News

The Associated Press/CNBC reports that New York Gov. David Paterson is "proposing new, tougher prohibitions on pharmaceutical companies, restricting them from dispensing gifts and misleading production information to doctors while promoting the use of specific drugs." Nine states have similar legislation. "The Paterson administration estimates the change will generate little money for the state through cutting the spending on prescription drugs, but argues it's important for New Yorkers to know they are being prescribed medications for the right reasons. Pharmaceutical companies argue Paterson's measures go beyond the current voluntary code by interfering with the relationships between doctors and experts..." (Bauman, 1/24).

The Las Vegas Review-Journal:  "Six months after the Review-Journal revealed that 80 illegal immigrants with failing kidneys were running up about $2 million a month in bills for dialysis and other medical treatment at the only publicly supported hospital in Las Vegas, the situation for both patients and taxpayers only continues to worsen." Federal law requires hospitals give emergency treatment to patients no matter their citizenship status. "UMC officials, who project a budget deficit of more than $70 million for fiscal year 2010, say that encouraging illegal immigrants to return to their home countries for dialysis treatment hasn't worked" (Harasim, 1/25).

The Steamboat (Colo.) Pilot & Today reports that drop-in, roving clinics in the mountain town of Steamboat Springs, Colo. are helping the elderly monitor their health. "The drop-in clinics, offered by the Aging Well program of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, are about developing relationships so seniors feel comfortable discussing issues affecting their well-being" (Manzanares, 1/25).

The Los Angeles Times reports that a new union for health care workers could win the right to represent workers at Kaiser Permanente's L.A. Medical Center, pitting the Service Employees International Union with "upstart" National Union of Healthcare Workers. NUHW doesn't have any members enrolled right now, but officials say its assets include its close ties to rank-and-file members of the health care workers (McDonnell, 1/24). (Kaiser Health News is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.)

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