KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Roundup: Calif. Hospitals Fined Over Serious Errors; Mass. Pharmacy Waiting Period Continues

Los Angeles Times: 10 California Hospitals Fined For Serious Errors
Ten California hospitals received fines Thursday for errors that resulted in either serious injury or death to a patient. The California Department of Public Health issued a total of $785,000 in penalties for errors that include removing the wrong kidney, leaving surgical objects behind and failing to call for assistance when a patient began bleeding excessively (Gorman, 12/21).

The Boston Globe: State Regulators Say Controversial 21-Day Waiting Period For Closed Pharmacies Will Remain
State regulators said Thursday they will keep the most controversial aspect of emergency regulations tightening oversight of Massachusetts compounding pharmacies, despite protests from several pharmacy groups. At issue is a new rule, adopted by the Board of Registration in Pharmacy on Nov. 1, that ­allows the state to shut down a pharmacy for 21 days without a hearing to "protect the public health, safety or welfare" (Lazar, 12/20).

Modern Healthcare: Idaho System Moves Ahead With Deal To Acquire State's Largest Doc Practice
St. Luke's Health System in Idaho intends to close on its embattled acquisition of the state's largest physician practice, Saltzer Medical Group, now that a judge has issued a favorable ruling in a lawsuit challenging the sale. ... Winmill's ruling noted that his decision not to grant an injunction stopping the sale was based on an assumption that Saltzer doctors would not stop referring patients to St. Alphonsus once they start working for its competitor (Carlson, 12/20).

Modern Healthcare: Capella Leaves Alabama's 'Tough Reimbursement Climate'
Capella Healthcare, Franklin, Tenn., has sold its remaining facility in Alabama, citing a "tough reimbursement climate" that makes the state one of the most challenging in which to operate. ... It was almost exactly a year ago when Capella, which has 15 acute-care and specialty hospitals in seven states, first started its exit from its Southern neighbor (Kutscher, 12/20).

The Associated Press: Official: Abortion Rights Not Behind Voided Pact
An attorney for Planned Parenthood who asked a federal judge Thursday to block the state from cutting the agency from a nutritional program argues that the organization's support of abortion rights played a role in the decision, but Oklahoma's health commissioner says that was not the case. ... Effective Dec. 31, the state plans to end agreements it has had with Planned Parenthood for the last 18 years due to the uncertainty of federal funds and a higher cost-per-participant rate at clinics in west Tulsa, midtown Tulsa and Broken Arrow (Talley, 12/20).

Georgia Health News: State Says 'No' To Standalone Emergency Facility
A proposal to build Georgia's first freestanding emergency department has been rejected by state regulators. But this week’s decision by Department of Community Health reviewers may not close the door to other proposals to build standalone emergency departments -- which unlike traditional emergency rooms are not physically located at hospitals. ... The reviewers ruled that the Loganville area’s emergency needs were already being met (Miller, 12/20).

The Sacramento Bee: Davis City Unions Agree To Retiree Health Care Changes
Davis [Calif.] officials say the city will save $4.9 million over the run of a new three-year deal with managers, support staff and the city's police force brokered this week after coaxing employee concessions on retiree medical and other health benefits. Davis reached the accord this week with its police officers union and two other bargaining groups (Smith, 12/21).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Twin Cities Nurses Approve Contract With 4.5% Raise
Twin Cities nurses on Thursday approved a contract that will give them a 4.5 percent wage increase over the next three years. The contract covers 12,000 nurses working in 13 facilities ... Negotiations between the Minnesota Nurses Association and the hospitals focused only on wages, keeping intact in the new contract current language related to important nursing practice standards (Smith, 12/20).

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