KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Highlights: Ariz. Group Urges Public Hospital Changes

A selection of health policy stories from Arizona, Florida, California and Pennsylvania.

Reuters: Vaccine Exemption Bills Often Introduced But Rarely Passed
Legislation to change whether parents may refuse school vaccinations for their children appears to be common in some states, according to a new analysis. However, those bills are rarely passed into law. Researchers identified 36 bills that were introduced in 18 state legislatures between 2009 and 2012 to change school immunization requirements. Most of those bills aimed to allow more parents the ability to refuse vaccinations for their children (Seaman, 2/12).

The Arizona Republic: Maricopa County Health Overhaul Urged
A citizens committee has endorsed a $935 million overhaul of Maricopa County’s public hospital system to decentralize its services and improve access to health care for the Valley’s poorest residents. County voters likely will be asked this November to approve a bond initiative capped at $935 million to pay for a new county hospital, a new behavioral-health facility and new, expanded or renovated clinics throughout the Valley, mainly in areas with the most underserved and uninsured patients. The 15-member committee’s final report, approved unanimously Wednesday, essentially validates hospital executives’ long-standing desire to transition the Maricopa Integrated Health System into a network of community-based clinics that provide primary, preventive, specialty and outpatient care (Lee, 2/12).

Kaiser Health News: Florida Moves To Manage Health Care For Foster Kids
Chris and Alicia Johnson have 10 kids -- three biological, five adopted out of foster care and two foster children -- all under one roof on the outskirts of Orlando, Fla. While providing love, support and encouragement for their foster kids, they’ve sometimes run into roadblocks trying to get them health care, including needed mental health services, because few providers take Medicaid insurance. Another problem? Not being able to take foster children in different health care plans to the same doctors. Those difficulties are not unusual for the nation’s nearly 400,000 foster children, whose health care can be complicated by cycling from one placement to another, undiagnosed childhood trauma and a failure to receive preventive care, according to experts (Evans, 2/13).

Los Angeles Times: Animosity Between Head Of AIDS Group, L.A. County Supervisor Emerges 
Long-simmering animosity between two Los Angeles political figures reached new heights this week when their bad blood surfaced in a footnote attached to a federal judge's ruling. The footnote revealed a series of vitriolic remarks made by AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein about Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky (Sewell, 2/12).

NPR: Judge Dismisses Assisted Suicide Case Against Pennsylvania Nurse
A Pennsylvania county judge has thrown out an assisted suicide case against a 58-year-old nurse named Barbara Mancini, who was accused of homicide last year for allegedly handing her 93-year-old father a bottle of morphine. The decision is the latest in a series of recent developments signaling a reluctance of courts and state legislatures to criminalize medical care that may hasten death (Knox, 2/12).

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