KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Highlights: Bad Grades For 45 States On Medical Price Posting

A selection of health policy stories from California, Kansas, Connecticut, North Carolina and Minnesota.

Los Angeles Times: California, 44 Other States Fail At Posting Medical Prices, Report Says
Californians don't have easy access to actual prices for medical care, according to a national report card that gave the state an F for its dismal showing. California had plenty of company. Overall, 45 states received an F in the report issued Tuesday by two nonprofit healthcare groups that analyzed government efforts to make pricing information widely available to consumers (Terhune, 3/25).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Ruling: Kansas Can Strip Planned Parenthood Funds
A federal appeals court on Tuesday ruled that Kansas can strip two Planned Parenthood clinics of federal family planning money while the organization moves forward with its legal challenge of a state law it says is retaliation for its advocacy of abortion rights (3/25).

The CT Mirror: Bill Restricting For-Profit Hospital Conversions Advances
A controversial proposal that would put a moratorium on the conversion of nonprofit hospitals to for-profits garnered enough votes to move forward Tuesday, but several members of the legislature’s Public Health Committee said their “yes” votes shouldn’t be construed as endorsing the measure. And one of the lawmakers who crafted the bill said it’s expected to undergo many changes before being finalized. The bill was proposed in response to concerns about changes in the health care landscape, including the consolidation of hospitals and the potential acquisition of four nonprofit hospitals by a national for-profit chain. In addition to the moratorium on hospitals becoming for-profit, it would also new regulatory requirements for changes of ownership of nonprofit hospitals (Becker, 3/25).

The CT Mirror: Advocates Concede Defeat On Aid-In-Dying Bill In 2014
The campaign for passage of an aid-in-dying law in Connecticut in 2014 ended Tuesday with a concession that the bill does not have the support in the legislature's Public Health Committee to reach the House floor. “In an election year, in a short-session year, we were so pleased to expand the debate and to get a public hearing,” said Tim Appleton, manager of the campaign to pass the bill. Appleton said he believes the conversation on the emotional issue has progressed at the State Capitol and passage is a matter of when, not if (Pazniokas, 3/25).

North Carolina Health News: Child Care Centers Chip Away At Childhood Obesity 
You wouldn’t think a furniture company in rural North Carolina would be perched on the cutting edge of childhood-obesity prevention. But that’s what’s happening at the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams factory in Alexander County, nestled in the foothills of the Appalachians (Hoban, 3/26).

Minnesota Public Radio: Hundreds Still Looking For Mental Health Services After Clinic Closings
County health officials in east central Minnesota are still working to find mental health services for hundreds of people after a major provider closed last week. Riverwood Centers Community Behavioral Healthcare, a nonprofit that operated in five counties, shut down abruptly last week because of financial problems. The nonprofit operated in five counties in east-central Minnesota (Sepic, 3/25).

Minnesota Public Radio: Pain Specialists: Bill Giving More Power To Nurses Is Risky
Proposed legislation that would allow some nurses to practice independently risks patients' safety, a group of pain specialists told legislators today. Bills sponsored by state Sen. Kathy Sheran, DFL-Mankato and state Rep. Dan Schoen, DFL-St. Paul Park, would give highly trained nurses independence by granting full practice authority to nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists and clinical nurse specialists (Benson, 3/25).

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