KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: Mental Hospital Security; Drug Development Urged

A selection of some health care stories from around the country.

USA Today: States Target Prescriptions By 'Pill Mills'
Now states are trying to outsmart the criminals by tracking prescriptions through statewide databases and by toughening their laws to make it more difficult for unscrupulous clinics to dispense large numbers of prescription pain pills. And in the latest move against drug tourists, states are linking their databases to try to stop dealers from roaming state to state (Leger, 10/25).

The Connecticut Mirror: Blumenthal Backs Measure To Promote Drug Development
There's an arms race going on, Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Monday, and we're losing. "We're in an arms race with pathogens that are evolving faster than we are developing drugs to treat them," the Connecticut Democrat said during a press conference at Hartford Hospital. He was there to tout his support for a measure aimed at encouraging drug makers to develop new antibiotics that can combat drug-resistant bacteria (Levin Becker, 10/24). 

The Dallas Morning News: Regulators Accept Methodist Dallas' Plan To Correct Its Nursing, Infection Control Deficiencies
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has accepted Methodist Dallas Medical Center's plan to correct deficiencies in nursing services and infection control that had threatened its federal funding. "We are pleased CMS has accepted our action plan," Laura Irvine, president of Methodist Dallas, said in a statement (Jacobson, 10/24).

The Baltimore Sun: Advocates, Union Call For Changes At Mental Hospital
Mental health advocates and labor union officials are calling for increased staffing and policy changes at the state's maximum security mental hospital — including a reassessment of how patients are paired as roommates — after one patient killed another at the Jessup facility last week. State health officials are still investigating the second killing of a patient at the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in just over a year (Cohn and Walker, 10/24).

Kaiser Health News/WFSU-FM: Can A Small Business Insurance Marketplace Take Root In Florida?
Florida Health Choices was created in 2008 by the state legislature – with the idea of promoting competition and transparency in the health insurance market to bring prices down for small businesses. But it is still not operational. It was set to open this past summer, but has been delayed as it continues to try to recruit health insurance companies to sign up (Hatter, 10/24).

The Lund Report (Oregon): PEBB Delays Funding Employee Wellness Program
The Public Employees' Benefit Board (PEBB) postponed voting to spend $165,000 on expanding the Wellness@Work program to state agencies when it met last week, citing the desire to see more concrete outcomes of the worksite wellness (Waldroupe, 10/24). 

NPR: A Push To Register New Voters Reaches Behind Bars
[Dr. Brenda Williams] has run a medical clinic in Sumter [South Carolina] for 30 years, with her husband, Joe Williams, who is also a physician. ... They believe in treating the whole patient. Brenda Williams says voting increases an individual's feeling of self worth, which is also good for one's physical health (Fessler, 10/25). 

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