KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Hospitals In Minn., Wis. Make Changes To Serve Overweight Patients

The Michigan program will track children's body mass index through an anonymous health registry.

ABC News: Data Is Power: Michigan Fights Childhood Obesity by Tracking It
In an attempt to combat Michigan's childhood obesity epidemic, Gov. Rick Snyder announced today that the state would begin tracking kids' body mass index through the Michigan Care Improvement Registry. Although the policy would be one of the most extensive government anti-childhood obesity efforts, pediatricians were divided over whether it would have the desired impact. The tracking system would encourage pediatricians to calculate patients' BMI using height and weight measurements, and report these numbers to the state through the existing immunization tracking system, the Michigan Care Improvement Registry. The numbers would be reported anonymously, meaning that the child's identity would not be connected to his or her BMI in state records (Hutchison, 9/14).

Minnesota Public Radio: Obese Patients Prompt Hospitals To Adopt New Equipment, Protocols
About one-fourth of all residents in Minnesota and Wisconsin are considered obese. Although the obesity rate in both states is several points lower than the national average of 33.8 percent, it has forced hospitals like Gundersen Lutheran to remodel their facilities to accommodate larger patients. Hospitals are spending millions of dollars on new equipment for larger people. Such changes are not always obvious to patients, but those who notice often agree that they're needed (Baier, 9/14).

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