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KHN First Edition: April 8, 2016


First Edition

Friday, April 08, 2016
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

Today's early morning highlights from the major news organizations.

Kaiser Health News: Prices And Health Care Quality: Many Consumers Don’t See A Link
Kaiser Health News consumer columnist Michelle Andrews writes: "Most consumers don’t believe the adage that “you get what you pay for” in health care, according to a new study. The report in this month’s issue of the journal Health Affairs analyzed the responses of 2,010 adults to four questions about the relationship between health care prices and quality, such as “Would you say higher prices are typically a sign of better quality medical care or not?” and “If one doctor charged less than another doctor for the same service, would you think that the less expensive doctor is providing lower quality care or would you not think that?” (Andrews, 4/8)

Kaiser Health News: Study: More Collaboration Aids Health Care For At-Risk Populations
Kaiser Health News staff writer Lisa Gillespie reports: "By teaming with community organizations, doctors and hospitals can deliver high-quality care at good value to disadvantaged people at risk for poor health, according to a new report from a panel of experts. The report released Thursday by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine was produced to aid Medicare officials studying how to fairly pay hospitals that disproportionately serve patients with social risk factors for health problems. Those factors include low income, social isolation, disadvantaged neighborhoods and limited health literacy. The report is the second of five commissioned for the Department of Health and Human Services." (Gillespie, 4/7)

The New York Times: Donald Trump’s Health Care Ideas Bewilder Republican Experts
Donald J. Trump calls for “a full repeal of Obamacare” but says that “everybody’s got to be covered.” Initially, he liked “the mandate,” a central feature of the Affordable Care Act that requires most Americans to have insurance or pay a penalty, but he backed off that position under fire from conservatives. He would allow individuals to take tax deductions for insurance premium payments. But aides acknowledge that this tax break would not be worth much to people whose income is so low they pay little or nothing in federal income taxes. For them, Trump aides say, there would be Medicaid, which the billionaire businessman says he would not cut but would turn into a block grant to state governments. This whipsaw of ideas is exasperating Republican experts on health care, who call his proposals an incoherent mishmash that could jeopardize coverage for millions of newly insured people. (Pear and Haberman, 4/8)

Los Angeles Times: Criminal Hackers Now Target Hospitals, Police Stations And Schools
Three weeks ago, a debilitating digital virus spread quickly in computer networks at three Southern California hospitals owned by Prime Healthcare Services. Using a pop-up window, hackers demanded about $17,000 in the hard-to-trace cybercurrency called Bitcoin to destroy the virus they had implanted. The virus had encrypted medical and other data so it was impossible to access. ... The attempted extortion by criminal hackers was the latest case of what the FBI says is a fast-growing threat to vulnerable individuals, companies and low-profile critical infrastructure, from hospitals and schools to police stations. (Hennigan and Bennett, 4/8)

The Associated Press: Security Flaws Found In 3 State Health Insurance Websites
Federal investigators found significant cybersecurity weaknesses in the health insurance websites of California, Kentucky and Vermont that could enable hackers to get their hands on sensitive personal information about hundreds of thousands of people, The Associated Press has learned. And some of those flaws have yet to be fixed. The vulnerabilities were discovered by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, and shared with state officials last September. (4/7)

The New York Times: Heroin-Related Violence Mars A Colorado City’s Effort To Recover
The city of Pueblo — a gateway to the Southwest and home to gangs that span generations — is caught up in a wave of violence that has alarmed everyone from the baby gangsters and their families to local and federal officials. Pueblo had 13 homicides in 2014 and another 13 in 2015, giving the city the unfortunate distinction of having the highest per-capita murder rate in the state. At 12 murders per 100,000 people, its homicide incidence is three times that of New York City, and twice that of Brooklyn, New York’s deadliest borough. ... By nearly all accounts, the surge in violence is driven by a phenomenon rolling through communities from Long Island to St. Louis and Los Angeles: a flood of cheap heroin from Mexico and an eager base of customers from a range of economic backgrounds, some of whom switched to the drug after using prescription painkillers. (Turkewitz, 4/7)

NPR: Private Investors Eagerly Enter Addiction Treatment Business
Some private equity investors are getting into the business of substance abuse treatment. They're putting big money into building treatment centers, promising to fundamentally change the industry. It's estimated that 22 million Americans need help with substance abuse. Deborah Becker member station WBUR reports on the huge private equity investment behind eight new facilities in the Northeast. (Becker, 4/7)

The Associated Press: Ex-Users, Addiction Experts To Discuss N.Y.'s Heroin Epidemic
Addiction experts, police, public officials and former users are coming together to discuss New York state's heroin and opioid problem. State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, a Rotterdam Democrat, said Friday's event at the state Capitol is intended to raise awareness about drug abuse and the resources out there to help users get clean. Representatives from the Schenectady County Sheriff's Department, local substance abuse experts and former users are expected to participate. (4/8)

USA Today: VA Bosses In 7 States Falsified Vets' Wait Times For Care
Supervisors instructed employees to falsify patient wait times at Veterans Affairs' medical facilities in at least seven states, according to a USA TODAY analysis of more than 70 investigation reports released in recent weeks. Overall, those reports — released after multiple inquiries and a Freedom of Information Act request — reveal for the first time specifics of widespread scheduling manipulation. (Slack, 4/7)

The Wall Street Journal: Valeant: Stepping Back From The Abyss
The road ahead won’t be smooth, but Valeant Pharmaceuticals International finally has some breathing room. With Wednesday’s agreement to amend terms with its loan holders, Valeant has staved off the prospect of default in the near term. Reaching the deal didn’t come without a cost; Valeant has to now pay a higher interest rate on its $11.6 billion in loans, as well as a fee. Valeant maintains that it intends to file 2015 audited financial statements by April 29. (Grant, 4/7)

Reuters: Planned Parenthood Sues Indiana For Abortion Law
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the state of Indiana, saying a new state law restricting abortion was unconstitutional. The law, which was signed last month by Indiana Governor Mike Pence and goes into effect on July 1, prohibits abortion in the early stages of a pregnancy based on genetic abnormalities and mandates a fetus be buried or cremated, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court. (Madden, 4/7)

The Associated Press: Planned Parenthood, ACLU Sue Indiana Over New Abortion Law
"The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly stressed that a woman, not the state, is to determine whether or not to obtain an abortion," ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk said at a news conference midday Thursday. "The State of Indiana's attempt to invade a woman's privacy and to control her decision in this regard is unprecedented and unconstitutional."Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky president and CEO Betty Cockrum said the law, which was passed by the GOP-led Legislature and signed by Gov. Mike Pence last month, shows the state doesn't respect women. (4/7)

Los Angeles Times: Kamala Harris' Support For Planned Parenthood Draws Fire After Raid On Anti-Abortion Activist
California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris is drawing fire from supporters of an anti-abortion activist whose undercover videos and identity cards were seized by the state Department of Justice this week after Harris' political campaign sought to drum up support for Planned Parenthood. David Beltran, a spokesman for Harris' Department of Justice, said the agency would have no comment. Nathan Click, spokesman for her political campaign, referred questions to that agency. Harris seeks the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer. Her campaign website includes a page that asked supporters to sign a petition "to defend Planned Parenthood." (St. John, 4/7)

The Washington Post: Missouri Republicans Move To Hold Planned Parenthood Official In Contempt As Issue Flares Again
Planned Parenthood officials have been called to speak before Congress, had officials show up at their office demanding documents and have been the center of abortion opponents ire since this summer, when an undercover group accused them of illegally selling fetal tissue for profit. But this week marks the first time a Planned Parenthood official could face jail time in that debate. (Phillips, 4/7)

Reuters: Michigan Sues To Shut Detroit Abortion Clinic
Michigan's attorney general filed a civil suit on Thursday to shut down a Detroit abortion clinic the state claims is not owned by a medical professional. Summit Women's Center's sole officer, director and owner, David Lipton, is not a licensed physician, the attorney general said in a statement. Additionally, the company's annual report to the state in 2015 falsely certified that Lipton was licensed to provide professional medical services. (Weinraub, 4/7)

NPR: Abortion Providers In Utah Adapt To New Anesthesia Requirement
In Utah, a doctor performing an abortion will soon have to administer anesthesia after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The new law is the first of its kind in the nation, and it's based on the controversial notion that a fetus at that stage in development may feel pain during the procedure. Abortion providers are adapting to this change in the law. (Smardon, 4/7)

The Washington Post: ‘It’s Everyone’s Worst Fear’: How A Small College Survived An Outbreak
About dawn one Sunday morning, a health official at a small Jesuit college in California got an alarming phone call: A student had been rushed to the hospital. The ER staff quickly suspected meningitis. And while they treated and tested for the highly contagious, often fatal disease, scores of other students were streaming into the emergency room, frightened by their own symptoms. “It’s everyone’s worst fear in college health,” said Joshua M. Sharfstein, associate dean at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Meningitis strikes very quickly. Someone looking well one day could be dead the next.” (Svrluga, 4/7)

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent operating program of the Kaiser Family Foundation. (c) 2016 Kaiser Health News. All rights reserved.

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