KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Four Mass. Hospitals Investigate Trashing Of Patient Health Records, Calif. Employers Worry About Workers Using Marijuana On Job

The Boston Globe: "Four Massachusetts community hospitals are investigating how thousands of patient health records, some containing Social Security numbers and sensitive medical diagnoses, ended up in a pile at a public dump. The unshredded records included pathology reports with patients' names, addresses, and results of breast, bone, and skin cancer tests, as well as the results of lab work following miscarriages. By law, medical records and documents containing personal identifying information must be disposed of in a way that protects privacy, and leaving them at a dump is probably illegal, privacy lawyers and hospital officials said" (Kowalczyk, 8/13).

The Los Angeles Times: "The California Chamber of Commerce and other groups representing employers are starting to line up to oppose the initiative to legalize marijuana, charging that Proposition 19 would allow pot smokers to light up on the job and operate dangerous equipment while stoned. ... Allan Zaremberg, the chamber's chief executive, criticized the measure, saying it would set a high bar for employers to act against workers using marijuana by requiring proof that they were actually impaired." Supporters of the measure dismissed the arguments, saying they were designed to raise money for the opposition (Hoeffel, 8/13).

Kansas Health Institute: "One of every six people in Sedgwick, Butler, Harvey, and Sumner counties works in health care or a related industry, according to a recent study by the Center for Economic Development and Business Research Wichita State University. That makes health care the region's second leading employer, trailing only manufacturing. … Health care led the region in employment growth from 2000 through 2007, increasing 18 percent" (Ranney, 8/12).

Orlando Sentinel: "With the current contract between United Healthcare and Florida Hospital set to expire at midnight Saturday - and no resolution in sight - patients … are scrambling to see their doctors while they can still pay in-network rates. Even surgeries have been moved up. … Beginning Sunday, United Healthcare subscribers can still go to Florida Hospital for emergencies, but non-emergency visits to the network of 18 hospitals - and to the 450 doctors employed by the Florida Hospital system - will be considered out-of-network and require patients to pay higher fees" (Shrieves, 8/12). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.