KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Brooklyn Hospital To Close; Georgia Health Care Overcharges Reported

The Associated Press: Advocates Give Up On Troubled Brooklyn Hospital
Community advocates who wanted a financially strapped Brooklyn hospital to remain full-service have given up their fight. An agreement Thursday ends lawsuits over the fate of Long Island College Hospital. A group of real estate and health companies negotiating to buy the Cobble Hill facility says it will use a needs assessment to determine the services it provides. They're offering the state university system $260 million for the 6.2-acre campus (5/22).

The New York Times: The End For Long Island College Hospital
Evelyn Valdez, an intensive care nurse at Long Island College Hospital, had already been asked to turn in her identity card. She was taking photos on her tablet on Thursday, to remember the place where she had worked for nearly 30 years and which she called her "second home." It was becoming obvious to Ms. Valdez that the money-losing hospital in Brooklyn, 156 years old, would be closing as scheduled, at least in its current form, after 16 months of legal skirmishing and political protests to keep it open (Hartocollis, 5/22).

The Wall Street Journal: Specialty Hospital Files For Bankruptcy With Bid From Silver Point
Beleaguered Specialty Hospital of America LLC filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday with a plan to sell its Washington, D.C., health care facilities to hedge fund Silver Point Capital. Silver Point's proposed purchase of Boston-based Specialty's long-term acute care hospitals via an auction process supervised by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Washington marks the culmination of weeks of uncertainty about the fate of the company's hospitals and nursing homes (Fitzgerald, 5/22).

The Associated Press: In Food Poisoning Probes, Officials Call For Yelp
New York City is using a novel way to uncover cases of food poisoning — reading Yelp restaurant reviews. Health officials found three unreported outbreaks by sifting through nearly 300,000 reviews on the popular website. The outbreaks were small, together blamed for only 16 illnesses. But one expert called it an innovative way to catch clusters of food poisoning (Stobbe, 5/22).

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia Sued Over Health Care For Teachers, State Employees, Retirees
The state is overcharging thousands of teachers, state employees and retirees for their health insurance, according to a class-action lawsuit filed against the Georgia Department of Community Health. Lee Parks, one of the lawyers who filed the suit, said the state is overcharging many of the 650,000 members of the State Health Benefit Plan, which has been a political headache for Gov. Nathan Deal and DCH for almost a year. Parks estimates that plan members have been paying more than $10 million a month in excess health insurance premiums since the agency made changes in January aimed at placating teachers, employees and retirees (Salzer, 5/22).

Georgia Health News: Georgia Scores Low In Senior Health
Georgia ranks 40th among states on seniors' health measures, according to a newly released report on people 65 and older. Several Southern states ranked in the bottom 10 on senior health, with Mississippi at 50th. Minnesota is the top-ranked state in America's Health Rankings Senior Report, produced by the United Health Foundation.  Georgia's strengths include a low prevalence of obesity among seniors; a high percentage of health screenings; and a high use of hospice care. The report said the state's weaknesses include a low percentage of quality nursing home beds; a limited availability of home health care workers; and a high percentage of seniors living in poverty (Miller, 5/22).

The California Health Report: Changing The Story Of Aging
As a cub reporter for San Francisco's alternative weekly fresh out of college in the early ’80s, Tim Carpenter loved slaying sacred cows. If asked what he was rebeling against during this "fun time," he would have channeled Marlon Brando in "The Wild One" with this famous line: "Whaddaya got?" Thankfully, some people never grow up. Carpenter, now 52, has directed his rebellious spirit into fixing a broken system—housing for the aging (Perry, 5/22).

The Star Tribune: Bloody Killing At Mental Hospital Triggers Call For Outside Oversight
Shaken by revelations that a patient was beaten to death in his room at the Minnesota Security Hospital, families are demanding new and unprecedented measures to strengthen oversight of the state's largest mental hospital. "It breaks my heart that it came to this — that a man is now dead — for these problems to come into focus," the mother of one patient said Thursday during a news briefing in St. Paul. Saying they are frustrated by years of inaction, parents and advocates called for outside, independent experts to review therapy protocols and staff training at the hospital, the state’s core treatment facility for people who are mentally ill and dangerous. They also called on the state to give patients and their families a greater role in developing therapy plans, among other demands (Serres, 5/22).

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